The Patriot (wrestler)

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The Patriot
Patriotdelwilkes 2705.jpg
Birth name Del Wilkes
Born (1961-12-21) December 21, 1961 (age 54)[1]
Columbia, South Carolina, United States[2]
Spouse(s) Cathy Wilkes (Present)
Website Official website
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Del Wilkes
The Patriot[2]
The Trooper.[2]
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[2]
Billed weight 275 lb (125 kg)[2]
Billed from Washington, D.C. (WCW)
Columbia, South Carolina (WWF)
Trained by Verne Gagne
The Fabulous Moolah[2]
Debut 1988
Retired 2000 Due to Torn Triceps

Del Wilkes (born December 21, 1961)[3] is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring names, The Trooper and 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.

College Football[edit]

Del Wilkes
DelWilkesGamecocks.jpg
No. 62
Position: Offensive Guard
Career information
High school: Columbia (SC)
College: South Carolina
Career highlights and awards

Wilkes was heavily recruited as an offensive lineman at Columbia's Irmo High School and played for the South Carolina Gamecocks.One of only four consensus All-American football players in program history, Wilkes added 50 pounds of bulk to his six-foot-three, 225-pound frame to bolster an offensive line that in 1984 helped set school records for touchdowns (49), points (371) and total offense (5,095 yards). Wilkes knew the Gamecocks would do something special when he met first-year head coach Joe Morrison before the 1983 season. Wilkes had quit the team before Morrison was hired but agreed to meet the new coach and former NFL running back at a Columbia restaurant. Del was selected as an All-American starter in 1984 by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Associated Press (AP), and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WC).[4] Despite a stellar collegiate campaign, Wilkes failed to make the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985 and the Atlanta Falcons in 1986 when football was over for Wilkes, he turned to a pro wrestling career that he found physically grueling but financially rewarding.[5] Bob Hope, the iconic late comedian annually introduced college All-Americans during holiday television specials. Del Wilkes is one of only four Gamecock consensus All-Americans. The only others are George Rogers (1980), Melvin Ingram (2011) and Jadeveon Clowney (2012).

Professional wrestling career[edit]

American Wrestling Association (1988–1991)[edit]

Del Wilkes, who from 1980–84 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. Peterson and Trooper would turn out to be the last AWA World Tag Team Champions. In January 1991, Pro Wrestling Illustrated and its sister publications withdrew recognition of the AWA's World Championship status[6] but continued to recognise Trooper and Peterson as incumbent "AWA Tag Team Champions" until the promotion finally closed later that year.

Alongside Paul Diamond, Wilkes also headlined the AWA's near-annual supercard/former PPV, Superclash 4. In a cage match, they were victorious over the Destruction Crew, Wayne Bloom and Mike Enos.

Global Wrestling Federation (1991–1992)[edit]

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.

In September of 1991, a man calling himself the Dark Patriot appeared in the GWF. For several months, he taunted the Patriot and claimed that he was the Patriot's dark side. On January 31, 1992, the Dark Patriot faced the Patriot in a title match. The Patriot lost the title and left the GWF.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (1992–1994)[edit]

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.[7] On June 2, 1993, The Patriot and the Eagle defeated Kenta Kobashi and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi to win the All Asia Tag Team Championship.[8] 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.[9]

World Championship Wrestling (1994–1995)[edit]

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[10] 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 edition of January 14, 1995 of WCW Saturday Night).[10] Wilkes continued wrestling for WCW for several more months until leaving in May 1995.

Return to AJPW (1995–1997)[edit]

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.[11] The two then entered the 1995 World's Strongest Tag Determination League where they finished in 4th place with 13 points.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

In early 1997, Wilkes and Kobashi reunited with Johnny Ace and the three formed the stable: GET (Global, Energetic, Tough).[16] Wilkes involvement with the group only lasted a few months as he left All Japan in July 1997.

World Wrestling Federation (1997–1998)[edit]

On June 30, 1997 he defeated Rockabilly (Billy Gunn) at a RAW is WAR event in Des Moines, IA. His TV debut came two weeks later 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.[2] 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.[2] 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.

Personal life[edit]

After leaving the WWF, Wilkes retired due to torn triceps. 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 today Wilkes works at Dick Smith Nissan as a Car Salesman and resides in Columbia, South Carolina.[17] with his wife, Cathy.

In a July 25, 2007 interview with WACH reporter Justin Kier, Wilkes discussed his career, steroid use, the Chris Benoit tragedy,[18] 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.

Wilkes has appeared on two episodes of Stone Cold Steve Austin's Podcast: #232 and #278

In wrestling[edit]

  • Finishing moves
As The Trooper
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 Philip Sousa (WCW, 1994; WWF, 1997)
  • "Fast Drive" by Jimmy Hart (WCW, 1994–1995)
  • "Medal" by Jim Johnston (WWF, 1997)

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Patriot Del Wilkes Bio". DelThePatriotWilkes.com. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "The Patriot profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  3. ^ "The Patriot Del Wilkes Bio". DelThePatriotWilkes.com. 
  4. ^ "Gamecock Greatness: USC's All-Time Roster". 
  5. ^ "The Patriot Del Wilkes". DelThePatriotWilkes.com. 
  6. ^ PWI Strips the AWA of World Title Status Pro Wrestling Illustrated May 1991
  7. ^ a b 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. 
  8. ^ Purolove.Com. Purolove.Com. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  9. ^ Purolove.Com. Purolove.Com. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Solie's Title Histories: WCW. Solie.org. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  11. ^ Purolove.Com. Purolove.Com. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  12. ^ Purolove.Com. Purolove.Com. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  13. ^ Purolove.Com. Purolove.Com. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  14. ^ Purolove.Com. Purolove.Com. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  15. ^ Purolove.Com. Purolove.Com. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  16. ^ GET « Stables Database. Cagematch.net. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  17. ^ "A journey through steroids, injuries, pain pills and prison". USA Today. March 12, 2004. Retrieved December 21, 2010. 
  18. ^ CNN – Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling. YouTube.com (June 17, 2011). Retrieved on 2015-11-24.
  19. ^ "AJPW New Year Giant Series 1996 - Tag 1". Cagematch.net. Retrieved December 19, 2015. 
  20. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "AWA World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 29. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "GWF Television Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 281. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  23. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Inspirational Wrestler of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved July 27, 2008. 
  24. ^ Del Wilkes « Wrestlers Database. Cagematch.net (December 24, 2014). Retrieved on 2015-11-24.
  25. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "WCW World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 20. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 

External links[edit]