The Continental Wrestling Federation is proud to announce the first two inductees into the 2018 Class of the Hall of Legends:
James Crockett was a professional wrestling promoter and professional sports franchise owner sometimes known as Jim Crockett Sr., or to people within the business simply as "Big Jim".
In the early 1930s, a dispute arose over the bookings of new wrestling sensation Jim Londos, so New York City promoter Jack Curley negotiated an alliance between various regional managers that enabled Londos to travel the country as champion while allowing the promoters to share profits evenly across the regions. As a result of this arrangement, new wrestling "territories" emerged across the U.S., and in 1935, a 25-year-old Crockett, who had also served as a concert promoter while also owning a theater and a restaurant, decided to set up a permanent wrestling shop based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The organization, known as Jim Crockett Promotions, scheduled wrestling events in both Carolinas, and in Virginia, under the banner of Eastern States Championship Wrestling. Over the next decade, ESCW featured some top wrestling stars of the day. Then in 1948, wrestling's top promoters gathered in Waterloo, Iowa to form the industry's first true governing body, known as the National Wrestling Alliance. As the dominant force representing the Carolina region, Jim Crockett Promotions soon became an important member of the NWA, with Crockett serving as a chief lieutenant under longtime NWA President and leading St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick.
Over the next 25 years, Crockett's Carolina territory reigned among the most successful regions in the NWA, as he regularly sold out the 16,000-seat Greensboro Coliseum featuring such stars as Johnny Weaver, Rip Hawk, Swede Hanson, and Gene & Ole Anderson on his Championship Wrestling program.
Wahoo McDaniel wrestled during the off-season, a common practice at the time due to low player salaries, for Dory Funk in Amarillo, Texas while he played for Houston and Denver. When he was playing for the New York Jets, Vince McMahon, Sr. brought him in for a run in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). During his run, he wrestled with stars like Boris Malenko, Cowboy Bill Watts, Dr. Jerry Graham and Waldo Von Erich. When he played in Miami, Eddie Graham booked him and used him as a tag team wrestler with Jose Lothario. His Madison Square Garden debut was January 25, 1965, where he defeated Boris Malenko. Malenko at the time was essentially a preliminary wrestler. Nonetheless, the match got some strong local media coverage due to McDaniel's football career.
After leaving football, Wahoo wrestled some in Hawaii but really made his mark and had his greatest success in Houston. He feuded with Boris Malenko, eventually winning his hair, and was a frequent challenger for Dory Funk, Jr.'s NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The feud sold out the Sam Houston Coliseum on several occasions with Wahoo going time limit draws with the champ but ultimately coming up short. After Houston, he went to the American Wrestling Association and had a very successful feud with Superstar Billy Graham after Graham could not defeat Wahoo in an arm wrestling challenge and attacked him. Eventually, the feud turned into a tag feud with Wahoo teaming with the Crusher (another legitimate tough guy) against Graham and Ivan Koloff.
In 1974, Wahoo came to Mid-Atlantic to wrestle for Jim Crockett Promotions and help build up the territory as a singles territory in a feud with a rival from Texas, Johnny Valentine. The feud evolved into a tag feud with Wahoo and Paul Jones taking on Johnny Valentine and Ric Flair, who Wahoo met in the AWA.
McDaniel and John Valentine went on to have a feud remembered to this day for the sheer force of their punch/chop exchanges, both men widely known for their hard-hitting style. Wahoo won the Mid-Atlantic title from Valentine on June 29, 1975, in Asheville, North Carolina.
McDaniel and Flair entered into a legendary feud over the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship title throughout 1975 and 1976 after Johnny Valentine's career was ended in a plane crash. Flair won the title for the first time on September 20, 1975, in Hampton, Virginia. Wahoo regained the title in the Charlotte (NC) Coliseum in May of the following year.
Flair regained the title three weeks later in a match remembered as the "table leg" match. Wahoo and Flair shattered a table at ringside, and Flair picked up one of table legs to hit Wahoo in the head, not realizing a nail was sticking out of the table leg. McDaniel was legitimately injured and the match quickly ended with Flair pinning McDaniel for the title.
McDaniel and Flair would swap the title one more time before the final exchange of the Mid-Atlantic title between the two happened on December 27, 1976, when Wahoo defeated Flair for the belt in a "No Disqualification" match in the Richmond (VA) Coliseum. Flair went on to win the United States title and matches for the U.S. belt between Wahoo and Flair drew huge houses, with Flair holding on to the championship.
In 1977, Johnny Valentine's son Greg Valentine attacked Wahoo and broke his leg in an angle to establish Greg as Johnny's successor. Greg Valentine originally won the title on June 11, 1977, with Wahoo regaining it in Raleigh, NC two months later. On September 7, 1977, Greg Valentine regained the title at the WRAL-TV studio tapings, breaking Wahoo's leg in the process. This angle is particularly remembered for a follow-up interview weeks later with Flair and Valentine throwing change at Wahoo, and Valentine asking Wahoo if he needed a custom-made wheelchair for his fat body. Valentine then infuriated fans (thus building up the demand for a rematch) by parading around in T-shirts which read "I Broke Wahoo's Leg" and "No More Wahoo."
Wahoo won the Mid-Atlantic title for the final time in a match against Valentine in Greensboro, NC on April 2, 1978. Unusually enough for that decade, the title reign lasted only a week, with Wahoo dropping the title to Olympic weightlifter Ken Patera in Charlotte, NC.
Other than his work in Mid-Atlantic, he wrestled in Florida, usually against then NWA World champion Harley Race. He also split his time wrestling in Georgia and the AWA. He went to Japan several times but never really caught on although he did wrestle major names like Giant Baba, Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta. By 1980, he was wrestling in San Antonio in a feud with Tully Blanchard and his regular tag partner, "Georgous" Gino Hernandez. When the promoter in Houston broke away from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and recognized the AWA World champion Nick Bockwinkel, Wahoo was the regular challenger.
He returned to Mid-Atlantic in 1981 and feuded with Roddy Piper over the United States title which ended when Piper brought in Abdullah the Butcher and Abby put Wahoo out on injury. Wahoo returned and had another bloody feud with Sgt. Slaughter for the U.S. title when Slaughter won the title while Wahoo was injured. In 1984, he turned on Ricky Steamboat, taking the U.S. title for the fourth time when Tully Blanchard came to Wahoo's assistance with a steel chair. He was stripped of the title but regained it in a tournament later that year. Wahoo successfully defended it at Starrcade of that year against Billy Graham but lost it to Magnum T.A. in early 1985 in a steel cage match. Wahoo feuded again with the now babyface Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight title at various times before Flair turned heel again. After losing the U.S. title, he booked and wrestled mostly for Championship Wrestling from Florida. While there. he assaulted a fan that called his headdress "chicken feathers" during a TV taping at the Sportatorium. He made a tag team with Billy Jack Haynes which won the promotion's version of the NWA United States Tag Team title from Rick Rude and Jesse Barr (aka Jimmy Jack Funk). Wahoo wrestled some high-profile matches in Florida like an unsuccessful world title bid against Ric Flair and a draw against Bruiser Brody at the Florida promotion's nationally syndicated big show, Battle of the Belts.
In 1986, he returned as a face to Mid-Atlantic wrestling in some of his famous Indian Strap Matches with Jimmy Garvin and Rick Rude. He won the NWA National Heavyweight Championship from Tully Blanchard in front of a packed house of 11,000 fans in Los Angeles at The Forum (Inglewood, California) on August 28, 1986 during a wild and bloody match, but lost a unification match against NWA U.S. champion Nikita Koloff.
For the rest of the 1980s, he wrestled mainly for the AWA and for WWC in Puerto Rico. He was a perennial top contender for the AWA World Title from 1987 to 1989, challenging Curt Hennig, Jerry Lawler, and Larry Zbyszko during that time. McDaniel initially retired following a match against Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom, where he suffered a detached retina.
But his retirement was brief, and he returned to wrestling the following year. He continued to wrestle into the 1990s mostly for independent promotions throughout the south. In 1993, he teamed with Jim Brunzell and Blackjack Mulligan against Don Muraco, Jimmy Snuka, and Dick Murdoch in a legends match at the inaugural Slamboree: A Legend's Reunion. The following year, he participated in an angle where he and Chief Jay Strongbow supposedly passed the torch to WWF's Tatanka. Had a notable feud on the indie circuit with Ivan Koloff and a series of matches with an unknown wrestler named Mean Marc Ash, which signaled to many long time observers that Wahoo's career was nearly over. He wrestled until 1996 when he officially retired.