Jim Wilson (wrestler)
June 12, 1942|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||February 2, 2009
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Jim Wilson|
James Milligan Wilson (June 12, 1942 – February 2, 2009) was a professional American football offensive lineman and a professional wrestler who is most noted for his attempts at starting a labor union for wrestlers. He is the co-author of a book called CHOKEHOLD: Pro Wrestling's Real Mayhem Outside the Ring which exposed certain unfair labor practices by various promoters, most of them National Wrestling Alliance members, but also including Vince McMahon and his World Wrestling Entertainment.
He had been a good athlete from his early years, overcoming a spinal curvature problem and was offered a football scholarship to the University of Georgia. Although recruited from high school as a fullback, because of his size he played both ways as an offensive and defensive lineman and was named All-American for his contributions as an offensive tackle during his time there; he was coach Vince Dooley's first All-American. Coach Dooley would comment at Wilson's funeral service that had he known of his accomplishments as a high school fullback, he would have handed Wilson the ball as well.
In 1964 he was drafted by the then-Boston Patriots of the American Football League and the San Francisco 49ers of the established National Football League; he signed with the 49ers. He was also voted into the 1965 All Rookie team. Wilson played in San Francisco for two seasons and then, at his request, was dealt to the Atlanta Falcons, who were just starting up. It was during his time with the Falcons that he was approached by Georgia wrestler and promoter Ray Gunkel to wrestle during the football off-season. He agreed to do so, as most NFL contracts at that time did not pay during the off season.
The Falcons did not approve of his off-season wrestling, and as a result, he was traded to the then-Los Angeles Rams for whom he played for three seasons, before injuries ended his NFL career in 1971.
Professional wrestling career
Jim Wilson was considered to be one of the most promising up and coming wrestlers of his era. His career hit a roadblock when he allegedly turned down sexual advances from NWA promoter Jim Barnett . Wilson had claimed that after that incident, he was blackballed from the sport and that Barnett had coerced other promoters not to book him. Wilson attempted to reform professional wrestling and start up a union for professional wrestlers. He wrote the book CHOKEHOLD: Pro Wrestling's Real Mayhem Outside the Ring, which was released in 2003 in which he claimed he had been blackballed from the sport. Wilson brought forward an antitrust case against the National Wrestling Alliance in 1980. In 1984 he also appeared on 20/20, speaking out against the wrestling industry. In addition, in 2007, he attempted to convince the United States Congress to hold hearings on the wrestling industry.
Wilson was born to a fairly distinguished family living just outside Pittsburgh. His father had been a decorated veteran of World War II and his mother's side traced its lineage back to the Mayflower.
- "Jim Wilson". nfl.com. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
- "Jim Wilson". databasefootball.com. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
- "Jim Wilson". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
- "Ex-football player, wrestler Wilson dies". ESPN. February 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- Jim Wilson v. National Wrestling Alliance http://wrestlingperspective.com/legal/wilsonnwa.html
- CHOKEHOLD: Pro Wrestling's Real Mayhem Outside the Ring (2003). ISBN 1-4010-7217-8 (Trade Paperback), ISBN 1-4010-7218-6 (Hardback) (with Weldon T. Johnson)