I have been
very fortunate over the past several years to communicate with The Super
Destroyer (Don Jardine) by mail and E-mail. He has always been a
gentleman with many fond memories of the wrestling business. However, Iíve
learned one thing; if you ask him a question, you will get a straight
answer. Simply put, the man says what he thinks.
conducted this online interview with Super Destroyer regarding his
tenure in the Mid-Atlantic Area during the 1970ís. His candid replies
to the questions I asked may surprise some fans, but are presented here
for those of us who remember the days when Super Destroyer was a main
event star and helped make Mid-Atlantic Wrestling what it was. Some say
those days have never been equaled.
My thanks to
Dick Bourne and David Chappell for providing some thought provoking
questions for me to ask. I also want to take this opportunity to thank
the man himself, Don Jardine not only for agreeing to this interview but
also for all the many great matches.
Super Destroyer Features on our website:
Gateway Remembers The Super Destroyer
Janosik Photos: Jack Brisco vs. The Super Destroyer
Super Destroyer: A Cut Above The Rest by David Chappell
Remember the Super Destroyer by Don Holbrook
Can you please describe the negotiations that led up to your entry into
Jim Crockett Promotions in 1973?
I had a dispute in the Tulsa Oklahoma office and I talked to George
Scott who was the booker in Charlotte. Crockett Sr. had just passed away
and they were looking for some new talent. I told them I was available
if I would be used on top and I could run my own programs.
What was your feeling about entering a territory that had been dominated
by tag team wrestlers for many years?
It didnít bother me because I wasnít a tag team wrestler and I was
promised to work the main events. They werenít a threat because they
had been there for years except that they were stooges and I had to
watch my back.
Who was your first major program with in the Mid Atlantic area?
It was a program with Swede Hansen. We had a 6 or 7 week program where
if Swede Hansen beat me two falls I would take off my mask. He never did
beat me two falls.
Why did you enter the Mid Atlantic area as "The Super
Destroyer" and not the "Spoiler" as you were known in
other parts of the country?
Originally I wanted to come in as the Spoiler but they wanted me to come
in as The Destroyer and we later added the name "Super
Destroyer", because there was another wrestler in Japan who was
called the Destroyer so we added Super to set me apart.
Which Mid Atlantic cities and venues do you remember most and why?
I liked Greenville, SC because the people were more receptive there to
what I was doing than anywhere else. I also liked Richmond, Va. because
I got them to move from the little building in the fair grounds to the
coliseum. I suggested they add some class to the show and move to the
coliseum and they made nothing but money.
What are your recollections of wrestling Johnny Weaver, the Mid Atlantic
areaís biggest star when you had a program against him in late 1973
I remember him as a mediocre wrestler but he had made a good name
because he had been in the area for 15 years or so. I thought we could
draw a lot of money with him and we drew some good money.
What sort of backstage politics did you have to deal with from the long
established stars in the area (Weaver, Hawk, Hansen, etc.) Did you feel
like an outsider?
I felt like an outsider because they were all stooges. I was a threat to
their livelihood and they probably felt that their job was on the line
because of me. I had to watch my back and I had a few stooges of my own
to tell me what was going on and I tried to overcome it.
What was the angle where you injured Bearcat Wright, and later had a
lengthy program with Wrightís "brother" Sonny King?
Bearcat Wright was sick, so we had to work him out of the program and
brought in his brother Sonny King.
What did you think of King as an opponent?
I liked Sonny King and got along with him. I enjoyed working with him
and he listened to my instructions in the ring.
Describe your famous "Claw Hold" and how you used it in your
I got the claw hold idea from Fritz Von Erich who was the originator of
the hold. I added the glove, which added controversy and made me stand
You teamed fairly often with Johnny Valentine. How would you describe
Johnny was a different type of wrestler than me. He was slower and more
methodical than I was. I gave more action and high spots. Our different
styles worked well together.
You were able to scale the ropes like nobody else in your era. How were
you able to develop such a skill?
I always liked the ropes and wanted to do something different. I have
good balance, likely from my familyís circus background on the high
You had great matches with both Paul Jones and Wahoo Mc Daniel. What are
your thoughts regarding these two?
I didnít think Paul Jones was up to my standards and was put in
because the office
him. I had real good matches with him though. Wahoo was always difficult
to work with. He always wanted to dominate the match and wanted to take
off my mask even though it was never part of a program. I had to fight
him off and watch him all the time.
You had a series of tremendous matches with then NWA Champion Jack
Brisco. Do you have any particular thoughts on Jack Brisco as an
opponent and as a world champion?
Destroyer attempts to apply the clawhold on NWA Champion Jack Brisco
© Bill Janosik
I thought Jack was a great wrestler and I really enjoyed working with
him and he was a great NWA champion. I know we had some excellent
matches because he was easy to work with. He was smaller than me and had
the sympathy of the crowd which made my job much easier.
You "managed" and teamed with Brute Bernard for a brief time
in late 1974. That concept never seemed to catch on with the fans. Any
It caught on with some fans but not others because the wrestling office
used to get letters from fans about the way I was treating him. Brute
played the idiot and I used to slap him in the face and he would drool,
and do my dirty work for me. Brute Bernard was a real nice guy and was
nobodyís fool. He didnít put up with any crap from anyone.
Ric Flair was just starting out in the area during the time you were in
the Mid Atlantic area. What are your thoughts regarding the young Ric
I thought at that time he was one of the few new wrestlers that was
going to make it big because he had the charisma and the right attitude.
I wrestled him quite a few times.
Your program with Swede Hansen featured some of the roughest looking
matches ever. Were they in actuality really that rough?
Yes, the matches were really rough. Swede had just returned back from a
massive heart attack and I used to hit him hard and he would turn
purple. Swede gave me a pile driverin Greenville, SC and drove my head
right into the mat. It crushed my vertebrae in my neck and back and I
had to go to the chiropractor for years afterward. I still have trouble
with my back to this day.
Destroyer vs. Swede Hanson
What are your thoughts on Swede Hansenís long time partner, Rip Hawk?
Rip Hawk always tried to sabotage things. He would steal the promotional
tapes and hide
so they wouldnít get to the towns on time. He was jealous and envious
of people coming in to take his position. Eventually, he was fired.
One of your last programs in Crockett Promotions was with another masked
man, The Avenger (Reggie Parks). You ultimately won that feud, forcing
him to unmask. How was that program developed?
Reggie was a good wrestler and drew a lot of money. That program ended
up being sabotaged as well. I think the program started that he
came in to Avenge his brother I apparently had hurt. It started out that
he would show up in different parts of the arena and I would look around
and see him there. Then he would get on television and say things to get
the program going. It was hard to keep things fresh because my ideas
would get used by other wrestlers after I was done with them.
Your trademark was your mask. Why did you become a masked wrestler and
why did you continue to be a masked wrestler?
I felt it suited me to be mysterious and intriguing. I like the
anonymity of not being harassed by people when I wasnít wearing the
mask because no one knew me.
Do you think the stipulation where if you were ever pinned or submitted,
you lost the mask, ran out of steam toward the end of your tenure in the
Mid-Atlantic? It seemed like in several matches just before you left the
area you would run out of the ring to save the mask. Your thoughts?
I never agreed to have my mask removed because that was part of the
mystery of my character. After two years being in the area it ran out of
steam and we needed more programs. More new people were coming in and
they were focusing more on them than me. I wanted to preserve my image
and didnít want my mask removed.
Did you in the Mid-Atlantic or in any other promotion ever consider
turning baby face?
Not at that time, but if I had stayed there another couple years I would
have turned baby face because I had respect. They may not have liked me
but with that kind of respect you always turn into a baby face.
In your last months in the Mid-Atlantic, you were mired in a seemingly
endless series of semi-final matches with Sonny King. Were there ever
any plans to break you out of that feud and into something fresh?
That was one of the reasons I left. I had brought the territory up and
drew fans and money. They brought in all these other wrestlers and put
them on top taking away my money.
Immediately after you left the area in August 1975 they put Rufus R.
Jones on TV saying he had unmasked you. They even showed a old black and
white picture of you and told your real name. What was your reaction to
I would never let a talent like Rufus Jones remove my mask. He didnít
have the notoriety to remove it . I liked him as a person. The unmasking
did not happen. I wanted to leave because I wasnít making the money
that I had worked so hard to create for the promotion. I wanted to leave
before I was demoted to working the preliminary matches.
What did you think when they showed the picture without the mask?
I didnít like it at all. I thought it was pretty low class. Especially
when I brought their territory up and made them lots of money.
Do you recall your last match in the Mid-Atlantic area. The arena, the
opponent, the result?
It was in Charleston, South Carolina and I think I wrestled Jerry
Blackwell. I think I got DQíd.
Were you aware of the angle that Jim Crockett used soon after you left
in August 1975
the masked Spoilers I and II came into the area to avenge your
I think they were trying to damage me because I was working in Atlanta
(Georgia Championship Wrestling) as The Spoiler and the tapes used to
overlap each other. It didnít hurt me in Atlanta because I was selling
Who would you say was the best opponent in the Mid Atlantic?
And the worst opponent in the Mid Atlantic to work with?
Paul Jones. The matches with him were OK, but he was kind of lazy.
Did you ever consider returning to the Mid Atlantic, particularly after
the plane crash in October 1975 that put out the areas two biggest heels
(Flair and Valentine)?
No not after the way they did me regarding the unmasking.
You, Don Jardine for your time.
Official Spoiler / Super Destroyer Website