The Patriot (wrestler)
|Birth name||Del Wilkes|
December 21, 1961 |
Columbia, South Carolina
|Professional wrestling career|
Del WilkesThe Patriot
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||275 lb (125 kg)|
|Billed from||Washington, D.C. (WCW)
Columbia, South Carolina (WWF)
|Trained by||Verne Gagne
Del Wilkes (born December 21, 1961) is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, The Patriot. Over the course of his nine-year career, Wilkes wrestled for the American Wrestling Association, the Global Wrestling Federation, All Japan Pro Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, and the World Wrestling Federation.
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 2 Personal life
- 3 In wrestling
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Professional wrestling career
American Wrestling Association (1988–1991)
Del Wilkes, who from 1980-1984 played College Football at South Carolina, started out in the American Wrestling Association in 1988 under his real name for a year, before wrestling under the ring name “the Trooper.” He wrote his opponents tickets after beating them as part of his police gimmick, and would also hand out plastic police badges to the fans as he came to and from the ring. The Trooper won the AWA World Tag Team Championship with D.J. Peterson on August 11, 1990 at the final AWA television taping. They were the AWA's final World Tag Team Champions before it folded that year.
Global Wrestling Federation (1991–1992)
Wilkes went onto Global Wrestling Federation as a fan favorite and became "the Patriot," where he was crowned the first GWF Television Championship in a tournament in 1991. Soon afterwards, the Patriot feuded with Al Perez over the GWF North American Heavyweight Championship, which he won initially on Aug. 10, but the victory was disputed. He won the title again in a rematch against Perez two weeks later. He held the title for five months before losing it to his nemesis, the Dark Patriot.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (1992–1994)
In 1992, during his stint in the GWF, Wilkes went to wrestle in All Japan Pro Wrestling. He had success with Jackie Fulton who wrestled as "The Eagle" to match Wilkes' Patriot gimmick. On June 2, 1993, The Patriot and the Eagle defeated Kenta Kobashi and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi to win the All Asia Tag Team Championship. The Patriot would hold onto the titles for three months, eventually losing them on September 9, 1993 to Doug Furnas and Dan Kroffat. In late 1993, The Patriot and The Eagle entered the 1993 World's Strongest Tag Determination League where they finished in 7th place with 4 Points.
World Championship Wrestling (1994–1995)
In 1994, Wilkes signed with World Championship Wrestling to form a team with Marcus Alexander Bagwell called Stars and Stripes. They feuded with Paul Orndorff and Paul Roma over the WCW World Tag Team Championship. The two teams battled for the titles and exchanged victories in non-title matches for several months. One week after losing the titles at Fall Brawl 1994, Stars and Stripes defeated Pretty Wonderful on September 25, 1994 on WCW Saturday Night. Stars and Stripes held the titles for a month but lost them back to Pretty Wonderful at Halloween Havoc 1994. On November 16, 1994, at Clash of the Champions XXIX, Stars and Stripes regained the titles for the second time in a match where Patriot's mask was on the line. Three weeks later, on December 8, Stars and Stripes lost the titles to Harlem Heat (the match would air on January 14, 1995 edition of WCW Saturday Night). Wilkes continued wrestling for WCW for several more months until leaving in May 1995.
Return to AJPW (1995–1997)
After no-showing the Slamboree pay-per-view in May 1995, he returned to AJPW. He quickly formed a tag team with Johnny Ace. On August 30, 1995, Wilkes and Ace challenged The Holy Demon Army for the World Tag Team Championship but lost. The two then entered the 1995 World's Strongest Tag Determination League where they finished in 4th place with 13 points.
On January 2, 1996, Wilkes won All Japan's yearly January 2 Heavyweight Battle Royal to give him his second All Japan achievement. For the battle royal victory, Wilkes ended his team with Ace and went into the midcard with little direction. In the spring of 1996, Wilkes entered the 1996 Champion Carnival where he finished in 9th place with 6 points. In the summer of 1996, Wilkes formed a tag team with Kenta Kobashi, on October 12, 1996, they challenged Steve Williams and Johnny Ace for the World Tag Team Championship but they came up short. In November 1996, Wilkes and Kobashi entered the 1996 World's Strongest Tag Determination League where they finished in 3rd place with 16 points, Wilkes even scored a pinfall victory over Toshiaki Kawada.
In early 1997, Wilkes and Kobashi reunited with Johnny Ace and the three formed the stable: GET (Global, Energetic, Tough). Wilkes involvement with the group only lasted a few months as he left All Japan in July 1997.
World Wrestling Federation (1997)
Wilkes made his TV debut on the July 14, 1997 episode of Raw and feuded with Bret Hart. The premise of this feud was that Hart had just started his anti-American Hart Foundation, and the Patriot was, as the name implied, a man who stood up for America. He wore a mask with American stars and stripes and carried the American flag. He defeated Hart on television in a match on July 28, 1997 after interference from Shawn Michaels. Wilkes went on to challenge Hart for the WWF title at Ground Zero: In Your House where Hart forced him to submit with the Sharpshooter. At Badd Blood: In Your House, Wilkes teamed with Vader against the Hart Foundation's Bret Hart and The British Bulldog, but lost the match. Following Badd Blood, Patriot was scheduled to team with Vader, Goldust, and Marc Mero as part of Team USA at Survivor Series 1997 but suffered a torn triceps weeks earlier, he was replaced by Steve Blackman. He was released in early 1998.
During his tenure in the WWF, Wilkes used the song "Medal", which would later be used by Sgt. Slaughter at December 1997's D-Generation X: In Your House, and then popularized by Kurt Angle following his November 1999 debut.
The Patriot character
Wilkes sold the gimmick to Tom "Salvatore Sincere" Brandi shortly after his retirement from the ring, which Brandi uses in the independent circuit. In a 2008 interview, Wilkes claimed he had never actually sold the gimmick to Brandi, who he hadn't seen since 1994 (however Brandi was on the WWF roster for the entire of Wilkes' WWF tenure in 1997).
After leaving the WWF, Wilkes retired due to a broken collarbone. Since leaving the business, Wilkes admitted that he had used steroids and cocaine during his career, starting with his college football days. He spent nine months in prison in 2002 for forging a prescription due to his addiction to painkillers. As of July 2007, Wilkes has since quit drugs and is a car salesman in Columbia, South Carolina.
In a July 25, 2007 interview with WACH reporter Justin Kier, Wilkes discussed his career, steroid use, the Chris Benoit tragedy, and various other topics. Kier's last two questions involved saying goodbye to the fans and giving advice to youngsters in the wrestling business. Wilkes urged young wrestlers to "learn from our mistakes." He said that 50 people who he once worked with in the wrestling business are now dead.
- Finishing moves
- As The Trooper
- The Big Pinch (Two-handed neck claw)
- As The Patriot
- Signature moves
- Entrance themes
- "Dead Or Alive" by Deep Purple (AWA/AJPW, 1988–1991)
- "Black Magic" by Reb Beach (AJPW, 1992–1993, 1995–1997)
- "Rock Trailer" by Jimmy Hart (WCW, 1994)
- "Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Phillip Sousa (WCW, 1994; WWF, 1997)
- "Fast Drive" by Jimmy Hart (WCW, 1994–1995)
- "Medal" by Jim Johnston (WWF, 1997)
Championships and accomplishments
- "The Patriot profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "Japan: AJPW All Asia Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 375. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "A journey through steroids, injuries, pain pills and prison". USA Today. 2004-03-12. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
- CNN - Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "AWA World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 29. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "Global Wrestling Federation North American Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 280. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "GWF Television Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 281. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Inspirational Wrestler of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "WCW World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 20. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.