wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Did Jeff Jarrett Make History in Ric Flair’s Last Match?

August 8, 2022 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Last Match, Jeff Jarrett Ric Flair's Last Match Image Credit: Starrcade

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

Hey, ya want a banner?

I’ve been told I should promote my Twitter account more. So, go follow me on Twitter.

APinOZ asks about WWF and JCP. So many abbreviations!

Is Jeff Jarrett the first wrestling figure to appear in a WWE/F show and a Jim Crockett Promotions show on successive days?


First off, saying that Jeff Jarrett appeared on back-to-back WWE and Jim Crockett Promotions shows is a bit of a stretch. Sure, he was on card promoted by companies that had those names, but the Jim Crockett Promotions that ran in July 2022 is not the same company that was in existence from 1931 through 1988. It’s just an indy show that happened to be run by a guy who had the ability to acquire the legal rights to the name Jim Crockett Promotions.

Even if you want to count the original JCP and this reboot as being the same wrestling promotion, the answer to the question is still no.

There may have been some others over the years, but the first one who I was able to identify as having done this is Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.

When Valentine was getting ready to transition from Crockett to the WWF in 1984, he actually went back and forth between the two companies on a few different occasions, primarily wrestling for JCP but doing some WWF TV tapings before eventually going on the road with the Fed full time. This did result in him working for the two companies on back-to-back days.

The first time this happened was on January 23 and January 24, 1984. On the first of those days, Valentine teamed up with Wahoo McDaniel in Greenville, South Carolina, losing by disqualification to Bob Orton, Jr. and Dick Slater. Then on the second day, he was on a WWF Championship Wrestling taping in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he defeated Rudy Diamond and Frank Williams in separate matches.

This reoccurred the next month, as February 13 saw Dick Slater successfully defend the NWA United States Championship against Valentine in Ashville, North Carolina. Then, the Hammer traveled up to Allentown again, where he did anther WWF Championship Wrestling taping. This time he did three matches in one day, going over a trio of WWF undercard legends in the form of B. Brian Blair, Jose Luis Rivera, and, once again, Frank Williams.

Finally, Valentine finished up with JCP for good on March 24, 1984, again losing a U.S. Title match to Slater, though this time it was in a steel cage in Richmond, Virginia. On March 25, Greg was wrestling in Madison Square Garden, going to a double count out against Bob Backlund.

Also, you have to keep in mind the fact that Jim Crockett Promotions and World Championship Wrestling were, for all intents and purposes, the same company with the same continuity and history. There was just a name change and a change in ownership. It’s really no different than Anthem Sports & Entertainment purchasing TNA Wrestling and rebranding it as Impact, and nobody is arguing that TNA and Impact are two separate wrestling promotions.

If you consider JCP and WCW to be the same entity, then there are more names that can, somewhat infamously, be added to this list. Let’s not forget about Lex Luger being on the first WCW Monday Nitro on September 4, 1995 in Minneapolis, Minnesota the night after wrestling for the WWF at a house show in St. Johns, New Brunswick.

Thus, Jeff Jarrett’s two recent appearances for WWE and this zombified JCP are not nearly as unique as you might guess.

Tyler from Winnipeg has me in the goozle:

How did Haku/Meng break into wrestling? What’s your favorite Haku/Meng moment?

Haku legitimately grew up in the Kingdom of Tonga, and, early in his life, he was a rugby player. The Tongan government had an opportunity to send a contingent of young men to Japan to be trained in sumo wrestling, and he was one of the individuals selected due to the athletic prowess that he had exhibited on the rugby pitch. He only competed in sumo for about two years, giving it up in 1978. He left that sport somewhat prematurely because the individual who was responsible for training his stable of sumo wrestlers died, and his replacement was not a fan of non-Japanese athletes competing in the sport, so all of the Tongans who were recruited a couple of years before were cut.

Around this time, there were actually quite a few professional wrestlers who were recruited out of sumo. That’s what happened to Haku as well. Genichiro Tenryu, who at that point was a couple of years into his puroresu career after transitioning out of sumo, used his connections to that sport to recruit Haku. This lead to Haku signing up to join All Japan Pro Wrestling, who promptly sent him to Amarillo, Texas for training by the Funk family, who were breaking in all of AJPW’s top stars at the time.

From there, as they say, the rest is history.

My favorite moment from the man’s career was probably the August 10, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, in which Meng was awarded a WCW World Heavyweight Title match against champion Bill Goldberg, who at that point had amassed a 130-0 record in the promotion. The match itself did not include a lot of surprises – particularly in terms of the outcome – but the buildup earlier on the show may have been Meng’s finest moment, as there were segments in which he was portrayed as an absolute monster, laying out various wrestlers and scads and scads of security guards with the Togan Death Grip en route to the main event. In fact, the story of the main event was that the nWo (who were feuding with Goldberg) had to be brought out to provide security during the World Title match since Meng had decimated the regular security force, including head of security Doug Dillinger.

John S. is exposing me:

Who exactly told you that you should promote your Twitter account more? I’ve read the comments of these articles for many years and have never seen one person suggest that.

Okay, you win. You caught me.

Nobody in the comment section of this column has ever told me I should promote my Twitter account more.

And, thanks to the curse that an old Romani mystic placed on me many years ago, the comment sections of these columns are the only mechanism through which I am allowed to communicate with any person ever. As a result, if you haven’t seen me talking to somebody there, the conversation just hasn’t happened.

By the way, not being able to communicate via any platform other than the 411mania Disqus threads has really put a crimp in my dating life. I did have a romantic Italian dinner the other with Elway Horseface the other night, but then he expected me to put out just because he paid. It doesn’t work that way, Elway. Not at all.

Bryan is in the ring . . . and in the aisle . . . and in the balcony:

Does WWE own the trademark to Doink? I see indy advertisements that include Doink, and I’m curious to how they get away with it. Plus, I’m wondering who It is since Matt Borne is no longer with us. It’s like could you or I dress up as Doink and charge for it?

Yes, WWE 100% owns the trademark to Doink the Clown. You can actually see it on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System here.

Are there other people using the gimmick on independent shows right now? I don’t doubt it. Do they have any legal right to do so? Absolutely not. How do they get away with it? The only answer that makes any sense is that the shows this is happening on are so far under the radar that WWE simply doesn’t know about it.

As far as who the current ersatz Doinks are, it’s anybody’s guess. Literally all you need is a clown costume and you can play Doink. Thus, unless you give me more information, I can’t really say who was under the grease paint on an ad that you saw for an indy show.

That being said, between the websites CageMatch.net and ProFightDB, there are 16 individuals who are listed as having been a Doink in the past. Granted, those two sites can’t catalog everybody on every low-level indy show, but they’re the most comprehensive sources we have.

The first four Doinks are the ones that everybody knows about, what I’ll call the main WWE Doinks. There’s the original, Matt Borne, along with alternates Steve Keirn, Steve Lombardi, and Ray Apollo (not to be confused with Phil Apollo, who was a regular WWF enhancement wrestler around the same time but is a completely different person). All of these men wrestled outside the WWF/WWE as Doink as well. Borne’s last reported indy match as Doink was in 2013, Apollo’s was in 2014, and Lombardi’s was in 2016.

Nick Dinsmore was also an official WWE Doink for a brief period of time, donning the costume for a few shows in the early 2000s, long before he became better known as Eugene. His most notable appearance in the gimmick was at the 2003 Vengeance pay per view in the APA Invitational Bar Room Brawl.

Now we get to the bootleg Doinks who most likely had no right to do what they were doing. Perhaps the most prolific is Dusty Wolfe, who was a regular WWF enhancement wrestler under both that name and the name of Dale Wolfe throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Between 1995 and 2012, Wolfe wrestled almost 120 independent matches as Doink, many of them overseas in places like Austria, Belgium, Japan, and South Korea.

An independent wrestler named Preston Steele, who has mostly wrestled in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia also got his hands on a Doink suit at some point and has wrestled more than seventy-five times as the character, beginning in 1998 and continuing through 2018. Like Wolfe, Steele also took his knockoff act overseas, wrestling several shows in Europe as Doink between 2011 and 2013. Interestingly, before he ever wrestled as Doink, Steele had a series of indy matches against Steve Keirn when Kerin was doing the Doink character. One wonders if Keirn just handed the outfit off to him afterwards.

Longtime northeast independent wrestler Ace Darling also had a small handful of matches as a Doink in 1994 and 1995. Perhaps most notably, he appeared as the character on a November 19, 1994 show in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that featured a one-night tournament to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion. This is the tournament that was necessitated by Shane Douglas throwing down the championship to kickstart ECW. Darling Doink was not in the tournament itself but did get to go on next-to-last in a losing effort against Scotty “Raven” Flamingo before Chris Candido defeated Tracy Smothers in the main event to become NWA Champ.

Speaking of Darlings, if you saw a Doink on an independent show in Massachusetts in 2009 or 2010, it very well could have been an indy wrestler otherwise known as Damien Darling. Damien is no relation to Ace as far as I know, and his scant appearances as Doink may actually be the most notable thing he’s done in his career in the ring. However, out of the ring, he grabbed some tabloid-style headlines in the early 2010s when he was romantically linked to Tammy “Sunny” Sytch.

Bobby Starr, who was a regular “local competitor” on both WWF and WCW television from 1992 through 1995 also had a small number of matches as a Doink on cards in Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. One of those matches was actually against the aforementioned Preston Steele, and you have to wonder how they decided among themselves which one would be the clown that evening.

The Metal Maniac was a Doink on a few NWA shows in New Jersey in 1997 and 1998. Who is the Metal Maniac, you ask? He is probably best known for being the hand-picked opponent of Jimmy Snuka for independent matches. For almost twenty years, if Snuka was going to be wrestling on a lower level indy card in the northeast, he would get Maniac booked as his opponent on the show. Double M was the Washington Generals to the Superfly’s Harlem Globetrotters. The scheme makes a lot of sense if you think about it, because Jimmy gets somebody he can trust to work with him in the ring instead of having to take his chances with an unseasoned and unfamiliar opponent, and none of the fans really care, either, because they’re just there to see Snuka. Unfortunately, Metal Maniac never wrestled as Doink when facing Fiji’s favorite son.

As far as blink-and-you’ll-miss them Doinks go, probably the best ones are IWA Mid-South legends Tarek the Great and Truth Martini. They weren’t Doinks on the regular, but on a few limited occasions they did form a Doink-based tag team in Juggalo Championship Wrestling. It had to be an honor to get booked as a clown on a show promoted by clowns . . . right?

Most of the indy Doinks on this list are east coast wrestlers, but here’s a good old fashioned, corn fed Midwestern Doink for you. His more common ring name is Eric Freedom, and he did some WWF enhancement work in 1991 and 1992 and is still wrestling today, thirty years later. His Doink matches ran from 1999 to 2001 and included some bouts in which he teamed with an illegitimate Golga, who was not John Tenta. In 2004, Freedom did actually team with the original Doink, Matt Borne, on an indy show in Michigan – though on that particular evening, Borne played Doink and Freedom did not.

From the Midwest, let’s head to the deep south and talk about Alabama Doink. Real name Shannon Dwaine Henderson, Alabama Doink differed from many of the other Doinks on this list in that he was rather, ahem, heavyset and, instead of wearing face paint, he actually wore a Doink the Clown mask to the ring. He became a bit of a meme circa 2016 when a falls count anywhere match that he had against Jon Heidenreich in the parking lot of a Golden Corral restaurant went a bit viral in the wrestling community. This lead to him being booked on Joey Janela’s Spring Break 2 during Wrestlemania weekend in 2018. Sadly, we lost Alabama Doink later that very same year . . . he was only 40 years old.

Finally, a twenty-year indy veteran known as TC Reynolds wrestled over 40 matches as Doink on lower level independent cards between 1996 and 2010. Reynolds also had several matches as “Battman,” so you could tell he was a guy just trying to cash in on whatever popular kids’ character he could. (For what it’s worth, Reynolds wasn’t even the first “Battman” in wrestling, as the Dark Knight was first ripped off by a Pennsylvania wrestler named Tony Marino in the 1960s. Marino as Battman regularly teamed with Bruno Sammartino.)

So, there you have it. A metric ton of Doinks, and, as I mentioned, this is probably far from an exhaustive list.

That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.