|Birth name||David Ronald Slinker|
October 30, 1945|
March 28, 2008 (aged 62)|
|Family||Dennis Knight (stepson)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Billed weight||250 lb (110 kg)|
David Ronald Slinker (October 30, 1945 – March 28, 2008), better known by his ring name, Ron Slinker, was an American professional wrestler and martial artist who competed in several North American promotions.
Slinker began studying martial arts at a young age and attained the rank of second dan black belt in judo and sixth dan in Yōshūkai. He joined the United States Marine Corps at age 17 before attending the University of Tampa. He worked as a police officer for the Tampa Police Department for ten years. Slinker also taught Yoshukai Karate under Mike Foster, coaching his fighters in the Battle of Atlanta (1976) among others. He competed in 29 karate tournaments, of which he won 27. In 1971, he was named to the United States judo team. That year, he also won the Amateur Athletic Union Southeast heavyweight championship in judo.
Slinker wrestled for International World Class Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling (later Universal Wrestling Federation), World Wrestling Council, Florida Championship Wrestling and the National Wrestling Alliance. At various times, he was managed by Woman or competed as part of Kevin Sullivan's Army of Darkness. While competing in Tennessee, he challenged Jerry Lawler for the Memphis version of the NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship on April 10, 1978 but was unsuccessful. On May 4, 1979, he won his first championship belt by defeating David Schultz for the NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship, a title Schultz soon regained in a rematch.
Slinker also competed as a tag team wrestler, teaming with Kendall Windham, Edward Leslie and Ron Bass. On December 25, 1978 at the NWA Mid-South Superdome Extravaganza, Slinker and Bass competed in a tournament to determine the new holders of the NWA United States Tag Team Championship. They faced André the Giant and Dusty Rhodes but were defeated. Competing in a tag team with Sgt. Rock in 1990, Slinker also won the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship. They won the title on November 12, 1990 and held the belts until the title was abandoned.
After retiring as a professional wrestler in the early 1990s, Slinker managed Ron Bass and Robert Fuller before becoming a promoter and booking agent in Florida. Meeting Rob Szatkowski, Slinker suggested he change his ring name to Rob Van Dam, a name he has used ever since. He also introduced Szatkowski to Japanese promoter Giant Baba and helped him find work in World Championship Wrestling. While working for the United States Wrestling Association, Slinker also helped train such wrestlers as Flex Kavana, who later gained fame as The Rock.
Slinker had two children, David, Jr. and Dina. He also had a twin brother named Don, another brother named Bill, and a sister named Mary Jo. He also had a stepson, Dennis Knight, who has competed under the ring names Tex Slazenger, Phineas Godwinn, and Mideon. In 1979, Slinker appeared in Mr. No Legs, a kung fu movie.
Throughout much of his life, Slinker struggled with addiction. He was arrested on multiple occasions, which led to charges of theft and conspiracy to deliver drugs. He died on March 28, 2008 of liver failure, brought on by a lifetime of alcoholism.
Championships and accomplishments
- Hayes, Stephanie (2008-04-03). "Losing one fight led to a lifetime in martial arts". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- Mackinder, Matt (2008-04-06). "Slinker couldn't shake alcoholism". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- Swift, Jack E. "Nice People and Champions are Made Here". Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. 11 (9): 24. ISSN 0277-3066.
- "The Fallen Angel, Woman". Mid-South Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- Dills, Tim. "Jerry "The King" Lawler". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "Florida Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- Rock, The; Layden, Joe (2000). The Rock Says... HarperCollins. p. 165. ISBN 0-06-103116-X.
- "NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Title (Southern Division)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2009-04-19.