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Greg Valentine

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Greg "The Hammer" Valentine -- (born September 20, 1950, as John Wisniski, Jr., in Seattle, WA) is a retired pro wrestler, best known for his work in the WWF and NWA/WCW. In the WWF, he held the Intercontinental Championship in 1984-85 and the WWF Tag Team Championship with Brutus Beefcake in 1985-86. As well as Roddy Piper, Greg Valentine was the only man to compete at the first Starrcade and the first WrestleMania. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in the Class of 2004, alongside long-time rival Tito Santana.

Known as one of the toughest competitors in wrestling, he is a second-generation wrestler (son of Johnny Valentine) and his father's career was cut short in a fatal 1975 plane crash (also involving Ric Flair, in which his back was broken). Valentine replaced his father at the top of the card, and worked with Ric Flair as a partner and opponent, often feuding over the United States Championship. He and Roddy Piper had a memorable dog collar match at the first Starrcade before he went north to the WWF. Under the guidance of Capt. Lou Albano, Valentine beat Santana for the WWF Intercontinental championship in September 1984, but he lost the title back to Santana nine months later.

Junkyard Dog challenged Valentine at the first WrestleMania and won the match via count-out. As a result, Santana & JYD faced Valentine in a series of matches in which Valentine teamed with Beefcake. After losing the title, Valentine teamed with Brutus Beefcake (under the guidance of Jimmy Valiant) to challenge the WWF Tag Team champions Barry Windham & Mike Rutundo, and they won the belts. Unfortunately, they lost the titles to the British Bulldogs at WrestleMania 2 as well as subsequent rematches throughout the Bulldogs' reign.

Eventually, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine was reunited with Jimmy Hart, and he became a constant in mid-card matches in the WWF. He returned to the tag division in 1989 by teaming with Honky Tonk Man as Rhythm & Blues. Greg Valentine had a change of "Hart" and dumped Jimmy as his manager, leading to a short, unsuccessful run as a fan favorite.

Greg Valentine returned to WCW briefly, but he eventually relegated himself to independent promotions so he would not have to travel full-time.

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