WWE Hall of Famer 'Luscious' Johnny Valiant dies after getting hit by a truck
He even moved to do color commentary for WWE and eventually became a stand-up comedian and actor, landing roles in “The Sopranos” and “La
A wrestling star of the 1970s and ’80s and a Hall of Famer, 'Luscious' Johnny Valiant, succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday after getting hit by a pickup truck on a busy street in Ross Township, Pa.
The 71-year-old wrestler, whose real name was Thomas M. Sullivan, was pronounced dead at Allegheny General Hospital on Pittsburgh’s North Side, WWE announced.
The accident is said to have occurred at about 5:30 am.
Ross Detective Brian Kohlhepp told Triblive.com, “The driver of the truck stayed here on the scene. There’s no indication that this was anything other than a terrible accident at this point, but we’re still investigating.”
WWE stated that Valiant began his sports-entertainment career in 1969 in the Detroit territory owned by WWE Hall of Famer The Sheik, setting up rings, refereeing and competing.
After learning the basics in the Motor City, he spent years competing in more than 20 territories across North America, including WWE. Five years later, the 'Valiant Brothers' — 'Luscious' Johnny and 'Handsome' Jimmy — won the World Tag Team Championship and the wrestler was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
The 'Valiant Brothers' started a nationwide tour of National Wrestling Association territories in 1976, until Jerry Valiant, another pretend-brother, replaced Jimmy, who retired to become a manager. In 1979, Johnny and 'Gentleman' Jerry Valiant won the tandem titles again under the management of Captain Lou Albano. The group split for good in 1980.
Then later, Luscious Johnny began managing tag team champions and big names in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) before returning to WWE in 1985. He led Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus Beefcake to the World Tag Team Championship with a win over Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo. He also managed Hulk Hogan in the AWA and later returned to WWE to manage Dino Bravo and Demolition.
He even moved to do color commentary for WWE, then returned to AWA in 1989 as a manager and eventually became a stand-up comedian and actor, landing roles in “The Sopranos” and “Law & Order.”