Monday, March 15, 2010

R.I.P. Jerry Valiant

The following exerpt is from Wikipedia:

John Steele Hill[3] (July 8, 1941–March 11, 2010) was a Canadian professional wrestler best known under the ring names Guy Mitchell, The Stomper, and "Gentleman" Jerry Valiant. During his career, he held the top singles titles in Australia and Vancouver, and competed in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) where he won the WWWF World Tag Team Championship.

Hill became a professional wrestler in 1959 after working out for a year at both Al Spittles's and Jack Wentworth's gyms in Canada.[2] He traveled to the United States in 1960 in the hopes of making more money.[2] At the beginning of his career, Hill wrestled under the ring name Guy Hill.[2][4] While wrestling for Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1961, however, a news reporter accidentally referred to him as Guy Mitchell, and Hill was forced to take on the new name.[5] Under his new identity, Mitchell held the Georgia version of the NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship for one week.[4][6] Shortly thereafter, he teamed with Bob Rasmussen to win the Georgia version of the NWA Southern Tag Team Championship.[4][7]

Mitchell later wrestled in Indianapolis, where he formed a tag team in the World Wrestling Association (WWA) with Joe Tomasso known as The Assassins.[2] Together, the team won the WWA World Tag Team Championship three times in 1965 and 1966.[2][8] The team was managed by a rookie manager named Bobby Heenan.[2] Although The Assassins were a heel (villain) tag team who wore masks, Mitchell also competed as a face (fan favorite) singles wrestler without a mask. Mitchell also wrestled as Guy Heenan in some areas, where he was a storyline sibling of Heenan.[5]

While wrestling in the Australian World Championship Wrestling, he used the ring name The Destroyer and wrestled under a mask. On September 3, 1966, he defeated Bearcat Wright to win the IWA World Heavyweight Championship.[4][9] The Destoyer's mask was eventually removed, and he announced to the audience that his name was John Hill.[4] After leaving Australia, he began competing in Toronto, Ontario in 1967 as The Assassin.[5] He became a main event wrestler in Toronto in 1968, feuding with Edouard Carpentier and Bulldog Brower and had an NWA title shot against Gene Kiniski at Maple Leaf Gardens on June 23, 1968.

[edit] 1970s
After wrestling as a heel for four years in Toronto, The Assassin feuded with The Sheik, losing a death match in July 1971. The Sheik won the match and removed The Assassin's mask, revealing him to be Guy "Stomper" Mitchell. While wrestling as a heel in Toronto, Hill also competed as a babyface in Detroit, Michigan. Because the name Mitchell was already being used by another wrestler, WWA owner Dick the Bruiser gave him the ring name The Stomper.[5] The Stomper teamed with Ben Justice and won the Detroit version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship.[4][10] The team feuded with The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Don Kent), who were managed by George "Crybaby" Cannon.[2] During this feud, The Stomper suffered a kayfabe (storyline) injury when the Kangaroos broke his leg.[2] Because he could not wrestle in Detroit while he was supposedly recovering, Hill wrestled in Japan for several months.[5]

Upon his return to Detroit, The Stomper and Justice continued their feud with the Kangaroos. The teams faced each other in a tournament final for the vacant tag team championship, which the Kangaroos won. The following year, The Stomper and Justice regained the title belts by defeating the Kangaroos. They held the belts for five months, and The Stomper had one last reign as champion when he teamed with Bobo Brazil to win the title for the third time on July 21, 1973. They eventually dropped the belts to Ben Justice and his new partner, Killer Brooks.[4][10]

In 1979, he was brought into the World Wide Wrestling Federation as Jerry Valiant.[2] With Johnny Valiant, he held the WWWF World Tag Team Championship.[2]

[edit] Personal life
Hill had ten siblings, and he played hockey and boxed in his youth.[2] In 1962 he was a witness in the stabbing of wrestler Pedro Zappata.[2] He and Carolyn F. Hill were married on April 5, 1964 in Indianapolis.[1] They had a son, Jonathan Hill.[1] After retiring, Hill worked in landscaping and construction[2] and operated Hill's Landscaping for 14 years.[1] Hill died on March 11, 2010 in Indiana after a battle with cancer.[2]

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