Monday, August 22, 2016

THE SUPER D IN JCP


One of the epic battles between the masked villain and Swede Hanson

Swede not faring too well at this point.

Super D clamps 'the claw' on Swede's noggin'.

Sonny King feels the wrath of the Super Destroyer


The year was 1973. JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS brought back one of their most popular wrestlers, GEORGE SCOTT, not as a ring competitor, but rather as head booker. One of Scott's priorities was to shift emphasis from tag team competition to singles matches.

To accomplish this, Scott brought in a couple of top heels he felt could achieve the transition. One was Johnny Valentine. The other, a rugged, vicious man in a mask, known in many territories as THE SPOILER.

However, in MID-ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING rings, he would be known as THE SUPER DESTROYER.

Regardless of his in-ring monocle, the man who wore the mask and pulverized his opponents was the 6' 4", 270 pound Canadian named DON JARDINE (1940-2006). Already in the pro wrestling business for nearly twenty years, Jardine was known as an incredibly agile worker for such a big man, known for 'walking the ropes' before lowering the boom on his competition. His ring style was rough and tough and, being the consumate 'heel', rulebreaking was a big part of his m.o.

THE SUPER DESTROYER rose to main event level in JCP almost immediately, going against such greats as Johnny Weaver, Bearcat Wright, Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones, Rufus R. Jones and Sonny King.

A major program involving THE SUPER DESTROYER would be with a hooded 'babyface' who called himself THE AVENGERThe battle between these two escalated to a MASK VERSUS MASK battle in which the loser would reveal his identity. I witnessed the Greensboro, N.C. encounter between these two (seems like it was on Thanksgiving night) in which THE AVENGER was eventually pinned and revealed to be none other than Reggie Parks. This same type match was probably held in other cities as well.

However, the program with THE SUPER DESTROYER I enjoyed the most was his incredible matches with SWEDE HANSONThe long-time JCP heel, big SWEDE was now a single, as partner RIP HAWK had bolted to the newly-formed IWA. Swede joined forces with SUPER D as a new tag team, but things went sideways between the two, with the masked man humiliating Hanson after a defeat. From this point on, Swede turned 'babyface' and went after his ex-partner.

The two went from town-to-town in the MID-ATLANTIC territory fighting each other in mostly bloody battles. It would be Swede's swan song as a JCP main eventer. After this program, Hanson would finish his career as a mid-card wrestler, splitting his time between JCP and the then-WWF.

THE SUPER DESTROYER would continue on in JCP for a while, later leaving abruptly over 'corporate issues', with JCP announcing on its weekly wrestling programs he had been unmasked and showing Jardine's photograph without the mask.

Some thought this was not the most professional way to end things between the company and the employee, but we see things like this in the corporate world everyday, don't we?

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