Chappell: Bob, welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Thank you
for your time this evening.
: It’s my pleasure,
. It’s good to be with you.
How did you get your start as a professional wrestling announcer? I
understand that you worked at WRAL- TV Channel 5 in Raleigh, North
Carolina before you started announcing wrestling on television from the
I was doing the weather and the late news at Channel 5 before I did any
I believe you are originally from Charlotte, North Carolina?
Did you start your television career at WRAL?
the first television job I ever had was in Wilmington, North Carolina. I
went from there to Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is a beautiful place.
Did you get your first taste of professional wrestling in one of
those two cities?
sure did…in Savannah. That was in the late 1950s. They were trying to
get some professional wrestling started down there. An old-time wrestler
named Bibber McCoy came down from Massachusetts to sort of get things
going. We started doing a show in a little studio there in Savannah. We
didn’t have any fans or anything in there, we just did a show.
How long did that last in Savannah?
a couple of months or so…not long at all. But that was the first
experience I ever had with doing wrestling.
Did you go from Savannah to WRAL in Raleigh next?
Tell us about heading up to Raleigh and your start at WRAL.
I started there doing wrestling in the early 1960s. The wrestling on TV
really evolved there over a period of years.
Can you give us an overview of how the wrestling production evolved
during your early years with
Initially in Raleigh, what they were doing was taping two shows each
Wednesday. This was when two videotapes were done at the same time. One
show was just shown on [WRAL], and the guy who did the sports on RAL, a
fellow named Nick Pond who has since died, MC’d that show. [
Crockett, Sr.] asked me to do the other show, and I told him ‘I’d
try it.’ That was the [show] that we sent up to Richmond and Norfolk
in Virginia, and some other towns.
And in Richmond, my hometown, that show was called All-Star
Now, in this general time period, weren’t there also other shows
being taped by the promotion in other parts of North Carolina?
They were also doing a show in High Point. And they were also taping one
in Charlotte at a Charlotte station.
What was the mindset behind doing these tapings from multiple
I think High Point just showed in High Point and its environs, and
Charlotte just showed in Charlotte. I believe the reason it was that way
to begin with was because those stations preferred that they had their
own sports man doing that show. That’s what I always thought, but I
never questioned or asked anybody about that.
Later, there was a decision at some point to base the television
programming exclusively out of Raleigh and WRAL?
that’s right. What happened was it was decided somewhere along the way
that we were going to change that set up, and not do the one in
Charlotte and not do the one in High Point. It was decided that we would
just use the show that I was doing in Raleigh that we were sending up to
Richmond and Norfolk and some other places.
point Crockett said, ‘Gosh, why are we spending the money to do these
other two tapings when we can just send the tape we’re already doing
in Raleigh and already distributing, and send that down there too.’
And that’s exactly what we started doing.
Crockett and Bob Caudle, WRAL Studios, circa 1975.
What was the transition like to the promotion’s television
programming only being done in Raleigh?
remember they brought the guy in from Charlotte, Big Bill Ward, to work
some with me. He didn’t stay very long with me. He was one of many
they brought in over the years to pair with me some.
thing, I never did see those other two shows. But I believe Charlie
Harvell did the one out of High Point, and Bill Ward did the one out of
Then there would be another change when two completely different
shows were taped out of WRAL, and the promotion distributed them both
around the territory, right?
things changed again when we started doing those two entirely different
shows from RAL. My Mid-Atlantic [Championship Wrestling program] ran in
a number of different cities. Then they did a second [program], because
they could run that in the same cities but it would be a completely
A lot of fans in the 1970s remember that second show, Wide World
Wrestling that later was called World Wide Wrestling.
they were going for was to double their publicity, and to add stations
as well. But that was sort of the way the whole TV thing evolved.
You said previously that when you first went to WRAL you were only
doing the news and the weather. You were on camera in those jobs?
Now, when you eventually started doing the wrestling announcing
also, how did that mesh with you other duties at WRAL?
was all separate then…and it stayed separate. As I mentioned earlier,
Crockett, Sr.] hired me to do wrestling, and that was done over and
above my work at the TV station. In other words, [Crockett] didn’t pay
the station and the station pay me…Crockett paid me.
Was it a significant period of time where you both worked at WRAL
and announced wrestling from the WRAL studios?
yes, I did both together for many years. I stayed at RAL in a
non-wrestling capacity through 1980.
tape our first wrestling show in the studio at RAL on Wednesday evenings
at 7:00, and I was through by 8:00 and could then go get the news up or
do whatever else had to be done over there.
know, in 1981 RAL got out of wrestling and at that point we started
taping in Charlotte at a little television station (WPCQ) down there. That was
really a small place in Charlotte…we didn’t have much room there. We
were there for about two years, and after we left Charlotte that’s
Crockett, Jr.] used the mobile unit and we started doing on-site tapings
at the arenas.
Caudle interviews NWA Champion Ric Flair on the set of
Wrestling from WPCQ studios in Charlotte, 1982. Sandy
doing color commentary at the time, waits off camera.
You mentioned earlier that from the beginning the promotion was
always bringing in others to be your broadcasting partner, a color
commentator if you will. Tell us about some of your wrestling
broadcasting partners over the years. You worked with Les Thatcher some,
worked with me some…for a while. Les was around quite a bit, and he
did a little bit of everything. Les was a nice guy; I liked Les. When I
was doing Smoky Mountain Wrestling for
Cornette in the 1990s, I talked with Les fairly often. Johnny Weaver was
also one of my partners.
I remember you and Johnny working together regularly in the mid 80s,
but I know you worked with him occasionally before that. How was Johnny
as a broadcaster?
took him a while to get into it at first, but later on I think he did
all right. Johnny did a good job. When Johnny started announcing with
me, he would drive the car and I’d ride with him and some of the other
as much as
Crockett, but Johnny could get real excited at times! (laughs)
He sure could! They both could! (laughs)
Johnny did well. There were also some shows that they would just sit a
wrestler down with me, to help do some of the commentary. We went
through a bunch of those. Gosh…there were a lot of different guys all
across the board. Sandy Scott would come out and do some, and then
George [Scott] would come out and do some. There was Ed Capral out of
Atlanta…he came up but he only worked with me for a while.
know, they always kept trying to find guys that they really liked to do
some of this stuff…but they had a hard time really hitting on anybody.
As far as the wrestlers, they tried to put guys out with me that they
wanted to get a lot of push behind. While they were out there with me,
they could get some publicity talking about who they were going to
wrestle around the area at that time.
it settled in for the longest time with
Crockett. I guess I worked longer with