Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Larry Stoy
This month, I shall list
for you ten of the defining moments in Mid Atlantic Championship
wrestling. This list will be
chronological in nature, as I think it would be extremely difficult to
rate particular moments better or more important than others.
The time frame that will be covered here will be from 1973 (when
the Mid Atlantic name came into use) through 1986.
This was when the
territory run by Jim Crockett first began using the Mid Atlantic moniker
for their championships. Prior
to this, they were referred to as either “Eastern Heavyweight
Championship” or the “Atlantic Coast Tag Team Championships”.
The change thrust the new “Mid Atlantic” name into the public
eye. It became one of the
most recognizable territories that ran under the banner of the National
Wrestling Alliance. Mid
Atlantic Championship Wrestling had many top stars at the time of its
changeover and many more brought in soon after to continue the action.
Names like Johnny Valentine, Wahoo McDaniel, Ric Flair, Tim Woods,
Blackjack Mulligan, and Paul Jones brought MACW to the forefront of the
May 13th, 1974
The Ric Flair era begins
in Mid Atlantic wrestling. Flair,
who turned pro on December 10th, 1972 and wrestled for the
first 18 months of his career for Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling
Association, moved to the Mid Atlantic territory to launch what is the
greatest wrestling career of my generation.
He defeated Abe Jacobs in his first JCP match and never looked
back! Flair was brought into
MACW on the urging of legendary Mid Atlantic wrestler Wahoo McDaniel.
Wahoo had seen Flair wrestle in the AWA and immediately realized
his potential in the business. Flair
became a true legend while competing in MACW and is still going strong
today, a mere 30 years later!
October 6th, 1975
One of the darkest days
in JCP history. It was on
this day that the career, and almost the life, of the great Johnny
Valentine ended. Not only was Valentine injured in the crash, but also Bob
Bruggers (former Miami Dolphin football player), Tim “Mr. Wrestling”
Woods, Ric Flair, and promoter David Crockett were on board the flight.
Bruggers was also hurt and his career practically ended that
evening. Flair suffered a
broken back, but amazingly returned to action by the following February.
Tim Woods was listed under his real name of George Burrell Woodin
to avoid media attention to himself.
The pilot of the flight was Joseph Michael Farkas.
Farkas later died from the injuries he sustained in the crash.
Jim Crockett Promotions was hit hard by this event, as it took away
one of their top stars in Valentine and nearly everyone on the plane
perished as well.
Another virtually unknown
wrestler makes his way into the Mid Atlantic territory.
Again, from a recommendation from Wahoo McDaniel, this rookie by
the name of Richard Blood made his debut.
He wasn’t billed as Richard Blood, though.
His wrestling name was one that would become almost as famous as
his future top rival. He was
billed as “Ricky Steamboat”, the nephew of former Mid Atlantic star
Sam Steamboat. If fact, Ricky wasn’t related to Sam, but it made for a
good angle and the fans immediately took to the young lion.
Steamboat would rise quickly in the pro ranks, being featured in a
feud with Ric Flair that would span over a decade.
Anytime a Flair-Steamboat match was on the card, you would be
guaranteed spectacular action. Many
times, these two would battle for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or even longer!
September 10th, 1977
During the weekly Mid Atlantic television program, the reigning TV Champion Wahoo McDaniel put his title on the line against Greg “The Hammer” Valentine’s $1,000 in silver dollars. It was during this match that Valentine “broke” Wahoo’s leg! This action would solidify Greg as one of the most hated wrestlers in this area. This angle is one of the best ever, not only in Mid Atlantic wrestling history, but also of any territory and any time frame. The classic picture of Greg coming out on TV the next week wearing the “I BROKE WAHOO’S LEG” tee-shirt is a memory that all wrestling fans will remember. More...