Sunday, July 04, 2010

"Turnbuckle Madness" with George Wren... "Boogie Woogie Man"..."Handsome" Jimmy Valiant

(L to R: Johnny Valiant, Capt. Lou Albano, Jimmy Valiant as the Valiant Brothers with the WWWF World Tag Titles

"Handsome" Jimmy Valiant

"Boogie Woogie Man".. "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant

Jimmy and his lovely wife Angel

"Boogie Woogie Man"
"Handsome" Jimmy Valiant

GW: When and Where were you born?
JV: August 6, 1942 Tullahoma, TN

GW: Where are you residing at the present time?
JV: 2916 Alleghany Springs Road
Shawsville, VA 24162

GW: What is your height and weight?
JV: 6 feet 2 inches 190 pounds

GW: Who trained you?
JV: One of the original Volkoff brother, Frank Zela at the Acres Health Club in Calumet City, Illinois

GW: What was your training like?
JV: After only three weeks of training with Frank they had me in the ring on-the-job training from then on.

GW: What promotions have you worked for?
JV: WWWF, NWA, WWA, AWA, NJPW, GCW, USWA, MEMPHIS. I was very fortunate to have worked all the big promotins.

GW: What titles have you held?
JV: WWWF, NWA, AWA, WWA, World Tag Team titles with Johnny Valiant. USWA, WWA World Heavyweight Championship. NWA TV title.

GW: Who was some of your toughest opponents?
JV: Dick The Bruiser, Ivan Koloff, Jerry Lawler, Paul Jones and his army.

GW: You are the youngest of five children?
JV: Yes, I have four older sisters.
GW: Are you married?

JV: Yes, to Angel Valiant

GW: What was it like working for WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation) along side of Johnny Valiant?
JV: Me and Johnny were together 5 productive years. We were champions everywhere we went from NY to CA. Coast to coast like buttered toast.

GW: January 5, 1974 you and Thomas Sullivan (Johnny Valiant) formed the Valiant Brothers for World Wrestling Association (WWA) how did you guys meet?
 JV: I met Johnny in Canada wrestling for the Bearman.

GW: Wasen't you replaced by John Hill (Jerry Valiant)?
JV: In 1978 I got deathly sick and Johnny and myself were working in NY at the time ready for another big run. Vince Sr. had so much money invested in the Valiant Brothers that he replaced me with John Hill until I got back on my feet.

GW: Where did you go after WWA? Was it WWWF?
JV: Yes.

GW: Now you, Tom, and John reunited on the independent scene in 2000. How was that seeing those guys again?
JV: We only reunited one time in NJ for a wrestling fanfest. It was neat being with both my ring brothers.

GW: You recorded the song "The Ballad of Handsome Jimmy" that was used on Memphis tv for years?
JV: Yes, Jimmy Hart wrote the words and music to Son of a Gypsy. I recorded it and used it as my theme music. It was hot, brother.

GW: During the 1970's - early 1980's you worked for Memphis off and on why did you leave the area?
JV: I never wanted to stay in one place too long. I was a rolling stone, brother.

GW: Didn't Lawler try to buy you a house or something like that after you won the Southern Title so you could stay in Memphis?
JV: Yes, he did. Jarrett and Lawler bought me a house to try and get me to stay. I stayed 6 months and gave them the house key back and said, "I gotta go, man."

GW: What other names have you used?
JV: Big John Valen, Jimmy McDonald, Jimmy The Body Valen, and Charlie Brown.

GW: Who came up with the Charlie Brown gimmick?
JV: Dusty Rhodes and Johnny Weaver.

GW: In your early career you worked for Jim Crockett (NWA) what are your thoughts working with Crockett?
JV: Brother, there were three towns running a night out of the Chatrlotte office. There were over 50 wrestlers in the territory. Everyone was making money. It was great.

GW: Where did you go after you left Crockett?
JV: I went to the independent prmotions. I met my Angel and moved to VA. That was 20 years ago. I have never been happier in my life.

GW: You worked back and forth with Jarrett in Memphis and with Crockett was there some kind of relationship with Crockett and Jarrett?
JV: Back in the day all the promoters got along. They traded talent and ideas. It was good business.

GW: Wasen't there some misunderstanding when you went and worked for Jarrett one Monday Night and you went back to Crockett the next day and Crockett and Ole had you in the office what was all that about?
JV: There was no misunderstanding. Memphis sold out that Monday night. Crockett wanted me to be a character crowd pleaser like I was in Mempho. So that's how The Boogie Woogie Man was born. I started coming out to music and doing the stuff I did in Memphis and the rest is history.

GW: What is the highlight or highlights of your career?
JV: I wrestled over 40 years, had over 10,000 matches and drove 4 million miles on U.S. highways getting to those matches. Just surviving that would be highlight of anyones life.

GW: Now you have a wrestling school where you train wrestlers tell the viewers a little about your school?
JV: Boogie's Wrestling Camp Hall of Fame Museum at 2916 Alleghany Springs Road Shawsville, Virginia. Founded 1992 by Jimmy and Angel. Open 52 Sundays a year. Please come any Sunday from 12 noon till 4 p.m. and be our guest.

GW: What profession would you have chosen if you didn't choose pro wrestling?
JV: I would have owned a health club.

GW: Now are you a member of the Cauliflower Alley Club?
JV: Yes, Angel and I are lifetime members.

GW: Do you have a website?
JV: Or, e-mail us at Also for type in Jimmy Valiant under e-mail address

GW: Tell the viewers about "Son of A Gypsy"?
JV: I did three records in Memphis studios, Son of a Gypsy, He Got What It Takes and 714. I fed my family by selling the 45s at the arenas in the 70s and 80s. It was a great experience.

GW: Do you remember your first appearance in Mid-Atlantic?
JV: Yes, I wrestled in Greenville, SC against George South.

GW: Who was your favorite to work with throughout your career?
JV: Jerry Lawler

GW: You was known for having great programs with The Great Kabuki and Gary Hart? Even to the fact Kabuki's "kayfabe" mist stained your beard several times (LOL!)
JV: Brother, my white hair and beard looked like a rainbow night after night.

GW: You also have a autobiography out entitled "Woo, Mercy Daddy! Welcome to my World"... Tell the readers a little about your book?
JV: Handsome Jimmy "The Boogie Woogie Man" Valiant's 566 page autobiography "Woo...Mercy Daddy!" Welcome To My World The Jimmy Valiant Story - written by Jimmy and Angel.

GW: Where can the readers get a copy of the book?
JV: Any of my web sites or come by BWC any Sunday and pick up one in person.
In my autobiography I have many great stories about the times and places that you mentioned that will bring you back to your childhood watching pro wrestling. You’ll love it. If you order my 566 page hardback autobiography “Woo…Mercy Daddy!” Welcome To My World The Jimmy Valiant Story I’ll personally autograph it to you.
Thanks for your order in advance.
Please send a U.S. $45.00 or $55.00 Canada (money order only) to:
Jimmy Valiant
2916 Alleghany Springs Road
Shawsville, VA 24162
I’ll ship it straight back to you. Enjoy the read. God Bless.
Jimmy and Angel Valiant Also for type in Jimmy Valiant under e-mail address

GW: What are some of your best road stories as I know you have plenty?
JV: Brother, I have so many great road stories in "Woo...Mercy Daddy!" You can't possibly tell them here. You have to read them for yourself.

GW: Back in the glory days was it any "ribbing" like it is now in the lockeroom or was it more straight to the point and no nonsense?
JV: There has been ribbing in our profession going all the way back to the carnival days. That's just part of our life.

GW: What was your reaction when you was contacted that you was being inducted into the Hall of Fame class of 1996?
JV: It was a great honor for Angel and my daughters and myself to be flown to NY for the big shindig.

GW: Now you also have a Hall of Fame Museum what does all that consist of?
JV: I have thousands of pictures on the wall in all 6 building. I have wrestling gear, awards, keys to various cities, etc. You have to see it to believe it.

GW: What are your thoughts in the past on steriod abuse?
JV: I go in detail in my book about that and other dangerous drugs. Don't never start and you'll never have to quit.

GW: Do you feel like it's being a major crackdown now?
JW: Yes, major crackdown.

GW: Favorite food?
JV: Anything my lovely wife Angel cooks. She is so talented. She sings, makes all the boys wrestling gear, writes and is an artist. Not to mention a great chef.

GW: Favorite music?
JV: Oldies rock and roll and old country.

GW: Favorite actor(s)?
JV: Dennis Hopper

GW: Favorite movie?
JV: Quest For Fire

GW: What are your thoughts on today's product compared to the 60's-80's?
JV: They are great, bigger, faster and stronger.

GW: Jakks Pacific put out a legend action figure of you? .. Did Jakks contact you or did they deal with Vince and you got paid through Vince?
JV: No, I was contacted directly.

GW: Are you wrestling any longer?
JV: I have just this year come out of retirement so I can say that I have wrestled in 6 decades. My first offical match back in the ring was on May 1, 2010 with The Russian Bear Ivan Koloff here in my hometown of Shawsville, VA for a fundraiser for our middle school.

GW: When was your last match(retirement) and against who?
JV: Spartanburg,/Greenville area. It was me and Bruiser Graham against George South and Jay Eagle.

GW: Do you ever get that itch wanting to get back into the ring since your retirement?
JV: No, I'm around wrestling all the time at my wrestling camp in Shawsville, VA training the students.

GW: On a episode of Corey Maclin's Memphis tv Lawler playing a heel with Jimmy Hart as his manager did a angle where they cut your trademark beard. Was you planning on getting rid of the beard anyways?
JV: Yes, I was when I retired but that was 6 months in the future at that time

GW: Didn't a angle like this happen as well with Paul Jones in the NWA?
JV: Yes, with the Asassins and that's when I got revenge by taking their masks off in front of the crowd.

GW: Do you watch today's product as far as WWE and TNA?
JV: My students at my pro wrestling camp keep me up on all the latest news of the wrestling world, but I also watch it myself.

GW: What are your thoughts on today's product?
JV: Wrestling changes every 10 years, brother. In 10 years from now there will be a different product out there. It's all good with me.

GW: What do you feel like the wrestling business is lacking?
JV: It's a big business and if there is anythng lacking they would figure out what it was and make it better. It's up to the promotions.

GW: Do you have any regrets about your career?
JV: None. Would I do it all over again? What do you think? I loved every second of it. The business was good to me. It was more than I could've ever imagined.

GW: Thoughts on the following:
JV: Jerry Lawler - The King
Jim Crockett - My boss
Paul Jones - The greatest.
Vince Mcmahon- The ultimate.
Johnny Valiant - My brother, 4-life.
Tojo Yamamoto - Box office
Jerry Jarrett - Very smart.

GW: When you traveled to the small towns for indy shows you would always bring talent with you like Denny Cooley, Frank Parker, Super Mario, Bruiser Graham, & "Outlaw" Lover" Rick Ashley
JV: Yes, they were all my students from BWC and this was part of their training.

GW: Do you stay in contact with anyone in the business?
JV: Yes, I attend several wrestling fanfest a year and I see old wrestling friends at the Cauliflower Alley Club in Las Vegas every year. Plus, a lot of the legends come by BWC on Sundays because they know we are open 52 Sundays a year and want to visit from 12 till 4 p.m.

GW: Did you watch wrestling as a kid?
JV: No.

GW: Who was some of your favorites growing up as a kid?

GW: If you could meet one person in life who would it be and why?
JV: Johnny Carson. I admired him.

GW: What do you feel like killed "kayfabe" as far as the business?
JV: The boys killed it.

GW: Do you feel like it's so much easier to get into the business nowdays then it was back in the glory days?
JV: Of course, when I was breaking into the business there were no pro wrestling camps like the one I have in Shawsville, VA.

GW: Would you perfer working as a "heel" or "face" ?
JV: I loved both of them. All I wanted to do was perform. It didn't matter.

GW: What advise would you give to anyone wanting to break into the business?
JV: Go to a good credited pro wrestling school and be trained by the best like BWC. I feed my students knowledge from my 47 years in the pro wrestling business. In September we're starting
our 20th year training professional wrestlers, valets, and managers.

GW: What are your thoughts on the fans?
JV: The fans should be everything to a pro wrestler.
They are the ones that actually pay our salery.

GW: Any closing words?
JV: "Woo... mercy daddy. Boogie man feel good."

GW: Jimmy on behalf of myself and Rasslin Riot I want to thank you for your time and wish you all the best.
JV: George, thank you for having me. Good luck in your new adventure. Love you, man.

photo credit: Jimmy Valiant collection

Turnbuckle Madness is a new weekly/monthly feature by George Wren where the professional wrestlers sit down with RRO. We have alot of interesting interviews scheduled that the viewers of RRO will find very interesting.