John Tatum (wrestler)

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John Tatum
Birth name John Frenkel III
Born (1959-10-21) October 21, 1959 (age 57)
Pensacola, Florida, United States
Residence Pensacola, Florida
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) John Tatum
Franklin Hayes
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Billed weight 240 lb (110 kg)
Billed from Los Angeles, California
Trained by Micheal Hayes
Debut 1983
Retired 1995

John Frenkel III (born 1959), known by his ringname "Hollywood" John Tatum, is a retired American professional wrestler who competed in North American regional promotions including World Class Championship Wrestling, Universal Wrestling Federation of the National Wrestling Alliance as well as independent promotions such as the Global Wrestling Federation and the United States Wrestling Association during the 1980s and early 1990s. He is also the ex-boyfriend of Missy Hyatt. He was the the only wrestler to have ever held a tag team championship belt for three separate companies at the same time.

Early life[edit]

Frankel was born in Mobile, Alabama, but was raised in Pensacola, Florida. He was a childhood friend of wrestlers Robert Gibson, Percy Pringle and Michael Hayes.[1]


World Class Championship Wrestling (1983–1986)[edit]

In 1983, Frankel debuted for World Class Championship Wrestling under the name John Tatum. In Continental Wrestling Association and Southeastern Championship Wrestling, he would go by the name Franklin Hayes, the storyline cousin of Michael "P.S." Hayes. In 1985, his girlfriend at the time, Missy Hyatt, made her debut as his valet. In 1986, he began a feud with Chris Adams, mocking him for being temporarily "blinded" (in reality, Adams wore an eye patch over his left eye while involved in a separate feud with Gino Hernandez earlier in the year). After the feud with Adams ended, he and Hyatt would feud with Scott Casey and his valet Sunshine, which resulted in several cat fights between Hyatt and Sunshine.

Universal Wrestling Federation (1986–1987)[edit]

Leaving WCCW in May 1986, Tatum and Hyatt joined Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation and teamed with Jack Victory against The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers), before eventually joining Eddie Gilbert's stable "Hot Stuff Inc." (later renamed "Hyatt & Hot Stuff International").

In 1987, Tatum and Hyatt began a storyline in which Tatum lost a "Valet For A Day Match" to The Missing Link after interference by Gilbert (on behalf of Tatum). Shortly thereafter, Tatum began feuding with Gilbert in which had Hyatt siding with Gilbert [2] after hitting him from behind with a "loaded" Gucci handbag (considered to be one of the more unusual "heel turns" in wrestling at the time [3]). However, as a result of a real life affair between Hyatt and Gilbert,[4] Tatum left the promotion with Victory at the end of year.

World Class Championship Wrestling (1987–1990)[edit]

Returning to Dallas in December 1987, Tatum and Victory feuded over the World Class Championship Wrestling and Wild West Wrestling tag team titles with Steve & Shaun Simpson during the next year.

United States Wrestling Association (1990–1991)[edit]

In 1990, Tatum wrestled in the United States Wrestling Association. He was involved in a brief angle with Kevin Von Erich in the Texas end of the USWA and later began an angle involving Bill Dundee both in Dallas and Memphis. Tatum introduced a new valet, known as "Tessa". However, unlike Missy Hyatt, Tessa was reluctant to interfere in his matches; and eventually she became a babyface manager, very similar to Sunshine. In addition, Tatum began using a thrust kick (similar to Chris Adams' superkick), which he called the California Kick.

Tatum drew huge controversy in a July 6, 1990 match at the Dallas Sportatorium, whereas Tatum was slapped by Tessa, who became Dundee's valet. As Tessa turned away, Tatum knocked her unconscious with a superkick, resulting in her being carried out of the Sportatorium on a stretcher. This incident and another controversial incident involving Steve Austin and Toni Adams (which led to Toni also being carried out on a stretcher), resulted in several TV stations cancelling its USWA broadcasts.

Global Wrestling Federation (1991–1993)[edit]

In 1991, Tatum reunited with Rod Price as the 'California Connection aka the "Coast to Coast. Connection" in the Global Wrestling Federation winning the Tag Team titles twice[5] and competed in the GWF North American Championship tournament,[5] before leaving the promotion in November 1993.


After leaving the GWF, Tatum continued wrestling on the Texas independent circuit for two years until his retirement in 1995 to take over his family's business at the Pensacola Interstate Fair in Pensacola, Florida.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Big D Pro Wrestling
  • Big D Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[5]
  • Big D Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Gary Young (1) and Rod Price (1)[5]
  • PWI ranked him #407 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003
  • Wild West Wrestling
  • WWW Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Jack Victory[5]

Further reading[edit]

  • Missy Hyatt, Missy and Mark Goldblatt. Missy Hyatt, First Lady of Wrestling. Toronto: ECW Press, 2001. ISBN 1-55022-498-0
  • Shoot Interview With "Hollywood" John Tatum. Perf. John Tatum. 2007. DVD.


  1. ^ Pringle, Percy. "Percy's Biography". Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  2. ^ Missy & Tammy Shoot Interview. Perf. Missy Hyatt and Tammy Lynn Sytch. 2001. DVD.
  3. ^ Conner, Floyd. Wrestling's Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Pro Wrestling's Outrageous Performers, Punishing Piledrivers and Other Oddities. Dulles, Virginia: Brassey's, 2001. ISBN 1-57488-308-9 (pg. 91)
  4. ^ Brown, Tim (2003-12-28). "The Interactive Interview: Missy Hyatt". Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 

External links[edit]