Thursday, October 4, 2018

From The Musty Yellowed Pages--Mid Atlantic Wrestling Magazine Vol. 4 No. 3

 It's hard to believe that it has been over a year since we "cracked open" a classic wrestling magazine and took a look at all of the info, entertainment, and history contained inside. Seeing as that it's the return of our feature titled "From The Musty Yellowed Pages," where better to pick up than with one of the all-time classic characters of the ring and one of the most beloved promotions of the past? Killing two birds with one stone, we're taking a look at Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine Vol. 4 No. 3 featuring the one and only "Sheiky Baby" himself, The Iron Sheik. Camera man, zoom.

I've always liked this cover. The yellow border is eye-popping and goes well with the baby bluebackground that Sheiky is standing in front of. This era of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine had a chrome, almost Star Wars-like frame to the cover photos. Very '80s, but a style that would be fresh and welcome today. The Sheik is in a classic pose, hoisting one of his infamous pointed boots and wearing the coveted Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. His ownership of the championship coupled with some other photos inside of the magazine place this issue between June and September 1980.

Immediately, it's clear that no one involved with the production of the magazine knew how to spell "Sheik." On the cover and throughout the magazine it is misspelled as "Shiek." By and large, this is one of few mistakes in an otherwise high quality publication. While this series of publications considered itself a magazine, you could argue that these are more like programs. Featuring only around fifteen pages each, a high volume of photos,  and very short articles, these issues were sold solely at shows. All of these factors combine to make them highly collectible.

Like most vintage wrestling publications, each of these magazines is a time capsule. Anderson's Army was a stable managed by Gene Anderson who, at the time, was recovering from health issues and had to continue outside of the ring. He obviously had a successful run boasting both Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion The Iron Sheik and NWA Tag Team Champions Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka as being under his tutelage. Seeing Snuka as a more civilized heel than his better known WWF run as a savage would be jarring to some fans. On the flip side we have the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions in the form of Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer. No clowning around when it came to that duo.

As with most magazines of the era, you get a centerfold. Despite it being Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, there's no Penny Banner or Susan Green here. Instead, yes, it's once again The Iron Sheik. Humbling, to say the least. Following the poster is a short black and white profile and photo gallery of the worldly Iranian. His legitimate Olympic background is discussed. Fans always enjoy seeing a young Sheik, complete with hair. Speaking of hair, check out the long locks on The Sheepherders. Luke Williams and Butch Miller were a simply bushwhacking team of crazies.

At the end of the day Mid-Atlantic Wrestling prided itself on presenting second-to-none ring action. Here we have a small photo feature on a bloody tag team match pitting Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan against Bobby Duncum and Greg Valentine. Can you think of four harder-hitting competitors? Of course Flair and Valentine were no stranger to tag team wrestling in the area, at one time teaming together. On the other end we have a full color shot of Sweet Ebony Diamond. Wherever Diamond wrestled, you can be sure a little Rock was rolling right along behind him.

And of course no Mid-Atlantic Wrestling feature is complete without stalwart Paul Jones. The passing of Jones earlier this year was sadly overshadowed by names more familiar to the modern fan, but there's no denying that it was one of the biggest blows to the business in 2018. From the sound of the article, it appears as if "Number One" was once again wrestling on the side of the fans. We all know that didn't last long.

As mentioned above, the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazines are highly collectible and sought after. Secondary market prices vary, but it's often hard to pinpoint individual issues at any one time. You either strike while the iron is hot or you could wait some time before you see that exact issue available again. From the earlier artistic covers of the '70s to the photographic shots that brought the publication into the following decade, I don't think there's a single issue that sells for under $20 if properly listed. Monetary value aside, they're just fun to collect!

And there ain't nothin' humble about that!

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