Monday, March 14, 2016

Wahoo McDaniel vs. The Super Destroyer: Round 1

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

When “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel entered the Mid-Atlantic area in the summer of 1974, he knew he was walking into a “lion’s den” of top villains who were looking to further their impressive reputations by knocking off the former NFL star. One of the biggest and meanest of that bunch was none other than the masked Super Destroyer.

On an edition of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that was taped on August 14, 1974, and that aired in many markets on August 17, 1974, the Destroyer decided to make his move against the Native American Mid-Atlantic newcomer. It was a move that the masked man would immediately regret!

After belittling Wahoo’s NFL career that had ended several years earlier, calling him a “has-been,” the Super D. laughed at how inferior McDaniel was to his former New York Jet teammate, quarterback Joe Namath. These reprehensible words were bad enough, but then the Destroyer, still in his street clothes, tried to get physical with Wahoo. Bad move!! The Destroyer lost a nice dress shirt, and a lot of his dignity, when Wahoo got hold of him briefly. The Destroyer then ran to the safe confines of the dressing room, at least for the short term dodging any more physical damage from the Indian.

But after a commercial break, Wahoo had plenty to say about this first confrontation against his masked rival. When speaking to announcer Bob Caudle, McDaniel was every bit as serious as President Richard Nixon was when he was addressing the nation six days earlier announcing his resignation from office. Wahoo told the viewing audience and the Destroyer, “I’ll rip that mask right off your face…I’ll rip it off! I know what you look like! I’ll rip it right off!” Caudle then commented, “Well, I tell you, you ripped his shirt right off up there in the ring, Wahoo. I’ll tell you, when they say when you get an Indian mad you got trouble, here’s a mad Indian right now!”

Wahoo was trying to cool down, but it was difficult! The Indian continued, “If you don’t think there’s any good competition around here, you just come poking your nose in my business. Because that’s the reason I came here, because there’s some good wrestlers here. And I’m not taking anything away from you. You’re probably great, you’re big, but you’re not super to me. I don’t think there’s anybody that’s super in that ring…there’s good and better.”

Bob Caudle then interjected, “Well, of course you know, he claims, and I don’t know whether it’s a fact or not, but that he’s had the mask for 12 years Wahoo, and he claims that he’s got to be great and he’s got to be super because nobody in the 12 years has been able to defeat him and unmask him.” A defiant McDaniel retorted, “No such words as ‘never’ and ‘can’t.’ If he messes with me, I promise you the mask will go. That little cheap shirt I tore off you…it’s nothing! When I rip that mask off you, and the people see who you are, and you don’t make any money, and that’s what you’re in the business for is to make money, and everybody knows who you are…then you can go somewhere else and wrestle. I’ll say Destroyer, I’m not going to say Super Destroyer, but like I said…there’s nobody super.”

However, Wahoo certainly wasn’t taking the Destroyer lightly. “He’s great…no doubt about that. But if you want some competition I’m here, and I’m here to stay. A lot of Indians around this area, I have a lot of pride. Been pushing Indians around for many years, well, the pushing is over! I’m stopping right here, the Carolinas, I’m going to spend a long two or three years here playing golf and wrestling. You the Destroyer, Valentine, Koloff, any of you, bring ‘em on. I’m here to stay,” McDaniel exclaimed.

What seemed to gall Wahoo the most was the Super D. downplaying his professional skills, particularly when he was playing football. Wahoo explained, “I’ve got a good background. When you said has-been, boy, you got my dander up. Because I’ll tell you what, being a has-been is better than being a never-was! And my record speaks for itself. And I don’t want to be like Joe Namath.” Caudle backed the Chief saying, “No, I agree, I don’t think you would be one to look up to a fellow like Joe Namath, Wahoo.” McDaniel shot back, “That’s right! I did my share in football, and I’m doing my share right in this ring. If you don’t think I have…check the records!”

This was the first salvo of an on- and- off war between Wahoo and the Destroyer over the next year. There were multiple battles between these two, with a number of stipulations involved. While the matches were often inconclusive as to their outcomes, Wahoo made several comments along the way about taking the Super Destroyer’s mask off before the end of the year 1975. And as it turned out, nearly a year after “Round 1” between Wahoo and the Destroyer, August 20, 1975 to be exact, it was announced on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV that the Super Destroyer was unmasked by Wahoo and two others, and was revealed to be Don Jardine. Wahoo was then no doubt harkening back to “Round 1” between these two and thinking to himself…not too bad for a has-been, huh?