David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

May 1978

by David Chappell


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& Who's Not


The Almanac

Almanac Index


Championship Picture This Month:


NWA WORLD---Harley Race

NWA WORLD TAG TEAM--1. Paul Jones & Ricky Steamboat (4/23/78)


1. Ric Flair (4/9/78)


1. Ken Patera (4/9/78)


1. Baron Von Raschke (4/3/78)

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


After the tumultuous month of April 1978, things settled down a little bit in the month of May in the Mid-Atlantic area. However, the repercussions from April reverberated throughout May. And at the core of the events that defined May of 1978 was the split between Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan, with Ric putting a $10,000 bounty on Blackjack’s head, which occurred just a few weeks before in April.

The month of May was Blackjack Mulligan’s first full month as a good guy. And May was a month where Blackjack teamed up with many of his former enemies. Some of those pairings were hard to believe! For instance, on May 5, 1978 in the Richmond Coliseum, Mulligan tagged with former rival Paul Jones to defeat the Masked Superstar and Baron von Raschke. It was only a couple of years before that Mulligan and Jones were battling over the prestigious United States Heavyweight Title. In a promo that aired prior to the May 5th match in Richmond, even Paul Jones seemed amazed that he was going to team with Mulligan. Jones told Mulligan and the viewing audience that Superstar and Raschke were “like vultures, trying to collect that $10, 000. I don’t think a man should have a price on his head. I’ll help you…I’ll help you.”

Another former enemy that Blackjack teamed up with during the month of May was Chief Wahoo McDaniel. On May 2, 1978, Mulligan and McDaniel joined forces to defeat Greg Valentine and Baron Von Raschke at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. And two weeks later at the Dorton Arena, Mulligan teamed with Wahoo and another Texan, Sensational Dick Murdock, to defeat the trio of Ric Flair, Greg Valentine and the Masked Superstar.

Mulligan even got help from the man he battled with over the United States Title at the beginning of 1978, Ricky Steamboat. In the Greensboro Coliseum on May 6, 1978, Mulligan and Steamboat teamed to battle the money-hungry duo of the Masked Superstar and Baron von Raschke. While not collecting the bounty for Ric Flair that night, Superstar and Raschke dealt out their fair share of punishment on Mulligan that evening.

Greg Valentine was the primary bad guy to go after Blackjack and the $10,000 bounty in individual matches during the month of May. On May 13th in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Mulligan and Valentine clashed in a bitter Bounty Match. And on May 30, 1978 in Columbia, South Carolina, Mulligan defeated Valentine in a particularly rugged bout, where Blackjack lost large amounts of blood.

United States Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair had a number of his cronies run interference for him with Blackjack Mulligan during the month of May, but Ric did have time to defend his U.S. belt several times during the month. On May 23rd, Ric defended his U.S. Title successfully against Dick Murdock, escaping with his belt by purposely getting himself disqualified. Then on May 26th in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Nature Boy successfully defended his Championship by outlasting his old nemesis, Chief Wahoo McDaniel.

Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera was successful in holding onto his championship in his first full month as champion. Patera primarily defended his Title against Wahoo McDaniel, the man who he defeated for the Championship in April. The self-proclaimed World’s Strongest Wrestler held onto his Championship against Wahoo in action packed bouts on May 6th in Greensboro, May 9th in Raleigh and on May 17th in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Later in the month of May, Patera began defending against other worthy opponents. One particularly grueling defense for Patera later in the month of May was against Dick Murdock on May 28th in Greensboro.

May was also the first full month as champions for NWA World’s Tag Team Champions Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat. Jones and Steamboat had several noteworthy defenses in May against former World Tag Team Champions Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. On May 14th in Asheville, North Carolina, Flair and Valentine really pushed Jones and Steamboat to the limit, but the new champs managed to escape with their belts intact. Jones and Steamboat also defended their World Tag Team straps against other worthy opponents during the month of May. Two particularly tough, but successful defenses were against the duo of the Masked Superstar and Cyclone Negro on May 9th in Columbia, South Carolina, and against the pairing of Greg Valentine and Baron von Raschke in Harrisonburg, Virginia on May 11th.

A rare event happened in May of 1978, as Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat held BOTH the NWA World’s Tag Team Titles AND the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles for the entirety of the month of May. Jones and Steamboat never defended the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles during May, and it became unclear what the status of the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles would become.

NWA Television Champion Baron von Raschke had an active month in May defending his belt that he won about a month earlier from Johnny Weaver. The Baron risked his TV Title for the first 15 minutes of any singles match, and on many occasions the Baron was fighting the clock as much as his opponent! Raschke’s most frequent opponent in the month of May was probably Dick Murdock. The Baron and Murdock had tough battles over the TV Title in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 14th, Anderson, South Carolina on May 18th and in Charlottesville, Virginia on May 26th. But Paul Jones may have come the closest to dethroning the Baron, coming within an eyelash of defeating the big German on May 30th in Raleigh. But through it all, Raschke came out of the month of May with his TV Title intact.

An old friend to many came back through the Mid-Atlantic area for a brief visit at the end of the month of May. Rufus R. “Freight Train” Jones travelled around the territory at the tail end of the month, delighting his many fans that had followed him for years. On May 28th, Rufus battled in two of his familiar venues. That afternoon in Roanoke, Virginia, the Freight Train lost to Cyclone Negro, due to interference by Negro’s manager, the Missouri Mauler. Later that evening in Greensboro, Rufus teamed with Tony Atlas and that duo went to a Double DQ with Negro and Baron von Raschke. Then Rufus travelled down to Columbia, South Carolina, on May 30th, where he and Johnny Weaver took the measure of Mr. X # 1 and Mr. X # 2.

May of 1978 also saw an odd occurrence on May 7th in Savannah, Georgia, where four masked men faced each other in the same match! Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods teamed up with Georgia star Mr. Wrestling II, to down the tandem of Mr. X # 1 and Mr. X # 2 in a wild encounter.

Overall, May 1978 saw a great deal of carryover from the cataclysmic events of April! Blackjack Mulligan held on, despite the best efforts of Ric Flair to put the big Texan out of commission. And while all the area’s titles stayed with their respective holders, there was no shortage of action and near misses. With the roster staying stable through the month, it appeared the summer of 1978 was going to be a very heated one in the Mid-Atlantic area!





1. KEN PATERA---In his first full month as a bad guy, Patera looked quite imposing as he successfully defended his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title. The blond strongman looked especially impressive in knocking off Wahoo McDaniel in numerous bouts, making the Indian look pedestrian in several of those encounters.

2. TONY ATLAS---The muscleman from Roanoke, Virginia surely appeared to be coming into his own as a legitimate star in May of 1978. Anybody who saw Tony as a mid-carder in the Mid-Atlantic area in 1975-76, surely noticed a huge improvement in Tony’s confidence and in-ring work.

3. BARON VON RASCHKE---The Baron continued to successfully hold onto his NWA TV Title during the month of May. Raschke was particularly impressive in holding off the challenge from Sensational Dick Murdock.



1. BLACKJACK MULLIGAN---Despite avoiding having Ric Flair’s $10,000 bounty collected against him, it’s hard to imagine that Blackjack didn’t have a very tough month. And the bumps and bruises from the bounty hunters were just getting started.

2. MR. WRESTLING---Tim Woods continued to be in a bit of a funk during the month of May 1978. Clearly, the loss of the U.S. Title to Ric Flair back in April took a lot out of the masked man.

3. WAHOO McDANIEL---Similarly, Wahoo’s loss of the Mid-Atlantic Title in April to Ken Patera took a lot of starch out of the Indian. Wahoo came up short in multiple title opportunities against Patera during the month of May.



© 2008 David Chappell   Mid-Atlantic Gateway  Published 07/7/08