Randy Orton has had a long and illustrious career with WWE. Orton first caught on with fans thanks to his Legend Killer gimmick that saw the future Viper taking out icons like Harley Race. This culminated in a brutal match with Mick Foley that made Orton‘s career.
It was a neat character: a brash, young star disrespects and humiliates legends of the past. The only thing that would be cooler is if a wrestler was somehow able to take out Hall of Famers of the future. Unfortunately, there is no way a person can be a future legends killer…right? Looking back, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine may have been just that, making a career out of taking out the top tier of the industry at the time.
I Broke Wahoo’s Leg
This is one of the most famous angles of the 1970s. It also birthed an awesome T-shirt and allowed Valentine to show personality that was not limited to a black hair dye job. Wahoo McDaniel was one of the most popular stars of the Mid-Atlantic region, and was the special referee in the match that cost Valentine and his partner Ric Flair the NWA Tag Titles. The Hammer got revenge by breaking the Indian star’s ankle.
First Break Up North
Before his more well known stint in the 1980s, Valentine travelled to the WWWF in 1979. He was managed by The Grand Wizard and had a simple gimmick: he tried to break his opponents legs. This included Chief Jay Stongbow, which led to an Indian Strap match.
A Legit Break
Valentine and Flair are one of the most underrated tag teams of all time. There simply is not enough footage of the duo. Put it this way: the team was so amazing, the NWA basically ordered them to split up. So it came as no surprise when Valentine ask Flair to reform the team when Valentine returned to Mid-Atlantic. The Nature Boy declined. Valentine took this well, abandoning Flair during a tag match then hitting him in the head with a cane, breaking Flair’s nose for real.
Time to Break the Piper
Starrcade ’83 is memorable for a number of reasons. One of the most fondly remembered matches is the dog collar chain match between Roddy Piper and Valentine. The match was brutal even by modern standards. How brutal? Valentine broke Piper’s left ear drum, resulting in 50% hearing loss.
Breaking Through in New York
If there is such a thing, Valentine and Tito Santana are second-tier legends: they don’t occupy the lofty heights of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, but they still left their mark on the industry. Both were big names during the Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection, for example. The feud between them saw The Hammer destroy the Intercontinental Title, leading to a more familiar design. Valentine also injured Santana’s leg, sidelining him for months.
Tower of Power Breaks Down
In the 1970s, Superstar Billy Graham was a groundbreaking heel. His act went on to influence all Hulk Hogan and Scott Steiner, among many others. (Ironically, Graham would lose the WWWF title to Bob Backlund, who would “lose” the belts to Valentine.) By 1988, Graham was bitter and barely mobile due to a plastic hip. This did not stop Valentine from locking Superstar in a figure four, however. On an episode of Superstars, The Hammer effectively ended Graham’s professional wrestling career.
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