David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

August 1978

by David Chappell


Who's Hot 

& Who's Not


The Almanac

Almanac Index


Championship Picture This Month:




NWA WORLD TAG TEAM---Greg Valentine and Baron von Raschke








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


*Cyclone Negro continued to be billed as the “Brass Knucks” Champion, but as this Title was not defended in August 1978 in the Mid-Atlantic area, it is not listed in this breakdown.


August of 1978 saw one of the most grueling months imaginable for the big man from Eagle Pass, Texas, Blackjack Mulligan. Blackjack not only had eight United States Heavyweight Title bouts against his arch-enemy Ric Flair during the month, but he also had a do or die series of rugged matches against Flair’s top bounty hunter, the Masked Superstar.


The Mulligan-Flair U.S. Title bouts during August were off the charts in terms of crowd excitement. Blackjack came close to capturing the U.S. belt several times during the month, but fell just short, succumbing to Flair’s chicanery and devious tactics. The Nature Boy purposely got himself disqualified several times during the month to hang onto the Title.


The Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, Virginia was home to two Mulligan-Flair U.S. Title battles during the month of August. On August 10th, Ric stole a controversial victory over the big Texan. Two weeks later, the two bitter enemies returned to Norfolk in a match billed with a stipulation that if Flair didn’t wrestle he would be stripped of his Title. In one of the wildest contests of the year, both Ric and Blackjack were disqualified, after each was bleeding profusely.


Blackjack also had eight memorable battles against the Masked Superstar during the month of August. All of these bouts had special stipulations attached to them, which heightened the suspense of each of them. Two towns in the territory were fortunate enough to get two Mulligan-Superstar matches during August. Wilmington, North Carolina saw the pair battle in a Texas Death Match on August 6th and then in a bloody Fence Match on August 20th. Columbia, South Carolina likewise saw Blackjack and the masked man square off in a Texas Death Match on August 8th and three weeks later have a showdown on August 29th inside of a fence.


By the end of the month of August, it was clear that either Blackjack or the Superstar was going to leave the area shortly. In fact, in a late August TV promo for a match in Richmond, Virginia on September 1st, Mulligan told the fans, “If I don’t take that mask off, I will never wrestler in Richmond…ever again!” The battle lines between these two were clearly drawn.


August was an interesting month for one half of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, the veteran Gene Anderson. Gene rose back to a main event level in August, primarily due to his interference in a match against Ricky Steamboat in July. Anderson battled Steamboat in a series a bouts during August, and while being defeated in all of those matches, Gene proved to be a tough opponent for the younger and faster Steamboat. In addition to the matchups with Steamboat, Anderson also had matches near the top of the cards during August against fan favorites Mr. Wrestling and Dick Murdock.


It was very different hearing Gene Anderson actually TALK during TV promos for his August matches! When a partner with Ole Anderson, Gene never said a word, and when returning to the area in 1978, Gene never wrestled at a main event level in singles competition where he would do TV promos…until the month of August. Even then, Gene’s promos were very brief and to the point. In an interview promoting a match against Dick Murdock at County Hall in Charleston, South Carolina on August 18th Gene told the fans, “Murdock…I know you’re a good wrestler, but I’m the best wrestler you’ve ever seen. I don’t have to brag about myself; the people in Charleston know. They’re gonna know when I beat Dick Murdock.”


United States Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair had other top challengers besides Blackjack Mulligan clamoring for his belt during the month of August. Sensational Dick Murdock led the way, receiving four shots at Flair’s belt during the month. The Nature Boy also successfully defended his Title twice against Ricky Steamboat, twice against Paul Jones and once against Tony Atlas.


On the edition of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that ran around much of the area on Saturday August 5th, the viewing audience got a chance to see a side of Ric Flair that they had likely not seen before. The Nature Boy said, “Each week I get thousands of letters from all over the world saying, Nature Boy, let us take a peek at how the King lives; let us see the Rolls Royce; let us see the pretty ladies; let us see the jet airplanes; the fine clothes…” And the Nature Boy didn’t disappoint! In a short film clip designed to show the fans how Ric lived life outside of the squared circle, we got to see all of the above, plus Ric’s new jet!! Ric summed it up best when he said, “My lifestyle makes guys like Joe Namath and all the big stars you read about go dizzy…ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the finest piece of work in the wrestling world today!”


NWA World Tag Team Champions Greg Valentine and Baron von Raschke had a productive month of August. The champs had four successful defenses against the dynamic team of Tony Atlas and Dick Murdock, and also four successful defenses against former champs Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat. One of the toughest and bloody Title matches for the champs came in a No Disqualification Match against Jones and Steamboat at the Florence Stadium in Florence, South Carolina. In the TV promos leading up to the match, Valentine told the fans in Florence that Jones and Steamboat were desperate, and they wanted a NO DQ Match because they “want to be able to cheat legally.” Greg went on to tell Jones and Steamboat, “We’re gonna beat you within an inch of your lives.” The beatings went both ways, but Valentine and Raschke held onto their Titles in Florence, just as they did in every other venue during the course of the month.


Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera battled his top challenger, Tony Atlas, nine times during the month of August. A number of the bouts had an arm wrestling contest between the two first, and then a regular wrestling match. One of those “dual” events occurred in Fayetteville, North Carolina on August 21st.  In Fayetteville, Atlas prevailed in the arm wrestling contest, only to see Patera come back and win the contest that really mattered…the wrestling match for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. During August, Patera also successfully defended his Title against Dick Murdock, Ricky Steamboat, Blackjack Mulligan and Mr. Wrestling. Ken was particularly dismissive of the challenge of Mr. Wrestling before their match in Wilmington, North Carolina at Legion Stadium on August 20th. Ken told the fans of Wilmington in a pre-match TV promo that, “I’m appalled that I have to get in the ring with the man that knows a thousand holds but is the master of none. So, Mr. Wrestling, get ready for a whipping!”


Speaking of Mr. Wrestling, fans around the area that watched the Wide World Wrestling show that aired in many markets on Saturday August 12th, heard from announcer George Scott that Mr. Wrestling was also known as “Mr. Audio.” Mr. Wrestling told Scott that was in fact true, as he owned an electronics store in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Wrestling went on to tell the fans that he was a professional musician, a fact that surely had to greatly surprise the viewing audience!


NWA Television Champion Paul Jones defended his Championship five times during August; two times against former titleholder Baron von Raschke, and once each against Cyclone Negro, the Masked Superstar and Greg Valentine. The most heated bout between Jones and Raschke occurred in Richmond, Virginia on August 11th. It was a return bout from two weeks earlier, where after a wild brawl both inside and outside the ring, Jones emerged with his TV Title intact, and the Baron emerged with a nasty scar.


In the TV promos leading up to the Richmond rematch on August 11th, the Baron yelled at Jones, screaming, “For the scar, you will pay!!” In his promo response, Jones told the Baron and the Richmond fans, “When the Baron got out here and told everybody how much this TV Title meant to him…I took him awful lightly. The man is an animal. It was a battle royal, two men, the last time we were in Richmond. This time, I’ll know how hard to fight. I’ll fight you…I’ll fight you to the end.”


The match in Richmond was yet another bruising encounter, with Jones surviving an early onslaught by the Baron to come out victorious. Anybody who witnessed this August 11th battle came away with a real sense of the importance of the NWA TV Title!


The importance of another area title was seemingly not nearly as high. Paul Jones and partner Ricky Steamboat, defended their Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles only one time during the month of August. However, that defense was a solid and successful one, as the Champions took the measure of the ferocious team of Ric Flair and the Masked Superstar in Spartanburg, South Carolina on August 26th.


Saturday, August 26th was also an eventful day for fans around the area, as they saw TWO big-time main event matches on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV program that ran that day in many markets!


The first bout saw Greg Valentine defend his 1,000 silver dollars against top challenger Ricky Steamboat. In a particularly rough match for TV, Valentine bloodied Steamboat, but Steamboat slowly gained the upper hand on Greg, and appeared poised to win the silver dollars. However, Baron von Raschke interfered, saying Steamboat was using illegal karate, and cost Ricky his chance at the money. Steamboat was so furious at the outcome, that he came out later in the show and TOOK Valentine’s 1000 silver dollars!  Steamboat explained to the viewing audience, “I’m gonna hurt Valentine where it hurts the most…right in his pocketbook!”


The second big TV bout on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling on August 26th had the fearsome team of Ken Patera and Cyclone Negro paired up against Tony Atlas and newcomer Skip Young. In what had to go down as a rare feat on television, Atlas pinned his arch rival Patera in the middle of the ring after an action packed match! This would pave the way for more Mid-Atlantic Title matches between Atlas and Patera during the month of September.


The Mid-Atlantic action during August of 1978 proved to be every bit as hot as the weather outside! The major feuds between Blackjack Mulligan and the Masked Superstar and with Ken Patera and Tony Atlas were about to take astounding turns as August turned into September!




1.     Blackjack Mulligan---Just keeping up the schedule that the big Texan did during August justifies this slot. Blackjack’s battles with the Masked Superstar were legendary, and as the month closed, Mulligan was clearly getting the better of this do-or-die series.

2.     Tony Atlas---Tony not only formed an imposing tag team with Dick Murdock, but he was battling Ken Patera on even terms, inching his was closer to the prestigious Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title. And those arm wrestling challenges against Ken Patera were something else!

3.     Paul Jones---Jones not only held two Titles during August, the NWA TV Title and one-half of the Mid-Atlantic Tag Titles, but he managed to get shots during the month at Ric Flair’s United States Heavyweight Title as well.


1.     Masked Superstar---The talented masked man was locked up with Blackjack Mulligan in a brutal series of matches during the month of August. As the month neared its end, it was clear that Blackjack was getting the upper hand in this feud for the ages.

2.     Ken Patera---Despite holding on to his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title during the month, Patera was hearing the footsteps of Tony Atlas behind him. And Atlas was coming up fast!

3.     Gene Anderson---While Gene cracked the main event roster as a singles competitor for the first time in August, he was unable to win a singles match against a good guy on their main event roster during the month, despite numerous attempts.



© 2008 David Chappell   Mid-Atlantic Gateway  Published 09/30/08