As a senior in
high school at the time, two weeks shy of my 18th birthday,
my parents didn’t want me to miss time from school because
of my dental surgery. I only had to take classes half a day
my senior year, so I was done at lunchtime. My dental
appointment was set when it was for those purposes, and to
give me the full weekend to
My parents knew the drill about Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in
Richmond on Friday nights, and probably just assumed I would
call in sick this time. Nope…not a chance! But as Ric Flair
would say, I was going to bleed, sweat and pay the price for
When the surgery
was completed about 4:30 that afternoon, the dentist was
giving me my discharge instructions. I remember getting
instructions not to eat anything for something like 8 hours,
use the ice pack and stay down with my head slightly
inclined for the balance of the day and through the night.
I’m sure there were other instructions as well. As I was
nodding “yes” to the dentist, I was all the time wishing he
would just hurry up and let me out of there so I could be on
my way to Colonial Heights, about a 45 minute drive.
Hooking up with
my cousin Jamie, my faithful companion to many a Jim
Crockett Promotions show over the years, our first stop on
the way to Colonial Heights was at a Hardees restaurant.
Even though I could hardly open my mouth, I somehow devoured
a monstrosity called a “Deluxe Huskee” at Hardees. Boy, was
my mouth killing me after that! In retrospect, I wonder why
that should have been a surprise!
closer to the Colonial Heights High School, I was
flabbergasted at the sea of vehicles that had descended upon
the gym. Because my grandparents were residents of Colonial
Heights, luckily they had secured tickets for us in advance.
Otherwise, we weren’t getting a seat!
When we actually
got inside the gym, it was wall to wall people. I came to
learn very quickly what a packaged sardine must have felt
like. There is no question that the Fire Marshall must have
taken the night off! Under those conditions, with a mouth
that was really starting to ache like crazy, the prudent
thing to have done would have been to find my seat and taken
a breather, right? Well, there was nothing prudent about
had to visit the souvenir stand, and get what I thought was
the next issue of the Mid-Atlantic Magazine, a great
magazine that was sold at the arena shows. As I pushed my
way through the crowd, I saw a sign that said “$5.00.” That
was a huge amount of money for me at that time, and I
figured it must be some special edition magazine. As it
turned out, what I paid “big bucks” for was an “autographed”
photo of Wahoo McDaniel holding a horse in a headlock…with
Wahoo’s signature on it clearly being a stamp. This photo of
Wahoo would twice rear its ugly head later in the evening.
When Jamie and I finally got to our seats, my mouth was
hurting like crazy. I, for a fleeting second, thought that I
made a big mistake in coming to Colonial Heights and should
be home in bed with an ice pack like the dentist said. But
when the bell rang, the stars of Mid-Atlantic Championship
Wrestling kept my dental agony at bay for about two and a
half hours. What great medicine it was!
match was a bout between Johnny Eagle and Butch Malone.
Eagle was quite an impressive journeyman, and came by his
nickname “Houdini” legitimately. And he was able to escape
from just about everything Malone tried to put on him! In
comparison to Eagle, Malone came off slow and plodding.
Eagle put together several smooth maneuvers to catch Malone
by surprise and capture the first pinfall of the evening.
The crowd was really into this opener, and the crowd was
hot…literally! Because of the numbers of people let into the
gym, along with makeshift lights that were brought into the
building, the temperature was really rising. The wrestlers
weren’t the only ones sweating…the fans were as well!
The next match
was a bout between the veteran Sgt. Jacques Goulet and a
newcomer by the name of Ricky Steamboat. While everyone knew
Goulet, this new wrestler Steamboat hadn’t even been on TV
before, so he was a complete unknown to the fans. Steamboat
certainly shined in this match, upsetting Sgt. Goulet in
short order. I remember thinking this guy Steamboat looked
the part, and might be pretty good. What an understatement
that turned out to be!
The final match
before intermission paired the popular Tiger Conway versus
the masked Mr. X. Tiger received the biggest reaction from
the fans to that point in the show. Mr. X hung with Conway
for a good portion of the bout. Tiger clearly had a speed
advantage, but the masked man countered that to a large
extent with his underhanded tactics. Finally, Tiger was able
to snare “X” in his patented “victory roll” to secure the
even turned out to be an adventure for me on this night! A
guy saw my “autographed” picture of Wahoo, and commented to
me in a snide way, “I don’t know who is uglier, Wahoo or the
horse!” Well, I didn’t take too kindly to anybody
disparaging Wahoo! A heated argument ensued, and luckily for
me, the guy didn’t hit me in my injured mouth!
event was next, and it pitted two of my favorite performers
and personalities, Johnny Weaver and Brute Bernard. Three or
fours years prior, these two would have been battling in the
Main Event. However, by this time, both were solid mid-card
wrestlers. Brute did his normal “strut” to start the match,
and of course I had to attempt to mimic it from my seat,
yelling at the Brute as I was doing so! As I was yelling, I
felt a “pop” in my mouth that turned out to be several
stitches coming out along with a flow of blood. Yikes! But I
do remember Johnny running circles around the Brute later in
the match, catching him in the sleeper hold, and Brute’s
lights going out for a submission victory for Weaver.
The main event
of the evening was an interesting one, as it pitted the duo
of Dino Bravo and the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion
Wahoo McDaniel against the “Korean Assassin” Kim Duk and
Duk’s manager, “Professor” Boris Malenko.
At the time of
this card, Duk was in the midst of a brief main event run,
challenging Wahoo for the Mid-Atlantic Title. Just prior to
the Colonial Heights match, Duk had struck McDaniel with a
thrust to the throat on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
television, rupturing a blood vessel in Wahoo’s throat. So
Wahoo was after revenge against the big Korean. Wahoo also
had lingering issues with Duk’s manager, Boris Malenko.
Wahoo had allegedly broken Malenko’s false teeth twice in
the prior year and a half, and the “Professor” had been
trying to sue Wahoo ever since then.
Malenko was only wrestling sporadically at this point in
time, and said in a television promo for this match that
this bout “was going to be a night off” for him, as Duk
would handle all the heavy work in the ring. At the
beginning of that same promo, Malenko said that he “had
never heard of Colonial Heights” which really galled me! How
dare Malenko disrespect Colonial Heights…I was going to make
sure the “Professor” heard about that from me!
Wahoo and Bravo
got a huge fan reaction coming out for the match, and the
crowd was at its rowdiest when Wahoo and Duk were in the
ring together. These two traded some tremendous chops
against each other! And, of course, everybody wanted to see
Malenko get in the ring and get his just due! When Malenko
finally thought he had the opportunity to slip into the ring
and do some damage, the “good guys” quickly turned the
tables and Wahoo finished off the “Professor” with a vicious
chop which led to a three count. The crowd went wild with
When the match
was over, I had to yell at Malenko from my ringside seat - -
“HAVE YOU HEARD OF COLONIAL HEIGHTS NOW??!!”
fantastic to utter those words to get back at the beaten
“Professor,” but my bloody mouth was really throbbing then!
Having screamed those parting words at Boris, it was good to
leave the hot and sweaty confines of the gym, and get out
into the cool air of the parking lot.
As we were
departing the parking lot, I remember Jamie and I “horsing”
around with our fellow Mid-Atlantic fans, sticking my photo
of Wahoo and the horse out of the car, and getting reactions
from people in other cars. These shenanigans almost went too
far, as one car slammed on breaks after seeing Wahoo and the
horse, setting off a near chain reaction accident! I don’t
think anybody’s car was actually hit…but it was scary close!
adrenaline of the matches slowly wore off, I soon realized
that I was going to pay the price for ignoring my dentist’s
advice. I didn’t sleep a wink that night, and that whole
weekend I don’t think I’d ever experienced worse pain. But
it was worth it, and even thirty five years later, I’m still
happy I bled, sweated and paid the price for Mid-Atlantic
Championship Wrestling that night in Colonial Heights. That
place Professor Malenko had never heard of!