Saturday, April 13, 2019

Jim Crockett Promotions Television Network - 1980

This page from a 1980 issue of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine lists the local affiliates of Jim Crockett's television network. These stations carried either Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling or World Wide Wrestling.

We actually think this list isn't complete, and may only reflect markets where Crockett was actually running shows and selling this magazine. It has been documented that there were stations in Florida, Texas, Michigan, and perhaps other locations during this era.

Also featured here are some great studio wrestling shots in front of the sets used from 1978-1981 at WRAL in Raleigh where the shows were taped every Wednesday night. Modified versions of the sets were used when the taping moved to WPCQ in Charlotte in August of 1981 until tapings moved into the arenas in July of 1983.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

WFBC Wrestling Host Bill Krieger (1961)

Following a brief experiment in 1956,  Live studio wrestling would return to WFBC-4 on March 26, 1960 with channel 4 personality Bob Poole calling the action on a broadcast taped during mid-week and airing that following weekend.

In February of 1961, WFBC Sports Director Bill Krieger took over for Poole as host of the broadcast. Billy Powell served as color commentator during some of this time with Krieger.

No photos of the ring set up in the WFBC studio are known to exist, but both Krieger and Billy Powell report in separate interviews with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway that it was a very small studio with two small bleachers on two sides of the ring, accommodating roughly 50-60 people.

"Wally Dusek would bring the ring each week and set it up," Krieger told the Gateway. "Some of the big names at that time that I remember wrestling at channel 4 were George Becker, Mike Piadousis, Gorgeous George, Ivan the Terrible, and others. Jim Crockett (Sr.) would come by regularly as we got started, but wouldn't stay for the whole taping."

The second stint of "Live Championship Wrestling"  lasted until December of 1961 when channel 4 began carrying the show taped in Raleigh.

For more information on live studio wrestling held at WFBC (now WYFF) channel 4 in Greenville, SC, visit our WFBC Studio Wrestling page on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Famed Tampa Sportatorium Today

While Tampa's famed Sportatorium at 106 North Albany wasn't a TV studio in the purest sense, it certainly served as one for several decades through the 1960s-1980s. This was the home of weekly television tapings of "Championship Wrestling from Florida" hosted by Gordon Solie and promoted most famously by Eddie Graham, the legendary wrestler, promoter, and at one time president of the National Wrestling Alliance.

Tampa Bay Times Photo
It was also the home office of Deep South Sports, Inc., the company run by Graham that presented live wrestling events throughout the Sunshine State.

This article below, by Thad Moore (then at the Tampa Bay Times, now at the Charleston Post & Courier), talks about the recent auction of the property (2016) and the ghosts that still haunt 106 North Albany.

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Tampa's Sportatorium sells for $695,000, to become piano conservatory 
By Thad Moore, Times Staff Writer
Published February 27 2016, Updated February 28 2016

TAMPA — They sat in folding chairs and stood in the back of a worn-out warehouse, all eyes trained on the center of the room, looking for a few minutes of spectacle.

"Let's get ready to rumble!" Vincent Gess shouted into a microphone.

In a sense, the crowd offered a return to form for the building just off W Kennedy Boulevard. The nondescript stucco structure at 106 N Albany Ave. was the site of Tampa's Sportatorium, where throngs of fans would show up for weekday wrestling matches, among the first to be televised around the country.

But instead of seeing one last fight, the weekend crowd came to watch the building — and a slice of Tampa's history — be auctioned off.

--> Read the rest of the story on the Tampa Bay Times website. 

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Contact Thad Moore at or (813) 336-3434. Follow @thadmoore.

Original article on Tampa Bay Times website:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Nick Pond Serves as Guest Ring Announcer (1967)

A nice local write-up in the Wilson, NC, newspaper in 1967 for a spot show at Fleming Stadium. Of note here is the mention that WRAL sportscaster Nick Pond would be the guest ring announcer.

"Championship Wrestling" host Nick Pond (right)
with former boxing champ Joe Louis
Pond was weekly host of the Raleigh-only version of the wrestling show taped every Wednesday night in the studios of WRAL TV channel 5 in Raleigh. The Raleigh version of the show was called "Championship Wrestling", and aired only on channel 5, while the syndicated version that went to other markets was called "All Star Wrestling" and was hosted by WRAL weather/sportscaster Bob Caudle.

Also of note is the mention of the previous card in Wilson at Fleming Stadium drawing 5000 people, a huge number, especially in those days, for a spot show in a small town.

The card mentioned in this write-up was scheduled for August 18, 1967. There was an error in the third paragraph that apparently omitted some words. The "good guy" team in the six man tag match main event was George Becker, Johnny Weaver, and the Amazing Zuma.

For more posts on Nick Pond click this link and scroll down the page.

Special thanks to Mid-Atlantic Gateway contributor and ace researcher Mark Eastridge for noticing the mention of Nick Pond in this newspaper article.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Nick Pond joins the Durham Chamber of Commerce (1971)

Nick Pond was the weekly host of "Championship Wrestling" at this time, the Raleigh-only version of the one-hour wrestling program taped every Wednesday night at the studios of WRAL  channel 5 in Raleigh.

For more posts on Nick Pond on this website click this link and scroll down the page.
For more posts on WRAL-5 on this website click this link and scroll down the page.

Thanks to Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Vintage Radio Station photo of Billy Powell

Billy Powell was an institution in Greenville SC and the whole upstate area of South Carolina, known for his radio work, advertising voice overs, and of course as the voice of Greenville wrestling.

Powell did the additional local spots in the 1960s through early 1980s that were featured in the weekly episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" on WFBC-4 (now WYFF) that were in addition to the two traditional local promotional spots inserted from Jim Crockett Promotions.

He was also the ring announcer in Greenville for many years.

Visit the Billy Powell page on the old archive website of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway (The Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives) for more info on Billy Powell. Occasional Gateway contributor Don Holbrook wrote of Powell for the website back in 2016. Visit the WFBC Studio Wrestling page, too.

Special thanks to Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Wrestling from Roanoke" at the County Fair

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Continuing our streak of posts here on "Studio Wrestling" having to do with wrestling from Roanoke, I found this little newspaper clipping to be very interesting. Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website came across it and forwarded it to us. It's also a bit misleading, but more on that in a minute.

The article is promoting a wrestling card in Galax, VA, that was featured as a "grandstand attraction" at the Galax Agricultural Fair. The wrestling card was booked by Roanoke event promoter Pete Apostolou, booking wrestling talent from Jim Crockett Promotions in Charlotte. Apostolou was Crockett's man on the ground for wrestling events in Roanoke as well as Lynchburg and many spot-show towns around the WDBJ-7 viewing area, Galax included.

What interested me at first was the mention of the Roanoke wrestling program that aired at the time on WDBJ channel 7. The program, which was always called "All Star Wrestling" on the air, was often referred to in newspaper listings and TV Guide as "Wrestling from Roanoke" or sometimes "Live Wrestling from Roanoke."

"All Star Wrestling" was broadcast live from the studios of WDBJ-7 for many years, beginning back around 1960 until it went off the air in 1967 and the Raleigh tape started airing in Roanoke on WSLS-10.

However, this little article is a bit misleading, and when you first read it you might think it was saying this Galax event would air on WDBJ. This of course was not the case, and the writer was simply trying to say that the wrestlers you will see at the Fair will be the same wrestlers you see each week on channel 7.

During those days, there were wrestling shows from around the country that might pop up on local channels, and although they typically had a generic name like All Star Wrestling or Championship Wrestling, they were frequently identified in newspaper television listings or in the TV Guide with  a name that identified the point of origin. For example, "Wrestling from Texas" was seen in several North Carolina and South Carolina TV markets in the 1950s and 1960s.

And so it was with "Wrestling from Roanoke" in this clipping from 1963.

Thanks to Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website for sharing this clipping with us. We're always interested in finding vintage references to the programs taped in various stations across the Crockett landscape.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Direct From the Studios of WDBJ-TV: Wrestling Ad in Roanoke

We received this old newspaper ad from Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website. It's special becasue it mentions wrestling "direct from the studios of WDBJ-TV."

For the better part of the 1960's, WDBJ in Roanoke VA presented a live program called "All-Star Wrestling" on Saturday afternoons at 5:00 PM, in advance of the live event later that night at the Starland Arena. Local promoter Pete Apostolou (working for Jim Crockett Promotions) had the perfect set-up where the guys could come in and do the live "All Star Wrestling" TV at channel 7 and then the Starland Arena show later that night, all in one trip within hours of each other.

It was one of the highest rated programs in the market on a weekly basis. The show was hosted by WDBJ personality Hal Grant.

Johnny Weaver told us that WDBJ cancelled the show following an ugly incident between Ike Eakins and Luther Lindsay. Not long after, "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" hosted by Bob Caudle debuted on WSLS-10 in Roanoke VA, although for many years, they still ran the old "All Star Wrestling" logo over the Mid-Atlantic opening, which included two cartoon wrestlers and the introduction which announced the program presented by the Roanoke Sports Club. Promoter Pete Apostolou also did the inserted 30-second local promos until they began the 2:30 second spots taped in Raleigh for each local market.

(Some information for this article was pulled from the WDBJ page of the Studio Wrestling section of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives.)