David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

April 1978

by David Chappell


Who's Hot 

& Who's Not


The Almanac

Almanac Index


Championship Picture This Month:


NWA WORLD---Harley Race

NWA WORLD TAG TEAM--1. Ric Flair & Greg Valentine

2. Vacant (4/5)

3. Paul Jones & Ricky Steamboat (4/23)


1. Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods

2. Ric Flair (4/9)


1. Greg Valentine

2. Wahoo McDaniel (4/2)

3. Ken Patera (4/9)


1. Johnny Weaver

2. Baron Von Raschke (4/3)

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


There may never have been more of an eventful month in the annals of the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling than April of 1978. From major title changes to major angles to impressive newcomers, the month of April had everything that a wrestling fan could possibly dream of!

It did not take long for the month of April to start making news. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race made a pass through the area during the first week of April, defending his prized belt successfully against Ricky Steamboat and Wahoo McDaniel. Race also appeared on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped in the WRAL studios on April 5, 1978.

It also only took two days into the month of April to produce a major title change. In the Greensboro Coliseum on April 2, 1978, Chief Wahoo McDaniel finally took the measure of Greg Valentine to again capture the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. After many months of battling Valentine, Wahoo was unable to savor his title victory very long. After only a week, Wahoo was defeated by his former friend, Ken Patera. On April 9, 1978, Patera subdued McDaniel in the Charlotte Coliseum to win his first title belt while in Jim Crockett Promotions.

During the remainder of the month of April, Patera had several successful Mid-Atlantic Title defenses against Wahoo and Paul Jones. At the end of the month, Patera squared off against the “Eighth Wonder of The World” Andre the Giant, in a battle of two of the strongest men in wrestling. On that April 30, 1978 card at the Charlotte Coliseum, Patera was disqualified for throwing Andre over the top rope…a feat in and of itself!

In another title change early in the month, Baron Von Raschke regained his NWA Television Title from his nemesis, Johnny Weaver. On April 3, 1978 in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, Raschke prevailed after hitting Weaver with a chair, and afterwards finished off Johnny by applying his famous claw hold. The match in Greenville was billed as a No Disqualification, sixty minute title match where Weaver could only win with his sleeper hold, and the Baron could only win via his claw hold. The Baron would successfully defend his NWA TV Title a number of times during the month of April, most frequently against Weaver.

On the same blockbuster April 9, 1978 Charlotte card where Ken Patera ended Wahoo McDaniel’s short Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title reign, the biggest title change of 1978 to date also occurred. Mr. Wrestling risked his United States Heavyweight Championship against the hair of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. After a thrilling encounter, Ric pinned Mr. Wrestling to capture the U.S. Tile, and almost as importantly to him, preserved his full head of blond hair! After defeating Mr. Wrestling, Flair had several rugged battles with “Sensational” Dick Murdock in Raleigh, North Carolina on April 11, 1978 and Charlottesville, Virginia on April 15, 1978.

While Ric Flair gained a new title belt on April 9th, he lost another one a few days earlier, and in a very unusual fashion. On the April 5, 1978 Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program taped at the WRAL studios, the President of Jim Crockett Promotions, Jim Crockett, Jr., made a rare on air appearance. Crockett told the Mid-Atlantic fans that he had just come from a meeting with the NWA Board of Directors, and that NWA World Tag Team Champions Ric Flair and Greg Valentine were stripped of their titles because of not appearing for title defenses and in others leaving the ring before a decision was reached. Crockett told a stunned announcer Bob Caudle that a tournament would be set up shortly to crown new NWA World Tag Team Champions. Ric Flair and Greg Valentine’s final World Tag Team Title defense was on April 4, 1978 in Columbia, South Carolina, where Flair and Valentine prevailed in a ninety minute time limit match over challengers Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat.

The next Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show, that was taped on April 12, 1978, may be the most eventful TV show in the history of Jim Crockett Promotions. The show began with Ric Flair being announced as the new United States Heavyweight Champion. When Blackjack Mulligan came out to congratulate Ric, the Nature Boy belittled Mulligan, saying Blackjack was not man enough to hold the Title that he now possessed. After taking all the verbal abuse he could stand, Mulligan shocked the viewing audience by slugging Ric, something nobody ever expected! But there was much more to come!

During the same Mid-Atlantic Wrestling TV show, Blackjack was wrestling Tony Russo when an enraged Flair came back on the set…wearing Mulligan’s cowboy hat! It was explained that this hat was a special gift to Mulligan from his friends Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. To the amazement of everyone watching, Flair proceeded to tear up Blackjack’s prized hat! When Mulligan realized what happened, he promptly disposed of Russo with a vicious piledriver, and came to the announcer’s table to pick up the pieces of his hat. Blackjack told the fans what that hat meant to him, and that he vowed to make Flair pay for what he just did. It did not take Mulligan long to make good on his promise of revenge.

Later in the same show, Ric Flair was wrestling Ted Oates, when the camera panned to one of the most enduring images in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling! Coming from the dressing room area, Blackjack Mulligan walked to the announcer’s table, wearing Ric Flair’s favorite peacock-feathered robe! As the crowd yelled at the top of their lungs, Blackjack tore Ric’s priceless robe to shreds! Every time Flair would try to get out of the ring to get to Mulligan, Oates expertly kept him inside the ring. By the time Ric finally got to the announcer’s area, his robe was ripped apart and ruined. A distraught Flair screamed at the departed Mulligan that Blackjack would be a dead man. Seeing the insane look in Fair’s eyes as he uttered those words, the Mid-Atlantic fans had to have real concern for Mulligan’s future well being.

That concern for Blackjack proved to be well founded, as on the next Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show, taped on April 19, 1978, Ric Flair in Georgia told announcer Freddy Miller in a taped interview that he was putting a $10,000 bounty on the head of Mulligan, to any wrestler who could injure Blackjack Mulligan and eliminate him from professional wrestling.

(Related article on Blackjack's BBQ: Perfect Storm: The Legend of the Hat and the Robe)

A number of “bad guys” lined up to try and collect the $10,000 bounty on Mulligan’s head. Bounty Matches started during the month of April, and continued on for the remainder of the year of 1978. Baron Von Raschke was one of the first to go after the now “fan favorite,” Blackjack Mulligan. But Mulligan’s most fearsome opponent in Bounty Matches, both in the month of April 1978 and afterward, was the returning Masked Superstar. The Superstar returned from a tour of the Orient in April, and immediately went after his former friend upon his return. Blackjack and the Superstar tangled in a memorable early Bounty Match on April 18, 1978 in Columbia, South Carolina, with both combatants being disqualified for excessive brawling.

The middle of the month of April saw two newcomers come on the scene on the “good guy” side of the promotion’s ledger. Tony Atlas returned to the Mid-Atlantic area, and appeared to be better than ever. The strongman from Roanoke, Virginia immediately received a main event match against Baron Von Raschke on April 20, 1978 at the Norfolk, Virginia Scope, and Atlas began a top flight program against Cyclone Negro and his manager, the Missouri Mauler. Another newcomer to the area in the month of April, was the Indian Jay Youngblood. Youngblood had his first Mid-Atlantic test on April 15, 1978 in Charlottesville, Virginia, , teaming with the veteran Bobo Brazil against the steady team of Mr. X # 1 and Mr. X # 2. While Youngblood needed some experience and seasoning in these early days, Jay would eventually become a fixture in Mid-Atlantic main events.

Long time Mid-Atlantic veteran Gene Anderson returned to the area on a full time basis during the month of April, but for the first time in a long while without his brother Ole. Gene wrestled mainly in mid-card matches, and interestingly enough, wrestled as both a good guy and as a bad guy in the month of April.

The end of the month of April 1978 was dominated by a one night tournament before 9,732 enthusiastic fans in the Greensboro Coliseum for the vacant NWA World Tag Team Titles. On April 23, 1978, ten top teams were assembled for this one night spectacular. The teams competing in Greensboro were Jack and Jerry Brisco, Gene and Ole Anderson, Blackjack Mulligan and Stan Hansen, Wahoo McDaniel and Andre The Giant, Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat, Ken Patera and The Superstar, Tony Atlas and Bobo Brazil, Cyclone Negro and Baron Von Raschke, Mr. Wrestling and Johnny Weaver, and Ric Flair and Greg Valentine.

When the eliminations got down to two teams, it was the Superstar and Ken Patera against Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat. In that final match, Jones and Steamboat defeated Superstar and Patera in 18:20 to become the new NWA World Tag Team Champions. Paul and Ricky did not relinquish their Mid-Atlantic Tag Team belts, so they held all of the territory’s tag team title belts after that memorable night in Greensboro, North Carolina.
(Revised 2/7/07)


See this special feature on the NWA World Tag Team tournament, including results and brackets, held in Greensboro.(Updated 2/7/07)

There were many months in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, both before and after the month of April 1978, but it is hard to imagine any month being more eventful or historic in Jim Crockett Promotions than that of the month of April in the year of 1978. It truly had to be seen to be believed!




1. Ric Flair---The Nature Boy defeated Mr. Wrestling, getting back the prestigious United States Heavyweight Title that had eluded him for a number of months. However, tearing up Blackjack Mulligan’s hat may not have been the brightest action Ric ever took. Flair’s $10,000 bounty on Blackjack would keep the direct heat off of Ric for at least a little while.
2. Ken Patera---The strongman from Oregon won the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title during the month of April, and looked dominating in the process. Patera seemed to be settling in quite nicely into his new “bad guy” persona.
3. Baron Von Raschke---Raschke reclaimed his NWA Television Title from Johnny Weaver, and successfully defended it throughout the remainder of the month of April. The Baron was also one of the first competitors to go after Ric Flair’s $10,000 bounty.



1. Mr. Wrestling---The masked man dropped the U.S. Title to Ric Flair early in the month, and really never got untracked after that. An uneventful month of April for Mr. Wrestling, after finally breaking through to capture the big belt during the month of March.
2. Wahoo McDaniel---Despite finally winning back the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title from Greg Valentine at the beginning of the month, Wahoo lost it to Ken Patera after a title reign of a scant week. Much like Mr. Wrestling, Wahoo had a rather uneventful month after his quick title loss.
3. Bobo Brazil---The veteran wrestled his last meaningful match for Jim Crockett Promotions during the month of April 1978, winding down a solid year in the Mid-Atlantic area.


Note: Thanks to Mark Isley for his assistance with this feature.


Posted 01/25/07

© 2007 David Chappell /  Mid-Atlantic Gateway