Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Missing "Big" Bill Ward

Charlotte News, April 23, 1974

In 1974, Jim Crockett Promotions consolidated all of its TV production to one central studio taping. In early 1974, wrestling was still being taped in three different locations each week - - WBTV-3 in Charlotte, WGHP-8 in High Point (Greensboro market), and WRAL-5 in Raleigh. The decision was made to consolidate everything to Raleigh.

Fans in the Charlotte and Greensboro areas were understandably upset to lose the show and the announcers they were familiar with. "Big" Bill Ward in Charlotte and Charlie Harville in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point/Lexington market were institutions there. And while Bob Caudle in Raleigh was quickly becoming the most beloved announcer in the area's history, it took fans some time to get used to those changes.


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

George Scott hosts Wide World Wrestling

For a period of several months in 1978, booker George Scott hosted and co-hosted "Wide World Wrestling" in the studios of WRAL-5 in Raleigh, replacing the departed Ed Capral who had hosted the show for Jim Crockett Promotions since its inception in 1975.

For much of that time, Scott actually provided color commentary, as the company settled in with Tom Miller on play-by-play during the summer and early fall of 1978. Miller was a famous radio personality in the Carolinas and Virginias during this time and had temporarily served as color commentator for Bob Caudle on "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" back in the summer of 1976 while regular co-host David Crockett was away helping his sister Frances Crockett with the company-owned minor league baseball team the Charlotte O's.

Scott usually conducted the interviews on Wide World, as seen above with NWA World Tag Team Champions Ricky Steamboat and Paul Jones. He and Miller continued as a team until the show received a major overhaul in the fall of 1978. It was renamed "World Wide Wrestling" with a brand new set, and longtime Richmond ring announcer Rich Landrum was brought in as the revamped show's new host.

Scott's tenure as host of "Wide World Wrestling" is largely lost to time and history, as no known video footage of his tenure in that role is thought to exist. The image above is taken from 8mm film shot directly off a TV screen back in 1978 and may be the only surviving image of George Scott in that role.

Scott booked for Jim Crockett Promotions from 1973-1981 and is generally considered one of the best creative minds in wrestling history.

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Footnote: Russ Debuc briefly hosted "Wide World Wrestling" as well in between the Capral and Landrum eras. His tenure lasted about 4 months. More on Russ Debuc here.

Hear the "Wide World Wrestling" theme music here.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Distant Signals

Some of you old folks out there (like us!) will remember the days when you stayed up late at night and tried to maneuver your set-top or aerial antenna to pull in some distant station that had wrestling.

In this rough image, Mid-Atlantic champion Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan talk with Ed Capral on Wide World Wrestling from the WRAL television studios in December 1975. Ric wasn't back to wrestling yet at this point, still recovering from injuries suffered in the October 1975 Wilmington NC plane crash. But he was back doing interviews and color commentary by the end of December.

Check out our article on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway for more about what us children of the 60s and 70s had to do pull in those distant signals.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Championship Wrestling from Amarillo (1971)

Host Steve Stack with Dory Funk, Sr., on the set of Championship Wrestling from Amarillo, TX in 1971.

I would love to know where the Funks taped their TV show, so if anyone can helps us out on that info, would be appreciated. Contact Us at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

We miss those simple days of territory wrestling from the small, intimate TV studios.

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(The screen capture above within our old-school TV set is from the Vault section of the WWE Network, under Hidden Gems for 1971.)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Championship Wrestling host Bill Krieger (WFBC Greenville 1961)

Bill Krieger hosted "Championship Wrestling" on WFBC-4 in 1961, featuring all the stars of the early 1960s for Jim Crockett Promotions.

Bob Poole originally hosted from 3/26/60 until WFBC-TV sports director Bill Krieger took over as host in February of 1961. Billy Powell served as color commentator during some of this time with Krieger.

For more information on live Studio Wrestling from WFBC-4 in Greenville, visit the 
WFBC Studio Wrestling page on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.
Clipping courtesy Don Holbrook.

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.