David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

June 1979

The Almanac

Almanac Index

June 1979 Roster


Championship Picture This Month:



NWA WORLD TAG TEAM--- Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke




-- Ricky Steamboat (June 7, 1979 at the Norfolk Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, Virginia)


-- Dino Bravo (June 3, 1979 at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM---Ken Patera and John Studd


Newspaper clippings courtesy of Mark Eastridge.

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The month of June 1979 in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling began with a couple of major events within the first week of the month. On June 3rd in the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, NWA World Tag Team Champions Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke defended their titles against a very unlikely combination. The challengers were none other than "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, two men that previously despised each other! This pairing was astounding to the fans, but the sheer talent of these two posed a significant threat to Jones and Raschke. Jones won the bout for his team, by pinning Dusty at the 27:15 mark. As unusual as this bout was for Ric, it would pale in comparison to what would happen to the Nature Boy on his next trip to the Greensboro Coliseum, on June 17th.

Another huge event that took place during the first week in June occurred in the Norfolk Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, Virginia on June 7th. Ricky Steamboat defeated "Number One" Paul Jones for the prestigious NWA Television Title in a back and forth encounter. The match had a No Disqualification stipulation, which encouraged Jones to go all out in his level of brutality. But Steamboat had his own reason for pulling out all the stops in this contest. Steamboat agreed going in that if he didn’t win the TV Title from Jones this night, he would never wrestle in Norfolk again! While Ricky resorted to tactics that the fans weren’t used to seeing him employ, Steamboat certainly showed everybody that he could match Jones in everything he did! After a bruising finish, Steamboat upended Jones for the NWA TV Title, a year to the day after Jones had won it in the WRAL TV studios on June 7, 1978!

Ricky’s TV Title victory was announced to the area’s fans on the television programming that was taped on June 13th. Also, on the World Wide Wrestling program that was taped on June 13th, announcer Rich Landrum conveyed to the viewing audience that Steamboat also had recently won the "Mr. North Carolina" bodybuilding contest. Ricky additionally told the fans that Tony Atlas won the "Mr. Hemisphere" bodybuilding competition, and that Jimmy Snuka placed first for "Best Arms."

The first week of the month of June also saw a super spectacular card in Toronto at the Maple Leaf Gardens, featuring a number of top Mid-Atlantic stars. On June 3rd Dino Bravo defeated Greg Valentine in a Lumberjack Match in 10:10, reclaiming the Canadian Heavyweight Championship. On that same Toronto lineup, Ricky Steamboat defeated the mammoth John Studd close to the 14:00 mark. Paul Orndorff also appeared on this Maple Leaf Gardens show, besting rugged Moose Morowski with a reverse cradle in 9:42. Finally, Toronto got a magnificent flashback of Johnny Weaver’s stern adversaries back into the 1960’s, when Weaver teamed with the youngster Jay Youngblood to battle Johnny’s old foes Brute Bernard and Swede Hanson! Johnny was able to turn back the hands of time, as he and his young partner prevailed in a great bout in 12:53.


Toronto also hosted an outstanding card later in the month, featuring numerous major stars from the Mid-Atlantic area. On June 24th the Maple Leaf Gardens saw Dino Bravo successfully retain his Canadian Heavyweight Championship belt, when Ric Flair was disqualified with 19:04 elapsed on the clock. Ricky Steamboat and Ernie Ladd also had a wild bout over Rick’s NWA TV Title, with both combatants being counted out of the ring at 13:11. The other match featuring Mid-Atlantic stars saw Paul Orndorff and Jim Brunzell defeat Brute Bernard and Moose Morowski at the 13:14 mark.

To say the very least, United States Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair had a very interesting month during June. During the early portion of the month, Flair continued his battles with former friend Paul Jones. Because the earlier bouts in May between these two had for the most part ended in disqualification finishes, the matches in early June contained "No Disqualification" clauses. On June 9th in Roanoke, Virginia, on June 10th in Charlotte, North Carolina and then again on June 15th in Raleigh, Flair and Jones battled in ferocious No DQ wars. And later during the month at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia, Ric battled Jones in a No DQ U.S. Title bout, with Baron von Raschke barred from the building! While Ric generally got the better of things in these bouts with Jones, there was no question that the new-found hatred between Ric Flair and Paul Jones had hit an all-time high!

To show the unusual nature of Ric Flair’s month of June, one needs to look no further than the two Greensboro Coliseum shows during the month. In the first on June 3rd, as mentioned earlier, Ric teamed with Dusty Rhodes in the main event. When Jim Crockett Promotions came back to Greensboro on June 17th, Ric and Dusty weren’t tag team partners - they were opponents! Ric defended his United States Heavyweight Championship against Dusty on that June 17th Greensboro show! But things got even stranger for Ric as that evening unfolded.

The spectacular Greensboro Coliseum show of June 17th was witnessed by 9,321 excited fans, and included a NWA World Heavyweight Title bout between titleholder Harley Race and challenger Ricky Steamboat, in a 2 out of 3 falls match with Race successfully retaining his belt. But the match of the night was definitely the Flair/Rhodes U.S. Title bout, with none other than former NWA World Champion "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers in the ring as the special referee!

The two "Nature Boys" didn’t exactly hit it off during the match, a bout that Ric believed Dusty won by disqualification when Flair threw the "American Dream" over the top rope. A disqualification result would have meant Ric retained the United States Title. However, Buddy ordered the match to be restarted, and soon thereafter the fans saw Rhodes throw Flair into the knee of Rogers, allowing Dusty to get the pinfall and apparently the U.S. belt. Rogers then challenged Flair in the ring, even going so far as to put the figure-four hold on Ric! Flair was none too happy with Rogers taking advantage of him right after he had been in a tough match with Rhodes. The only good news for Ric was that the NWA awarded him back the U.S. Title two days later, after reviewing the film from the end of the match. And as it turned out, Flair and Rogers would soon go at it again on a future installment of the World Wide Wrestling television program, which was taped at the WRAL TV studios on June 27th.

Buddy Rogers buckles the U.S. championship belt around the waist of Dusty Rhodes in Greensboro on June 17, 1979. The title was retuned to Ric Flair by the NWA two days later.

World Wide Wrestling host Rich Landrum gave Buddy Rogers a warm welcome on the June 27th TV taping, Rogers’ first television appearance in the Mid-Atlantic area. Rogers was set to wrestle Frank Monte on this program. Buddy was the answer to a trivia question contest, and the winner was named and the prize was announced with Rogers’ assistance. Rogers appeared cordial to Landrum in return, but soon thereafter Flair appeared on the scene and was confrontational with Buddy, showing a tape of the Greensboro U.S. Title match between Ric and Dusty, accusing Rogers of favoring Rhodes in the bout. Rogers countered, accusing Flair of stealing his "Nature Boy" name and his figure-four hold. Flair said his figure-four was better than Rogers’ version, and brought out Len Denton to demonstrate the hold on. To everyone’s shock, Rogers attacked Flair when he was tied up in the leg hold, pelting Ric with a barrage of vicious kicks. A feud between the "Nature Boys" seemed inevitable after this!

After the incident in Greensboro on June 17th, Ric Flair started teaming more with fan favorites, and wrestling primarily against rule breakers. As amazing as it seemed, it surely looked like Ric was heading in the direction of becoming a fan favorite! For instance, on June 19th in Raleigh, Ric teamed with Jim Brunzell to battle Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke for the World Tag Team Titles. This was after Ric had recently wrestled Brunzell in a brutal singles match on June 10th in Asheville, North Carolina!

But even more amazingly, as part of a promo for the Richmond, Virginia fans taped on June 20th, Ric Flair gave Ricky Steamboat $10,000 to entice Steamboat to consider being his tag team partner against Jones and Raschke for the World Tag Team belts in an upcoming match in Richmond! And truly amazingly, Steamboat said "yes"! The first match between these four occurred in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 23rd, and this unlikely combination of Flair and Steamboat defeated Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke by disqualification in an amazing World Tag Team Title match!

However, even at the end of the month, Flair had not completely crossed over to the good guy side of things. As noted earlier, on June 24th, Flair got disqualified in Toronto in a Canadian Heavyweight Title match with popular Dino Bravo. And on June 28th in Portsmouth, Virginia, Ric defended his United States Heavyweight Championship against mega fan favorite Tony Atlas.

Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera had a busy month of successful title defenses during June. Ken’s most frequent opponent during the month was the Canadian Heavyweight Champion, Dino Bravo. The most significant title battle between these two occurred at the huge Greensboro Coliseum card on June 17th. The former World Champion Buddy Rogers was also special referee in the Mid-Atlantic Title bout between Patera and Bravo. After getting away with all he could, Patera finally pushed Rogers over the edge and was disqualified, giving Bravo the match but not the Mid-Atlantic belt. In June, Patera and Bravo also battled over the Mid-Atlantic strap in Columbia, South Carolina on June 5th, Charlotte on June 10th, Raleigh on June 12th and Winston-Salem, North Carolina on June 23rd.

The first Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program of the month, taped from the WRAL-TV studios on June 6th, saw the final installment of Ken Patera’s money challenge match series. This was a follow up from the previous week, when Patera agreed to give Dino Bravo $900 and a Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title match if Dino could defeat big John Studd. Ken interfered in the bout, causing Studd to get disqualified and preventing Bravo from getting either the $900 or his Mid-Atlantic Title match. Bravo was so upset that he tore up Patera’s sports coat, causing Ken to become totally enraged!

During the month of June, Patera also had successful Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title defenses against Paul Orndorff, Jim Brunzell and Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones. Ken and "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka also tangled twice over the course of the month in entertaining Mid-Atlantic Title matches. On June 3rd in Greensboro, Patera escaped with his Title against Snuka by getting himself purposely disqualified. But then later in the month on June 19th in Columbia, Patera was much more impressive as he captured a clean pinfall victory over the athletic "Superfly."

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race made a pass through the territory during the middle of the month, battling Ricky Steamboat twice and Tony Atlas twice. Race also appeared on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show tapings on June 20th, and told the Mid-Atlantic fans that the competition in the area for his belt was extremely strong.

Harley’s closest call was probably his first match in the area during the month, where he defended the World belt against Ricky Steamboat in a 2 out of 3 falls bout mentioned above, as part of the gigantic Greensboro card on June 17th. In the third and deciding fall, Steamboat was awarded the final fall by disqualification, but the DQ result in the deciding fall was not enough to give wrestling’s biggest prize to Ricky. On June 19th in Columbia, Steamboat let his temper get the best of him and was disqualified in his second chance of the month at Race’s prized belt. Harley had fewer problems with Tony Atlas, defeating the strongman from Roanoke by pinfall on June 18th in Fayetteville, North Carolina and on June 21st at the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia.

The "Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat developed quite a rivalry with the "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd during the month of June, which featured Ricky defending his newly won NWA Television Championship several times against the giant "Number 99." Ernie really drew Steamboat’s ire when he suckered Ricky on the territory’s television that was taped on June 13th, hitting Steamboat in the throat to the point that Ricky could barely talk. Ladd also blinded Steamboat with salt, and it was clear these two were going to have an entertaining program!

During June, Steamboat and Ladd hooked up for the first time on June 5th in Columbia, with Ernie snaring a clean win, but this was before Steamboat had won the NWA Television Title. The two wrestled the following week in Columbia in a rematch, but this time with Steamboat’s TV Title on the line. Ricky got his revenge on June 12th, pinning Ladd after a see-saw battle. The wildest match between Steamboat and Ladd during the month occurred in the Richmond Coliseum on June 22nd, as these two warriors had the Coliseum crowd in an absolute frenzy! After Ladd jabbed Ricky in the throat with his taped up thumb, Steamboat went berserk, getting himself disqualified and giving Ladd the win. Of course, Ladd didn’t take the TV belt out of Richmond because Ladd’s victory was by DQ.

As mentioned earlier, NWA World Tag Team Champions Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke had their hands full during the month of June with Ric Flair teaming up with some very unlikely partners, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Brunzell and Ricky Steamboat! While Flair and none of his "good guy" partners were able to capture the World belts from Jones and Raschke, at least Flair didn’t turn against any of his newfound friends! Nor did the newfound friends turn on Ric. In the case of Steamboat, maybe the $10,000 "gift" talked about above helped Flair in that regard!

Jones and Raschke did have several World Tag Team Title defenses during the month that didn’t involve Ric Flair and his new teammates! Significantly, the last gasp of former champions Paul Orndorff and Jimmy Snuka to reclaim their belts was snuffed out by Paul and the Baron on June 14th in Charlottesville, Virginia. Later during the month, Jones and Raschke scored an impressive win over the dynamic team of Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka, who called themselves the SPC (South Pacific Connection). In that June 21st bout in the Norfolk Scope Coliseum, the challengers came oh-so-close to acing the World belts! Jones and Raschke finished up the month with a dominating performance over the muscular duo of Tony Atlas and Jimmy Snuka in the Roanoke Civic Center on June 24th.

Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions Ken Patera and John Studd defended their belts early in the month, but then these once proud Titles lapsed back into inactivity. On June 1st, Patera and Studd battled the formidable duo of Dino Bravo and Ricky Steamboat for the Mid-Atlantic belts, and followed that up about a week later on June 9th in Spartanburg, South Carolina, defending against the eclectic tandem of Jim Brunzell and Rufus R. Jones.

At the end of the month, from an announcement by Bob Caudle on the June 27th taping of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show, it appeared the full-time return of the big man from Eagle Pass, Texas, Blackjack Mulligan, would be happening in the very near future. That was definitely not good news for the area’s bad guys, particularly Ernie Ladd and big John Studd!



  1. Ricky Steamboat---The "Hawaiian Punch" aced the prestigious NWA Television Title early in the month, and held it throughout the month despite a stiff challenge from Ernie Ladd. Steamboat was also impressive in two NWA World Heavyweight Title bouts against Harley Race he had in June.
  2. Ric Flair---The "Nature Boy" continued to hold onto his United States Heavyweight Championship, defending the belt against men from both the good guy and rulebreaker sides of the talent roster! And it looked like a feud could be brewing against the immortal Buddy Rogers, leading to a possible battle between the Nature Boys.
  3. Jim Brunzell---"Jumping" Jim Brunzell continued to impress early in his Mid-Atlantic tenure. Brunzell was taking on stronger opponents, and made strong showings in several title matches he secured for himself during the month of June.


  1. Paul Orndorff---Much like last month, Orndorff’s general malaise continued, to the point that he wasn’t a significant factor in either singles or tag team competition in the Mid-Atlantic area. Paul was just about ready to leave the territory, never to return.
  2. Paul Jones---While "Mr. Number One" continued to be one half of the NWA World Tag Team champions during the month of June, Paul lost the NWA Television Title to Ricky Steamboat during the month, and had plenty of problems with his new-found enemy Ric Flair.
  3. Tony Atlas---During the course of the month, Tony was slipping in his overall ring performances, including two decisive defeats to NWA World Champion Harley Race. Like Orndorff, Atlas would also soon be leaving the Mid-Atlantic area, never to return.



Copyright © 2012 David Chappell • Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Posted 7/21/2012