, thanks for sitting down with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway for a
while this afternoon. I think Dick (Bourne) has something for
: (Dick gives
a photo of “The Hammer” wearing the “I Broke Wahoo’s
Isn’t that a classic? (laughs) That’s my favorite
Valentine photo of all time!
Valentine: (laughs) Yeah, that was back in 1977. I
broke his leg in
On television…at WRAL. That picture was in one of the
old Mid-Atlantic magazines.
(looking at the photo) No more Wahoo…(laughing)
Yeah…the ‘No More Wahoo’ was on the back of that
same shirt. I remember when I saw you in Asheville
(North Carolina) around that time, as you came into the ring
you opened your robe and you were wearing that shirt and
everybody could see the front….‘I Broke Wahoo’s Leg.’
Everybody was really booing you. Then you took the robe all
the way off and pointed to the back of your shirt…‘No More
Wahoo.’ Then the place was ready to kill you! (laughs)
And the match hadn’t even started!
, who came up with the idea for the broken leg angle with
Wahoo? The T-shirt part of that really infuriated the fans. I
remember you used to say you got those shirts specially made
It was George Scott. George Scott was the booker back
then. It was mainly his idea. I certainly give him the
credit…I was seven years into the business then, but I still
had a lot to learn.
What, or who, prepared you the most for your entry into
the Mid-Atlantic area?
Of course, coming out of
, I really stepped up the knowledge of my craft of wrestling
there. I really got into the scientific wrestling with the
Briscos and the Funks.
when I came to
I was ready…I had been prepared well. But George (Scott)
helped fit all the pieces of the puzzle together for me…and
molded me just like my Dad (Johnny Valentine).
Your Dad and Wahoo had some epic matches.
One of my Dad’s biggest feuds was with Wahoo McDaniel.
Wahoo McDaniel was like a God up here in the
…everybody loved him.
his leg really set that whole thing off. Ironically enough, I
had just started to do the figure four (leg lock), but I
couldn’t get it on Wahoo because his legs were so big. So,
we just did this thing where I hooked his left leg with my
right arm…and I fell back, and boom, like I broke his ankle.
That’s how that (finish) came about.
Crockett calling that hold a ‘Leg/Ankle Suplex,’ and Wahoo
later called it a ‘European Version Of The Figure Four.’
Now we know the REAL story!
(laughing) Yeah…it was just simply because I couldn’t
get the figure four on him! I couldn’t have put it on
Wahoo…or if I tried I would’ve really messed everything
I tell you
, those return matches you had with Wahoo after you broke his
leg had some of the most heat I can ever remember.
I know that when I carried that much heat on me, that
it’s easier to work. I would just get in the ring, and I
could sense the crowd. All I’d really have to do is walk
around, and Wahoo would pace and stalk me. I’d just put on
the brakes and back up, back up.
wouldn’t have to do anything, because the people were just
waiting for him to rip me apart. You know, he’d grab me and
nail me a couple of times…and I’d infuriate the fans by
scooting out of the ring. And then they would try to kill me
when I was outside the ring. Eventually I’d get back in the
ring and stop Wahoo, and he’d start bleeding.
that time with Wahoo, it was really easy to keep the people on
the edge of their seats. The fans were so into those matches.
Some pretty good chops were thrown in those matches!
Oh man, we chopped the hell out of each other!
Did you enjoy those bouts with Wahoo?
It was hard, but I enjoyed it. I really did. It was very
I remember the first time Wahoo came back on TV after the
broken leg, he was in a wheelchair, and you told him you felt
so bad for him that you threw him ten silver dollars just for
the effort of getting to the TV studio. (laughs)
I’m surprised that you could get out of the building
alive after something like that.
Yeah…it was brutal sometimes. It really was.
You spoke of the figure four…which, of course, you
eventually perfected! (laughs) Tell us about the other holds
and maneuvers that you are famous for, including the ‘bionic
Show us that elbow
strikes a great pose of the ‘bionic elbow’ as Dick takes a
Perfect! Thank you.
Well, I used the backwards suplex. In that one, I dropped
the guy’s left arm around my head like a headlock, and then
I’d go backwards with him. That’s like an amateur
(wrestling) suplex…but that’s a real one!
That one always looked like it hurt the recipient!
There are a lot of wrestling holds that don’t hurt, but
the figure four and the backwards suplex/headlock suplex
definitely hurt. The headlock suplex can knock you
out…I’ve knocked myself out on that one!
You have to keep your head tucked in! (laughs)
, enough of the backwards suplex…tell us about the ‘bionic
I had the elbow smash…I called it the ‘bionic
elbow.’ My Dad called it the ‘atomic skull crusher.’ He
was the ‘Blonde Bomber,’ and I inherited that from him.
the elbow was big for me,
. But those were the three finishers I really used.
The ‘broken leg’ angle with Wahoo really blended in a
couple of things from your Dad. Weren’t the silver dollars
at stake in that match?
(smiles) Right, right…the silver dollars were up.
And your Dad had broken Tim Woods’ leg a couple of years
earlier, so it was like a classic blend of two big parts of
your Dad’s past in the area.
And George Scott was here through my Dad’s era…so he
kind of just fit me into those same shoes, so to speak.
How difficult was it coming into the Mid-Atlantic area
fairly soon after your Dad was here? You had some REALLY big
shoes to fill.
Well, up to that point in my career, I had wrestled under
several different names. But most people knew who I was
was really hard, because my Dad was so famous and was such a
great wrestler. Expectations for me were real high because of
my Dad, and when people saw that I was still a little green it
would hurt me, you know?
Who were some of the early personas that you wrestled
under, as you were getting your feet wet in the business?
I wrestled as Johnny Fargo, and as Babyface Nelson…all
these different aliases. When I went to Florida, I started
using my real name…
the time I got [to the Mid-Atlantic area], I was pretty
comfortable in my own skin.
Not that anyone could ever forget Johnny Valentine, but
your Dad had been out of the area for a fair amount of
time…so in a way I guess that helped you establish your own
identity a little better?
My Dad had been in the (Wilmington, NC) plane crash in
1975, and he had been gone from the area for just about a
year. So when I came in a year later in 1976, that was just
about perfect timing. They kept me out long enough to where I
wasn’t coming in too soon after him, you know?
Now, when you first came into
Crockett Promotions, you were billed as being Johnny
Valentine’s ‘brother,’ and not as his ‘son.’ Why was
That was done for very good reasons,
. It was because of my Dad. Nowadays, you can be 40-50 years
old and still be on top in sports. But back then in the 70s,
if you were 40 or 50 they would say, ‘He’s washed
up…he’s too old.’ [My Dad] didn’t want that coming
out. He had worked a long time to get where he was at. He
asked me, ‘Do you mind wrestling for a while as my
brother…cause I don’t want them to know how old I am!’
I doubt if you voiced an objection!
I said, ‘Sure…no problem.’ (laughs)
he got hurt in the plane crash, and then had to retire all
together, I of course eventually became (billed as) his son
Do fans still ask you about the brother/son thing?
Yes! A lot of people still come up and ask me, ‘Was
Johnny your brother or was he your father?’ But it was all
done at Dad’s request.