As previously reported, WWE Hall of Famer “Luscious” Johnny Valiant (real name: John Sullivan) passed away early Wednesday morning, after being hit by a truck in a small suburb outside of Pittsburgh. According to eye-witness accounts, Sullivan crossed a busy street without using a crosswalk around 5:00 a.m. and was taken to a local hospital where he died. He was 71.
Valiant grew up outside of Pittsburgh as a friend of the great Bruno Sammartino, and began his career working for The Original Sheik in Detroit. He toured the North American territories in the late 1960s and 70s including a run with Vince McMahon Sr.’s WWWF promotion as a midcard babyface and two-time world tag team champion. He and his storyline “brother” Jimmy Valiant then worked for Dick the Bruiser’s World Wrestling Association in arguably his most famous run, winning their tag team titles four times.
Following his in-ring career Valiant went on to become a highly successful manager, working alongside the likes of Hulk Hogan, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, and Demolition. One of his most famous roles came as the co-manager of the Dream Team along with the “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, leading them to an 8-month reign as WWF Tag Team Champions. After working the first three WrestleMania events, before retiring for good, he returned to the AWA for one more run coaching the Destruction Crew to the tag team titles.
WWE released an official statement on Valiant’s passing late Wednesday night, strangely omitting the cause of death or any information related to the circumstances of his passing.
R.I.P Luscious Johnny Valiant….Always kind to me and very helpful early in my career.
— Luke Gallows (@LukeGallowsWWE) April 5, 2018
Johnny Valiant’s #WWEHOF acceptance speech is one of the best ever. #ripjohnnyv
— Sean Waltman (@TheRealXPac) 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
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