John L. Sullivan was an American professional wrestler and manager, better known by his ring name, Johnny Valiant. He competed in the World Wide Wrestling Federation, which became the World Wrestling Federation during his time with the promotion.
He died Wednesday of injuries he suffered when he was struck by a pickup truck as he crossed a busy street in Ross Township, Pa.
The 71-year-old wrestler, whose name was Thomas M. Sullivan, was pronounced dead at Allegheny General Hospital on Pittsburgh’s North Side, WWE announced Wednesday night. The accident occurred at about 5:30 a.m., Ross Detective Brian Kohlhepp confirmed!
He was a 2-time World Tag Team champ.
After his wrestling career, Valiant went on to manage WWE superstars like Hulk Hogan, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Dino Bravo and Demolition.
Valiant was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
He began learning the basics of the sport in 1969 and five years later, the Valiant Brothers — “Luscious” Johnny and “Handsome” Jimmy — won the World Tag Team Championship. In 1979, Johnny and “Gentleman” Jerry Valiant won the tandem titles again under the management of Captain Lou Albano.
In his post-sport years, Johnny was an acotr and comedian who appeared in the Sopranos and Law & Order.
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