David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

January 1978

by David Chappell


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Championship Picture This Month:


NWA WORLD---Harley Race

NWA WORLD TAG TEAM---Ric Flair & Greg Valentine

UNITED STATES---Ricky Steamboat
Blackjack Mulligan (January 1, 1978—Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina)



MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM---Paul Jones & Ricky Steamboat


The new year of 1978 got off to an eventful start on the very first day of the year, as Blackjack Mulligan upended Ricky Steamboat to capture the United States Heavyweight Championship in the Greensboro Coliseum before a crowd 6,339 enthusiastic Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling fans. While it would be a stretch to say Blackjack’s U.S. Title win on New Year’s Day was an upset, it did end a nearly six month title drought for the big Texan from Eagle Pass, Texas. In fact, Mulligan had been mired in an arm wrestling program with the Mighty Igor at the end of 1977, so Blackjack’s United States Title prospects did not appear overly bright as the new year of 1978 dawned. But Mulligan changed all of that on New Year’s Day in Greensboro, and vowed he would take on all comers as the greatest United States Champion ever.

It didn’t take Mulligan very long to prove to everyone that he did intend to wrestle any and everybody for his United States Heavyweight Championship. On January 15th in the Charlotte Coliseum, Blackjack put his U.S. Title on the line against fellow rulebreaker, the Masked Superstar. In the rare bad guy versus bad guy encounter, Mulligan retained his Championship when both he and the Superstar were counted out of the ring. This bout certainly proved to everybody that Blackjack was very serious about defending his newly reacquired title against anybody during this title reign.

Mulligan was certainly very busy during the month of January, winding down his arm wrestling program with the Mighty Igor, and also putting up his new title against the Polish strongman. Additionally, the big Texan gave Ricky Steamboat numerous rematches for the United States Heavyweight Championship throughout January, retaining the title on each occasion. In the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on January 22nd, a title rematch between Mulligan and Steamboat had George Scott as Special Referee, but Blackjack still managed to come out on top despite that special stipulation.

Perhaps the hottest feud of January 1978 was between Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Greg Valentine, and Chief Wahoo McDaniel. The battles between these two escalated during the month of January, as Wahoo continued to extract revenge for having his leg broken by Valentine in late 1977. In January, there were a number of Indian Strap matches, which was Wahoo’s specialty match. McDaniel got the better of all of the strap matches, and as the month wound down, the big Chief crept closer and closer to capturing Valentine’s Mid-Atlantic Title. While Valentine held onto his title through the end of the month of January, it appeared the “Hammer” was being worn down by the onslaught of Wahoo.

Perhaps a reason why Valentine appeared to be wearing down by the end of the month was because Greg also had to defend one half of the NWA World Tag Team Title simultaneously with his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title defenses! With partner “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, the blond duo defended their tag team championship regularly against a number of high powered combinations. During the month of January, Flair and Valentine successfully defended their titles against such teams as Wahoo McDaniel and Ricky Steamboat, Wahoo and Bobo Brazil, and later in the month against the tandem of McDaniel and Paul Jones. Flair and Valentine nemesis Ole Anderson also made a return appearance to the area during the month, teaming with old foe Wahoo McDaniel to challenge Ric and Greg for their NWA World Tag Team Titles. As with their other defenses during the month of January 1978, Flair and Valentine survived that stern test and emerged with their title belts intact.

Another big time feud that carried over into January from the latter part of 1977, was the program between Mid-Atlantic Television Champion Baron Von Raschke and Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods. Mr. Wrestling continued to seek revenge against the Baron for giving him a concussion after the completion of their amateur rules match on television. Von Raschke’s Television Championship was on the line for each match the two had, and this led to some interesting results in the month of January. In a number of their January bouts, Mr. Wrestling captured a pinfall, but after the fifteen minute time limit that applied for winning the Television Title. In those contests, Mr. Wresting was awarded the victory, but not the Baron’s title belt as the win came too late. Regardless of the outcomes, and the Baron maintaining his grip on the TV Title, these two competitors put on some memorable matches for Mid-Atlantic fans during the month of January.

While no title was at stake, one of 1977’s hottest feuds wound down as the calendar flipped over to January of 1978. The Masked Superstar battled the Mighty Igor in a number of heated bouts during January, that for all intents and purposes concluded their program after nearly a calendar year of spectacular matches. The Superstar emerged victorious in these January matches, and would move into other main event programs, while Igor would begin his descent down the cards which would eventually result in his leaving the Mid-Atlantic area during the Spring of 1978.

A feud that the Superstar picked back up in January, was his program with Paul Jones. “Mr. Number 1” had been out of action for a couple of months with a knee injury and a subsequent operation, but Jones returned to action on January 22nd in the Roanoke Civic Center, when he battled the Masked Superstar. Still boiling over having his hair cut by the Superstar in the Fall of 1977, Jones was disqualified in the Roanoke match, but Paul proved to everyone that his feud with the Superstar was far from over. Jones eased back into action during the end of the month, even serving as a Special Referee in a TV Title match between Ricky Steamboat and Baron Von Raschke in Lynchburg, Virginia on January 27th.

Because of Jones’ injury, Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat did not defend their titles during the month of January. However, the duo’s title defenses picked up in earnest during the month of February, including some epic “Title versus Title” bouts with NWA World Tag Team title holder’s Ric Flair and Greg Valentine.

The month of January also saw the comings and goings of some significant talent in the Mid-Atlantic area. Dino Bravo wrestled several mid card matches in the early part of the month, which turned out to be his last matches in the area after a superlative main event run during much of 1976 and 1977. Bravo would return for another main event tenure in the territory in early 1979.

Entering the area in January was a youngster by the name of Richard Blood. While never rising significantly on Mid-Atlantic cards during the year of 1978, Blood would later go on to fame under the name “Tito Santana” in years to come in the WWF. Also entering the area in January was the burly Cyclone Negro. Cyclone debuted in the area on January 17th in the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, and would soon hook up with the Missouri Mauler as his manager, and become a strong mid card performer in the territory for much of 1978, even wrestling an occasional main event for the promotion.

January of 1978 in Jim Crockett Promotions saw the continuation of a number of great programs from the dying days of 1977, and the battles only figured to get more intense as the new month of February loomed on the horizon.


  1. BLACKJACK MULLIGAN---The big Texan from Eagle Pass, Texas reclaimed his throne as the United States Heavyweight Champion. As impressive as his New Year’s Day Title victory was, the vigor of his defenses during the month of January was even more astounding.
  2. BARON VON RASCHKE---The Baron maintained his Mid-Atlantic Television Title throughout the month of January, surviving the strong challenge from Mr. Wrestling, Tim Woods. Raschke and Mr. Wresting engaged in some of January’s fiercest and most competitive matches.
  3. CYCLONE NEGRO---Negro got off to a roaring start in the Mid-Atlantic area, after entering the territory during mid January. This newcomer looked like he would definitely be a force to be reckoned with for all of the area’s good guys.



  1. MIGHTY IGOR---Igor dropped the last bouts in his epic feud with the Masked Superstar during January, and also came up short in the wrestling matches portion of his arm wrestling program with Blackjack Mulligan, that effectively ended their short run together. The strongman from Poland would start falling down the cards as the month of January progressed.
  2. RICKY STEAMBOAT---Steamboat dropped the prestigious United States Title to Blackjack Mulligan on New Year’s Day, and couldn’t regain it later during the month of January, despite repeated chances. While still one half of the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions, Steamboat didn’t participate in defending that title during the month because of partner’s Paul Jones’ knee injury.
  3. RUSSIAN STOMPER---After a promising start in the Mid-Atlantic area during the middle of 1977, the powerhouse from Moscow continued to struggle during the early days of 1978.


Posted 6/11/06

© 2006 David Chappell /  Mid-Atlantic Gateway