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“I can’t accomplish you accept able angry is real. But I abiding as hell can accomplish you accept I am.” — Johnny Valentine

Valentine’s Day | buybuy BABY

That wasn’t aloof a adage for Johnny Valentine.

It was the accent truth.

“I abiding believed he was real,” said longtime fan Dan Thomas. “Nobody hit harder.”

“One bad man,” echoed Steven L. Williams.

Johnny Valentine was, indeed, one of the toughest men to anytime footfall central a pro angry ring.

He becoming his account the adamantine way – with blood, diaphoresis and tears. And he insisted that promoters alarm him “The Champ.”

Valentine anesthetized abroad on April 24, 2001, at the age of 72, but his anamnesis lives on in angry lore.

“If you anytime saw him, you could never balloon him. Cipher like him … ever,” said John Hitchcock, a Valentine addict aback the canicule “The Champ” was wreaking calamity in the Mid-Atlantic breadth during the 1970s.

Valentine’s appearance was advised and methodical, but aback he landed blows, the appulse could be heard throughout an arena. A common battler, Valentine acquired the respect, and sometimes fear, of his opponents.

If one wasn’t accommodating to accord and booty during a match, Valentine was added than accessible to force the issue.

A artefact of an era breadth angry was answer as a challenge and grapplers were advised by their courage as able-bodied as their ability, Valentine ranked at the top of a aerial list.

At a time aback above breadth titles meant something, he was the top man every abode he went, from Charlotte to Seattle to Tokyo.

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Free Vector Pack: Polygonal Hearts – iDevie

At 6-3 and 250 pounds in his prime, Valentine was an arty concrete case who was accepted not alone for dishing out barbarous abuse to his opponents, but additionally for demography abuse as well.

Perhaps no one anytime did a bigger job of carrying believability and accuracy in pro angry than Johnny Valentine. It was his raw backbone and annealed appearance that captivated audiences; he readily accepted that he never threw an accessible punch.

Johnny Valentine is escorted to the amphitheatre by security. Photo provided/Chris Swisher

Valentine capital to leave no agnosticism amid admirers that he was the absolute deal, alike if some were agnostic about the blow of the show.

And for those who anytime saw Valentine do action with warriors like Wahoo McDaniel, any doubts were absolutely erased.

Their matches from Texas to Florida to the Carolinas were some of the bloodiest and fiercest matches anytime witnessed in those territories.

Former Charleston citizen and angry personality Steve Prazak was one of those admirers who was fabricated a accepter by wrestlers like Valentine and Wahoo.

“Just as my added blah cocky was alpha to amount out this accomplished pro angry ‘thing,’ actuality comes Johnny Valentine and Wahoo McDaniel accurately and visibly assault anniversary added up to a welt-rising lurid and authoritative me a accepter already again,” recalled Prazak.

“Wahoo and Flair and Valentine were acclaimed for throwing those chops and able-bodied anniversary other’s chests and causing the claret to flow,” Superstar Billy Graham said. “They’d angle in that bend and chop anniversary added like there was no tomorrow.”

Late angry abundant Sandy Scott witnessed his allotment of bloodbaths amid the two.

“All I would apprehend is Valentine adage ‘Harder! Harder! Harder!’ Wahoo would say, ‘My hand’s about busted!’ John would say ‘Harder!’”

“He was tough, he was strong, and I’m cogent you, if you didn’t get your easily up and action him, he’d exhausted you to afterlife with his own hands,” McDaniel already said. “I’d hit him as adamantine as I could. I’d exhausted him with that strap, and goose pimples would appear on him. But I anticipate he admired it. John was as boxy as any man I anytime crawled in the amphitheatre against. He was a abundant wrestler, he had a lot of aptitude and he was a actual acute individual.”

Valentine's Day Cards | Create Your Own at Cardstore

Valentine's Day Cards | Create Your Own at Cardstore

Valentine’s career was cut abbreviate by an aeroplane blow in 1975 that would change the advance of able angry history.

Valentine, at that time a 27-year adept and the better brilliant in the booming Mid-Atlantic area, was aboard a twin-engine Cessna 310 forth with a accumulation of added wrestlers, en avenue to Wilmington, N.C. Accompanying Valentine on the 200-mile cruise were David Crockett, Tim Woods (the aboriginal Mr. Wrestling), Bob Bruggers and a 26-year-old ascent brilliant alleged Ric Flair.

The acute cruise concluded in tragedy. Aloof afar abroad from its destination, the even ran out of gas and crashed, killing the pilot and abasing its passengers, with Valentine adversity an abrasion that would end the career of one of the greatest performers in the history of the sport. As fate would accept it, Valentine initially had taken a bench in the aback of the plane, but confused to the advanced abutting to the pilot at the appeal of Flair.

“I was in the aback arena chess with Tim Woods,” Valentine would recall. “Ric Flair talked me into the advanced seat. Flair absolutely didn’t appetite to sit up advanced with the pilot. Article charge accept told him. I said, ‘What the hell, we’ll comedy later.’ Otherwise he could accept been in my condition.”

The even plunged four thousand anxiety and landed on top of a tree.

With his accoutrements anchored adjoin the birr of the aircraft, Valentine took the abounding burden of the seats, the wrestlers and the accoutrements as they airtight advanced into him, breaking his aback in three places.

A allotment of cartilage lodged in Valentine’s analgesic cavalcade acquired above damage, and Valentine acclimated crutches the blow of his life.

Although in his backward 40’s at the time, Valentine was still a above draw and acceptable had abounding acceptable years larboard in the business.

Valentine, built-in John Theodore Wisniski, was a wrestler anybody feared and respected. Aback he boasted that he would accomplish admirers believe, he wasn’t exaggerating.

“Definitely a accurate animadversion for a abundant artisan like Johnny Valentine,” agreed mat abundant Buddy Colt, who credits Valentine with auspicious him to breach into the angry business.

Colt, who teamed with Valentine in Florida during the ‘70s, had been a big fan of the albino able-bodied dating aback to his pre-wrestling days.

“I aboriginal met him at Vic Tanny’s Gym in Washington, D.C., about two years afore I got into the business,” says Colt. “It was the year I took additional in the Mr. Washington, D.C., anatomy contest. I was affairs cars at a Ford dealership then, so I got to allocution to Johnny a lot.”

How to Make a Pop-Up Valentine Card | eBay

How to Make a Pop-Up Valentine Card | eBay

Next time the two beyond paths was three years afterwards in a Houston bathrobe room.

“He was attractive at me and said, ‘I apperceive I apperceive you, but I can’t abode where.’ I told him it was Vic Tanny’s Gym in Washington, D.C., about three years earlier. He was such a abundant artisan who absolutely knew how to body that heat. He was agitating in the ring. He did annihilation fancy. You didn’t charge aerial arch scissors and flips off the ring. You charge article the bodies can accept in.”

WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Brisco was adolescent in the business aback he aboriginal bound horns with Valentine, but recalled how boxy the athletically congenital Valentine was central the ring.

“I had so abounding hour matches with JV I assuredly went to (Jim) Crockett to ask if I had calefaction with him. I was accepting the heck exhausted out of me every day and admired it.”

“He and Wahoo accent about every Friday at the Sam Houston Coliseum for over three years,” recalled Richard Egner. “Several times world’s appellation bouts were semifinals as cipher could go on afterwards those two.”

“Saw him abounding times adjoin Wahoo in band matches at the Asheville Civic Center,” said David Isley. “When Johnny came out abaft the curtains, the admirers broadcast and got boilerplate abreast him. He was absolutely believable.”

“Best bout of my activity was Valentine vs. Paul Jones, headlining Camp Lejeune,” recalled Gary Bacon. “I anticipate it went to time limit. I was ringside about 4-5 rows back. At one point they were toe to toe aloof chopping anniversary other. Their diaphoresis was all over us. I was aloof a kid but never forgot. That was real!”

“Everything I’ve anytime apparent was great,” said Billy Metts. “I aloof ambition added of that footage survived. He fabricated annihilation adjoin a acceptable adversary attending like a 18-carat attempt and annihilation adjoin a lower-card guy attending like a massacre.”

“I feel apologetic for those of you that never saw JV live. The man was a angry machine,” chimed in Tarron Coalson. “I was advantageous abundant to abound up in Greensboro and watched abounding Johnny Valentine vs. Wahoo McDaniel matches. Those matches congenital Crockett’s territory. Anybody watching those two fabricated angry believable.”

David Fuller of Fort Worth, Texas, credits Valentine with allowance him breach into the business.

“Johnny’s bloom was worsening. In October 2000, doctors gave him days. He lived until April 2001. He fought ‘til the end. The toughest man I have, or anytime will, meet.”

The absolute acclaim may accept appear from the backward abundant Lou Thesz, who alleged Valentine “the best adventuresome guy I anytime saw.”

How to Make a Valentine's Day Card | Sliding Heart ...

How to Make a Valentine's Day Card | Sliding Heart …

Reach Mike Mooneyham at [email protected], or chase him on Twitter at @ByMikeMooneyham and on Facebook at His anew appear book — “Final Bell” — is now accessible at and on

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