WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Valiant passed away at the age of 71 on Wednesday.
Pro Wrestling Sheet reports Valiant ran into a busy road early Wednesday morning and was hit by a pickup truck. The accident took place in Ross Township, a northern suburb of Pittsburgh. The accident is reportedly still under investigation by local police.
WWE released a press release on Valiant's passing on Wednesday evening.
"WWE extends its condolences to Valiant's family, friends and fans," the press release read.
Valiant, real name John L. Sullivan, first began his wrestling career in a Detroit territory promotion run by The Shiek as a wrestler and referee. He worked as a midcarder for the World Wide Wrestling Federation beginning in 1969 and went on to win to become a tag team wrestler with "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant as the Valiant Brothers. He won the WWWF Tag Team Championship first in 1974 and held onto it for over a year, then took home to gold again in 1979 alongside "Gentleman" Jerry Valiant with Captain Lou Alabano as his manager.
Valiant moved on to working as a manager following his second tag title run, first in the AWA and then in the WWF starting in 1985. His list of wrestlers managed includes Brutus Beefcake, Hulk Hogan, The Spiler, Greg Valentine, Dino Bravo, Demolition and The Destruction Crew. His managing career took him all the way to the first WrestleMania in 1985, where he was in Beefcake's corner as his client took on David Sammartino with the legendary Bruno Sammartino in his corner. The match ended in double disqualification in just under 12 minutes.
Months after that match, Valiant helped Beefcake and Valentine, known as The Dream Team, win the WWF Tag Team Championships by defeating The U.S. Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) at a Philadelphia house show in August 1985. The duo held the titles all the way up until WrestleMania 2 in April 1986 when they lost to The British Bulldogs.
Valiant returned to the AWA in 1989 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.0comments
Multiple current and former WWE Superstars gave their condolences to Valiant and his family on social media.
RIP MY BROTHER JOHNNY VALIANT— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) April 5, 2018
R.I.P. Johnny Valiant.— Bruce Prichard (@bruceprichard) April 5, 2018
Saddened to learn of the death of "Luscious" Johnny Valiant. He was so talented, so witty and vastly under rated. Rest In Peace Johnny.— Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie (@BlueMeanieBWO) April 5, 2018
R.I.P Luscious Johnny Valiant....Always kind to me and very helpful early in my career.— Luke Gallows (@LukeGallowsWWE) April 5, 2018
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