Our special thanks to Tony Hunter for hooking us up with "The Hammer", Greg Valentine.


When Greg Valentine entered the Mid-Atlantic area in September of 1976, he had to face challenges on two fronts. One, he was looking to establish himself as a star in what had become the hottest territory in professional wrestling. But his even more daunting challenge was to live up to the legacy of the “Valentine” name, a name that his father Johnny Valentine had made synonymous in the territory with the name “Champ.” Greg successfully met both challenges, and in the process earned his place among the greatest wrestlers to ever call Jim Crocket Promotions home. 


In this interview, Greg talks about his start in the wrestling business, and takes us through his years in the Mid-Atlantic area all the way to the present, where he will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at the WrestleMania XX festivities this weekend. Many thanks to Tony Hunter of Carolina Championship Wrestling for arranging this interview for the Gateway before his fabulous show in Lenoir , NC this past Saturday night. Thanks to my partner Dick Bourne for his help and participation in the interview. And thanks to Ole Anderson for interrupting the interview…feel free to interrupt the Gateway any time Ole! 


Special thanks to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine for being so generous with his time Saturday afternoon into the evening, and giving the Gateway an engaging and inside look into his spectacular career inside the squared circle. And, Greg , while fans of Jim Crockett Promotions are delighted about your impending induction into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday…know that you have already been in our collective Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling Hall of Fame for many, many years.

-   David Chappell





David Chappell: Greg , thanks for sitting down with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway for a while this afternoon. I think Dick (Bourne) has something for you.


Dick Bourne : (Dick gives Greg a photo of “The Hammer” wearing the “I Broke Wahoo’s Leg” T-shirt) 

Isn’t that a classic? (laughs) That’s my favorite Greg Valentine photo of all time!



Greg Valentine: (laughs) Yeah, that was back in 1977. I broke his leg in Raleigh .


Bourne: On television…at WRAL. That picture was in one of the old Mid-Atlantic magazines.


Valentine: (looking at the photo) No more Wahoo…(laughing)


Bourne: 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)


Chappell: And the match hadn’t even started!  (laughs)


Valentine: (laughing)


Chappell: Greg , 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 in Las Vegas !


Valentine: 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.


Chappell: What, or who, prepared you the most for your entry into the Mid-Atlantic area?


Valentine: Of course, coming out of Florida , 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.


So, when I came to Charlotte and the Carolinas 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).


Chappell: Your Dad and Wahoo had some epic matches.


Valentine: One of my Dad’s biggest feuds was with Wahoo McDaniel. Wahoo McDaniel was like a God up here in the Carolinas …everybody loved him.


Breaking 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.


Chappell: I recall David 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!


Valentine: (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 up.


Chappell: I tell you Greg , those return matches you had with Wahoo after you broke his leg had some of the most heat I can ever remember.


Valentine: 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.


I 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.


During 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.


Chappell: Some pretty good chops were thrown in those matches!


Valentine: Oh man, we chopped the hell out of each other!


Chappell: Did you enjoy those bouts with Wahoo?


Valentine: It was hard, but I enjoyed it. I really did. It was very satisfying.


Bourne: 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)


Valentine: (laughing)


Bourne: I’m surprised that you could get out of the building alive after something like that.


Valentine: Yeah…it was brutal sometimes. It really was.


Chappell: 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 elbow.’


Bourne: Show us that elbow Greg !


Valentine: ( Greg strikes a great pose of the ‘bionic elbow’ as Dick takes a photo.)



Bourne: Perfect! Thank you.


Valentine: 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!


Chappell: That one always looked like it hurt the recipient!


Valentine: 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!


Chappell: (laughs)


Valentine: You have to keep your head tucked in! (laughs)


Chappell: Okay Greg , enough of the backwards suplex…tell us about the ‘bionic elbow!’


Valentine: 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.


Yeah, the elbow was big for me, David . But those were the three finishers I really used.


Bourne: 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?


Valentine: (smiles) Right, right…the silver dollars were up.


Bourne: 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.


Valentine: And George Scott was here through my Dad’s era…so he kind of just fit me into those same shoes, so to speak.


Chappell: 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.


Valentine: Well, up to that point in my career, I had wrestled under several different names. But most people knew who I was anyway. (laughs)


It 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?


Chappell: Who were some of the early personas that you wrestled under, as you were getting your feet wet in the business?


Valentine: I wrestled as Johnny Fargo, and as Babyface Nelson…all these different aliases. When I went to Florida, I started using my real name… Greg Valentine.


By the time I got [to the Mid-Atlantic area], I was pretty comfortable in my own skin.


Chappell: 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?


Valentine: 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?


Chappell: Now, when you first came into Jim Crockett Promotions, you were billed as being Johnny Valentine’s ‘brother,’ and not as his ‘son.’ Why was that done?


Valentine: That was done for very good reasons, David . 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!’ (everybody laughs)


Chappell: I doubt if you voiced an objection!


Valentine: I said, ‘Sure…no problem.’ (laughs)


After he got hurt in the plane crash, and then had to retire all together, I of course eventually became (billed as) his son again.


Chappell: Do fans still ask you about the brother/son thing?


Valentine: 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.