Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Greg Valentine Shoot Interview

Presented by RF Video

This shoot was conducted in October of 2000.

The Hammer talks about how he broke into the business against his father’s wishes.

Greg never saw his dad on TV locally as he lived in Portland and Johnny Valentine was a star in much more prominent locations.

Valentine lived with his mother as his parents divorced when he was 6.

Johnny sent him to Stampede Wrestling to learn and also to avoid having anyone see Greg’s early matches where Greg would likely stink.

After six months of refereeing and ring crew work (and little in ring time) Valentine requested to leave Stampede.  Stu Hart mocked him.

He moved along to Michigan and learned under the Sheik.

Don Fargo took a shine to Greg and requested to form a tag with Valentine.

They had a good run, especially in Amarillo with the Funks.

Florida wrestling gave Greg a chance to go single and he enjoyed that run and stuck around until he was asked to jump to California.

Valentine worked briefly for Bill Watts, who was too much of a hard ass for Greg.

Dusty Rhodes and Valentine worked main events in Florida’s in the mid-70’s – Greg was making 1500 a week.

The famous plane crash that crippled Valentine’s father and injured Ric Flair and Tim Woods among others is discussed.  Johnny was in the front seat and much of the plane’s cargo and seats crashed into him after the plane hit an embankment. This ended Johnny’s career.

Valentine moved on to Mid-Atlantic with promises of tripling his weekly pay checks.

Blackjack Mulligan and other heels were jealous that Valentine was put in as Ric Flair’s partner, since Flair was a heat magnet and was drawing big money.

Greg split with Flair and moved on to the WWWF, where he drew more money with Jay Strongbow than World Champion Bob Backlund, stemming from a hot angle where Greg broke Jay’s leg.

After a year or so, Greg jumped back to Mid-Atlantic and convinced booker George Scott to start a Flair vs. Valentine feud.

Ricky Steamboat’s natural abilities are put over.  Ray Stevens was an excellent teacher.

Stevens were badly hurt when flopping out of the ring towards Big John Studd, who failed to catch him as planned and Stevens tore his groin muscles, which Greg says Stevens never really recovered from.

Valentine worked with Paul Orndorff when Paul was still learning and thus Orndorff was stiff as heck.

Bob Backlund was hard to work with as he didn’t have the fans full support and Backlund bumped awkwardly. 

Pedro Morales was great to work with and had great babyface fire.

Vince Jr. would party with the boys in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Valentine went to Japan and had many matches with Tatsumi Fujinami.

The famous Piper/Valentine feud is discussed.

Greg liked working in the WWF more than Mid Atlantic because the matches were easier and he didn’t have so much pressure to draw.

McMahon’s ego grew massively after taking over the WWF.

JYD was lazy in the ring.

Hogan changed the finish of a match between he and Valentine to give himself a flukier win than planned in order to help Greg save his heat.

Valentine never had an issue working in large arenas as he ignored the fans after a few rows back.

Beefcake got a lot of heat for being Hogan’s buddy.

Andre was in a foul mood at the Royal Rumble ’89 and stood on Valentine’s throat.

Greg was party buddies with Don Muraco and Jake Roberts – wild guys.

The 80’s WWF locker room was like a family – and most guys made a lot of money.

It took 8 months for Valentine to agree to dye his hair black in 1989/90.

Honky Tonk Man and Greg were penciled in to beat the Hart Foundation for the tag team titles, but the Road Warriors being signed changed the plans.

The Ultimate Warrior was not very popular in the locker room as his talent never matched his push.

Valentine wanted to renew his feud with Roddy Piper in the WWF, but it never came to pass.

Miss Elizabeth was kept at home often when Savage was on the road and Savage would send his parents over to take her to the store and what not, in order to keep tabs on her.

Ronnie Garvin and Valentine were very excited to work with one another as both worked a stiff style.

Earthquake and Valentine were supposed to have a 12 minute match at Wrestlemania 7, then time constraints cut them down to four minutes.  Valentine threw a fit, couldn’t find Vince, almost quit on the spot and ultimately got a few extra minutes added on to the match so that it wasn’t such a squash.

Once Greg arrived in WCW, he was upset that some guys had guarantees and were lazy, meanwhile Greg was stuck making 700 dollars a shot.

Greg’s WCW run saw him battle young guns like Tom Zenk and Marcus Bagwell. He would go on to form a tag team with Terry Taylor and the duo won the largely devalued United States tag team belts from Big Josh and Ron Simmons. After losing the titles shortly thereafter to the Fabulous Freebirds, Valentine joined forces with The Barbarian and Dick Slater. His WCW run would be over soon after and it was back to the independent scene for Greg.

Dusty Rhodes booked Valentine to do a job for Sting on TV, and Valentine refused to do it.  Dusty asked if he wanted to work or what and Greg said screw it and quit.

Herb Abrams booked Valentine briefly in the “new” UWF – Greg did some shots, then went back to the WWF and discovered Abrams had canceled his checks in retaliation for leaving the UWF.

The Hammer made a brief return to the WWF – participating at the 1993 Survivor Series under a mask as one of Jerry Lawler’s “Knights” and then made a appearance under his actual persona at that year’s Royal Rumble.

Valentine signed a nice contract with WCW in the mid-90’s and was able to coast for 3 years.  He felt the announcers treated him well, despite that he was just a undercard guy.


Valentine would work some shots for the AWF, a promotion that should have suited Greg well as they were based around a “round” system like boxing, which lent itself towards longer matches in which the Hammer excelled at.

Greg would have loved a chance to book a promotion.

Johnny Valentine tried to start a wrestling union in the 60’s.  Greg thinks a union would still be great for the guys.

The Hammer enjoys the work of Rikishi, The Rock, Benoit and HHH.

Yokozuna’s death is discussed.  Valentine had just spent a few weeks teaming with Yoko on a tour and so his death hit Valentine hard.

Another stop for the Hammer during his mid-90’s independent tour was for a Japanese death match company.  This is quite the bizarre match, with Valentine working his methodical offense and ignoring the violent surroundings for much of the encounter.

Greg speculates that telling DDP to “fuck off” when DDP was a fan looking for wrestling info in 1979 may have something to do with WCW not really pushing him in the mid-90’s since Bischoff and DDP are buddies.

Greg was one of many veterans who signed with WCW in the mid-90’s as the roster bloated to over 70 workers.  This era did lend itself to some fun weekend TV though as we were able to see guys like Valentine, The Fantastics, The Rock and Roll Express and other vets work competitive matches with the modern stars – as opposed to the WWF TV of this era which was still presenting a nearly full complement of jobber squashes.

WCW tried signing Greg in 1990 but Vince convinced him to stay in the WWF – Greg regrets not jumping now.

Word association:

Hulk Hogan – Phenomenon, great person


Ric Flair – A little shady at times, good guy though.

Harley Race – Really tough guy and really respected.

Dino Bravo – Greg is still bothered by his murder.

Bischoff – An asshole.

Luger – Couldn’t work, nice guy.

Valentine thinks WCW and WWF need to sign a bunch of vets to help the next generation learn to walk and do jobs for the young guys.

Greg closes by thanking the fans for respecting him and his father.

The Hammer would get a final moment in the sun as he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  Valentine insists on working to this very day, for anyone who is still willing to pay his wage – this has led to videos surfacing online of Greg appearing in matches in random backyard “federations”.

Next we get the famous Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine Dog Collar match shown in full.

Greg Valentine, Bret Hart, Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask, Fujinami and Kimura then shown:

The famous Flair/Valentine suit tearing angle is shown. Then a Valentine vs Flair match is shown where George Scott helps restart the match after Valentine wins in a crooked fashion.  Piper and Valentine then attack Scott and Flair until Steamboat and Youngblood save the day. 

A 1998 match from Japan is next – I don’t recognize Valentine’s opponent.

Greg Valentine vs. Carlos Colon in a cage match from Puerto Rico airs:

We finish off the tape with Dory Funk Jr. vs. Greg Valentine from some random late 90’s Indy show in a tent.  Dory tosses candy to the crowd to establish his babyface status I guess. These guys rewind the clock 20 years and work a rest hold heavy match.

Final Thoughts: The Hammer’s charisma is not off the charts, but I enjoyed his look back upon his career.  Greg definitely seems to believe that his potential was not met after 1986 or so, but he doesn’t come across as bitter.  If you can locate a copy of this version the shoot, with the two hours of bonus matches intact, then I’d be hard pressed to not recommend making the purchase – if for nothing else than to see the lost art of methodical psychology at play by one of the best of his era.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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