Jonathan Anthony Wisniski (born September 20, 1951) is an American professional wrestler, better known as Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. He is the son of wrestler Johnny Valentine.
In the course of his career, which has spanned over four decades, Valentine has held more than 40 championships, including the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship, WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship, NWA World tag team title, and WWF World Tag Team Championship. An alumnus of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation and World
Championship Wrestling, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2004 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016.
Wisniski was trained to wrestle by Stu Hart, wrestling his debut match in July 1970 against Angelo "King Kong" Mosca (he lost in around five minutes). Six months later, Wisniski relocated to Detroit to complete his training under the Sheik.
Initially reluctant to take his father's ring name, Wisniski wrestled as Baby Face Nelson before becoming Johnny Fargo, one half of the Fargo Brothers with Don Fargo between 1971 and 1974. The Fargo Brothers initially competed in the Buffalo and Cleveland based National Wrestling Federation before moving on to Texas. They split in 1974 and Wisniski went to Florida, where he began performing as Johnny Valentine Jr., hopeful that he could live up to his father's legacy. He later changed his ring name to Greg "the Hammer" Valentine, and was billed as Johnny Valentine's brother, not his son, because of fears that the elder Valentine would be thought of as too old to be a legitimate threat. Valentine remained in Florida for a year while also working in Los Angeles and in Japan under Antonio Inoki in 1975 and early 1976.
Valentine began working on a casual basis for the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), then owned by Vincent J. McMahon, in November 1978. Managed by The Grand Wizard, he was given the gimmick of a methodical wrestler who broke the legs of all his opponents, including Chief Jay Strongbow. In February 1979, he wrestled then WWWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund to a one-hour time-limit draw at Madison Square Garden.
Valentine returned to the WWF, now known as the World Wrestling Federation, for a year in 1981 and continued to pursue the title. On October 19, he was pinned by Backlund, but then handed the title belt by the dazed referee. The title was held up, and Backlund defeated Valentine cleanly in the November 23 rematch. In January 1982, Valentine met Backlund yet again, this time in a steel cage, for the WWF Heavyweight Championship at the Philadelphia Spectrum, which Backlund won.
He also feuded with Pedro Morales over the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship, who he "injured" by suplexing him on the concrete floor of the arena. Valentine was not successful in winning this title either, and in mid-1982 left the promotion.
On March 13, 2004, Valentine was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2004 by his former manager Jimmy Hart. The following night, at WrestleMania XX at Madison Square Garden, Valentine received loud applause when the class of 2004 was introduced. Shortly after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Valentine dedicated the plaque he received to his late father by saying: "This one's for you pop, Johnny Valentine". On October 3, 2005, Valentine made an appearance at WWE Homecoming, and on October 23 he was defeated by Rob Conway (then using a gimmick similar to that of Randy Orton's gimmick of "the legend killer") on an episode of WWE Heat after Eugene interfered on his behalf, causing the referee to award a victory via disqualification to Conway. He was present at the Retirement Ceremony of his long-time friend, Ric Flair, on the March 31, 2008 episode of WWE Raw.
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