Saturday, February 11, 2017

Jaws 2: The Mystery of Charlotte's Land-Shark

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Photograph by Jackie Crockett
© Crockett Foundation.
Used with permission.
Back in January, we posted on the Gateway about an unusual wrestler in the Mid-Atlantic area in 1977 by the name of JAWS. He was for a very short period of time under the managerial direction of one "Professor" Boris Malenko, who, as head of 'The Family', managed the Masked Superstar and the "Korean Assassin" Kim Duk.

In the spring of 1977 Malenko's "family" was in the middle of a big feud with the Mighty Igor, and Malenko brought in a paid assassin in an attempt to eliminate Igor from the wrestling scene. He was a masked wrestler named Jaws.

You can read all about the Jaws in our original post. There are rare photographs of him in the Crockett Foundation's book "When Wrestling Was Wrestling."  Recently, we even thought we had figured out who he was under that mask.

But that mystery remains. 

A fellow on Facebook by the name of Barry Hatchet posted a photo of Jaws wrestling in Japan on our Facebook page and informed us it was the legendary Danny Miller under the hood. A quick text to Danny's daughter Corinna from mutual friend Peggy Lathan confirmed it was indeed Corinna's father in the photo from Japan.

Danny Miller as Jaws in Japan
(Photo courtesy of Corinna Miller)
"Yes," she replied to Peggy in a text message, "it was Dad. He was Jaws."

So we momentarily thought we had solved the mystery of who was under the mask in the photo taken by Jackie Crockett in Charlotte in 1977 (seen above.)

But Corinna poured cold water on us when she also told Peggy that the man in the photo from Charlotte wearing the Jaws mask was not her father. She and her mother Karin said the Charlotte Jaws had a different physique than Danny. "He always had his gear with him, though" she told Peggy, "and might have loaned that to someone else."

She forwarded on another photograph of her father (seen at right), a shot that she found in his personal scrapbook wearing the Jaws gear while in Japan.

Despite the fact that the identity of Jaws in the Charlotte photo remained a mystery, this was some exciting news for us. We never knew that Danny Miller wrestled in Japan as a land-shark!

Danny Miller
The legendary Danny Miller wrestled here in the 1960s and 1970s and was one of our childhood favorites. He held championships here, including the Eastern Heavyweight Championship that was the forerunner to the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title. He was a frequent tag partner of Les Thatcher and Jerry Brisco, and later worked for Jim Crockett Promotions as one if its locla promoters on the ground in Greenville, SC.

Thanks to Barry for the tip and Corinna for the information regarding her Dad and his secret alter-ego in Japan. We will, however, continue to seek out the identity of the man who wrestled under that hood in Charlotte - - one of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's most obscure and long forgotten characters - - JAWS!