Without a doubt, one of the most fondly remembered and popular performers in the history of Jim Crockett Promotions is Jimmy Valiant. The “Boogie Woogie Man” entertained countless thousands of fans around the Mid-Atlantic area from 1981 until the end of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling promotion in the mid 1980s. Coming into Mid-Atlantic rings to his familiar “The Boy From New York City” theme music, Valiant engaged in memorable feuds with Ivan Koloff over the NWA Television Title, the House of Humperdink, the Great Kabuki and with Paul Jones and his stable of wrestlers for a number of years. In this interview, Valiant takes us through his years in the Mid-Atlantic area, talking about all of the memorable times and events he was part of during his stellar career with Jim Crockett Promotions. Special thanks go out to Mr. #1 George South for going out of his way to arrange this interview for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. And thanks most of all to Jimmy Valiant for taking time to sit down and talk about the Mid-Atlantic days. Boogie, you were, and still are, truly one of a kind!


- David Chappell





David Chappell: Boogie, thanks for giving the Mid-Atlantic Gateway some of your time this evening.


Jimmy Valiant: All right, David ….this should be good.


Chappell: I’d like to start with your entry into Jim Crockett Promotions in the middle of 1981. Many people forget that when you first came into the Mid-Atlantic area, you wrestled as a heel. Tell us about your start with Crockett.


Valiant: Well, believe it or not, it really all started when Jerry Lawler broke his leg in 1980.


Chappell: Now, we’re talking about the Memphis territory, right? Wasn’t Lawler out almost the whole year with that broken leg?


Valiant: Yes, yes. So, (Jerry) Jarrett brought me in over there basically to take that shot…to take that position. Jarrett was the big boss over there.


Chappell: How long were you in Memphis for Lawler?


Valiant: I did that for like nine months…or until he came back. Soon after [Lawler] came back, that’s when I came into Charlotte . That was my first shot in Charlotte .


Chappell: There was a lot of moving around in those days, wasn’t it?


Valiant: Years ago, [the promoters] would place you different places….I mean, they would give you choices. If you had somewhere you wanted to go yourself, you could often do that. In this case, Jarrett told me I could either go to Atlanta if they wanted me…or to Charlotte .


Chappell: And as you said, at that time, you had never wrestled in Charlotte before.


Valiant: That’s right…and I told Jarrett I had never been to Charlotte . David ….me and Johnny (Valiant) went to Atlanta around 1976 and worked that territory as a tag team then. So, I’d been [in Atlanta ] before.


Chappell: It sounds like the Mid-Atlantic area held some interest for you in 1981, mainly because you’d never been there before.


Valiant: Yeah… Charlotte sounded great because it was a new place that I’d never been to before.


Chappell: But Charlotte must have been one of the few places you hadn’t been to then….because you really got around!


Valiant: I was very fortunate. I went to the WWWF three different times, and I stayed there over a year each time. I was in the AWA a couple of times with (Verne) Gagne, as you know. Of course, I was in the WWA with Bruiser. I was fortunate to work a lot of the real big territories.


Chappell: Now, who actually brought you into the Mid-Atlantic area? Hadn’t Ole Anderson just become Crockett’s booker when you first came in?


Valiant: Yes, yes. George Scott had just left and Ole was there then. But the whole thing was, they really weren’t ready for me in Charlotte when I got there. They didn’t know what to do with me.


Chappell: How was that?


Valiant: ( Greg ) Valentine was getting ready to go to the WWWF at that time. So they threw me together briefly with him as ‘King James Valiant.’


Chappell: Didn’t Lord Alfred Hayes manage you as the heel, King James Valiant?


Valiant: Yes, Al Hayes was managing then. So…Valentine had been feuding then with (Sweet) Ebony Diamond and, I think, Bad Bad Leroy Brown. I guess it was sort of natural…Valentine and I were two blondes.

King James Valiant


Chappell: Since you came in as a heel…there was probably no other heel in the territory then with more heat than Greg Valentine!


Valiant: It was really great, because of course I took all of his heat. He was over, and I just blended right in there.


Chappell: But your run as a heel in the King James persona was very brief.


Valiant: Like I said, they didn’t really know what to do with me then. At that point they didn’t have a real solid spot for me. And Valentine left pretty soon. But it was a start for me. I guess I was only in that first time for about five weeks.


Chappell: What was the story on your leaving?


Valiant: It gets interesting here!


Chappell: I think it’s been interesting all along!  (laughs)