Mid-Atlantic Gateway was indeed fortunate to recently have had
dinner with Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling's preeminent
referee, Tommy Young.
entered Jim Crockett Promotions late in 1975 and refereed until
1989. During that time frame, Tommy was involved in some form or
fashion in nearly every major angle that the promotion put forward.
Young, circa 1976
by Les Thatcher
our dinner meeting in Charlotte with Tommy, we discussed a wide
range of topics ranging from his start in the business in Detroit
to his untimely career ending injury in the ring in 1989. And
pretty much everything in between.
Joining us for dinner, we were also
privileged to have our good friend George South with us. George
was kind enough to take time out and set up this meeting with
Tommy. George also participates in the interview. Thank you
George, as always.
As an added treat, we were pleased
to have current WWE referee Charles Robinson and his daughter
Jessica join us for dinner. Charles took time to join us after
just getting back to Charlotte from an overseas tour with the WWE.
Charles also briefly participated in the interview, before he and
Jessica had to depart. And the universal consensus from everybody
at the dinner table, was that Jessica was the most pleasant and
well-mannered young lady that any of us had seen in a very long
time! Thank you Charles and Jessica.
and Jessica Robinson.
of all, we thank Tommy very much for all his time and his candid
answers. We hope that you will enjoy the interview. Anybody who
ever followed Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling to any degree
will never forget Tommy Young. Tommy is a true legend in every
sense of the word.
Chappell: Since we’re here eating dinner with you tonight, do
you have any road stories when you and the wrestlers were doing
pretty much what we are tonight?
Young: One comes to mind, and David, it was up in Richmond
(Editor’s note: David Chappell is a native of the Richmond,
area). We used to work the Norfolk-Richmond circuit. Usually we
worked a show in Norfolk
on Thursday night and go right on to Richmond
because they let us check out late.
you remember a Chinese restaurant in Richmond
called the Lotus?
I sure do, it’s still
in business today.
It was open until
, so you could eat there real late. Back in 1981-1982 when Ole
Anderson was our booker, he and five or six of us would go to the
Lotus to eat. Was Ole ever chintzy…wow.
would always tell the waitress to put everybody’s meal on his
after the meal was over, Ole would come around to each of us to
collect the amounts for our individual meals. I thought, I know what
he’s doing…he’s getting all the money and then he’s going to
put the whole tab on his expense list like he bought it all and then
write it off. That was my opinion, anyway.
I’d tell the waitress every time after that I wanted a separate
check. Don’t put mine on his…I wasn’t going for that.
Since we are on the subject of Ole Anderson, what did you think
of him as a booker for Jim Crockett Promotions?
He killed this area in a matter of a year and a half…just
Bourne: How so?
I mean, this was a guy who didn’t even think Ricky Steamboat
was a hot property…that’s how out of touch Ole was. To this day,
he thinks he’s ‘Mr. Wit.’ He got his jollies by putting people
Kernodle was like that too, but he was a little better than Ole. Don
remains a friend. I mean, if I see Ole I’ll say ‘How you doing
Rock.’ He used to call himself ‘Rock.’ His real name is ‘Rogowski.’
But he became one of the Anderson Brothers.
What is your opinion of Gene and Ole Anderson as a tag team?
I must say, Ole and Gene were without a doubt the most fluid
team I ever refereed. And I refereed hundreds of teams.
Did the Anderson Brothers generate some heat with the fans, or
But they never put the heat on the referee. But, I mean, some
guys didn’t know any better…they would think that was getting
good heat. Hey, the referee is not coming back next week in a return
match. Use your head brother…you don’t want the heat on me.
guys would tell me, ‘you prima donna, you don’t want the
heat.’ I always told them I could live with the heat. Referees
always live with heat…so do umpires.
you’ve got to understand, we’re talking about drawing money. And
the heat has to be in the right place to draw money. Nowadays,
there’s really no such thing as heat anymore in today’s
of today’s wrestling, what happened to Ric Flair last night on
RAW, it looked like he was bleeding from the back of the head?
Robinson: Ric got kicked in the back of the head by Shawn
I thought he must have gotten kicked pretty hard if he’s bleeding
like that...it didn’t look right with the blood coming from the
LaterRic caught the ‘red eye,’ and he was still
bleeding on the plane.
Red on the ‘red eye,’ that’s amazing.
South: Talking about Ric, there’s always something I’ve
wanted to ask you Tommy. Do you remember when you refereed Flair and
Steamboat and Flair would put him in the figure four…Ricky would
be selling it so bad that he would pull your shirt off! I’ve
always wondered if that was spur of the moment. Was that planned?
Oh yeah, I remember that. No, I didn’t know he would do that.
But anything Steamboat would do was fine. (laughs)
was so good. The guy is in so much pain he didn’t even realize he
was doing that. That’s what made Steamboat and Flair so great.
never got an opportunity to do a Flair-Steamboat match, and I wish
Tommy, were there matches between guys that you never did, but
wish you had?
You better believe it. I wish I had the opportunity to do Jack
Brisco and Dory Funk, Jr. Their matches were classics. I’ve never
actually seen them, but I’ve heard so much about them. They were
both such consummate pros. Excellent wrestlers and great
performers…I heard about how fluid their matches were.
matches were probably not as good as Flair-Steamboat…but very
good. Neither Jack nor Dory was real flashy. They didn’t throw a
lot of dropkicks, that kind of thing.
You never did a match of theirs?
Well, they were always in different areas, usually in
, and I was always in
. And most of their classics were in the early 70’s, right before
Jack and Dory worked a little bit together in here in late 1982 I
Exactly. But Dory was booking back then and Jack was pretty much
finishing up his career. He and Dory just weren’t doing much of
anything at that point.