Forgotten Legends56: Johnny Valentine
Debuting in 1947 and having a career that spanned over 3 decades and 64 titles across 18 promotions in US and Japan and inducted in 4 HOF including Wrestling Observer, Stampede and Professional Wrestling, he is a legend by all definition in professional wrestling, someone who has done it all.
After his debut, his big break came in series for NWA US title three years after where he was defeated by none other than Buddy Rogers in the finals. He kick started his title run with NWA US tag titles first teaming with Jerry Graham and then Buddy Rogers feuding with The Fabulous Kangaroos trading tag titles over and again with various partners becoming a legendary tag team specialist partnering with various wrestlers.
He had a brief run feuding with Antonio Inoki in Japan becoming the highest profile foreign wrestler in Japan building Inoki up going on to drop and take back NWA US Heavyweight championship building Inoki's image. He also had a run in WWWF winning tag titles as well as a brief feud with Bruno Sammartino.
He then moved on to Florida and Georgia winning the heavyweight championship in both places finally having enough with the small titles going on for NWA World Heavyweight title which Valentine won in 1973 from Race but had to step down quickly due to health problems that started his career decline. He went back to small promotions having easier work schedule never stopping winning titles there but a plane crash completely left him paralyzed ending his career, the same crash which broke Flair's back forcing him to adopt a flamboyant style over his original technical expertise and killed the pilot.
He is the father of Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, mostly remembered for it if at all; A forgotten legend.
You think you can...turn me into a blubbering wreck...by preying on my fears...But I've already faced them--and come out the other side! You understand me? I know what I am...Who I am...And I am not afraid!~ The Man without Fear