When pro wrestling was golden in Charlotte

Dusty Rhodes applies the pressure of a hold to Tully Blanchard. April, 1985
Dusty Rhodes applies the pressure of a hold to Tully Blanchard. April, 1985 The Charlotte Observer

With the premier of “Mid-Atlantic Memories,” a documentary film covering the golden years of professional wrestling in Charlotte and the South in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Retro Charlotte looks back, too, with a 1985 excerpt from Lawrence Toppman on one of the sport’s great rivalries:

“Wrestler Dusty Rhodes call himself ‘The American Dream.’ But as he trudged through bellowing admirers toward the Charlotte Coliseum spotlights, he looked like Rodney Dangerfield after a hard night.

“Tully Blanchard scowled from the ring, resplendent in a red robe adorned with spangled stars. Baby Doll, a square-shouldered platinum blonde whom he calls his ‘valet,’ stood by in a cutaway coat and white gloves.

“Tully and Dusty had agreed that the winner would receive a month of Baby’s Doll’s services, but she had no interest in the puffy-eyed Rhodes. She acknowledged him by sinking a fist into his pink belly. ...

“Tully Blanchard pinned NWA TV Champion Dusty Rhodes to win the title after hitting him over the head with a foreign object, thrown to him by Baby Doll, moments after referee Tommy Young was knocked down; Rhodes feet were on the ropes during the cover but the dazed Young didn’t notice.”


WHEN: FanFest is open to the public 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Hilton Charlotte University Place, 8629 J.M. Keynes Blvd.

TICKETS: Single-day general admission passes are $20 for adults, $10 for ages 10-17 and free for children younger than 10. Weekend VIP all-access passes are $99; single-day VIP passes are $49.

DETAILS: www.nwalegends.com; www.midatlanticmemories.com.

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