Jimmy Valiant Shoot Interview

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Jimmy is one of the true veterans in the business and has worked for every major territory in the 70’s thru the 90’s. He worked for AWA, St Louis, Mid South, Memphis, Texas, Crockett, WWF, USWA and everywhere in between. He also shared with us some of the most fascinating stories of behind the scenes when he worked for Vince McMahon Sr and worked with all of the top greats like Pedro Morales, Bruno Sammartino, tagging with Johnny Valiant and Gorilla Monsoon.

Jimmy has worked with Andrew the Giant, headlined MSG, paired with Bobby Heenan and this was all before he blew up in Memphis in the 80’s.

When Jimmy worked the Memphis territory that is where his character really had a chance to shine. Wether he was a heel or babyface he knew how to talk on the mic. He had charisma and he drew money. One of the best stories of this entire interview had to have been the story about Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett buying him a home in Memphis while he was working for the Crocketts. There was a power play made and NWA wound up with Jimmy’s services but the entire story and how it played out is worth this interview alone. What happened backstage with Dusty Rhodes and Valiant when he made his deal, well its shocking.

You will hear so many amazing stories on the Mid Atlantic territory and we cover his entire program with Paul Jones and his army over the decade during the 80’s. What was Dusty like to work for as booker, and why did he jump around from company to company so much in the 80’s? We cover it all from the Mid Atlantic and NWA days. We talk about the entire cast of characters that made up the locker room. Tully Blanchard, Abby, Pez Whatley, Sting, Magnum TA, Ron Garvin, and so much more.

I put this entire in my top 10 just for his stories alone. This by far is amazing for any fan of the good old days when wrestling was considered real. You will enjoy this shoot interview as much as I did conducting it. Get ready for the Boogie Woogie Jam because this shoot is a must for all!! If you love stories this entire is a can’t miss.

Wat was life like growing up for Jimmy Valiant?

How do you first discover professional wrestling?

Given how protective everyone was of the business back then, how do you get hooked up in the business?

What was it like training?

Were you trained as if the business was a shoot?

When are you clued in?

It’s been said you were trained by Dick The Bruiser, Verne Gagne and Frank Zella – tell us about Zella and what he was like as a trainer? Same for Bruiser and Gagne.

How strict was kayfabe at the time?

Where did your original ring name,. Big Jim Vallen come from?

Memories of working AWA shows in that era – what were the loops like?

Was the TV live or taped at the time?

Memories of the following from your time working the undercard for the AWA –

Larry Hennig
Dick the Bruiser
Rene Goulet
Bill Watts
The Chain Gang – Frank and Jack Dillinger
Luke Graham
Blackjack Lanza
Moose Cholak
Lars Anderson

You worked TV tapings in St. Louis for Wrestling at the Chase at the Plaza Hotel – what are your memories of what the atmosphere of the building was like?

Memories of Sam Muchnick?

How do you end up working in Texas for Big Time Wrestling?

Who ran the day to day and handled the booking?

Memories of the following from Texas –

Tim Woods
Johnny Valentine
Swede Karlson
Klondike Bill
George Scott
Toru Tanaka

How do you end up in the WWWF in 1971?

Memories of Vince McMahon Sr.?

Any memories of Vince Jr. from that time period?

You had the chance to team with Gorilla Monsoon during that period. Memories of Gino Marella?

You debuted in Madison Square Garden in May 1971 against Vincente Pometti – what made that venue so special?

Did you have any other favorite venues that WWWF ran that you enjoyed performing in?

Memories of working with Beautiful Bobby Harmon?

Memories of The Grand Wizard?

One of the regular venues WWWF run at the time that is sadly no longer around is Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, NY – any memories of the venue and what made it stand out>

Memories of working the following in WWWF?

Black Demon
Arnold Skaaland
Popeye Chuck Richards
Jay Strongbow
Victor Rivera
Karl Gotch
Stan Stasiak – teamed with him in six mans
Bobo Brazil
Fred Blassie – teamed with him once
Ernie Ladd – teamed and wrestled against
Sonny King
Manuel Soto
Eddie Graham

Memories of challenging Pedro Morales for the WWWF title – what was Pedro like behind the scenes and as a worker?

There are some pretty crazy stories about how deeply devoted Pedro’s fans were – were there any moment where you worried the heat was too much?

Is it true you had a car destroyed by fans during that era?

Any memories of Bruno Sammartino during your time in WWWF?

What leads to you leaving the territory and heading to the Mid-West?

Break down the main cities the WWA run?

Break down who ran the WWA in Indiana?

Memories of meeting Bobby Heenan there and what was he like during that young era in his career?

How do you and Johnny Valiant end up together in the WWA?

First memories of Johnny and why do you think the team clicked as well as it did?

Memories of the Valiants wrestling Bruno when he would team with Dick the Bruiser there?

Memories of wrestling Pepper Gomez and Luis Martinez for WWA?

You end up back in the AWA around the same time- how were you able to go back and forth between AWA and WWA – was it that the TVs didn’t cross over?

Any memories of wrestling a very young Ric Flair in 1973 and did you think at that point that he had the potential to become the superstar he is?

Memories of the following from this AWA run:

Billy Robinson
Wilbur Snyder
Ken Patera
Chris Taylor
Red Bastien
Ray Stevens
Memories of your first meeting with Johnny Valiant? Why did the team work so well?

You had the chance to team with Harley Race in St. Louis at Wrestling at the Chase in 1974 – memories of Harley during that time period?

Memories of the Valiants wrestling Pat O’Connor and Bobo Brazil in St. Louis?

You finish up with AWA and WWA to head to WWWF – did you know the plan was to come in and get the Tag belts on your first night in?

How had WWWF changed, if at all, since the first run?

Memories of working with Lou Albano?

Memories of the following –

Dean Ho
Larry Zbsyszko
Tony Garea
Haystacks Calhoun
Andre the Giant
Killer Kowalski
Bobby Duncum
Dominic DeNucci
Pete Sanchez

Memories of headlining MSG vs.Bruno & Jay Strongbow

How was the money on top at the time?

Memories of challenging Bruno for the title in Buffalo?

You return to the AWA in 1975, what leads to the end of the WWF run?

Memories of the Valiants against Andre and Verne in MSG?

What was Verne like as a booker?

Memories of the Valiants vs. The High Flyers? Thoughts on Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell as workers?

Why do you think the Valiants never won the AWA Tag titles?

Memories of working the following:

Rocky Johnson
Mad Dog Vachon
Jos LeDuc
Pampero Firpo

We talked about Dick the Bruiser earlier but in 1976 you and Johnny feuded with Dick and The Crusher – talk about what they were like as an act, as personalities, behind the scenes, etc.

Are you surprised Milwaukee put up a statue in honor of The Crusher?

You cross paths with Bob Backlund in the ring in the AWA – thoughts on him as a performer? Did you ever see him as a future world champion at the time?

Memories of doing Tug of Wars with the Valiants vs. Larry Hennig & Jos Leduc

You did several Loser Leaves Town bouts with Larry Hennig and Jos Le Duc and lost but never left – was it just to cover debuting for All Japan?

The AWA did Battle Royals as special attractions at the time to pop the houses – any interesting stories from working those?

Memories of a young Rick Steamboat working for the AWA as Dick Blood?
Was the Loser Leaves Town covering the Japan tour?

You and Johnny tour Japan in 1976 for All Japan – talk about how you approached wrestling there vs. the States and what it was like being an American working over there at the time?

what was the travel like then? How much harder was it being over there when we don’t have the technology we have now like iPads, facetiming, etc.

Memories of working for Giant Baba and memories of him in the ring?

Memories of working:

The Destroyer Dick Beyer
Jumbo Tsruta
Great Kojika

From there you head to Georgia Championship Wrestling

Break down who was running GCW and what the loops were like

What was the atmosphere like in the old Atlanta City Auditorium

Memories of winning the NWA Georgia Tag Belts

Memories of teaming with Abby

Memories of working and being around:
The Black Bombers, Pork Chop Cash & Tom Jones – feuded, what were they like as a team
Tully Blanchard
Ted Oates

YOu bounce around a lot through territories during the 1970s – how hard was it to finish up and find work with other promoters? Would it upset promoters if you wanted to go elsewhere?

How do you end up in California for the NWA affiliates out there

Memories of wrestling Pat Patterson and Pepper Gomez out there

The Valiants return to the WWA – memories of the following:

Moose Cholak
Paul Christy

You challenge Superstar Graham for the WWWF title in St. Louis on a Sam Muchinick event – how do you randomly end up in that position?

You debut in Memphis for Jarret/Lawler in 1977 – how do you end up there?

Memories of the Mid-South Coliseum

Favorotie memories of that city?

How did you end up recording “The Ballad of Handsome Jimmy” and were you shocked at how hot the song became at the time?

Thoughts on Lawler
Lance Russell
Dave Brown
Jerry Jarrett
Randy Hales
Austin Idol
Dennis Condrey
Phil Hickerson
Sputnick Monroe
Memories of the Valiants working Lawler and Dundee

What made Lawler so great for the Memphis territory?

Memories of the Valiants in Championship Wrestling from Florida feuding against Mike Graham & Steve Keirn

You were going from Memphis to St. Louis to Florida in the late 70s, working all three promotions at once, how were you able to maintain the schedule – were the promoters working together?

Early memories of teaming with HonkyTonk Man Wayne Ferris in Memphis

Memories of challenging Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA title in Memphis

Memories of your program with Ted DiBiase in St. Louis, teaming with Buck Robley vs ted

Memphis Memories of Don Fargo
KOko Ware
Tommy Gilbert
Robert Gibson

What leads to the Valiants returning to the WWWF

You worked with Andre the Giant a lot during this run – what was he like as a worker and behind the scenes

Memories of Ivan Putski

Memories of challenging Backlund for WWF title in Philly

Compare Bruno, Superstar, Pedro, Backlund as champions since you worked with all of them

Memories of working the Freebirds in Memphis, teaming with Steve Regal

You were brought in and pushed hard when Jerry Lawler broke his leg. Why do you think Jerry Jarrett called you to fill the top spot?

Memories of feuding with Paul Ellering over the Southern title in Memphis

Memories of Dr D David Schultz
Mr Electricity Steve Regal
Danny Davis
Ricky Gibson
young Ricky Morton
Killer Karl Krupp
Bill Irwin
Tommy Rich
Gypsy Joe
Bobby Eaton
Dream Machine
Tojo Yamamoto
Eddie Gilbert

What made the WMC-TV studios such a special place?

When Lawler returned from his broken leg, you feuded with him, but then left. Why didn’t you stay in the territory?

Lawler told a story in his book that Jarrett bought you a house to get you to stay but you just disappeared and moved on instead – what’s your side of the story?

You head to Charlotte – how does that get set up

What are memories of working for Jim Crockett?

How was Ole Anderson as a booker for Mid-Atlantic at that time?

Memories of teaming with Greg Valentine as King James Valiant?

Memories of Lord Alfred Hayes managing you?

What was the heat like working that territory as a heel?

Memories of the following in Mid-Atlantic:

Johnny Weaver
Penny Banner
Leroy Brown
Masked Superstar
Iron Sheik
Dewey Robertson aka Missing Link
Mr. Wrestling II
Jay Youngblood
Wahoo McDaniel

Memories of challenging Dusty for the NWA title in Raleigh

Let’s talk about Dusty – what was it that made him such a great mind for the business?

What do you think were your favorite things that he booked for you?

Why didn’t Crockett and Ole know how good you were as a babyface?

There’s a story that they didn’t realize you were a great face until Jarrett clued them in, is that true?

You had been established as a heel, so how did they come up with the different presentation – the beard, Boogie Woogie Man nickname, music, etc?

Did you go back to Memphis to disappear off Charlotte TV specifically so you could return with the new direction?

Memories of working with Dream Machine and JImmy Hart during that run?

Did you find that when you returned, fans knew you were King James Valiant?

Where did you come up with the idea of kissing and hugging fans, wrestlers, etc. as Boogie Woogie?

What did you do to separate Boogie Woogie from James Valiant in the ring?

Did you ever think the nickname and gimmick would remain with you as long as it has?

Memories of your debut BWM program with Ivan Koloff for the TV title and memories of Ivan personally?

Where did the Siberian Salt MIner’s Glove matches come from?

Are you surprised he’s not in the WWE Hall of Fame?

After Ivan, you worked with One Man Gang and Oliver Humperdink, memories of the bodyslam challenges with Gang?

Memories of teaming with Roddy Piper in Mid-Atlantic?

Memories of the angle where Jos Leduc busted up your boom box?

Memories of working with Gary Hart and Great Kabuki?

What was it like taking the mist?

You lost a loser leaves town match to Kabuki – where did the idea of the masked Charlie Brown come from? Was it Ole, Dusty, etc.?

Memories of Charlie Brown facing Baron Von Raschke?

Who came up with the idea for the Boogie Man Jam in 1984 against The Assassins? Walk us through the idea and how you did the loop with it?

Memories of unmasking Assassin #2, Hercules Hernandez?

What led to your long-running feud with Paul Jones?

Why do you think that feud was able to run so long and really with with the fans?

Memories of the Tuxedo Street Fight at Starrcade 84 vs. Paul

Your wife at the time, Big Mama, got involved – how did that come about

What are the positives and negatives of being on the road with your significant other

Memories of working with the following members of the Paul Jones Army –

Superstar Graham
Manny Fernandez
Shaska Whatley aka Pez Whatley
The Barbarian
Teijo Khan

Was the payoff always planned to be you vs. Paul in the hair vs. hair match?

Thoughts on the angle where they swerved everyone and you ended up losing your hair?

Did you ever think the story could run all the way to Starrcade 86, where you beat Jones in the hair vs hair match?

Memories of challenging Ric Flair for NWA title?

Memories of BUgsy McGraw?

Memories of feuding with Tully for NWA TV title?

What led to you doing the series of NY Street Fights and Taped Fist matches for Crockett?

Memories of the following

Jim Cornette
Nikita Koloff
Black Bart
Italian Stallion
Arn Anderson
Joel Deaton
George South
Dick Slater
Ron Garvin
Billy Jack Haynes
Don & Rocky Kernodle

Memories of the Miss Atlanta Lively storyline with Midnight Express, Ron Garvin, Jim Cornette, etc.

Memories of teaming with Hector Guerrero when he was Lazor Tron

Memories of working with Hector vs. New Breed
MOD Squad

Memories of working the Crockett Cup

Memories of feuding with Kevin Sullivan in Florida

do you think crockett made a mistake buying out the other territories like Central States and Florida?

‘You return to All Japan, teaming with Jerry Lawler in 1985 – any favorite memories of the tour?

What did you think of promoters trying to combine as Pro Wrestling USA and why do you think it didn’t work out?

Was there ever any talk of you going to WWF during the national expansion? The rock and roll aspect of Boogie Woogie would have clicked with the WWF/MTV connection?

Why do you think Jim Crockett Promotions lost the war with the WWF?

Some blame Dusty’s booking. Some blame the company accountaunt. Jim Crockett Jr. blames himself. As a wrestler who was there every week in the trenches, who do you think deserves the blame?

Were you surprised Turner Broadcasting purchased the company?

Is it true you disappeared from TV because you didn’t want to relocate from North Carolina to Atlanta? If so, why didn’t you decide to move?

YOu head back to Memphis and the AWA

Memories of working Kerry Von Erich
Robert Fuller
Jimmy Golden
Action Jackson

You went and worked WWC Anniversario in Puerto Rico around this time – any memories of what it was like working the Island?

Memories of working AWA Superclash 3 on PPV vs. Wayne Bloom

There were lots of stories of payday issues with that show, did Verne pay you?

You and Lawler feuded over the USWA Unified title in 1990 – how had Lawler changed and how had the territory changed?

Memories of the following from USWA –

Eric Embry
Tom Prichard
Dirty White Boy
Bart Sawyer
Miss Texas
Moondogs and Richard Lee
Brian Christopher

Memories of working for Herb Abrams UWF

Did anything ever seem off about Herb at the time given all the crazy stories that came out

How did the Master of Terror come about in Memphis?

Memories of working PG-13 and Danny Davis as Master of Terror

Any standout memories of Best Of Memphis Ten Man Survival: Jerry Lawler defeats Austin Idol and Brian Christopher and Doug Gilbert and Eddie Gilbert and Jimmy Valiant and Koko B. Ware and Moondog Spot and Terry Funk and Tommy Rich (42:00)
from USWA Memphis Memories in Mid-South Coliseum

You worked a LOT of indy shows in the last 20 years. what do you defines a successful indy show?

Why do you think Southern wrestling fans remain so passionate for old school style wrestling?

What led to you building your Hall of Fame Museum in Virginia?

What are your favorite items that you showed off in the Hall?

You’ve trained a lot of talent through your camp – any talents you were most proud of?

You had a retirement match at WrestleReunion in Florida in 2005 – what led to you getting back in the ring to perform?

What was your reaction to WWE inducting the Valiants into the Hall of Fame?

You have had a lot of unique tattoos, what led to you getting them and are there any interesting stories behind them?

What do you think of today’s modern day pro wrestling?

Would you want to work behind the scenes for a WWE or AEW?

Favorite cities and arenas to wrestle in?

What wrestlers would you like to see inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?

Worst travel day ever?

Best ribs in the locker room?

You wrote and self published an acclaimed autobiography – what led to you deciding to write the book?

Who should play Jimmy Valiant in the story of your life?

Beyond pro wrestling, what’s life like for Jimmy Valiant these days?

What would you say are your favorite matches and memories of a life in pro wrestling?

If you could book one final Boogie Woogie match to close out your in-ring career differently, then or now, what would you do?

What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding of who you are as a person based on your public persona?

Any regrets?

How do you want fans to remember you?

Final words for your fans who have supported you all these years?