Pez Whatley

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Pez Whatley
Pez Whatley.jpg
Birth name Pezavan Whatley
Born (1951-01-10)January 10, 1951[1]
Chattanooga, Tennessee[1]
Died January 18, 2005(2005-01-18) (aged 54)[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Pez Whatley
Shaska Whatley
Willie B. Hert
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[2]
Billed weight 245 lb (111 kg)[2]
Billed from Chattanooga, Tennessee[2]
Trained by Saul Weingeroff[1]
Debut 1975
Retired 1995[2]

Pezavan "Pez" Whatley[3] (January 10, 1951 – January 18, 2005)[1] was a professional wrestler in the 1980s and early 1990s.


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.[3] Whatley was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[4]

Whatley started wrestling in 1975 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 joined Jones' Army and renamed himself "Shaska Whatley". He frequently teamed with The Barbarian and Baron Von Raschke in their war against Valiant. He eventually lost a hair vs. hair match to Valiant and was shaved bald.[5]

In late 1987, Whatley had left Jones and started teaming with Tiger Conway Jr. as "The Jive Tones".[6] 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 Alabama's Southeast Championship Wrestling, Whatley became "Willie B. Hert" and was one of the top faces for the company.

In the early 1990s Pez Whatley had a short stint in Japan's UWFi. He also worked for the WWF as an enhancement talent during this time. Whatley retired from in-ring competition in 1995 and became a backstage worker for WCW and an assistant trainer at the WCW Power Plant,[2] making sporadic appearances at special WCW events, including one of WCW's World War 3 pay-per-view events.


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.[1]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • PWI ranked him # 345 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.[12]
  • Other Titles
  • NCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Sam McGraw


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Wrestler Profiles: Pez Whatley". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0. 
  3. ^ a b Oliver, Greg. ""Pistol" Pez Whatley dead at 54". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  4. ^ "Eta Phi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha". 
  5. ^ "The Great American Bash 1986". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  6. ^ "Tag Team List". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  7. ^ "NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  8. ^ "ICW United States Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  9. ^ "ICW World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  10. ^ "NWA Mid-America Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  11. ^ "NWA Western States Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  12. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-01-10.