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Multi-media tribute to Johnny Valentine

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By Mark Nulty

Joe Blanchard used to tell me that when he was promoting fans would always come up to him and confess that they were in on the secret. They would walk up to him when no one else was around and quietly tell him, "I know this wrestling is all a show."

But there would usually be one caveat.

"But that Johnny Valentine, now he's for real."

It was an era when wrestling was promoted as a contest. In wrestling's fight for credibility and respectability, Johnny Valentine was its greatest champion.  

Fans and wrestlers alike loved him for it.

I did a magazine article on Ric Flair in the 80s. It was the first time I had ever met him and during the interview I naively asked him about the influence Nature Boy Buddy Rogers had on his style.

Flair bristled. "Did I ever say that I modeled myself after Buddy Rogers?," Flair demanded. "I never mentioned Buddy Rogers. If I modeled myself after anyone, it's that man right in there," Flair said pointing to the locker room where Johnny Valentine was visiting.

The man that is considered by many to be the greatest wrestler of his era idolized Johnny Valentine.

We all did.

Because Johnny Valentine was real.

Please enjoy this multi-media tribute to one of the greatest and influential superstars of all time.

Peers, Protégés, Promoters and Opponents

Contemporaries that will explain why Johnny Valentine left an indelible impression on professional wrestling that will never be forgotten. Special thanks to Lou Thesz, Dory Funk Jr., Brian Blair, Larry Matysik, Jose Lothario, Ivan Koloff, Buddy Colt, Paul Jones, Joe Blanchard, Skandar Akbar, Red Bastien, Killer Karl Kox, and Wahoo McDaniel.

You need the free Real Audio Player to access this special edition of Ringside Live.

Click to Hear Interview

Click to Hear Interview

Click here if you a high speed (DSL or Cable) connection. Click here if you a dial-up connection.

Johnny Valentine's first East Coast Interview

This historical footage is Johnny Valentine's first television appearance for Capitol Sports in the summer of 1958. Capitol Sports would become the WWWF and later the WWF.

Johnny's persona wasn't just his ring style, it's the way he projected his quiet confidence during interviews and this is a prime example.

Special thanks to Bob Barnett for donating this historical footage.

Click to Hear Interview

Click to Hear Interview

Click here if you a high speed (DSL or Cable) connection. Click here if you a dial-up connection.

Johnny Valentine versus Paul Jones

This is a video clip of a match during the Johnny Valentine-Paul Jones feud from the historic Homer W Hesterly Armory in Tampa during the early 70s. Notice the methodical way Johnny Valentine dismantles Paul Jones.

Click to Hear Interview

Click to Hear Interview

Click here if you a high speed (DSL or Cable) connection. Click here if you a dial-up connection.

Championship History

Johnny Valentine may have won more different major championships than any wrestler in history. In an era when major territory titles meant something, Johnny Valentine was the top man every place he went.
World tag team champion (Minneapolis version)
teamed with Chet Wallich to form the Atomic Blondes
International heavyweight champion (Montreal version)
International tag team champion (3)  (Toronto and All Japan versions)
teamed with Bulldog Brower, Beast, (Toronto) and Killer Karl Krupp (All Japan) 
North American heavyweight champion (Cleveland)
United States heavyweight champion (8) 
(Toronto, Detroit, and Mid-Atlantic versions)
United States tag team champions (4) (Capitol Sports/WWWF)
teamed with Jerry Graham, Buddy Rogers, Bob Ellis, and Antonio Pugliese
American heavyweight champion (3) (Texas version)
American tag team champion (3) (Texas version)
teamed with Wahoo McDaniel (twice) and Thunderbolt Patterson
Canadian heavyweight champion (Edmonton, Alberta)
United National heavyweight champion (All Japan version)
Mid-Atlantic heavyweight champion 
Southern heavyweight champion (Florida version)
Southern tag team champion (Florida version)
teamed with Boris Malenko
Missouri heavyweight champion (St Louis)
Texas heavyweight champion (8)
Texas tag team champions 
teamed with Eddie Graham
Florida heavyweight champion (3)
IWA heavyweight champion
Texas brass knux champion
Florida brass knuc champion

Johnny Valentine in pictures

Enjoy these photos from the Paul Jones CD-ROM Collection. Click the thumbnail image for a larger version of the photo.
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stomping.jpg (66985 bytes)
trading_shots.jpg (53736 bytes)

Mark Nulty is a professional journalist that has been in the professional wrestling industry since the mid-80s as an announcer, referee and promoter.

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© 2001 Wrestling Classics: Mark Nulty
© 2001 Design: Jan Herod
Created: May 2001