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Wrestling / Greg Valentine

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Jonathan Anthony Wisniski (born September 20, 1951) is a semi-retired American Professional Wrestler from Seattle, WA. He debuted in 1970 as Baby Face Nelson due to his original unwillingness to take the last name of his famous father, Johnny Valentine. He also worked as Johnny Fargo, another Unrelated Brother of Jackie Fargo. He changed it to Johnny Valentine Jr. when he debuted in Florida in 1974 before changing the first name to Greg, though he was billed as Johnny's brother, not his son. He arrived to Mid-Atlantic in 1976 after his father had to retire due to injuries sustained in a plane crashnote  and debuted there with his most famous name, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine.

Valentine was pushed immediately as a Heel, finding success teaming with Ric Flair and feuded with Chief Wahoo McDaniel and with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. After some on-and-off trips to WWE from 1978 to 1981, he started there full-time in 1984. He was successful there, holding two titles, before getting demoted and leaving in 1992. He had a brief run in WCW before going off to the independents.

Among his in-ring achievements, he is a former WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, a former WWE World Tag Team Champion (w/Brutus Beefcake), a former 3x NWA (Mid-Atlantic) United States Heavyweight Champion, a former 4x NWA World (Mid-Atlantic) Tag Team Champion (2x w/Ric Flair, 1x w/Ray "The Crippler" Stevens and 1x w/Baron Von Raschke) and a 1x WCW United States Tag Team Champion (w/Terry Taylor).

He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.

"The Hammer's Tropes":

  • Aborted Arc: "Rhythm VS Blues", you can read more about it under the "Trivia" tab.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • (in Mid-Atlantic): Chief Wahoo and The Piper.
    • (in WWE): A promissing youngster by the name "Cool" Curt Hennig.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
  • Badass Longrobe: Several throughout his career. They were emblazoned with hearts all around way before he was managed by Jimmy Hart, playing on his "Valentine" surname.
  • Bash Brothers: With Flair, Beefcake and The Honky Tonk Man.
  • Blasphemous Boast/Cheap Heat:
    • His "I Broke Wahoo's Leg" shirt. Boy, McDaniel's fans went volcanic on Valentine!
    • 1983 was infamously remembered as "The year of the ear". (See "Gimmick Matches" below.)
  • The Bully/Psycho for Hire: His character was built on the idea of his being out to only injure his opponents, taking pride on the fact.
  • Butt-Monkey: For J and Shaggy's jokes on Insane Clown Posse Theater on Fuse. At the same time though, they do put him over as a badass.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': He defeated Junkyard Dog at the first WrestleMania by pinning him with his feet on the ropes. Then Tito Santana came out and told the ref what happened, leading to the restarting of the match... and leaving Valentine getting himself counted out.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Did some jobs and weekend show appearances for WCW in 1996-1997.
  • Cool Mask: As the Blue Knight at the 1993 Survivor Series.
  • Cool Old Guy: Greg is in Real Life one of the most easy-going and endearing guys you'll ever meet believe it or not.
  • Disco Dan: After Jimmy Hart arrived in WWE in 1985, he and Valentine appeared on WWE's talk show Tuesday Night Titans. Valentine talked about Hart's musical career with The Gentrys back in The '60s and spoke negatively about the "punk rock and roll" of Cyndi Lauper.
  • Finishing Move: Two, actually.
  • Gimmick Matches: Valentine participated in a particularly brutal Dog Collar Match against Roddy Piper in NWA Mid-Atlantic at '83. Piper ended up with his right eardrum burst.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: On a show at Germany's "Wrestling World's Superstars" against Jake Roberts back in '93, The Snake knew right from the beginning he was no match against The Hammer's endurance and devastating attacks, so he decided to prey onto his only weakness and rose victor... the Greg's then manager/valet, a very young and impossibly gorgeous Madusa.
  • I Call It "Vera": The Hartbreaker, and he was quite versatile with its using.
  • Instrument of Murder:
    • Jimmy Hart's megaphone
    • The Hartbreaker again.
    • Honky's guitar in "Rhythm & Blues".
  • Mighty Glacier: Doesn't quite look the part but his wrestling style is pretty much based around slowly, methodically breaking down his opponent.
  • Names To Run Away From Very Fast: Greg "The Hammer" Valentine even sounds like a hardened mobster's name, isn't it?
  • The New Adventures: The New Dream Team, with Dino Bravo. Valentine apparently hated teaming with Bravo as they didn't get along in real life and recalls his team with Beefcake much more fondly. They still team on the indy circuit on occasion.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Back when he was managed by Jimmy Hart, every time he tried for a Piledriver, it was assisted by his trusty shin guard "conveniently" dropped where his opponent's head was about to land.
  • Odd Friendship: Being this Professional Wrestling, Greg is one of the mighty few pro wrestlers ever to befriend each and every other performer he had to work with and has nothing to say about them but the good memories of the times they'd spent together.
  • Older Than They Look: Like his former manager Jimmy Hart, Valentine has aged very little since his prime, other than the occasional wrinkle or gray hair. He even still has his long blonde hair.
  • Parent-Child Team: Back in Florida when he was his own dad's unelated brother.
  • Power Stable:
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: After losing the NWA Mid-Atlantic World Tag-team Championship due the intervention of special referee Chief Wahoo McDaniel, Valentine preyed on him until he got a shot for the former's NWA Heavyweight strap and putting a hefty prize of 200 silver coins on the table for the winner. Along came 9/7/1977, finding the match too difficult to apply his feared leglock, Valentine opted for an Ankle Slam (Inverted stump puller) instead... with a bit more weight than required, winning the strap and sending Wahoo to the hospital for real in the process. This was worked into Kayfabe, turning it into one of the most famous angles ever.
  • Red Baron: "The Hammer" and "The Master of the Figure Four Leg Lock".
    • For a time, his infamous leg brace, which he would use to amplify the effects of his Figure-Four leglock had it's own - The Hartbreaker - named after his manager.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Flair's red, as he was presented as methodical and vicious. Gorilla Monsoon always reminded us that it took a good 15-20 minutes for The Hammer to get *warmed up*...however; like Flair, he was famous for his technical ability.
  • Redemption Demotion: Turned face in early 1991 and broke away from Jimmy Hart's stable...leading to him jobbing to Earthquake at WrestleMania VII, IRS at SummerSlam 1991, and spending most of 1992 in the WCW midcard.
  • Ring Oldies: He's in his 70s and still appears on independent shows.
  • Tag Team:
    • In NWA (Mid-Atlantic)
      • w/Flair, "The Crippler" and Von Raschke.
    • In WWF:
      • "The Dream Team" w/Brutus Beefcake
      • "The New Dream Team" with Dino Bravo
      • "Rythm & Blues" w/The Honky Tonk Man
    • In WCW:
      • w/Terry Taylor.
  • Signature Move:
    • A lot of Elbow, Forearm, Stomp and Backbreaker variations, A Back suplex as well.
    • He's also famous for being able to flop directly onto his face instead of turning his head.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: "All the women wrestlers should be taken to a strip club and fired for taking jobs away from those who need to support their families."
  • Stone Wall: This going hand-in-hand with the Mighty Glacier trope, since Greg withstanded way more damage than his average rival. Any time Lord Alfred Hayes called his matches, he usually threw in a comment about how Valentine liked "to deliberately take offense from a weaker opponent", to then proceed to *tire them out*.
  • Stout Strength: Not a particularly large performer (6´1´´/245 lbs.) but his upper body was pure muscle, his hands and forearms are huge thick. His skills and devastating maneuvers were enough by themselves to confront names as big as Hulk Hogan.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: He and Flair were stripped of the NWA World Tag Team Titles after defeating the Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Gene and Ole Anderson) for "unprofessional conduct" due to Ole being unable to leave the ring under his own might.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: with Jimmy Hart and oddly enough Chief Wahoo. He and Greg stiffednote  each other in every match for the first three years or so, but they were pretty close outside the ring.
    • Tito Santana and Ricky Steamboat too, remembering them fondly for they could work a match not needing verbal or visual clues whatsoever. According to Greg, he performed with them both like magic.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…:
    • Pretty much his gimmick in a nut, his role revolved about being a rough n' tumble performer who would transition seamlessly as an enforcer on every tag-team, group or stable he worked for.
    • ...or a guitar ...or a megaphone ...or even just a shin guard/leg brace for that matter.
  • Wrestling Family: The son of Johnny Valentine and Brother-In-Law to Brian Knobbs.
  • Wrestling Psychology: If your fighting style relies on being methodical, there are a lot of possibilities most of your opponents want you to finish them fast, or even not having to be pitted against you at all. To emphysize it, that was what inspired Gorilla's observation about how "it took Valentine 15 minutes just to get warmed up." The figure could increase at any time.