Weekly Gunslinger Rap

Dory Funk Jr. vs Johnny Valentine, Original Painting by Reverend John E. McKinley

Johnny Valentine, Part I

I asked John Valentine just how he would approach my match against Nick Bockwinkel at the 1993 Slamboree show. "Drive him face forward into the mat and lock a front head lock on him and don't turn loose." I knew the style well as on several occasions as world champion I had faced him in the Sam Houston Coliseum.


I had been warned by my father to watch out for John Valentine. I remembered wrestling him in Houston, Texas. As the match started I was cautious not to rush anything, just feel this man out as I was wrestling him for the first time. As we backed into the corner the referee, Danny McShain called for the break and I made my first mistake. I relaxed and John had the front headlock. I was pinned in the corner and could not back up or escape to either side. I don't how long he kept twisting my head to the side and pulling up on my neck or when the referee finally broke the hold, but for the next 25 minutes it was just a matter of keeping my shoulders off the mat until finally I felt his big elbow drop and the lights went out. John Valentine won the first fall in just under 30 minutes.

The match was for the best two falls out of three with three minutes rest between falls. John was all over me at the start of the second fall with the front headlock, then the big elbow drop. This time, I saw it coming and raised my head and stiffened my neck to avoid the double shock of the elbow on the neck and your head banging into the mat. I could hear the count of the referee. Just before the three count, I gave it all I had and kicked out of the pin.

Now John Valentine had me in the corner again. As the referee stepped between us, I cut loose with a forearm to the side of John's head. He just looked at me. I threw it again, and again, and again. My arm was starting to hurt and Big John was just starring at me. I threw another one with everything had. John took two steps back. My arm would probably give out before I could knock him off his feet. Valentine charged me hard in an effort to keep me pinned in the corner and I ducked out to the side. Now I had him in the corner. I knew he must be stunned so I grabbed his right leg and drug him to the center of the ring. John was still standing on one leg looking me right in the eye. I reverted back to basic wrestling with a leg trip and my shoulder in his chest while still holding the right leg. Even the strongest must fall. I had the spinning toe hold and the fall.

With ten minutes left at the start of the third fall John came on strong with only the slightest of a limp in the right leg. I remembered, He feels no pain. I turned my style into that of a defensive wrestler as I knew that for me, a draw would be as good as a victory in a championship match as the belt would stay with the champion. As the bell rang ending the 60 minute time limit, the fans in Houston wanted more. I am sure they would have liked to see a title change and John Valentine bring the world championship to Houston, but they would have to wait for another opportunity. I had had enough of John Valentine for one night.

Thanks Paul Boesch, Where ever you are.

Johnny Valentine, Part II

The light twin aircraft had descended to 1000 feet above ground level on approach to New Hanover Airport, Wilmington North Carolina. The pilot leveled the aircraft and increased power to maintain altitude. The aircraft was cleared for a visual approach. With the increased demand for fuel, and a near empty tank on the left side, the left engine began to sputter, surge, and then fell quiet as the fuel supply was exhausted.

John Valentine turned to the passengers in the rear of the aircraft, smiled and said, "Guess what, we are out of fuel," He laughed as he new the aircraft could fly on the right engine which was still running. The pilot reached for the fuel tank selection lever. He turned it to the reserve fuel tank, not realizing that it was empty too. As the fuel line changed to the exhausted tank, the right engine began to sputter and now all was silent, no power, only the noise of the wind rushing by and the propellers turning in the wind. The engines were silent.

The aircraft dipped, nose first and began a rapid descent, only three miles short of the runway at New Hanover Airport. Forty seconds later, they were at tree top level, the aircraft tore through tree branches and crashed into the ground. The wings were still intact, and the aircraft was sliding forward on it's belly at 70 miles per hour, then there was a crash and crunching of steel as the aircraft slammed into an embankment supporting a railroad track.

The pilot flew forward through the windshield. John Valentine braced with his powerful arms against the dash of the aircraft. The rear seats broke loose. The wrestlers in the back, the seats, and baggage crashed forward into John Valentine, breaking his back in three places, The aircraft now was still.

Pilot: In a coma for six weeks before passing away.                                                                                                          John Valentine: Broken back in three places. Permanent disability.                                                                                       Ric Flair: Broken back in one place, multiple lacerations.                                                                                             Bruggers: Permanently disabling ankle injury.                                                                                                                       Tim Woods: Bruises and scratches.                                                                                                                                David Crockett: Bruises and scratches.

John Valentine's wrestling career was finished, but a great man lives. His wrestling style continues through his son Greg, "The Hammer," Valentine.



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