Throwback Thursday: NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (March 23, 1985), As Seen on WWE Network and Peacock



This week Throwback Thursday makes a stop in Jim Crockett Promotions’ back yard to relive an exciting edition of NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, as seen on the WWE Network and Peacock, that aired 38 years ago this month!

While the rapid national rise of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and the debut of their inaugural WrestleMania event (set for March 31, 1985), was the talk of fans around the country, the biggest story in the world of professional wrestling was the impending departure of Vince McMahon from WTBS and the ascension of Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) as the sole provider of wrestling content for the station. Though the position had originally been promised to Mid-South promoter Bill Watts, whom Ted Turner had personally invited to WTBS to compete with McMahon, it was Jim Crockett, Jr., who ended up on top. Through a series of carefully orchestrated meetings, and after agreeing to pay McMahon $1 million dollars for the coveted WTBS time slots, JCP was set to takeover the bulk of the wrestling programming on WTBS the day before WrestleMania, on March 30, 1985. Watts, meanwhile, would honor the remainder of his contract, continuing on WTBS until May 26, 1985, wholeheartedly encouraging fans to watch and support the new regime.

The acquisition of the WTBS time slots was only the latest step in Jim Crockett’s push to be the promotion in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Thanks in large part to cable television the territory system that had propped up the industry, and the NWA in particular, was collapsing. Opportunistic promoters, like Jim Crockett, Jr., Vince McMahon, and Bill Watts, were looking to fill the void. As McMahon went national, buying out out troubled time slots around the country, Watts was positioning himself to replace existing programming in and around the Mid-South territory. Crockett, meanwhile, was busy buying dying territories outright, assuming the TV and arena deals as well as the debt.

As this edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling hit airwaves around the territory the foundation of both JCP and the entire industry was quaking in real time. With two massive Starrcade events in the books, and with a new national platform to highlight their stars and storytelling, Crockett and booker Dusty Rhodes were already eyeing Thanksgiving and Starrcade ’85 while keeping a distant eye on WrestleMania and the growth of the WWF.



The top story in JCP at this time was Ric Flair’s continued issues with Wahoo McDaniel and “Nature Boy” clone Buddy Landell. The ongoing battle between Dusty Rhodes and Tully Blanchard, which also included the simmering feud between Tully and Magnum T.A., was another top story in the territory. Beyond the mat the top song in the country the week this edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling aired was REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” while Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required was the top-selling album. On television NBC’s The Cosby Show reigned supreme as Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, starring John Sheppard, Melanie Kinnaman, Shavar Ross, Marco St. John, and Richard Young, was the top film in theaters.

With all of that out of the way let’s head over to the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and find out just how well this edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling holds up in 2023!

While any and all local live event promos have been removed, edits are not an issue with this edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling on the WWE Network and Peacock. Context, meanwhile, is solid with the bulk of past editions of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, dating back to September 12, 1981, as well as all past Starrcade events and a few “Hidden Gems”, are available for you to enjoy on the WWE Network and Peacock right now!


NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (WATCH)
Date: March 23, 1985 – Location: Recreational Center, Shelby, North Carolina
Attendance: N/A – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: Bob Caudle & Johnny Weaver – Interviews: Bob Caudle

NWA World Heavyweight Champion: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (May 24, 1984, Yokosuka, Japan, from “The Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich)
NWA United States Heavyweight Champion: Wahoo McDaniel (October 7, 1984, Charleston, North Carolina, defeated “Ragin’ Bull” Manny Fernandez in the final of a 15-man tournament to win the vacant U.S. Heavyweight title; the tournament was advertised as a 16-man tournament but Barry Windham and Blackjack Mulligan did not appear at the show; Brian Adidas wrestled in place of Barry Windham; the tournament also included Dusty Rhodes, Don Kernodle, Ivan Koloff, Brian Adidas, Mark Youngblood, Mike Rotundo, Assassin #1, Billy Graham, Carlos Colon, Tully Blanchard, Jimmy Valiant, Ricky Steamboat, & Ron Bass; Manny Fernandez received a bye to the second round due to Mulligan not appearing; the U.S. Heavyweight title was vacated in early July 1984 after Tully Blanchard interfered to assist then-Champion Wahoo McDaniel keep the title)
NWA World Television Champion: “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes (March 16, 1985, NWA SilverStar ’85, from Tully Blanchard; this match was a career versus title match in which both men put up $10,000)
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion: Denny Brown (November 22, 1984, NWA Starrcade ’84, from Mike Davis)
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion: “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer (March 16, 1985, NWA SilverStar ’85, from Ron Bass)
NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Russian Team (NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Champions Ivan & Nikita Koloff) (March 18, 1985, Fayetteville, North Carolina, from “Ragin’ Bull” Manny Fernandez & NWA World Television Champion “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes)
NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Champions: The Russian Team (Krusher Khruschev, NWA World Tag Team Champion Ivan Koloff, & NWA World Tag Team Champion Nikita Koloff) (January 12, 1985, NWA World Wide Wrestling; Krusher Khruschev officially replaced former Six-Man Tag Team Champion Don Kernodle, whom the Russians turned on after Kernodle & Ivan Koloff lost the World Tag Team titles to Dusty Rhodes & Manny Fernandez on October 20, 1984 in a “steel cage” match in Greensboro)


Following the usual Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling open, sans original music, we head straight to the ring for the first bout.


—Tag Team Match (0:40)
Doug Vines & Joel Deaton vs. Don Kernodle & Keith Larson

Kernodle & Larson are brothers, for those who may not know. The match, meanwhile, is a competitive squash in which we get to see Kernodle & Larson pour on the offense and fight a bit from underneath as they show off their skills as a tag team. In the end, after forcing Vines to tag in, Kernodle lands a big swinging neckbreaker before tagging in Larson. Kernodle then lifts Vines into belly-to-back position as Larson comes off the top with a lariat to score the pinfall at 5:00.

WINNERS are Don Kernodle & Keith Larson (Pin, 5:00)


After the match we see Kernodle & Larson celebrate before getting a replay of the double-team finish. Coming out of the replay we head to the interview location where Bob Caudle interviews “Nature Boy” Buddy Landell. Landell begins by explaining why his manager, J.J. Dillon, isn’t with him this week, saying Dillon is in California getting the “rights” to a Landell wrestling video. Landell then turns to the “imposter” Ric Flair, whom Landell refuses to call “Nature Boy”. Flair can brag, Landell says, but all Flair has done is imitate Landell. Landell says that Flair has watched Landell wrestle all over the world and come to the Carolinas to hide. But the only thing Flair is going to end up with is a “broken leg” or “broken teeth”, Landell says. Flair had better get himself a U-Haul, pack it up, and take off down the road because, Landell says, the only thing in this area for Flair is a platter of “fish heads”. Landell storms off as Caudle wraps the interview and sends us to our first Peacock ad-break with a graphic hyping the fifty year anniversary of JCP.


—“Non-Title Singles Match” (7:46)
Arn Anderson vs. NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Denny Brown

Arn Anderson had just debuted for JCP on the March 9, 1985, edition of Worldwide Wrestling. Arn takes Brown lightly to start, treating Brown more like a child rather than the World Junior Heavyweight Champion. Before long, though, Denny Brown fires up, using his speed and athleticism to frustrate Anderson. But, as the two look to tie-up, Arn lands a low knee that turns the tide in Arn’s favor. Anderson focuses on Brown’s mid-section almost exclusively. Arn uses the ropes and his gord buster to punish Brown as Brown begins to fight from underneath. Brown manages to make a minor comeback near the end before attempting to shoulder block Arn. Arn withstands the first shoulder tackle attempt before turning the second attempt into an impressive rotating one-arm backbreaker for the pinfall at 3:53.

WINNER is Arn Anderson (Pin, 3:53)


Following the match we get a replay of the finish before heading to the next Peacock ad-break with a graphic hyping Magnum T.A. as the number one contender tot he United States Heavyweight Championship.


Coming out of the break we return to the interview location where Bob Caudle is set to interview Magnum T.A. Things seem to be going Magnum T.A.’s way lately, Caudle says, including Magnum and Ric Flair winning the $50,000 tag team battle royal at the Kickoff ’85 event on January 6, 1985. Magnum talks about how sweet a victory it was, and how dangerous battle royals are, and how magical it was to have World Champion Ric Flair as his partner for the match. We then jump to the closing moments of the battle royal as Magnum talks us through the footage, including hitting the belly-to-belly on Tully Blanchard as the match came to a close. The night was special, Magnum says, because not only did he and Flair with the money but they also took out Wahoo McDaniel. Magnum says he’s getting tired of talking about his problems and says he wants Wahoo in a steel cage anywhere in the country to settle their issues once and for all. As Magnum departs Caudle wraps the interview and we jump to the ring for the next bout.


—Singles Match (13:51)
The Barbarian w/Paul Jones vs. Sam Houston

This is the squash match one would expect. Houston, despite his best efforts, is no match for Barbarian here. Barbarian swats away Houston’s offense before biting, slamming, and pounding on Houston. Barbarian takes great pleasure in torturing Houston before Houston manages to fire up and land a few punches. Barbarian cuts Houston’s offense short, however, with a stiff lariat. Houston ducks a second lariat but eats a brutal boot that all but knocks Houston out. Barbarian pounces, landing the standing headbutt for the 1-2-3 at 2:37.

WINNER is The Barbarian w/Paul Jones (Pin, 2:37)


After the match Paul Jones & Barbarian celebrate their win as we see a replay of Barbarian polishing off Houston. We then head to the next Peacock ad-break with another Magnum T.A. graphic, this time asking how many motorcycles Magnum owns. The answer: six!


We head to the interview location after the break where Bob Caudle is joined by Steve Casey and “Avalanche” Buzz Tyler. Steve Casey starts by talking about how many friends he’s made in the ten weeks he’s been in the country. His best friend in the ring, Casey says, is Buzz Tyler. Though the two employ contrasting styles, Casey says, Tyler has been giving Casey pointers, cementing a friendship along the way. After a conversation, Casey says, the two have decided to put their individual pursuits on hold to pursue their tag team goals. As in life, Casey says, opposites attract, and he and Tyler are one such team. Tyler has the big moves and power while Casey has the speed and agility. Casey says it’s not just a partnership but a friendship, and that he and Tyler are focused on the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team gold held by Ron Bass & Black Bart. Tyler jumps in then and issues a warning to Bass, Bart, and their manager J.J. Dillon, that Casey & Tyler are coming for the Tag Team titles. They plan on being aggressive because in the Carolinas, with the quality of tag team competition, if you’re not aggressive you’re not going to come out on top. Tyler says that he and Casey are going to “boogie woogie all night long” and that Bart & Bass should get ready because here they come! With the interview over we head tot he next Peacock ad-break.


Coming out of the break we return to the interview location where Bob Caudle introduces Jimmy Valiant. The first portion of the promo, thanks to the music being overdubbed, is hard to make out. Valiant asks if manager Paul Jones is around but Caudle says Valiant just missed him, that Jones is no longer around. Valiant says that Jones saved himself for one more week and that he’s eager to introduce Jones to Valiant’s “mean ol’ lady”. Valiant then pulls out an ax handle and says he’s going to hurt Paul Jones. Valiant says that he and his “mean ol’ lady” are going to break Jones’ arm, leg, and head. Valiant calls out “Superstar” Billy Graham, Great Kabuki, and Barbarian and tells them to stay away, that this issue is between Valiant and Paul Jones. As Valiant storms off we jump to the ring for the next bout.


—Tag Team Match (20:44)
Inferno #1 & Golden Terror vs. Steve Casey & “Avalanche” Buzz Tyler

Buzz Tyler starts out with Golden Terror, with Tyler getting the better of Terror before Casey and Inferno tag in. Casey & Tyler use double-team maneuvers and quick tags to take the fight to Inferno, working Inferno’s leg. Casey comes back in and lands a dropkick before Tyler tags back in and lands the Avalanche power slam for the pinfall at 2:38.

WINNERS are Steve Casey & “Avalanche” Buzz Tyler (Pin, 2:38)


Following the match Tyler & Casey celebrate as we see a replay of the powerslam finish before we head to the next Peacock ad-break with another Magnum T.A. graphic, this time hyping the fact that Magnum is undefeated in 1985.


After the break we join Bob Caudle at the interview location where Caudle introduces two-thirds of the World Six Man Tag Team Champions Nikita Koloff & Krusher Khrushchev. Nikita starts by explaining that Ivan Koloff isn’t here this week because he’s mourning with the Kremlin the passing of Konstantin Chernrnko. (Chernenko, who passed away on March 10, 1985, was the 7th General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union at the time of his passing and would be succeeded Mihail Gorbachev.) Krusher jumps in then and talks about how great a leader Chernenko was, a fact that everybody knows, he says, and that everyone “back home” is mourning today. Krusher says while the people in the Motherland are happy with the Six-Man Tag titles they really want the World Tag Team titles, held by Dusty Rhodes & Manny Fernandez. Krusher says the two are great American wrestlers, that they have to be to hold the gold, but they are not Russian. Nikita shouts that “American Dream’s” time is over and that the Russian Team is superior to all other athletes. Krusher says that Dusty & Manny are going down and that the Russian Team will take the title back to the Motherland. Nikita says they’ll take the titles back and celebrate with a big party and celebrate with the Kremlin. When Ivan returns, they say, they’ll be the next World Tag Team Champions. We then head cut to the next Peacock ad-break.


We return to the interview location after the break where Bob Caudle interviews NWA World Television Champion Tully Blanchard. Tully, the longest reigning TV Champion in history, begins by griping about a conspiracy to keep him off of television. Tully says he had to go to Jim Crockett and buy this time personally so that the fans could see the World Television Champion. Tully then talks about the audacity of Dusty Rhodes to pull whatever strings he had to pull to sign a match with Tully where Baby Doll will be suspended above the ring in a cage, the most dehumanizing, degrading thing he’s ever heard of. But being the true Champion he is, Tully says, he’s going to overcome the adversity as he always does, which is why he still has the TV title. Baby Doll has agreed to the stipulation, Tully says, but Dusty isn’t going to get the “normal” Tully Blanchard. Dusty is going to get a “mad” and “hateful” Tully Blanchard and when Tully comes to the ring for their match Tully will be “burning” for Dusty Rhodes. We then cut to the ring for the next match.


—Singles Match (27:40)
Gene Ligon vs. “Nature Boy” Buddy Landell

Landell does his best Ric Flair impression here, complete with hair flip. Landell starts by using the ropes and the referee to keep Ligon away from him. Soon enough, though, Ligon closes the distance, cinching in a tight side headlock. Landell uses a belly-to-back suplex to escape the side headlock and begins to open up on Ligon. Landell batters Gene around the ring, cinching in a chin lock. Gene gets out of the chin lock and drops Landell with a back elbow before Landell backs off into the ropes. Gene tries to advance on Landell but the referee steps in, giving Landell the opening to land a kick to Gene’s gut. Landell lands a slew of high impact maneuvers and drops the running knee before cinching in his own version of the Figure-Four for the submission win at 3:16.

WINNERS is “Nature Boy” Buddy Landell (Submission, 3:16)


After the match Landell holds on to the Figure-Four for good measure before releasing it. Landell celebrates his win as we see a slow-motion replay of the running elbow drop as we head to the next Peacock ad-break. Coming out of the break we head back to the interview location where Bob Caudle interviews Arn Anderson. Caudle puts Arn over as a cousin to the original Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Gene & Ole Anderson) but Anderson, sporting a New York Yankees cap, says he doesn’t believe a name or tag needs to be put on “Double A” Arn Anderson, saying he’s the youngest and best of the Andersons. As Arn talks, though, Buddy Landell enters the scene. Arn says that Landell is a friend of his and the only true “Nature Boy” around. Arn tosses the interview to Landell who says that he kicked the brains out of a “jabroni” and isn’t even breathing hard, despite the fact that Landell is sucking wind. Landell says we can stand around and talk about how great looking Landell is but they shouldn’t waste TV time on the obvious. Landell then reiterates his earlier thoughts on Ric Flair and says that he is coming after Flair. But, Landell says, after he’s put Flair out he’ll hire Flair as his driver. Arn jumps in and says that he is the “ultimate man” and Landell is the true “Nature Boy”. Anderson says he’s here for one thing, and it’s not to make friends, and that if Denny Brown is a sign of the competition in the territory then Arn will be on top faster than he thought he’d be. Arn then calls out the top babyfaces in the territory and says he’s already on the way to the top. Caudle wraps the interview and we head to the next Peacock ad-break.


—“Non-Title Singles Match” (34:01)
NWA World Tag Team Champion “Ragin’ Bull” Manny Fernandez vs. Rock ‘N’ Roll RPM #2 (Tommy “LP” Lane) w/Rock ‘N’ Roll RPM #1 (Mike “DJ” Davis)

This is our TV main event and the only truly competitive match on the show. The match is even to start, with “LP” and Fernandez getting the better of the other. After a short rest Manny cinches in a side headlock and grounds “LP”. Manny cuts off a number of “LP’s” hope spots until “LP” goes to Manny’s eyes. “LP” drops Manny with a big back elbow for a one-count before cinching in his own rear chin lock that Fernandez breaks by ramming “LP” into the top turnbuckle. Both men are tired as Manny fires up, landing a few shots before missing a splash in the opposite corner. Then, with the referee checking on Manny, “DJ” switches places with “LP”. “DJ” lands a back body drop to Manny before both RPM’s are in the ring and going after Manny. The RPM bend down for a double back down drop but Manny flies over both to land a double sunset flip for a double near-fall. “DJ” heads to the floor as “LP” and Manny fight in the ring. Manny then sends “LP” to the floor before both RPMs again try to get into the ring. Manny brings them in the hard way before landing a running crossbody on both RPMs. Arn Anderson then rushes the ring and the referee calls for the bell, giving Manny the win by DQ at 8:03.

WINNER is NWA World Tag Team Champion “Ragin’ Bull” Manny Fernandez (Disqualification, 8:03)


Following the match Arn Anderson takes the fight to Manny Fernandez, beating the stuffing out of Manny as the RPMs regroup on the floor. Anderson carries on until the referee signals that Manny is the winner of the match and Arn walks away with the RPMs.


We then cut back to the interview location where Bob Caudle recaps the finish of the Fernandez/”LP” match before bringing Arn Anderson back in. Anderson again says he’s headed to the top and calls Dusty, Magnum, and Manny “three timid fellas”, saying that if Manny is a bull then Arn is a “dinosaur”. Once Ole returns, Arn says, it’s going to go back to the way it was with the Minnesota Wrecking Crew “phase 2” on top. Arn says he’s been training hard, is ready for a World title, and is going to run through who he has to to get it done.


Paul Jones crashes the interview location then and says that there’s few people in the area that Jones wants to shake hands as Jones shakes Arn Anderson’s hand. Jones wants everybody to see a “man” and the ladies to look at the person next to them and compare them to Anderson. Jones loves how Arn handled Manny Fernandez and says that he knows of a lot of women who love “men” and that Arn is in luck in “this area”. Jones hopes Arn is around for a long time, just as the ladies do. Jones then says that Arn is going to be a “nightmare” for the “American Dream” when Buddy Landell again crashes the interview.


Landell shakes Arn’s hand as well and says he’s glad Arn is around too. Anderson says that Paul Jones is a rare individual who has a “rare mind” with “rare talent” who said some “important words” about some “very rare people”. Anderson says we’re going to be finding out just how rare he is in the near future. Arn says he likes meat, and that when he’s done in the ring he leaves his opponents looking like a piece of rare meat. If any of them have any guts, Arn says, then sign on the “dotted line” and Anderson will be seeing them real soon. Anderson and Landell leave the interview location as Bob Caudle wraps this week’s card and signs off, sending us to the credits!


Final Thoughts

This is a fun, action-packed edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling that is slowly dragged down by the repetition of the Landell promos. That said, for those looking for a solid, old-school territory wrestling show, this will scratch that itch. All of the matches, including the squashes, are fun and the promos, despite the redundancy of them at times, are entertaining. In other words, if you haven’t seen this edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, or if it’s been a while, you can’t go wrong taking the time to check this show out. Who knows, you may actually like it, and that’s never a bad thing!

Already subscribed to the WWE Network on Peacock? Then you can relive the classic edition of NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling right now or experience it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below!

For pre-WNN editions of Throwback Thursday, click here!

Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!



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