Sylvester Ritter (December 13, 1952 June 1, 1998), better known by his ring name, the Junkyard Dog (or, simply, JYD), was an American Professional Wrestler from Charlotte, NC best known for his work for "Cowboy" Bill Watts' Mid-South Wrestling and for WWE in the late 1970s until the late 1980s. He started his career in Tennessee in 1977 before moving on to the Hart Family's Stampede Wrestling promotion. He made his name in Mid-South, where he became the first black wrestler to be a top star in a promotion. He became extremely popular in Mid-South, to the point where, during his feud with the Fabulous Freebirds after they had "blinded" him with hair cream, they needed police escorts to and from the arenas. He eventually went to WWE where he was still very popular but without the same success. He also competed over the course of his career in Georgia, in World Class, in the USWA, in Mid-Atlantic, in WCW and various independents, including defeating Kevin Sullivan at a cross-promotional show put on by ECW, the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation and the ASWA in Essex, MD on November 14, 1993. Among his in-ring achievements, he was a 4x Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion, an 8x Mid-South Tag Team Champion and a 1x WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Champion. His last public appearance was as a guest at ECW WrestlePalooza 98, May 3, 1998, which was held in Marietta, GA, where he was honored as a "hardcore legend" along with Dick Slater, Bob Armstrong and the Masked Superstar. He died in a car accident on June 2, 1998. He was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
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"Grab Them Tropes":
- Afro Asskicker
- Animal Motif: He would even snap and bark
- Arch-Enemy: Butch Reed, the Fabulous Freebirds, Ted DiBiase, the Funk Brothers (Terry, Hoss [Dory Jr.] and Jimmy Jack [Jesse Barr]), Harley Race
- Ass Kicks You: One of his standard moves was the Butt Butt.
- Badass Beard
- Badass Teacher: He started Rodney Mack and Jazz on their training before his death.
- Bash Brothers: Ted DiBiase, Tito Santana, Dick Murdoch, George "The Animal" Steele
- Chained by Fashion/I Call It "Vera": "Ruby"
- Charlie Brown from Outta Town: Stagger Lee, in Mid-South.
- Collegiate American Football: At Fayetteville State University.
- Crowd Chant: "JYD JYD JYD!"
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: "Grab Them Cakes", which, as a Stuffy Old Song About the Buttocks, doubles as Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- Fallen Hero: His drug and weight problems prevented him from getting to the top in WWE despite his popularity.
- Friend to All Children/Dance Party Ending: After winning, he'd usually invite children from the audience into the ring to dance.
- Finishing Move: Thump (powerslam)
- Name of Power: It is a point of contention among marks if a name is necessary but the powerslam is not a finisher more often than not these days.
- Gimmick Matches: As Big Daddy Ritter in Stampede, he and Jake "The Snake" Roberts had the first ever ladder match.
- Genius Bruiser/Hidden Depths: Graduated with a degree in political science from Fayetteville State University.
- Hard Head/No-Sell
- I Have Many Names: Big Daddy Ritter, Stagger Lee and the Junkyard Dog.
- Legacy Character: Brodus Clay, for his habit of bringing in kids to dance with him after his matches.
- Leitmotif: Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust."
- Power Stable: As a Heel in Stampede, he was part of Foley'snote Army.
- Soul Brotha
- Squash Match: At The Wrestling Classic, he flattened his second-round opponent Moondog Spot in a mere 27 seconds. In fact, it was so fast that he just counted his own pin because the ref hadn't gotten down to the ring yet.
- Use Your Head: Would get on all fours and charge at his opponents to headbutt them.
- Wrestling Family: His nephew got started in professional wrestling as Redd Dogg, later known as Rodney Mack in WWE.