The Mid-Atlantic Gateway presents . . .

The Top 15 Cards Ever

in Richmond

by David Chappell

Return to TOP 15 Index


Number 11   -      FRIDAY      FEBRUARY 18, 1977

This Friday night spectacular of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in the Richmond Coliseum was truly one for the ages. A NWA World’s Heavyweight Title match between the new Champion, Harley Race, and top challenger Wahoo McDaniel headlined the eight-match card. The semi final bout was a classic match up between United States Heavyweight Title holder Blackjack Mulligan and his archrival, Paul Jones. The other two mid card bouts along with the four preliminary matches were full of action and excitement, putting this lineup amongst the best that the Richmond Coliseum ever bore witness to.

MAIN EVENT—NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Harley Race defends against Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Wahoo McDaniel.

Harley Race was making one of his first defenses of his NWA World’s Heavyweight Title this night in Richmond, having beaten Terry Funk for the championship just twelve days earlier. Race put the title up against "Chief" Wahoo McDaniel, the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion. Wahoo was riding high at this point in time as he was enjoying a solid reign as Mid-Atlantic Champion, after having taken the title from Ric Flair at this same Richmond Coliseum two months earlier. While there was no lengthy buildup to this match (there were matches at the Richmond Arena the previous Friday night), the match would showcase two of the most renowned grapplers in the National Wrestling Alliance. And these two men would not disappoint!


This match started with Wahoo on the offensive, and Race laying back on defense. McDaniel took the match to the new Champion, particularly in the first fifteen minutes or so. Wahoo was able to land flurries of chops, sending the Champion reeling on many occasions early on. Race was able to turn the tide at about the twenty-minute mark, and had several two counts on Wahoo during this time frame. One of Wahoo’s kick outs on the count of two occurred after Race executed what appeared to be a match-ending suplex on the great Indian Chief. At that point, many of Wahoo’s fans in attendance thought that perhaps he was going to take the World’s belt.

The two rivals battled evenly for most of the rest of the almost 40 minute match, with Race finally capturing the pinfall on Wahoo by rolling him up for a three count and sending the vast majority of everyone in attendance home unhappy. However, all in attendance knew they had seen a tremendous bout put on by two of the legends of professional wrestling. This match also spoke volumes of how a bout with virtually no pre-match hype, could still captivate an audience and have you leave the arena knowing you had seen one of the finest wrestling matches ever held in the Mid-Atlantic area.

SEMI-FINAL---Blackjack Mulligan defends his United States Title against Paul Jones. Special Referee is George Scott.

This match was one of the final bouts between these two archrivals over the United States Heavyweight Title. The feud over the U.S. belt between Paul Jones and Blackjack Mulligan stretched all the way back to 1975. As it turned out, Jones would be leaving the area shortly after this match, and would never be a major contender for the United States Title again.

Many in attendance thought that the Special Referee assigned by the NWA for this match, George Scott, could make a difference in a potential Paul Jones upset. True enough, Blackjack seemed to pay more attention to George Scott than Jones through much of the match, and this nearly cost him the bout on several occasions. As the match wore on, Scott figured less and less into the equation and the two combatants settled into an outstanding contest.

It also appeared that Jones knew that this might be the final match of his fifteen-month feud with Mulligan, and Paul was going to hold nothing back. This contest was fast paced from the outset, with the only lulls taking place when Scott would interject himself into the action.

At around the thirty-minute mark, a bloodied Jones was caught coming off the ropes by an exhausted Mulligan, with Blackjack capturing a quick fall to end an epic struggle between these two bitter rivals. Much like the main event, this bout did not have a tremendous build up from a publicity standpoint. But everyone knew that a match between Paul Jones and Blackjack Mulligan would be an entertaining slugfest. And this one lived up to those expectations and a whole lot more. What we really didn’t know at the time was that this match effectively brought to an end one of the greatest rivalry’s in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling—Paul Jones against Blackjack Mulligan for the United States Title!

The Hollywood Blondes (Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions) vs. Dino Bravo and Red Bastien—

This non-title bout saw quite a battle between these four combatants. The "Blondes" were an excellent new team to the area, and almost immediately upon entering the area they won the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship from Dino Bravo and "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods. This team was comprised of Jerry Brown and Buddy Roberts, and they were on quite a hot streak entering this match.

Conversely, the team of Red Bastien and Dino Bravo was a makeshift duo, one that did not appear to be a legitimate threat to the Hollywood Blondes in this match. This was primarily because Red Bastien, despite a strong reputation in other parts of the country, was never pushed by Jim Crockett Promotions and languished between mid-card and opening match status during his stint in the area.

This was a fast paced encounter, with the Blondes controlling the early stages of the match with a series of illegal tactics that keep Bastien in the ring and prevented a tag to Bravo. Once Bravo got into the match, the bout turned around with the Blondes staying on the defensive for most of the rest of the bout.

Bravo ultimately captured the winning pinfall on Jerry Brown, surprising everyone in attendance, and thus ending an amazing win streak of the Hollywood Blondes that went back to their entrance into the area. The Blondes would continue to hold onto the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles for another two months, before Dino Bravo ended their reign with a different partner, Tiger Conway.

In a rather unusual scenario, this match, which was third from the top of the card, would be the last match of the evening that the "good guys" would win!

Tiger Conway vs. Kim Duk---

This was perhaps the most entertaining match of the night, and in addition the ending had to be classified as an upset.

Kim Duk at this time was at the apex of his Mid-Atlantic run. Duk was wrestling in main event matches, often teaming up with the Masked Superstar as part of Professor Boris Malenko’s "Family." Additionally, Duk was in an entertaining program with Wahoo McDaniel, battling over McDaniel’s Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title.

On the other hand, Tiger Conway was a solid mid-card performer at this time, but didn’t figure to be much of a match for Kim Duk. Perhaps what made this match so entertaining was the complete contrast of styles between these two.

Duk controlled the early portions of the bout, devastating Conway with a series of tremendous chops. Conway countered with a series of highflying moves that seemed to befuddle the larger Duk. The "Korean Assassin" became more and more frustrated as the smaller Conway ran circles around him. Exasperated, Duk sent a karate chop to Conway’s throat, prompting a referee’s disqualification.

Thus, Tiger Conway was awarded a victory in a match that no one thought he could win. A major upset at the time, and one that would propel Conway to his last title reign in the area a few months later.

Preliminary Matches---

Ron Starr took the measure of rugged veteran Bill White in a relatively short, but entertaining match. Starr looked particularly sharp, and kept the wily White at bay for most of the bout. Matches like this from Starr always made me wonder why Jim Crockett Promotions never gave this solid athlete some kind of a push.

In somewhat of an upset, "Big" Bill Dromo upended Randy Poffo. The future Randy Savage was on the verge of finishing his Mid-Atlantic run while Dromo was just starting his. This fact, probably more than any other factor, dictated the result in this contest. Poffo was clearly the better wrestler.

An impressive newcomer, Rick McGraw, disposed of Joey Rossi in a rare battle of the "good guys." McGraw made a strong showing, and appeared at this time that he could be a legitimate star in the future. This match was exclusively scientific, as I don’t even remember a closed fist being used!

The opener saw Johnny Eagle dominate and defeat Tony Russo. This was a rare opener that did not end in a 20-minute time limit draw.



Next Up: Number 10 (April 30, 1983)

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