Using your Head can be a Bad Idea
By Mark Nulty
you ask wrestlers of the 70s and 80s who were the toughest
wrestlers in the sport, one name that comes up consistently
is Wahoo McDaniel.
McDaniel was one of the
stars that defined tough wrestling in that era. His matches
with Johnny Valentine in both Texas and the Carolinas
are legendary for their brutality. When you saw these
two slug it out, you believed in wrestling. As hard as
these two hit, you had to believe.
got a first hand demonstration as to just how tough Wahoo
the mid-80s, a San Antonio charity promoted a wrestling
card and hired Joe Blanchard and me to put it together.
We needed a star for the main event and Joe quickly called
Wahoo, who was a legend in south Texas.
night of the card, McDaniels opponent, Manny
Fernandez, didnt show up. Kenny Johnson
was doing well locally wrestling as the Spoiler
and even got Don Jardines blessing to use the Spoiler
trademark. Ken Johnson is a tough veteran wrestler in
his own right. In fact, Johnny Valentine had trained
Johnson. Surviving Johnny Valentines training is
a testament to Johnsons toughness all by itself.
was refereeing the match and the two were trading some
serious haymakers. Wahoo, always a professional, wanted
to make sure the crowd wasnt disappointed because
of the substitution. He decided he wanted to "get
some color." Because he had been bleeding every night,
it didnt take much to open up his forehead.
called for Johnson to head-butt him. Johnson whacked him
hard. Nothing. Wahoo called for it again, "Harder."
Johnson butted him again. Still nothing. Wahoo gritted
his teeth and hissed, "Harder!!!" Johnson leaned
way back and hammered him. I looked at Wahoo, nothing.
looked at Johnson. Through his mask I saw Johnsons
eyes roll to the back of his head. Johnson staggered back
and started to lose his balance. When I refereed I made
it a habit to circle the guys when they were stationary.
I picked up my pace a step so I could move behind Johnson
and, as non-chalantly as possible, put my hand in the
small of his back. Johnson braced against my hand and
Johnson was tough enough that he recovered from momentarily
knocking himself silly, shook it off and continued the
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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