Growing up in North Carolina, everyone knew "Wahoo Mac Danel." That's how most of his fans knew him, with that pronunciation. At school, at work, at the parks, it was "Wahoo Mac Danel."
I was at some of Wahoo's greatest matches. I was there to see him in the ring in Greensboro against Johnny Valentine. Folks who attended those matches still talk about them today. Not out of some nostalgia, but because no two men hit each other any harder than those two. When I tell you you could hear the chops and hammers in the upper deck, believe me, but you had to be sitting in the first five or six rows to have sweat and blood splash on you to really understand the Legend of these two men.
Years later, I met Wahoo on at many independent shows, and I am proud to have given him a poster with him verses Johnny Valentine listed as the main event.
I had several from which he could chose. "I'll take Valentine. Everyone still talks about him," he said. Wahoo told me he framed that poster and put it in his den. Like most old-school wrestlers, he saved very little memorabilia. People talked to him about those days but the poster brought it all back.
I wish I would have bought more autographed photos from him. But I was way to intimidated to do it. And it was a sad sight to see him being passed by as kids got pictures from younger stars.
I was in Greensboro when he battled against Ric Flair, the next best thing to a match with Johnny Valentine. The biggest difference was Flair would sell for Wahoo. Hell, he had to.
The image of Flair selling the Big Chop off the ropes is something that I will remember forever. Bloody and squirming like a freshly run over dog. that image is still fresh in my mind.
One night on the front row I watched Wahoo get hit so hard he collapsed at ringside. Kim Duk must have gotten pissed at him and, as Wahoo was turning the ring corner, Duk hit him as hard a blow as I could remember. Wahoo never saw it coming. That sound still haunts me.
I was there in Greensboro during the tag team days. Ricky Steamboat, Paul Jones, and Tim Woods could tell you stories.
I was there when Wahoo turned heel with Tully Blanchard. People talk about heat. Brother, you don't know heat until you sit in Raleigh, or Charlotte, or Richmond, or Greensboro. The fans would believe.
People often ask me why I am a wrestling fan. Today it is a little hard to defend. The heroes of my youth are fading. And if this website does anything, it honors those men.
It sounds like a sick joke now. A bunch of ignorant rednecks being worked. It was real to many, a lot of folks made a religion out of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on Saturday nights.
And The Big Chief was the star.
The legends of TV Wrestling!
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