The MWC Hall of Fame welcomes "The Boogie Woogie Man" into the Class of 2017!
Real Name: James Harold Fanning
Weight: 250 lbs
From: Franklin Country,Tennessee
Birthday: August 6,1942
Trained by: Verne Gagne
Debut: 1964 (ongoing)
"Handsome" Jimmy Valiant
Boogie Woogie Man
Charlie Brown From Outta Town
King James Valiant
Big Jim Vallen
Notable Titles Held:
NWA World Television Championship (4x)
NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Championship
AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (7x)
AWA Southern Tag-Team Championship (2x)
USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship (2x)
WWE World Tag-Team Championship
WWA World Heavyweight Championship
WWA World Tag-Team Championship (4x)
EWA Heavyweight Championship
CAC Honoree (1997)
NWA Legends Hall of Heroes (2016)
WWE Hall of Fame (1996)
James Harold Fanning made his pro wrestling debut in 1964 under the name "Big Jim Vallen" and he wrestled for multiple territories of the NWA and even on AWA at the time before going to the WWWF in 1971 as "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant.
He initially wrestled as a babyface but would be more prominent as a heel in a tag-team run with his kayfabe brother: "Luscious" Johnny Valiant. Together the Valiant Brothers were the most dominant tag-team in the WWWF and they even captured the WWWF World Tag-Team Championships and held them for 370 days with Capt. Lou Albano being their manager!
The Valiants main evented a Madison Square Garden event where they defended their tag-team titles against the team of Bruno Sammartino and Chief Jay Strongbow! They would lose the belts to Dominic DeNucci and Victor Rivera on May 1975 after a dominant reign.
Around the late 70's and early 80's Jimmy Valiant became one of the biggest stars in the Memphis territory often having matches with other top names their like Jerry Lawler and "Superstar" Bill Dundee!
During the 80's he transitioned from being a flamboyant heel "Handsome" Jimmy Valiant to a fan favorite "Boogie Woogie Man" Jimmy Valiant! The fans loved the Boogie Woogie Man so much, he is probably one of the biggest babyfaces at the time the same level as the likes of Hulk Hogan and Dusty Rhodes! As The Boogie, he is also one of the first wrestlers to use theme songs during his entrances.
He also donned a masked gimmick called "Charlie Brown From Outta Town." This is sort of like an alter ego to the Boogie Woogie Man whenever in story line Jimmy Valiant would be "banned" from competing, it's Charlie Brown who shows up! Although it's not really an effective disguise as his trademark beard is clearly seen by the fans, similar to Hulk Hogan's Mr. America gimmick.
Jimmy Valiant is a master of playing gimmicks! Whether as a heel or babyface, he can do his role very well. He may not be the greatest in-ring technician ever but he can sure get the crowd pumped up and entertain them, plus he was a huge draw so that's what's more important especially back in the day. Sure you may be a great wrestler but if you don't put butts in the seats, you won't get too far in this business.
Besides the WWWF World Tag-Team Titles, Jimmy also held multiple championships across many promotions most notably the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship which he held 7 times and the NWA World Television Championship a title he held 4 times.
To this day Jimmy Valiant still wrestles and entertains the fans in various indie promotions most notably for George South's Exodus Wrestling Alliance. He currently holds the promotion's World Title which is impressive for a man his age! He has an ongoing career of almost 6 decades!
The best thing about Jimmy Valiant though is that he is one of the most universally respected legends in pro wrestling! I've never once heard someone bad mouth him. He is an entertainer and a legend in every sense of the words!
Follow MWC on Twitter:
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH: