|Birth name||Pezavan Whatley|
|Born||January 10, 1951|
Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
|Died||January 18, 2005 (aged 54)|
Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Alma mater||University of Tennessee at Chattanooga|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Pez Whatley|
Willie B. Hert
|Billed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Billed weight||245 lb (111 kg)|
|Billed from||Chattanooga, Tennessee|
|Trained by||Saul Weingeroff|
Whatley played football and wrestled for Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). He was UTC's first African-American wrestler. Whatley was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Whatley started wrestling in 1973 after a brief career as a power lifter. He wrestled with the (original) Sheik's Big Time Wrestling, after which he wrestled primarily in Alabama and Tennessee before going to Florida Championship Wrestling in 1984. He won the Southern Title twice while there. He was one-third of the "Convertible Blondes" with Rip Rogers and Gary Royal in the Angelo Poffo-promoted ICW, even though he didn't dye his hair blonde. One of Whatley's best-known moments in ICW was the "Mop Head" angle where Whatley had to wear a mop wig after losing a match to Ron Garvin. The match stipulation also required him to keep wearing it until he won another match. This led to not only a lengthy feud with Garvin but also to a long losing streak for Whatley. Most of Whatley's losses were by disqualification due to outside interference when Garvin would attack Whatley's opponent. The angle lasted for several months until Whatley finally won a match.
He went to the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985 and often teamed with Jimmy Valiant against members of Paul Jones' Army. In 1986, after Valiant called Whatley "the best black athlete in professional wrestling", Whatley turned on Valiant and cut some of Valiant's hair, thinking Valiant's comment was racist. Whatley then became a "Heel", joined Jones' Army and renamed himself "Shaska Whatley". He frequently teamed with The Barbarian and Baron von Raschke in their war against Valiant, and would frequently spit on his opponents during matches. He eventually lost a hair vs. hair match to Valiant and was shaved bald. In 1986, during a short stint when Dusty Rhodes was NWA Champion, Whatley appeared to freelance during a TV interview and made the announcers visibly uncomfortable when he said that he wanted to become the first black NWA Champion.
In late 1987, Whatley had left Jones and started teaming with Tiger Conway Jr. as "The Jive Tones". They did not have much success, and Whatley left for Florida in 1988. He was part of Kevin Sullivan's goon squad in Florida and departed for Alabama shortly after his arrival.
In the early 1990s Pez Whatley had a short stint in Japan's UWFi. He also worked for the World Wrestling Federation as an enhancement talent on their weekly television programs from January 1990 until April 1991, putting over many of the WWF's top stars. He also picked up a few victories on house shows, most notably over Paul Diamond and The Genius. Whatley then made sporadic appearances in World Championship Wrestling throughout the 90s as an enhancement talent as well as appearances at the 1995 and 1996 World War 3 events until his in-ring retirement in 1998, becoming a backstage worker for WCW and an assistant trainer at the WCW Power Plant.
While working for WCW in the late 1990s, Whatley was hospitalized for bronchitis, where doctors discovered he had an enlarged heart which would likely stop pumping sooner than normal. In the years waiting for a transplant (which he didn't get), he was prematurely pronounced dead twice. On January 15, 2005, he had a heart attack and died in hospital in Chattanooga on January 18.
Championships and accomplishments
- All-American Wrestling
- AAW Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- International Championship Wrestling
- NWA Mid-America
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him # 345 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- Universal Wrestling Association
- UWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Western States Sports
- Other titles
- NCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Sam McGraw
- "Wrestler Profiles: Pez Whatley". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- Oliver, Greg. ""Pistol" Pez Whatley dead at 54". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
- "Eta Phi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha". Archived from the original on 2008-02-18.
- "The Great American Bash 1986". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
- "Tag Team List". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 2007-12-25. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- Prowrestlinghistory.com Prowrestlinghistory.com retrieved March 23, 2019
- "ICW United States Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "ICW World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "NWA Mid-America Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "NWA Western States Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10.