Monday, February 29, 2016

GEORGE SCOTT, BOOKER

I loved MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING in the mid-to-late 1960s. That is the period in which I became a BIG-TIME fan, although I loved the wrestling TV shows in the early sixties as well. The difference was that I didn't have access to attend live shows until around 1965 (except maybe one show a year when wrestling came to my home town).

My passion for the business continued into the 1970s, and big things were going to occur. The long-time policy of best-of-three fall tag team matches would be phased out as the usual main event. The top of the card would now generally be a one-fall singles match. This was due to new booker GEORGE SCOTT.

Tag team matches certainly didn't disappear, but the top tag teams of the early seventies were, for the most part, now history. JOHNNY WEAVER's partners (GEORGE BECKER, ARGENTINA APOLLO, ART NELSON) moved on, NELSON ROYAL and PAUL JONES, as well as GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT, split up. Even RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON, with SWEDE turning 'babyface'.

One of the few teams to remain intact was THE MINNESOTA WRECKING CREW, GENE and OLE ANDERSON, and the new decade was HUGE for them.

So, who to build the territory around?

WEAVER, HANSON, JONES and SANDY would remain and be used as both tag and singles stalwarts.

To add to the roster, booker GEORGE SCOTT brought in a few new names to build his new concept.

JOHNNY VALENTINE, WAHOO McDANIEL and THE SUPER DESTROYER (DON JARDINE) made their marks quickly. They would be joined by a youngster who was working in Minnesota...RIC FLAIR.

Within a year, SCOTT's gamble had paid off handsomely, and the JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS territory was RED HOT !

RIC FLAIR
(When he first came to JCP, who of us could imagine what his impact would have on the entire wrestling business?)

THE MIGHTY IGOR
(Coming to JCP from the IWA, IGOR was a hit. His feud with THE MASKED SUPERSTAR BILL EADIE was BIG.)

CHUCK O'CONNOR
(His mid-card status changed when he began wrestling as 'BIG' JOHN STUDD.)

TIM WOODS
(Had been in and out of the JCP territory since the early 1960s, but MR. WRESTLING continued to be a main eventer way into the seventies.)

JACK and JERRY BRISCO
(Beside JACK's being the NWA WORLD CHAMP, both of the brothers were EASTERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONs in JCP and extremely popular with the fans.)

JOHNNY VALENTINE
(Brought to JCP as the cornerstone of the new MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING philosophy. Only the October 1975 plane crash cut his run short.)

RICKY STEAMBOAT
(Although it was later in the decade before he arrived in JCP, STEAMBOAT caught fire in a hurry and helped keep the box offices in the territories very healthy.)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

NELSON ROYAL & PAUL JONES DEBUT IN CHARLOTTE

April 1, 1969
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Two tag team matches that will follow the pattern of science against "no holds barred" tactics rate equal billing on tonight's professional wrestling program at PARK CENTER kicking off at 8:15.

Local fans will be anxious to take their first look at the Texas team of NELSON ROYAL and PAUL JONES. The swift twosome was the rage in the Orient recently.

ROYAL and JONES will face the rugged duo of THE MISSOURI MAULER and HIRO MATSUDA. Add the judo skills of MATSUDA to the rough brawling of the MAULER, and they make quite a twosome.

The other tag battle will send the masked MR. WRESTLING and SAM STEAMBOAT up against "The Blonde Bombers," RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON. These two teams are locked in a bloody feud (see poster) these days, and nothing has been settled ...yet. It's been a brutal brawl every time these men have locked horns.

Both tag matches are governed by the best-of-three falls, one hour time limits.

MIKE SHANE will open the card in his one-fall contest with villainous "Bulldog" LEE HENNING.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

BATTLE OF THE BULLIES TIME

August 12, 1967
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

THE MISSOURI MAULER

PAMPERO FIRPO

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON

HARU SASAKI

LUTHER LINDSAY

SONNY FARGO
---
Super rough tag teams will collide in a BATTLE OF THE BULLIES in tonight's wrestling feature at the LEXINGTON YMCA.

It will be THE MISSOURI MAULER and his rowdy jungle partner, PAMPERO FIRPO, meeting wrestling's BLONDE BOMBERS RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON.

THE MAULER and FIRPO have laid claim to the SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP, but have yet to get the belts. They want to prove they are worthy by defeating the best tag teams around these parts, and HAWK and HANSON are certainly included in that group.

The clash will be decided by the first team to win two-falls-out-of-three.

Three singles matches will round out tonight's card.

Oriental partners HARU SASAKI and P.Y. CHUNG will be dividing up tonight as SASAKI meets SONNY FARGO, and CHUNG faces JERRY LONDON.

The 8:15 opening match sends popular LUTHER LINDSAY against rugged 'APACHE' BULL RAMOS.

BULL RAMOS

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

BACK TO THE 2009 NWA FANFEST

2009 NWA FANFEST

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

THE MID-ATLANTIC MAFIA

(David Chappell, Dick Bourne, Kyle and Tonya Rosser, Mike Cline, Peggy Lathan

--the first lady of MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING, Clay Sweet.)

Absent from the photo are Carroll Hall and Steve Hall.

Policy dictates we cannot be photographed all at one time - for security reasons.

Blake Arledge tried it once and later had both of his kneecaps broken.

NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS

HARLEY RACE and RIC FLAIR and the actual championship belt involved

in their classic battles.

(An annoying fan stands between the champs.)

There is only one OLE ANDERSON.

(I used to love to hate him when he wrestled. Now I just love him.)


The original FOUR HORSEMEN all together for the first time in twenty-three years.

Only time will tell if they'll all ever assemble again.

(OLE ANDERSON, JAMES J. DILLON, ARN ANDERSON, that guy again, RIC FLAIR and TULLY

 BLANCHARD)


And here's one taken at FANFEST a few years earlier...

The late 'ROUGHHOUSE' SONNY FARGO.

I wish SONNY could have been with us at this FANFEST for his induction into the

HALL OF HEROES.

(Ya know, maybe he was...)

FANFEST WAS FABULOUS.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A LOT OF BEEF

April 21, 1962
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
---
54 Years Ago

Fan favorite GEORGE BECKER will be back at the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight in wrestling action.

The popular BECKER will meet the rough and tough PANCHO VILLA, the Mexican with an impressive winning record in the business, in the evening's headliner. Bad blood already exists between these two, and the two-out-of-three falls battle is expected to be a wild one.

HAYSTACK CALHOUN, the world's largest professional wrestler, returns to town and will meet the rugged SWEDE HANSON in the semi-final best-of-three falls contest.

Negro girl wrestlers, SWEET GEORGIA BROWN and DIANA BEAMON, meet in a special event.

The 8:15 opening match sends REGGIE PARKS against "JUDO" JACK TERRY.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SWEDE HANSON - ONE OF A KIND


During his long-term teaming with RIP HAWK.
SWEDE's about to feed a VON STROHEIM a knuckle sandwich.

HANSON near the end of his ring career.

SWEDE in his 'rebel' gear while working in the W.W.F.

HANSON even teamed with ANDRE THE GIANT.
---
Big, rugged ROBERT 'SWEDE' HANSON had a remarkable career.

He wrestled in four decades and was as tough at the end of his wrestling tenure as when he began.

There's no question the apex of his career was when he teamed with RIP HAWK for an incredible sixteen years, during which time they captured virtually every tag team award in the business.

"I'll never forget my years together with Rip. He was quite a character, and you can't imagine all the crazy things we got involved in. Most established teams in the business didn't stay together half as long as we did. Personal goals were never an issue. With us, it was what was best for the team." (Swede Hanson, 1984)

But nothing lasts forever, and they eventually went their separate ways, working for different wrestling organizations.

Around 1973, RIP went to the newly-formed I.W.A., and SWEDE stayed in JCP and soon began teaming with THE SUPER DESTROYER (DON JARDINE). But things soon went sideways, and at this point, HANSON turned 'babyface' and began a bloody war with his masked partner.

Following this program, SWEDE dropped to mid-card status, teaming with the likes of JOHNNY WEAVERTIGER CONWAY JR. and PAUL JONES.

After a while, he headed north to work for the then-WWF but returned to the MID-ATLANTIC territory near the end of his career. Upon his arrival, he was back to being a 'bad guy' and worked as a mid / lower card single or teamed with ruffians like BRUTE BERNARDGENE ANDERSON or SGT.JACQUES GOULET.

SWEDE HANSON was like a fine wine. Throughout his career, he became better and better until time caught up with him, as it does with all of us.

I, like many others, had the pleasure of attending the 2007 N.W.A. FANFEST banquet when SWEDE (and RIP) were inducted into the HALL OF HEROES. The two were inducted by their long-time manager, the late 'Playboy' GARY HARTSWEDE's award was accepted by his two children, Bobby and Luana.

When it comes to the history of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, 'Big' SWEDE HANSON made an impact very few can match.

Monday, February 15, 2016

THE BELTS ON THE LINE

July 16, 1963
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA


REGGIE PARKS

JOHNNY WEAVER

BRONCHO LUBICH, HOMER O'DELL, ALDO BOGNI
---
Wrestling fans who like tag team action will get a double dose in an all-star card at the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight.

The SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS RAY ANDREWS and ERIC POMEROY will defend their honor and titles against the rugged team of ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH, who will be directed by their cunning and strutting manager, HOMER O'DELL.

Popular stars JOHNNY WEAVER and REGGIE PARKS return after an absence joining forces to face the duo of big and round guys GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS and GEORGE 'CRYBABY' CANNON in another top event.

Both main events are set for the best two-out-of-three falls.

Two more big men, PAT O'HARA and FRANK VALOIS, will square off in the 8:15 opener.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

50 YEARS AGO IN LEXINGTON

July 16, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

THE MISSOURI MAULER

THE GREAT MALENKO


ABE JACOBS

LUTHER LINDSAY

PENNY BANNER

GEORGE 'CATALINA' DRAKE
---
Popular JOHNNY WEAVER, at least 'temporary' SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, will take New Zealander ABE JACOBS as a partner tonight and will face THE MISSOURI MAULER and THE GREAT MALENKO in a two-out-of-three falls tag team main event at the LEXINGTON YMCA.

Last Saturday night in the ring, WEAVER had one fall in a championship bout against the title-holding MAULER when all types of excitement broke out. Referee Walter Buckner was injured and could not continue officiating. WEAVER, trying to aid the fallen ref, was attacked by the MAULER, and JACOBS came in to lend a hand. The MAULER took the low road and ran, with WEAVER grabbing the championship belt, saying he plans to keep it until the NWA officials make a ruling. Tonight's grudge match grows out of the turmoil.

"He never beat me for the belt, but he stole it anyway," claims the MAULER. "He's just as low down as the chicken thieves we've got back home in St. Jo. As far as I'm concerned, WEAVER is nothing but a chicken thief, and he's gonna pay."

Another tag match is scheduled with two falls necessary to determine a winner. Popular power hitters GEORGE 'CATALINA' DRAKE and Negro star LUTHER LINDSAY will meet CORSICA JEAN and Lexington newcomer 'BRUISER' BOB MORGAN.

MISS PENNY BANNER and MISS DIXIE JORDAN face off in a special ladies match, and IKE EAKINS battles KEN HOLLIS in the opening match, which gets underway at 8:15.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME

On a summer afternoon in 1987, in Charlotte, North Carolina, CROCKETT PARK was the scene of one of the most fascinating sports competitions in the Tarheel state's history.
It wasn't Duke playing North Carolina, it wasn't the LA Dodgers against the SF Giants, not even the Boston Red Sox against the NY Yankees.
On this day, before the birth of the CHARLOTTE HORNETS, the CAROLINA PANTHERS or the CHARLOTTE BOBCATS, the professional wrestlers of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS took on a team of employees of the Queen City's WSOC RADIO station for a softball charity fund raiser.

'The Russian Nightmare' NIKITA KOLOFF plays his left field postion. (It is rumored that Nikita tried to 'sickle' the home plate umpire on a disputed called third strike.)

Rock 'n' Roll Expresser RICKY MORTON makes a great play at shortstop.

'Hands of Stone' RONNIE GARVIN warms up to pitch for JCP.

BARRY WINDHAM takes his cuts at the plate.

A look into the MID-ATLANTIC dugout (how many can you name?)

Oh yes, if you're interested, the boys of JCP won the game 4 - 0.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

SCALPERS VERSUS SCALPEES

January 22, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

VON STROHEIM

SUNI WAR CLOUD
(looks a bit like Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, doesn't he?)

'The Big O' BOB ORTON SR.

BILLY TWO RIVERS

BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY
---
A rough and rugged pair of German brothers will make their LEXINGTON YMCA debut tonight in the main event of professional wrestling action.

The big bruisers, KURT and HENRY VON STROHEIM, who tip the scales at a combined 510 pounds, will face a very popular duo of Indian mat stars in the guise of BILLY TWO RIVERS and SUNI WAR CLOUD.

The current SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, 'The Big O' BOB ORTON will face newcomer KARL GOTCH in a non-title match. A GOTCH victory would propel him to the top of the list of contenders for the title.

More tag team action is slated as fan favorites STEVE BOLUS and OMAR ATLAS will collide with the Irish / Canadian skinhead bully team of BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY, who are returning to the area after a long absence.

Both tag team matches are set for the best-of-three falls.

Another singles match will open the card at 8:15.

Friday, February 5, 2016

BASHIN' IN '87 - THE END WAS NEAR



FLAIR and RHODES go at it again...

BIG BUBBA ROGERS throws BARRY WINDHAM for a loss.

DR. DEATH STEVE WILLIAMS lands one upside DICK MURDOCH.

RICK STEINER and STING, former partners, now feuding.
------

JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, into its sixth decade of operation, would soon be no more. The sale to TURNER ENTERTAINMENT was on the horizon.
In one of its final big programs, THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH was a month-long event, starting JULY 1 in Lakeland, Florida and ending July 31 at the ORANGE BOWL in Miami. But in-between these two Sunshine State shows, THE BASH journeyed as far west as Los Angeles and San Francisco, and north as Landover, Maryland. Cross-country shows were held in Chicago, Atlanta, Richmond, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Baltimore, Charlotte, Greensboro, Norfolk, Richmond, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia and Cleveland, among others.