David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

February 1978

by David Chappell


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Championship Picture This Month:


NWA WORLD---Harley Race

NWA WORLD TAG TEAM---Ric Flair & Greg Valentine

UNITED STATES---Blackjack Mulligan



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


February may be the shortest of the year’s twelve months, but in 1978 the second month of the year proved to be a noteworthy one. Memorable feuds and angles, along with several newcomers that would have a great impact on the remainder of 1978, contributed to a month that was very special to the fans of Jim Crockett Promotions and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wresting.


The territory’s title situation remained unchanged in the month of February, at least as far as the reigning Champions holding onto their belts throughout the month. However, the month of February 1978 would have a lot to say about big changes brewing in the area’s Title picture as winter would start turning into spring.


United States Heavyweight Champion Blackjack Mulligan was perhaps the territory’s busiest grappler during the month. In February, Blackjack successfully defended his coveted Title against a number of the area’s most talented competitors, including the likes of Ricky Steamboat, Paul Jones, Bobo Brazil and Wahoo McDaniel. However as the month wore on, it became evident that Mulligan’s greatest threat would come from the most skillful and purest wrestler of the bunch, the masked “Mr. Wrestling,” Tim Woods. By the end of the month, Mr. Wrestling was proving that he could not only outwrestle Mulligan, but that he could stand toe-to-toe and fight the big Texan as well. At the end of the month of February, Mulligan was still the U.S. Champion, but Mr. Wrestling was looking like he had what it took to lift the belt from Blackjack.


“The Hammer” Greg Valentine had a schedule in February that rivaled that of Mulligan. In fact, the argument could be made that Valentine’s Title defense schedule was more brutal than Blackjack’s, as Greg had TWO title belts to defend! As the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion, Valentine’s main nemesis remained the big Chief, Wahoo McDaniel. One particularly memorable bout between these two took place in Richmond, Virginia on February 19th, with Gene Anderson being brought in as Special Referee. Anderson disqualified Valentine in that Richmond bout, giving the match to Wahoo, but allowing Valentine to walk out with his Championship intact. In many other brutal matches during the month of February, Valentine maintained his hold on the Mid-Atlantic Title, though the beatings administered by Wahoo clearly had Valentine wearing down.


When Valentine wasn’t battling Wahoo over the Mid-Atlantic belt, he and partner Ric Flair had a busy month defending their NWA World Tag Team Titles. A large majority of Ric and Greg’s defenses were against another championship duo, Mid-Atlantic Tag Team titlists, Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat. Some of these bouts were “Title versus Title” matches, which saw each team maintain their respective Titles. These four would go at it for several months, with the quality of the matches always being at an exceedingly high level.


Flair and Valentine did defend their World Titles against other competitors during the month of February, with one particularly impressive win coming against the world renowned tandem of Jack and Jerry Brisco on February 26th in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ric and Greg weren’t nearly as impressive as they took off and ran and were disqualified in a Title match with Wahoo McDaniel and Ole Anderson on February 12th in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the result was the same…Flair and Valentine remained the World Tag Team Champions.


Mid-Atlantic Television Champion Baron Von Raschke seemed to have dodged a bullet in what would be the climatic match in his long TV Title feud with Mr. Wrestling. In an “Amateur Rules” Title match with Mr. Wrestling on that same spectacular Charlotte Coliseum card on February 12th, Mr. Wrestling won the match in the 23rd minute, but Raschke maintained the TV Championship because Mr. Wrestling’s win came after the fifteen minute mark. Raschke likely thought he could now breathe easy with the TV Title, but a man named Johnny Weaver had other ideas.


Seemingly out of nowhere, the veteran Johnny Weaver became the top contender to Baron Von Raschke’s TV Title in the month of February. On the February 8th Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television taping from the WRAL studios in Raleigh, North Carolina, Weaver wrestled Raschke for the German’s TV Title, with the match ending in a draw with Johnny having the Baron in his dreaded Sleeper hold as time expired. This led to Weaver challenging Raschke to a “Sleeper versus Claw” match the following week on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television.


In one of the most memorable television based angles in the territory’s history, Weaver defeated the Baron in the Sleeper versus Claw contest. Electing to have Raschke put the Claw hold on him first, Weaver withstood the Claw for the required two minute time limit, and then proceeded to put the Baron out with his Sleeper hold. Despite protestations by Raschke that he was put out with a choke hold, Weaver pulled off a major upset that set him up for a brief but spirited program with the Baron over the promotion’s TV Tile.


February of 1978 also saw an influx of new talent enter the Mid-Atlantic area, across a wide spectrum of the business. As far as in ring performers, February brought with it the reappearance in the area of two strong main event wrestlers to the “good guy” side of the ledger---“Sensational” Dick Murdock and Ken Patera. Both Murdock and Patera would have a major impact on the promotion during 1978.


Murdock appeared briefly in the Mid-Atlantic area late in 1977, and wrestled as a “bad guy” in those appearances. When he reappeared several months later in 1978, he was clearly acting and wrestling as a fan favorite. While Murdock entered the territory in earnest in March of 1978, he wrestled in Asheville, North Carolina on February 12th, teaming with Mr. Wrestling to defeat Crusher Blackwell and the Missouri Mauler. Later that same day in Charlotte, North Carolina, Murdock bested the tough veteran Bill White.


Ken Patera appeared back in the territory in February as a main event regular for the first time since his run in the Mid-Atlantic area in 1975 and early 1976. Sporting blond hair, Ken came back to Jim Crockett Promotions after an impressive stint in the WWWF as a bad guy. In his two Mid-Atlantic matches in February, both on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television, Patera won using scientific wrestling. On February 15th, Ken bested Tony Russo, and on the next week’s TV show, Patera teamed with the popular Johnny Weaver to defeat Scott Irwin and Hartford Love.


A new manager was added to the promotion’s ranks in February, as the Missouri Mauler was introduced on the February 22nd edition of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show as the manager of the rugged Cyclone Negro. Referring to his new charge as the “Black Bomber,” the Mauler touted the rigorous training regiment of Negro, and promised a long line of championships for Cyclone. Now having his managerial responsibilities, the Missouri Mauler’s long and illustrious in-ring career in Jim Crockett Promotions was effectively over.


A new television announcer also hit the airwaves for Jim Crockett Promotions in February. Rich Landrum, the long time ring announcer for Mid-Atlantic wrestling events in Richmond, Virginia, joined the promotion’s television announce team in the month of February 1978. Rich would be the voice of Wide World Wrestling, later World Wide Wrestling, for about four years into the year of 1982. Landrum was also the primary voice for “In Your Area” promos on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program during those same years.


In the final match of what was a great Mid-Atlantic feud for most of 1977 into early 1978, the Masked Superstar defeated the Mighty Igor in a No Disqualification match in Lynchburg, Virginia on February 17th. At this point in time, Igor was winding down his stint in the area wrestling mainly mid-card matches. The Superstar, along with his manager “Professor” Boris Malenko, was at that same time about ready to embark on a successful tour of Japan.


February of 1978 was a month of transition and excitement for fans of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Many of the monumental changes the area would experience in the coming months of 1978, were ushered in by events that squarely had their infancy during the month of February.  


- David Chappell




  1. JOHNNY WEAVER---The steady veteran took a major step up the ladder by defeating Baron Von Raschke in the “Sleeper versus Claw” challenge match on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wresting television. This would be the springboard to a memorable month of March 1978 for Johnny.


  1. MR. WRESTING---The white masked Tim Woods began making a serious push for Blackjack Mulligan’s United States Heavyweight Title during the month of February 1978. Much like Johnny Weaver, February would be the springboard for a very special month of March for Mr. Wrestling.


  1. KEN PATERA---Coming back to the area after a successful stint in the WWWF as a bad guy, the question was which Ken Patera would we see in Jim Crockett Promotions. The good guy we came to know in 1975, or the heel in New York in 1977?





  1. MIGHTY IGOR---The Polish strongman continued to slide down the cards in February, wrestling primarily in mid card matches after having been a main event performer for most of 1977. Igor would not be involved in any more angles during his remaining days in Jim Crockett Promotions.


  1. BOBO BRAZIL---Much like his buddy Igor, Brazil continued to slide from his main event perch in the territory that he enjoyed during much of 1977. While wrestling an occasional main event match, Brazil was relegated to angle-less mid card matches during most of the month of February.


  1. BARON VON RASCHKE---The Baron’s loss to Johnny Weaver in the “Sleeper versus Claw” TV match was a shock. And unfortunately for Raschke, the worst was yet to come in his battles with Weaver over the TV Title.


Posted 8/23/06

© 2006 David Chappell /  Mid-Atlantic Gateway