In honor of (Greg) Valentine's Day
Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day — a day when love is in the air and thoughts of romance abound. Well, I thought I would put a completely different spin on this day, as my love affair with WWE continues to set my heart aflutter.
That said, I decided to seek a few choice words with an individual who, appropriately enough, could say that this day was named in his honor, and who also happens to celebrate his wedding anniversary on this very date: WWE Hall of Famer Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.
And there was no doubt the theme of my conversation revolved around love on this very special day.
THE FINK: You grew up in a wrestling family, as your dad, Johnny Valentine, was one of the all-time greats. You obviously followed in his footsteps. What was your first love that made you gravitate toward this profession?
GREG VALENTINE: I once went on the road with my dad for about four to five months, not knowing much about the wrestling business. I really fell in love with wrestling in 1969, watching my dad wrestle Fritz Von Erich and Wahoo McDaniel. I was mesmerized by the action. I fell in love with my dad all over again, and I fell in love with the business as well. Something just clicked in my mind; this was my calling, and I just knew that I wanted it, and that I could do it. That’s half the battle right there. (PHOTOS)
THE FINK: What did you love more — being a singles competitor, or being one half of a tag team?
GREG VALENTINE: I learned both of them real well because of the different psychologies that are employed. But if push came to shove, I loved being a singles competitor. That was my real love, because I didn’t have to worry about what my partner was doing, or [what] the two other guys across the ring [were doing]. It was just one-on-one, and that was my forte.
THE FINK: Name the three individuals in your career whom you loved competing against.
VALENTINE: Tito Santana was a natural. Every time I went out there, I knew that I was going to tear the house down with him (WATCH). Rugged Ronnie Garvin complemented my style perfectly (WATCH). Chief Jay Strongbow and I sold out everywhere we went, and I learned so much from competing against him. (WATCH)
THE FINK: If you stepped into a WWE ring today, who would be the three Superstars that you would love to square off against?
VALENTINE: Randy Orton has that old-school style in his repertoire, which I love watching; a purist in every sense of the word. John Cena is a very hard-working individual in the ring. I feel that we could match up pretty well together. I wrestled Big Show in WCW, but his in-ring style has come a long way since then. I feel we could have a very entertaining match.
THE FINK: As part of your tag team experiences, did you love dyeing your hair black to become a part of Rhythm & Blues with partner Honky Tonk Man?
VALENTINE: I hated the black hair; I didn’t think I looked good. But I did not mind the character because it was a lot of fun. I was always a dead serious, stone-faced, stoic competitor, but this gave me a chance to smile, to act goofy a little bit, and it loosened me up as well.
THE FINK: What did you love about Greg Valentine — the Superstar and his career?
VALENTINE: I loved the fact that I was in seven WrestleManias, I loved being in the first Starrcade, I loved being the Intercontinental Champion, I loved being a WWE Tag Team Champion with Brutus Beefcake and I loved being inducted into the prestigious WWE Hall of Fame. I’m proud of the fact that people come up to me and tell me that they loved watching me wrestle; they loved my work. I love wrestling probably more than anything else, and I'm proud of the fact that I was a 100-percent pure professional wrestler. I loved wrestling and wrestling loved me back. So for me, it truly is a Happy Valentine’s Day!