Blood, Sweat and Payin' The Price in Colonial Heights - 35 Years Ago

by David Chappell, Mid-Atlantic Gateway

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Anyone who has had the pleasure of having all their wisdom teeth extracted at one sitting will agree with me on this. It hurts. A lot. I remember vividly the date and time of my “bout” with the dentist for those wisdom teeth extractions, it being on the afternoon of March 4, 1977. But there were other “bouts” on my agenda that same day. Those being the wrestling matches held at a spot show at the Colonial Heights High School Gym as Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling came to town that very same night!

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 recover. 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 that decision!

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!

Upon getting 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 this evening!

I 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!

The opening 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 win.

Intermission 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!

The semi-final 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 joy!

When the match was over, I had to yell at Malenko from my ringside seat - -


It felt 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!

As the 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!

David Chappell
March 2012

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Article published 3/4/2012, Copyright © 2012   David Chappell and Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Graphic Blandishment and Audio Management by Dick Bourne     Wrestling Newspaper Ad courtesy Mark Eastridge

Article dedicated to the memory of the Hardee's Deluxe Huskee!

Copyright © 2012 Mid-Atlantic Gateway


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