The SmarK Rant for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling – 02.20.82
I know these have never been particularly popular, but after watching that episode of All-Star Wrestling, I thought I’d once again journey back to North Carolina to compare what the opposition was like at the time compared to the garbage being pumped out by Vince Sr.
Taped from Charlotte, NC
Your hosts are Bob Caudle & Roddy Piper. This should be fun.
So as a reminder from the last time we were in 1982, the NWA World tag team titles (well, this version of them) were vacated due to real life injuries to Gene Anderson, and in order to fill the vacancy they came up with the most overwrought tournament possible, complete with multiple cities hosting portions of the “tournament”, which as it turned out was mostly all bullshit and took literal months to come to a conclusion.
Sgt. Slaughter joins us as Piper looks longingly at the tag team belts on the desk, and he’s US champion at the moment. Piper and Slaughter put each over effusively and they agree that they’re both “tough rough guys” who got their titles by being tough and rough, but Bob interrupts them and throws it to the ring.
Jake Roberts & Blackjack Mulligan Jr. v. Don Gilbert & Buck Brannigan
Jake works a headlock on Gilbert and then takes him down with a single-leg and Junior comes in with his own headlock. Over to Brannigan, who has a good manly wrestling name, but Roberts controls him with a facelock. Meanwhile, at ringside, Austin Idol is filming the match with a camera that looks like it belonged to Abraham Zapruder. Hopefully he gets a good angle of JFK’s assassination with it. Mulligan gets an elbow and Roberts goes to the face again while Caudle and Piper discuss Jake’s great kneelift. Once again, I have to state how frickin’ bizarre it is to see early Jake playing Sam Elliot wannabe cowboy instead of vicious slithering supervillain. Mulligan Jr comes in and finishes with a flying forearm at 5:50.
Sgt. Slaughter v. Vinnie Valentino
Piper is still a bit bitter that he was US champion and got stripped of it, but doesn’t hold a grudge against Sarge for winning it. Slaughter beats on Vinnie with some mean forearms and goes to an armbar on the mat, while Slaughter’s expanded Cobra Corps of Pvt. Nelson and Don Kernodle watches at ringside. Also, Austin Idol is still filming the matches. Piper clarifies that he doesn’t need to tape matches because he already knows everything. Slaughter chokes Valentino out on the ropes and puts him down with a back elbow, then DESTROYS him with the Slaughter Cannon and finishes with the Cobra Clutch at 3:25. Slaughter holds it for a while to be a dick, but then relents once Tommy Young rings the bell again. OH SHIT NOW IT’S ON!
Meanwhile, we get a match from World Wide Wrestling with Dusty Rhodes beating some jobber, and Slaughter provides commentary for it, promising that all of Dusty’s elbows and punches are ILLEGAL and will be checked by an impartial referee when they meet. COUNT ALL LEGAL BIONIC ELBOWS! WE WIN MID-ATLANTIC BIGLY! Back at the studio, Slaughter has his maggots tell us who the greatest wrestler in the world is (Hint: It’s Slaughter) and we’re out. Of note here: The unnamed jobber is future Slaughter opponent Ed Wiskowski, aka Col. DeBeers!
Porkchop Cash v. Ben Alexander
I always enjoy Ben Alexander, the jobber who looks like someone’s history teacher moonlighting as a wrestler. Cash works the arm for a bit and goes to a headlock, then takes him down and drops knees on him before finishing with a headbutt at 3:30.
Meanwhile, if you want a BUMPER STICKER, have I got a deal for you!
As a bonus, you get a crazed promo from Mid-Atlantic champion Piper, who never dreamed of going to Michigan as champion, but now you’ve got thousands of people sending in envelopes for bumper stickers. God bless them for leaving a Roddy Piper bumper sticker sales pitch in this show.
Ivan Koloff v. Rick Benfield
Koloff beats on Benfield and goes to a bearhug, then puts him down with an elbow to the gut and a backdrop for two. He picks him up and Tommy Young is SHOCKED AND APPALLED at this behavior from the Russian Bear. The man’s an election-rigging commie, what did he expect? Koloff rakes the back and dumps the jobber onto the floor, and then back in for another bearhug, but Benfield actually elbows out of it. So Koloff takes him to the corner for that falling kneedrop, and that finishes at 4:35.
Ray Stevens stops by for a word with Bob Caudle, as he’s recruiting guys like Dusty Rhodes and Leroy Brown to be his partners in the various tournaments that supposedly are happening. Also Blackjack Jr. knows for sure he can escape Slaughter’s cobra clutch and get an easy $1000. Ricky Steamboat stops by and he wants another match with Ric Flair! Jake Roberts has nothing to add in particular, just putting over how exciting things are at the moment.
Mike George v. Steve Sybert
BREAKING NEWS: Austin Idol is AGAIN filming the matches and even Roddy Piper is pretty confused by what his endgame is going to be. George works a hammerlock on Sybert and Piper is quite impressed by him even at his young age. George slugs away and finishes with a shoulderbreaker at 2:34. George also has words for Sgt. Slaughter, but then a lot of people are after him lately.
Meanwhile, WHY HAVEN’T YOU ALL BOUGHT YOUR BUMPER STICKERS YET? Just send a damn stamped envelope already! Also Johnny Weaver is here but he’s drunk so who cares.
Stan Hansen & Ole Anderson v. Tony Anthony & Rick Benfield
Apparently this Benfield guy is working twice. So Ole and Stan might be the most goddamn surly tag team in history and I’m not sure there’s anyone who could even come close. Ole works a bearhug on Benfield and Hansen comes in and drops elbows on his back. Anthony offers some encouragement to his partner, but Hansen kicks the crap out of him and they let Anthony come in and get a comeback. And then that doesn’t last long as Hansen cuts him off and drops elbows on him rapid-fire, before hitting a high knee and then finishing with the lariat at 5:13.
Ivan Koloff is sick of Jimmy Valiant’s bullshit and is pretty sure that Jimmy is conspiring to win his TV title. And then finally Austin Idol brings his camera over and gives us his plan: We’re currently in Phase One of his plan to win the World title, and once we make it to Phase Three, it’s OVER. That still doesn’t explain the video camera but visualization is always helpful. And then Ole and Hansen do their promo about the tag title tournaments, and Gene Anderson accidentally calls Stan “Private Nelson” and Stan kind of laughs it off as we wrap it up for the week. Man, Gene was looking ROUGH at this point. Also I don’t know exactly when Hansen’s voice changed but he sounds nothing like his older, gruffer self of even a few years after this. Perhaps all the chewing tobacco wasn’t helpful?
This was definitely night and day from the “smoky hall” version of wrestling presented by Vince Sr. at the time over in Hamburg.