Younger fans really don’t know much about Mr. Tony Atlas other than what they saw on
the MTV wrestling special in 1999 and in 2000. What any wrestling fan needs to
understand is that Atlas was once one of the most sought after grapplers in the country.
Nicknamed “Mr. USA,” Atlas had a physique like none other and many thought it was just
a matter of time before the NWA World Champion was stopped in his tracks. It was just a
matter of time before Atlas was taking the World Title back to his hometown of Roanoke.
Despite never achieving his full potential in the ring, Atlas had a storied career. He was a
former co-holder of the WWF World Tag Team Title.
Atlas first made his wrestling debut in 1977. He competed throughout Georgia on the
NWA Circuit in 1980. Tony feuded with Baron Von Raschke and dropped lots of blood on
the mat. He won the NWA Georgia Heavyweight Title. Atlas received a shot at Harley
Race’s NWA World Title and nearly won the belt. He suffered an injury to the ligaments in
his left knee. Atlas traveled through many Alliance areas before landing in the World
Wrestling Federation. He also wrestled in the Mid-Atlantic Region, where he received
shots at the NWA World Title.
In Allentown, Pennsylvania on November 15, 1983, Atlas teamed with Rocky Johnson to
capture the WWF World Tag Team Title from the Wild Samoans, who were led by
Captain Lou Albano. During the match, Albano attempted to hit Atlas with a chair, but he
ducked and the metal object hit Afa. Atlas quickly pinned him for the WWF Championship
before a joyous crowd. In December, the change was recognized on WWF Television.
They lost the belts to Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch on April 17, 1984 in Hamburg.
Johnson was pinned by Adonis. The new champs were also managed by Lou Albano.
Atlas and Andre the Giant teamed in East Rutherford on October 10, 1985. The duo
were defeated by Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy. The match was shown on NBC’s
Saturday Night’s Main Event.
Atlas left the WWF and began wrestling in the northeast independents. Atlas feuded with
Joe Savoldi. He beat Savoldi on February 11, 1989 in Presque Isle, Maine to become the
ICW Heavyweight Champion. Atlas did return to the WWF. He competed in the 1991
Royal Rumble on January 19, 1991 in Miami, Florida at the Arena and entered the event
at number 7. Atlas wrestled on television shows and toured with the organization for
In 1992, Atlas joined WCW. He participated in the main event of Clash of the Champions
XXI in Macon, Georgia on November 18th. He teamed with Cactus Jack and the
Barbarian against 2 Cold Scorpio and Ron Simmons, the WCW World Champion. It was
a special handicap match, which his team lost. He arm-wrestled Vinnie Vegas on January
13, 1993 in Milwaukee and lost. Atlas did not compete on pay-per-view. To this day,
Atlas continues to wrestle and promote.
Despite whatever problems he might have had, Atlas’ fans still recognize his faith in the
business and love for the profession.
-NWA Georgia Heavyweight Title (1981) defeated Dennis Condrey
-A three-time co-holder of the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title
w/ Tommy Rich (1977) defeated The Executioner and Pak Son
w/ Mr. Wrestling II (1978) defeated Ole Anderson and Sergeant Jacques Goulet
w/ Kevin Sullivan (1980) defeated Ivan Koloff and Alexis Smirnoff
-Co-holder of the WWF World Tag Team Title (1983-’84) w/ Rocky Johnson
-WCCW Television Title (1980s) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow
-NWA West Virginia/ Ohio Heavyweight Title (2000) defeated J.W. Idol
Research by Tim Hornbaker
|Tony Atlas Wrestling History
|PPV Ring Record TV Ring Record Career Record
Legends of Pro Wrestling