||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (May 2009)|
September 16, 1957 |
Phillipsburg, New Jersey
|Resides||Fall River, Massachusetts|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||DC Drake
|Billed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Billed weight||255 lb (116 kg)|
|Trained by||Tito Torres|
Don Clyde "DC" Drake (born September 16, 1957) is a former American professional wrestler. He became the Heavyweight Champion for the National Wrestling Federation and Tri-State Wrestling Alliance which was the precursor to Extreme Championship Wrestling.
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 2 Personal life
- 3 In wrestling
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Professional wrestling career
DC Drake was trained to wrestle by Tito Torres of Jersey City, New Jersey. Drake credits Torres for teaching him not only the physical piece of professional wrestling but helped prepare him for the mental toughness needed to endure the wrestling profession. Torres's training helped Drake secure many preliminary wrestling events with organizations throughout the New York and New Jersey area. Drake's first big break came with Mario and Joe Savoldi, two well known wrestling promoters who headed up major independent promotions. Wrestling as Don Stallion, Drake faced off with stars such as Carlos Colon, Jerry Lawler and Ric Flair (at Roosevelt Park on Long Island, NY).
Continental Wrestling Alliance (1978–1986)
Drake began working on a regular basis in 1978, wrestling for the Continental Wrestling Alliance (CWA), a small independent organization based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Drake, who co-founded the CWA with Paul "The Concrete Cowboy" Swanger and Ted Petty, met some success in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey market. Drake took over control of the CWA after Swanger and Petty moved on to other projects. The CWA used up-and-coming wrestlers from throughout the Northeast, including Jimmy Powers, The Boss, Ray Apollo, Larry Winters, Eddie Mirenda, The Nighthawk, The Great Kahlua and Tom Brandi.
The organization was a mainstay on Twin County Cable's Wednesday night TV lineup for many years. The CWA used many local independent wrestlers and employed other local and regional television and radio personalities. "Uncle Bob", a morning-drive radio personality in the Philadelphia market (WQQQ 99.9 FM) became Drake's manager after a feud erupted between the two on Bob's morning radio show. After a much publicized match where Bob was beaten quickly in front of a packed house in Easton, Pennsylvania, the two became friends and worked as a team for several years.
Drake had established a television deal with Twin County Cable which covered the Lehigh Valley and Blue Mountain area of Pennsylvania. Twin County Cable's president, the late Donald Berner, saw professional wrestling as a draw for those in the Lehigh Valley area which was the location of television tapings for International Championship Wrestling (The Americus Hotel in Allentown) and the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) at the Agricultural Hall in Allentown and The Fieldhouse in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
National Wrestling Federation (1986–1989)
The CWA struggled as a local organization until Robert Raskin (President of Raskin Sports Productions and a former professional basketball coach for the ABA) took over the business end of the promotion from Drake and injected much needed capital into the project. Raskin also changed the name from CWA to the National Wrestling Federation. A tournament was held for the newly created NWF Heavyweight Championship featuring such wrestling stars as the Wild Samoans, the Tonga Kid, Sgt. Slaughter, Jules Strongbow, and Bruiser Brody. Drake managed to emerge victorious and became the first NWF Champion. The organization moved from the Allentown area to offices in the Philadelphia and New York City area.
Drake, who was the NWF Heavyweight Champion, battled the top talent that the organization's promoters threw at him. Along with his manager Damien Kane, Drake managed to hold onto his title for nearly two years. Along the way, he engaged in a long and bloody feud with Jules Strongbow. The war culminated in a dog collar match in a New Jersey venue where both wrestlers lost a tremendous amount of blood. Raskin and his promotion team refused to sanction any additional matches between the two for one year, fearing a serious injury to one of the men.
Drake broke his back during a match in Shippensburg, PA when he was tossed off a set of bleachers crashing to the floor. After being out for several months, Drake was defeated by Sgt. Slaughter who became the champion briefly before the organization closed. Drake then retired from wrestling and returned to his human services career.
Tri-State Wrestling Alliance and Eastern/Extreme Championship Wrestling (1989–1995)
When Drake left the NWF, he returned to his human services career in the Philadelphia area. After several months off from the wrestling circuit, he was contacted by Joel Goodhart about picking up some matches for a new organization operating out of Philadelphia called the Tri State Wrestling Alliance (TWA). Drake was happy to return to the ring but wanted to do so sparingly. As the TWA grew, Goodhart and his partner Tod Gordon, decided to have a tournament for the vacant title. Nancy "Woman" Benoit entered to organization and contacted Drake, convincing him to enter the contest. At the Civic Center in Philadelphia, Drake captured the title from the Rockin' Rebel and went on to hold the gold for nearly a year.
It was with the TWA that Drake began the hardcore style that overtook Goodhart's promotion. In a match with Larry Winters in McGonicle Hall in Philadelphia, Drake was tossed off the second floor balcony of the arena to the hard concrete floor below. In a rematch, both worked their way up into the third level of the arena and battled in the rafters where both men nearly lost their footing 40 feet above the arena floor. This set off a series of matches between the two and for nearly six months, the TWA ring was soaked in blood. The battles occurred in TWA rings as well as other independent organizations around the country. One national wrestling magazine called the feud brutal and editorialized that what they were seeing would change the wrestling world forever. After months of hardcore title defenses against Winters and other challengers, the beatings had taken a toll on Drake. He lost his title to J.T. Smith, a young wrestler from Philadelphia. In a rematch for the title at the Sports Bar in Philadelphia, Drake suffered a serious neck and shoulder injury which later resulted in numerous surgeries. This forced his retirement once again in 1991 from the sport he loved.
After Drake left active competition in 1991, he hosted several cable television shows about professional wrestling but did not plan to compete anymore. In 1994, Nancy Benoit called him and asked if he were interested in being a part of an ECW event. Benoit wanted to gather all of her "former champions" to put "Cactus Jack" (Mick Foley) out of ECW. Benoit planned to pit Drake in a match with him and double and triple team him until he could no longer compete. The goal was to make way for the return of Terry Funk in 1995. Drake returned to the squared circle to face Foley on that night. As Foley turned the tables on Drake and pinned him, the Sandman and Terry Funk entered the ring and beat Foley. Drake regained his senses and joined in the massacre. Several other wrestlers assisted Foley and Drake and Tommy Dreamer fought their way back to the dressing room. After the match, ECW President Paul Heyman offered Drake a contract to take on Dreamer in a series of matches. Drake, no longer in condition to face the rigors of the ring, thanked Heyman for the offer but returned to retirement.
Wrestle Reunion (2005)
After a decade out of the wrestling business, Drake returned to the ring in 2005 as part of a wrestling reunion show in Philadelphia. Promoter Rob Russen held the event at the Valley Forge Convention Center. Drake participated in a match that night as part of a six person tag match.
Born and raised in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Drake is a 1974 graduate of Phillipsburg High School, and worked as a senior corrections officer for the State of New Jersey assigned to the Mountainview Correctional Facility in Annandale, New Jersey.
In the mid-1980s, Drake teamed up with Irwin Fanus, an ex police officer from Carlisle, Pennsylvania and Les Thatcher, a school teacher from Southeastern Pennsylvania to develop an anti-drug program for kids from elementary to high school called "Beyond No". This program focused on the dangers of drugs and ways to resist peer pressure. Drake, a former corrections officer of ten years brought his knowledge of substance abuse as well as the recognition factor associated with his wrestling career to this project. He enlisted the services of several wrestlers to be a part of this project, including Damien Kane, Jules Strongbow and Heidi Lee Morgan. Through the special assistance of the Cumberland County DAs Office, all who presented received random drug screens to insure that they were indeed drug free. This program appeared in schools from Maine to Florida and from Pennsylvania to California. Drake entered into an agreement with several military bases to present the program after receiving positive reviews at the Mayport Naval Air Station in Mayport, Florida where Sgt. Slaughter also lent his voice to the project. Drake's interest in this subject came from many areas, including a grandmother who died as a result of alcoholism, the amount of drug and alcohol abuse he saw among professional wrestlers and his experience in the prison system where an overwhelming amount of inmates had histories of substance abuse.
After his wrestling career, Drake returned to college in Boston for his Master's Degree in psychological counseling with a specialty in addiction psychology and is a director of treatment programming in the Boston area.
Championships and accomplishments
- East Coast Wrestling Federation
- ECWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Empire Wrestling Federation
- EWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time, first)
- Independent Wrestling Federation (Connecticut)
- IWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time, last)
- National Wrestling Federation
- NWF Heavyweight Championship (3 times, first)
- New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2010
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Top Rope Promotions
- Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)
- Staff. "WRESTLERS TANGLE TO DEFEND TITLES", The Morning Call, August 23, 1984. Accessed March 14, 2011. "Drake the 250-pounder from Phillipsburg and 245-pound Bronx native Ray Apollo wound up in a bloody brawl that resulted in a double disqualification."
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 - 1991". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-07-14.