The Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Gateway

Classic Venues

Starland Arena

Check out this article that recently appeared in the Roanoke Times newspaper on Boris Zhukov (aka Jim Nelson.) The Starland Arena is mentioned.


Wrestling with Identity

by Mason Adams

Roanoke Times






This is not your father's wrestling arena. This is your grandfather's wrestling arena.

Unlike many of the grand old palaces that hosted Crockett wrestling back in the day (Textile Hall in Greenville and the Township Auditorium in Columbia come to mind), this modest structure was built by promoter Pete Apostolou for the express purpose of enjoying Mid-Atlantic rasslin'! And for decades on Shenandoah Avenue in Roanoke, it did just that, week in an week out.

Most of the greatest names in wrestling history performed here. The NWA World Championship was defended here on many occasions. It might not look like much on the outside, but any fan of wrestling in the 50s, 60s and 70s, will quickly tell you of the wonderful times shared in that building with some of the most loyal and special wrestling fans in the world.



These photos were taken last winter by our friend Boris Zhukov (better known to Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fans as Pvt. Jim Nelson.) Sadly, the Starland Arena building now sits empty. When wrestling moved to the Roanoke Civic Center and the weekly cards ended there, the Apostolou family changed the name of the building to Starland Bingo. The old Coca-Cola sign, rusty and worn, still hangs there.


Wouldn't it be wonderful to see wrestling there again? Perhaps an legends reunion event or some sort of Fanfest or convention. Along with friend (and area promoter) Mike "Eclipso" Weddle, Boris hope to find some sponsors and have an event there before the building is gone forever.


Thanks for these photos, Jim!



Posters from the Collection of Mike Weddle.

Thanks to Mike Weddle and Boris Zhukov for their assistance with this feature.

Video Greeting to Mid-Atlantic Gateway fans from Boris Zhukov



"Classic Venues" is a collection of features edited by Dick Bourne

Copyright Mid-Atlantic Gateway