Where Are They Now? Dan Spivey

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January 20, 2010

Dan Spivey never planned on becoming a professional wrestler. Although he grew up in Tampa admiring the flashy competitors he saw on Championship Wrestling from Florida like Eddie Graham and Johnny Valentine, the big man dedicated his young life to one goal.

"In my mind, I was going to be a pro football player," Spivey told WWE.com. "I had a good shot at it, but I got hurt in my junior year at college."

A star defensive end at the University of Georgia, Spivey was drafted by the New York Jets, but a debilitating knee injury ruined his chances at a pro career.

"I was going to play football the rest of my life," he said. "After my injury, that dream went away. I was pretty mad at the world."

Devastated, Spivey spent the next few years listless and depressed, working odd jobs around Tampa. But a chance encounter with WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes would turn things around. (PHOTOS)

"Dusty had seen me out and asked if I wanted to be a wrestler," Spivey recalled. "Evidently, he was looking for somebody for his American Starship idea."

At the time, Rhodes was in charge of Championship Wrestling from Florida and was looking to create all-American, rock 'n' roll-style characters similar to Hulk Hogan. His idea became the tag team American Starship and the men he picked to fill the roles were Dan Spivey and Scott Hall.

"We came out in silver pants and silver boots," Spivey said, laughing. "My name was Eagle and Scott was Coyote."

Despite their inexperience, Spivey and Hall had the support of Rhodes who brought them along when he made the move from CWF to Jim Crockett Promotions, the precursor to World Championship Wrestling. Still, with the two competitors too green to compete on a fulltime basis, they had to pay their dues in other ways.

"The Crocketts owned a minor league baseball team," Spivey recalled. "They needed some people to roll out the tarps, so they recruited me and Scott to go and work around the ballpark."

Although Hall and Spivey would find great success later in their careers, they never clicked as a duo and split in 1985. The same year, Spivey received a call from World Wrestling Entertainment.

"Barry Windham had left The U.S. Express and they needed a replacement. I was lucky enough to get the spot," Spivey said.

Teaming with Syracuse wrestling standout Mike Rotundo as a patriotic hero, Spivey began to develop as a talent thanks to the help of his gifted partner.

"Mike and I traveled on the road and during our trips we talked about matches and how to do certain things," Spivey said. "He was a big help."

When Rotundo left WWE, Spivey began to compete in the singles division under the moniker of The Golden Boy. It was around this time that the 300-pounder began to develop his reputation as one of the toughest guys in the locker room.

"There was a guy here named Adrian Adonis and he was beating up the younger guys, hurting them and cussing them. Everybody was scared of him," Spivey remembered. "I think that Adrian thought that I was a young kid that hadn't been anywhere, so he tried to do the same thing to me and I beat him up pretty bad. After that, I didn't have a problem with anyone."

Spivey's natural toughness would come in handy in his next career endeavor when he made the move to the no-nonsense world of Japanese wrestling.

"There are no managers. There are no women. There are no animals," Spivey said. "You just come in there and beat the hell out of each other."

Thanks to Terry Funk, Spivey linked up with All Japan Pro Wrestling and began competing with some of the most legendary tough guys in wrestling history like Dr. Death Steve Williams, Terry Gordy and Stan Hansen.

"Dr. Death was an animal and Terry Gordy was a hell of a worker. And Stan's just a legend in Japan."

Battling these monsters night in and night out made Spivey even more hardened, but their epic brawls took a serious toll on his body.

"Those matches probably took five years off my career," Spivey admitted.

The Florida native would return to Japan off and on for the next eight years, but in 1990 he joined WCW where he was teamed up with the imposing Sid Vicious in an unstoppable tag team known as The Skyscrapers.

"We were just so much bigger than everybody else," Spivey said. "Me and Sid were able to dominate most of the people in WCW."

While Sid was one of the most intense competitors around, his peculiar behavior outside of the ring earned the big man the nickname "Odie Dodie" in the locker room.

"We were in a place having drinks and Sid, who is 6-foot-8, got in an argument with Mike Graham, who is about 5-foot-2," Spivey remembered. "So Sid leaves the bar and comes back in with a squeegee to beat him up with. Sid's 300 pounds and he's using a squeegee to fight Mike Graham!"

Despite Sid's occasional goofiness, The Skyscrapers had some classic, hard-hitting matches with teams like The Road Warriors and The Steiner Bros. before breaking up in 1990.

After the split, Spivey would spend the majority of the early '90s out of the North American spotlight, but he would soon reemerge in WWE with his most memorable persona yet.

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