Stats 101: Will you be Johnny's Valentine?

On the latest episode of Stats 101, wrestling historian Al Getz looks at the three biggest feuds of Johnny Valentine's Mid-Atlantic run in the mid-1970s using the new FLW (Feud Length in Weeks) stat.

FLW takes into account not only how many times a specific match occurs, but also where on the cards those matches occur (main event, semi-main, etc.) and how spread out over a short period of time the matches are. It is expressed in weeks and is meant to approximate how long the feud “lasted” in aggregate. Keep in mind that feuds generally played out over a much longer period of time in all the various towns. FLW attempts to take all those matches and express how long it would have taken if they had all happened on consecutive days, factoring in the relative completeness of the data set.

The house show records used to compile this data comes from the detailed research of Mark Eastridge and were provided by Dick Bourne of the incredible Mid-Atlantic Gateway web site.

1) vs Sonny King, 8.82 weeks
2) vs Wahoo McDaniel, 7.49 weeks
3) vs Paul Jones, 7.22 weeks

After these three, the next-highest FLW score for one of Valentine’s feuds was a 3.76, so these feuds stand head and shoulders above all the others.

Of these feuds, the one with Sonny King had the fewest number of matches. However, they played out over a much shorter period of time than the other two feuds, thus the higher FLW score. All their matches took place within a nine-month period, whereas the other two played out over more than a year apiece. In addition, the matches against Sonny were spread out relatively evenly across all the different weekly venues, with at least four matches in almost all of them. It is worth noting that matches against Wahoo McDaniel occurred more often on shows in larger venues that were not run weekly (such as Greensboro) than the other two.

Further down this post you will see how these feuds played out in four of the territory’s weekly markets (Charlotte, Columbia, Greenville, and Raleigh). One of the things you might notice is that there is no rhyme or reason to the sequence of matches and how they move from one market to the next. There is no clear pattern involved; sometimes matches happen in consecutive weeks in one town, and in another they are spread out over several weeks. Some towns have 1 or 2 matches between two feuding wrestlers, others have 4 or more. This goes against ‘conventional wisdom’ that there was a very strict sequence that every single feud followed. In reality, many of the top babyfaces in a territory had “beef” with several heels at any given time, not just one of them. This, and the concept of localized house show promos, allowed promoters and bookers the freedom to let each individual market dictate how a feud played out. If a main event between two wrestlers drew an above average crowd in one town, they may choose to book an inconclusive finish to build to a rematch the following week; yet if the same match did not draw well in another town, they could simply end it with a clean(ish) finish and try something else the next time.


This feud was borne out of another feud, Valentine vs Bearcat Wright. Valentine had put a bounty on Wright, and Super Destroyer was said to have collected a bounty (in reality, it appears Bearcat was legitimately injured and had to take some time off). Sonny King was brought in and billed as Bearcat’s brother, seeking revenge.

Interviews with Super Destroyer, Sonny King, Ivan Koloff & Johnny Valentine

7/29/74 The two went to a no-decision “when the grapplers were both fighting outside the ring and counted out”
8/5/74 Mid-Atlantic title: Valentine won
10/21/74 Valentine won by countout
10/28/74 Mid-Atlantic title: King won, but “the result was held up because of the question over whether King actually won the fall”
11/4/74 Mid-Atlantic title: Valentine won

10/1/74 Mid-Atlantic title, no disqualification: results not available
10/8/74 10 rounds boxing: King knocked out Valentine in the seventh round
10/15/74 Mid-Atlantic title, Texas death match: Valentine won

6/17/74 Valentine won by disqualification
11/18/74 Mid-Atlantic title: Both men were disqualified
12/2/74 10 rounds boxing, special referee Joe Louis: King won in the seventh round
1/26/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Valentine won

9/10/74 King won by disqualification
10/22/74 King won
10/29/74 Mid-Atlantic title: King won by disqualification
12/3/74 Mid-Atlantic title, special referee Joe Louis: King won by disqualification


How did this feud come about? Well, when you have one tough son-of-a-bitch as a top heel in your territory and another tough son-of-a-bitch as a top babyface in your territory, it’s simply inevitable that the two will tangle!

4/21/75 $2,000 silver dollar challenge: Wahoo won

1/7/75 Wahoo won
1/14/75 Mid-Atlantic title: results not available
7/29/75 Mid-Atlantic title (Wahoo champ): Wahoo won

7/15/74 Wahoo won
3/24/75 $2,000 silver dollar challenge, two-hour time limit: Wahoo won
7/28/75 Wahoo won

1/21/75 Valentine won by disqualification
1/28/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Wahoo won by disqualification
2/4/75 Mid-Atlantic title, disqualification rule waived: Valentine won
7/15/75 Mid-Atlantic title (Wahoo champ): Wahoo won


The Mid-Atlantic Gateway has a great recap of the origin of this feud:

8/12/74 Jones beat Valentine
9/16/74 Mid-Atlantic title: Jones won by disqualification
12/9/74 Jones beat Valentine
12/25/74 Mid-Atlantic title: Jones won when Valentine was disqualified “for slugging the referee”
1/6/75 Mid-Atlantic title, disqualification rule waived: Valentine won by countout
1/20/75 Mid-Atlantic title, lumberjack match: Valentine won in 45 minutes
2/24/75 Texas death match: Jones won
3/3/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Valentine won by countout
3/9/75 Fence match: Jones won
4/5/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Both men were disqualified after five minutes
5/17/75 Mid-Atlantic title, no disqualification: Valentine won

9/17/74 Mid-Atlantic title: Valentine won in 43 minutes
11/19/74 Mid-Atlantic title: Both men “were disqualified for attacking the referee”
11/26/74 Mid-Atlantic title, two referees: The match went to a one-hour draw
4/15/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Both men were disqualified
4/29/75 Mid-Atlantic title, special referee Haystack Calhoun: Jones won by disqualification
5/6/75 Mid-Atlantic title, disqualification rule waived: Valentine won

4/28/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Both men were disqualified
5/5/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Jones won by disqualification
5/12/75 Texas death match: Jones won
6/2/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Valentine won

5/7/74 Jones won
5/14/74 Mid-Atlantic title, special referee Haystack Calhoun: Jones won by disqualification
3/18/75 Mid-Atlantic title: Jones won
4/1/75 Mid-Atlantic title: No-contest

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