June 19, 1938
Bernice, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Died||April 18, 2002 (aged 63)|
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Monta Rae (divorced)|
Karen Reeves (divorced)
|Ring name(s)||Wahoo McDaniel|
|Billed height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Billed weight||280 lb (127 kg)|
|Billed from||Midland, Texas|
|Trained by||Dory Funk|
|No. 62, 54|
|Position:||Linebacker / Guard|
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||235 lb (107 kg)|
|AFL draft:||1960 / Round: 2|
Pick: First Selections
(by the Los Angeles Chargers)
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Edward McDaniel (June 19, 1938 – April 18, 2002), better known by his ring name Wahoo McDaniel, was a Choctaw-Chickasaw Native American who achieved fame as a professional American football player, and later as a professional wrestler. He is notable for having held the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship five times. McDaniel was a major star in prominent National Wrestling Alliance affiliated promotions such as Championship Wrestling from Florida, Georgia Championship Wrestling, NWA Big Time Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions.
McDaniel was born in the small town of Bernice, Oklahoma in 1938. His father worked in oil and he moved to several towns before settling down in Midland, Texas while McDaniel was in middle school. One of his baseball coaches was George H. W. Bush. The name "Wahoo" actually came from his father, who was known as "Big Wahoo". He was a problematic teenager but he was accepted to the University of Oklahoma. There he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and he was also a part of Bud Wilkinson's Sooners football program.
Professional football career
McDaniel began his career as a professional football player in 1960, playing for the Houston Oilers during their inaugural AFL Championship-winning season. He then played for Denver Broncos between 1961 and 1963. After he started playing as a linebacker for the New York Jets in 1964, McDaniel started wearing a custom jersey which had the name "Wahoo" sewn on the back above jersey 54. Whenever he made a tackle as a Jet, the public address announcer would ask the crowd WHO made that tackle, and the crowd would shout, "Wahoo! Wahoo! Wahoo!" After two seasons with the Jets, McDaniel went to the Miami Dolphins in 1966, and played with this team until his retirement after the 1968 season.
Professional wrestling career
In 1974, McDaniel came to Mid-Atlantic to wrestle for Jim Crockett Promotions and help build up the territory as a singles territory in a feud with a rival from Texas, Johnny Valentine. The feud evolved into a tag feud with McDaniel and Paul Jones taking on Valentine and Ric Flair, who McDaniel met in the AWA. His performance was heavily disliked and criticized.
McDaniel and Valentine went on to have a feud remembered to this day for the sheer force of their punch/chop exchanges, both men widely known for their hard-hitting style. McDaniel won the Mid-Atlantic title from Valentine on June 29, 1975, in Asheville, North Carolina.
In 1977, Johnny Valentine's son Greg Valentine attacked McDaniel and broke his leg in an angle to establish Greg as Johnny's successor. Valentine originally won the title on June 11, 1977, with McDaniel regaining it in Raleigh, North Carolina two months later. On September 7, 1977, Valentine regained the title at the WRAL-TV studio tapings, breaking McDaniel's leg in the process. This angle is particularly remembered for a follow-up interview weeks later with Flair and Valentine throwing change at McDaniel, and Valentine asking him if he needed a custom-made wheelchair for his fat body. Valentine then infuriated fans (thus building up the demand for a rematch) by parading around in T-shirts which read "I Broke Wahoo's Leg" and "No More Wahoo."
McDaniel is often compared to Chief Jay Strongbow, an Italian-American who played a Native American wrestler at the time. Wahoo was respected by other wrestlers and football players for his toughness, physical style and his crazy antics outside of the ring. The respect as a legitimate athlete made it easy for him to go to different territories and be successful when many babyfaces had trouble doing so. Joe Namath and Larry Csonka, who played with him early in their careers, wrote stories about him in their autobiographies. Along that same line, Len Dawson has been quoted as saying: "The hardest hit I ever received on a football field was by Wahoo McDaniel."
McDaniel was married five times to four different women. With his first wife, Monta Rae, he had two daughters, Nikki, born in June 1963 and living in Houston and Cindi, born in October 1965 and living in Rowlett, Texas. He has four grandchildren, Dustin and Brittany through Nikki and twins, Morgan and Taylor, through Cindi. He also had a son, Zac, from a later marriage to Karen Reeves.
McDaniel's health started to deteriorate in the mid-1990s, which led to his retirement in 1996, and he eventually lost both kidneys. He was awaiting a kidney transplant when he died of complications from diabetes and kidney failure on April 18, 2002.
Championships and accomplishments
- American Championship Wrestling
- ACW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- ACW United States Championship (1 time)
- American Wrestling Association
- AWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Crusher Lisowski (1 time) (Title change is not recognized outside of Denver, Co)
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Other honoree (1996)
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Florida Television Championship (1 time)
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (2 times)
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (1 time) – with Billy Jack Haynes
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (2 times) – with Jose Lothario
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- International Pro Wrestling
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling / Jim Crockett Promotions / World Championship Wrestling
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (7 times)
- NWA National Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (5 times)
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Mid-Atlantic version) (4 times) – with Mark Youngblood (2), Rufus R. Jones (1), and Paul Jones (1)
- WCW Hall of Fame (Class of 1995)
- Cadillac Cup (1976)
- NWA United States Championship Tournament (1984)
- Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Alliance
- MAWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- National Wrestling Alliance
- NWA Big Time Wrestling
- North American Wrestling Alliance
- NAWA Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1976)
- PWI ranked him # 97 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- Southern Championship Wrestling
- Southern States Wrestling
- Kingsport Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 2000)
- Southwest Championship Wrestling
- Ultimate Championship Wrestling
- UCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- National Wrestling Federation
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- "Wahoo McDaniel - OWW Profile". onlineworlofwrestling.com. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Eskenazi, Gerald (April 25, 2002). "Wahoo McDaniel, 63, a Wrestler and a Folk Hero for Fans of the Early Jets". New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- "Wahoo McDaniel". NFL.com. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
- Shrake, Edwin. "Wahoo! Wahoo! Wahoo!". Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com.
- "The Betrayal of Chief Wahoo McDaniel (Part Three)". Retrieved May 17, 2020.
- "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling". www.kayfabememories.com.
- "Greg Valentine vs Wahoo McDaniel Part 2". YouTube. Uploaded by Bischoffamamia2.0. September 24, 2014.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Where Are They Now", Inside the NFL, Home Box Office, November 1986.
- "Ex-Jets linebacker to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame". Jets Wire. April 8, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
- Shropshire, Mike (July 2, 2001). "He was a flamboyant footballer and a wacko wrestler. Now he just hopes to stay alive long enough to raise his son". Sports Illustrated.
- Hayward, Len (October 20, 2012). "Friends, family recall Wahoo's legacy". mrt.com.
- Eskenazi, Gerald (April 25, 2002). "Wahoo McDaniel, 63, a Wrestler and a Folk Hero for Fans of the Early Jets". The New York Times.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Florida Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Florida Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA United States Tag Team Title (Florida) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA World Tag Team Title (Florida) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Georgia Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Georgia Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Macon Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- IWA World Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA National Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- "WWE United States Championship". Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA World Tag Team Title (Mid-Atlantic/WCW) history At wrestling-titles.com
- WCW Hall of Fame Inductees At wrestling-titles.com
- "Pro Wrestling History". prowrestlinghistory.com.
- Gerweck, Steve (November 14, 2011). "NWA Hall of Fame Class for 2011 announced". WrestleView. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Texas: NWA / World Class American Heavyweight Title [Von Eric]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 265–266. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "NWA United States Heavyweight Title (1967-1968/05) - American Heavyweight Title (1968/05-1986/02)". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Dallas) Texas: NWA American Tag Team Title [Fritz Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 978-0-9698161-5-7.
- "N.W.A. American Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
- *Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Heavyweight Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 268–269. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "NWA Texas Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
- Will, Gary; Duncan, Royal (2000). "Texas: NWA Texas Tag Team Title [Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. pp. 275–276. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "NWA Texas Tag Team Title [E. Texas]". wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
- Southern Championship Wrestling (2002). "SCW Hall of Fame". SCW Superstars. SCWprowrestling.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2002. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- SCW Southwest Television/Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- SCW Southwest Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- SCW World Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com