David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

June 1978

by David Chappell


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Championship Picture This Month:



NWA WORLD TAG TEAM---Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat
Greg Valentine and Baron von Raschke (June 7, 1978 at the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, North Carolina)


---Ric Flair


---Ken Patera


---Baron von Raschke
Paul Jones (June 7, 1978 at the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, North Carolina)


---Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat (inactive---not defended during the month of June 1978)


The month of June started off with an event that made history on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program! And as things would end up, that same TV program would witness two Titles changing hands!


The “double title switch” occurred at the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, North Carolina on Wednesday night, June 7, 1978 and would be viewed around the territory that same Saturday. The wheels were set in motion for this monumental event the week before, on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show. NWA Television Champion Baron von Raschke had quite a “proposal” for NWA Tag Team Champions Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat at that time.


The Baron called out Jones and Steamboat, calling them “gutless cowards.” As expected, Jones and Steamboat took exception, and told the Baron in no uncertain terms that he was the one that wouldn’t defend a major Title. The Baron offered this solution: either Jones or Steamboat could wrestle him for his NWA TV Title, but after that happened, the Baron and a partner of his choosing would wrestle Jones and Steamboat for their NWA World Tag Team Titles! After some consideration, Jones and Steamboat accepted the Baron’s offer! And as it turned out, Jones and Steamboat successfully their World Titles for the last time on June 6, 1978 at Dorton Arena in Raleigh against Ric Flair and Greg Valentine.  Jones and Steamboat would continue to hold the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles throughout the month of June, but never defended them during the month.


The atmosphere was electric in the WRAL studios for these two epic Title matches. Bob Caudle told the viewing audience that two back to back Title matches had never occurred on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV. And to add to the aura of the occasion, United States Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair subbed for David Crockett as Caudle’s color commentator for this historic show. In fact, the enormity of it all got to ring announcer Joe Murnick. With Raschke in the ring ready to defend his NWA TV Title, Murnick nearly released the same of the “mystery partner,” before Raschke interrupted him, telling him this first match was for the TV Title, not the World’s Tag Team Titles!


A coin flip determined whether Jones or Steamboat would face Raschke for the NWA TV Title. Steamboat called “heads,” and the coin landed “tails,” and Paul Jones immediately became the Baron’s challenger!


The Baron dominated the majority of the match, controlling the action for key stretches of time. Raschke disabled Jones by ramming his back into the ring post twice, and appeared to have “Number One” set up for an easy win. However, about ten minutes into the match, the Baron gave Jones a backbreaker on Paul’s already injured back. When following up that maneuver with an attempted knee drop, Jones grabbed the Baron unexpectedly and rolled Raschke up for a shocking victory! Jones, flat out in the ring being kicked and stomped by Raschke, was the new NWA TV Champion! But then the question soon became, in what shape would Jones be to defend the World Tag Team Titles later in the same show?


For the second Title match, the first order of business was for Raschke to reveal his “mystery partner.” Before announcing who it was, the Baron called him “the best kept secret in all the world.” The Baron’s partner was then revealed to be the “Bionic Elbow,” Greg Valentine!


Raschke and Valentine proved to be a formidable duo, capitalizing on the injury to Paul Jones’ back. After some spirited brawling from the Champions, the injury to Jones’ back was too much to overcome, and the World Tag Team Titles changed hands to a team that had only been formed minutes earlier! Amazing! As the show ended, a frenzied Baron told Bob Caudle that Valentine had already headed out to the victory party! As the program went off the air, Raschke was screaming, “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, THE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!”


 Both new Champions defended their new belts during the month of June. Jones started almost immediately, with a successful TV Title defense against Cyclone Negro on June 10, 1978 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Jones successfully defended his new Title against former champion Raschke as well, winning exciting bouts against the Baron in Columbia, South Carolina on June 18th and in Asheville, North Carolina on June 25th.


The Baron and Greg Valentine really hit their stride as the new World Tag Team Champions quickly, particularly later in the month of June. And they proved their improbable victory over Jones and Steamboat on June 7th was no fluke, successfully defending their World Titles against the former Title holders on June 24th in Roanoke, Virginia, June 26th in Fayetteville, North Carolina, June 27th in Columbia, South Carolina and on June 29th at the Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, Virginia.


NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race made a rare appearance on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show that was taped on June 14, 1978, and aired around the territory that weekend. A couple of things about this visit by the World Champion made it unique.  One, Race actually wrestled a match on this television show, defeating “Young Lion” Jerry Stubbs with a pulverizing suplex. A tape of this match was shown in the area in the future when Race would make passes through the area.


Race also told the Mid-Atlantic fans that he was not fond of coming to Jim Crockett Promotions, and for this stint, how he was lured into the territory. Race claimed that he entered the area only to collect the $10,000 Bounty on Blackjack Mulligan, and that it was “deceit” and “false pretenses” that made these matches Bounty Matches AND World Title Matches! Race told Bob Caudle and David Crockett that his World Title was “worth fifty times” the value of the Bounty of Mulligan! Race said to the Mid-Atlantic fans, “There’s not a thing I like about the Mid-Atlantic area…not a thing.” Even saying that, Race had two separate runs in the territory during the month of June!


“Handsome” Harley successfully his World Title against Blackjack Mulligan on June 13th in Dorton Arena and on June 29th at the Norfolk, Virginia Scope Coliseum, both via Double Disqualifications. Both of these matches were also “Bounty Matches,” with Race being unable to collect the money from Ric Flair.


During the month of June, Race successfully defended his World belt against three other worthy contenders. On June 15th, Harley defeated Tony Atlas in Norfolk, on June 17th Race and Ricky Steamboat battled to a one hour draw in Charlotte, and finally on June 28th in little Roxboro, North Carolina, Race pinned Mr. Wrestling.


Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera had a relatively light month as far as Title defenses, putting his belt up only five times, against five different opponents. In Spartanburg, South Carolina, Patera scored his only two clean wins in Title defenses during the month, pinning Wahoo McDaniel on June 10th, and doing the same to Dick Murdock on June 24th.  Patera also held onto his Title against Mr. Wrestling and Tony Atlas by getting himself disqualified, and got by Ricky Steamboat by getting himself counted out.


United States Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair continued to seek the demise of Blackjack Mulligan by the use of surrogates and the lure of the $10,000 Bounty. Ric did not have any singles matches against Mulligan in June, but did participate in tag team bouts where Mulligan was on the other side. One of the wildest brawls saw Ric team with Greg Valentine to battle Blackjack and “Sensational” Dick Murdock at the Scope Coliseum in Norfolk on June 1st. The M and M Boys went so berserk, that they were actually disqualified, and Flair and Valentine escaped with a questionable win. At the very end of the month, Ric teamed with the Masked Superstar to battle Mulligan and Murdock at the Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia. In this bout, the good guys scored a clean win. 


The Nature Boy made eight successful Title defenses during the month of June. Half of those were against Ricky Steamboat, and those bouts were among the best the promotion had even produced. The only clean victories Ric had in his Title defenses were against Wahoo, defeating the Indian Chief convincingly on June 13th in Columbia, and again at the Charlotte Coliseum on June 17th.


Speaking of Wahoo, the Chief exited the Mid-Atlantic area at the end of the month of June, ending a remarkable run of nearly four years with Jim Crockett Promotions. And in the course of those four years, Wahoo became one of the most beloved figures in the history of the Mid-Atlantic area. Wahoo’s last Mid-Atlantic match was on June 22, 1978, in Sumter, South Carolina, when he teamed with former adversary Blackjack Mulligan to battle the Masked Superstar and Ken Patera. McDaniel lost every meaningful match he wrestled in June of 1978, a far cry from his win-loss ledger when he entered the area in the middle of 1974.


Tony Atlas continued to recover from a hand injury suffered at the hands of Cyclone Negro, and his manager the Missouri Mauler. Tony wrestled with a cast early in the month, but that came off by the end of the month. Atlas and Negro were beginning a nasty feud by month’s end. Negro was billed by the Mauler as being the U.S. Brass Knuckles Champion, by that Title was not defended in the Mid-Atlantic area during the month of June.


A summary of the events of the month of June would not be complete without a recap of the travails of Blackjack Mulligan. In the first episode of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show that aired in June around the area (Saturday, June 3rd), Mulligan wrestled Skandor Akbar in a Bounty Match. As the match went on, the Masked Superstar came to ringside and told Bob Caudle that he paid his managerial fee to be at ringside, and that he was responsible for bringing Akbar to the area from Arabia. When things got bad for Akbar, the Superstar came in the ring, and the two double-teamed Mulligan. Repeated head butts and clotheslines by the Superstar disabled Mulligan, and then the masked man clearly attempted to brutally break Mulligan’s leg. Quickly, Paul Jones, Ricky Steamboat and Dick Murdock came into the ring to stop the attack. Mulligan survived, albeit barely, and that was the story for the rest of June. Despite the best efforts of Superstar, Greg Valentine, Baron von Raschke, Ken Patera, Cyclone Negro and even the World Champion himself, Harley Race, Blackjack Mulligan did not fall prey to Ric Flair’s $10,000 Bounty, and was turning his sights on the Nature Boy himself!


June of 1978 saw a historic double Title switch in the beginning of the month, and the departure of the legendary Wahoo McDaniel at the end of the month.  In between, there were epic battles between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat over the U.S. belt, and unbelievable brawls between Blackjack Mulligan and the slew of Bounty Hunters that were after him. The NWA World Champion even spent extended time in the territory during the month of June! June 1978 was truly a month to remember in the Mid-Atlantic area!




1. GREG VALENTINE---The “Bionic Elbow” was Baron von Raschke’s mystery partner in the gigantic Title change on June 7th. In addition to defending the new Tag Titles, Valentine was one of Ric Flair’s top Bounty pursuers.

2. TONY ATLAS---The Roanoke, Virginia strongman continued to impress, despite wrestling with an injured hand. Atlas was on the verge on engaging in a major feud with Cyclone Negro and the Missouri Mauler as the month ended.

3. RIC FLAIR---The “Nature Boy” successfully defended his U.S. Title during the month, and his matches against Ricky Steamboat were classics.  And Flair was even able to get a few licks into Blackjack Mulligan during some tag matches in June.



1. WAHOO McDANIEL---The great Indian Chief’s nearly four year run in the Mid-Atlantic area came to an end in June. Wahoo’s last major matches in the territory were against old rival Ric Flair, for Flair’s U.S. Title. McDaniel came up short in those final Title chances.

2. BLACKJACK MULLIGAN---Despite surviving Ric Flair’s $10,000 Bounty during June, Mulligan took a heavy pounding from the many Bounty Hunters Ric Flair sent after him. With all of the abuse Blackjack took, it’s hard to consider June a successful month for him.

3. RICKY STEAMBOAT---Ricky lost his share of the World’s Tag Team Titles during June, and was unsuccessful in securing any of the singles Titles up for grabs in the area, despite having shots at Race, Flair and Patera.



© 2008 David Chappell   Mid-Atlantic Gateway  Published 07/17/08