SHAWSVILLE, Va. – This week HBO shines a light on one of wrestling’s biggest attraction ever.
It debuted a new documentary and the life and legacy of Andre the Giant.
At over seven feet tall and approaching five hundred pounds, the Giant’s life story is stranger than fiction.
He was one of the most popular performers up until his death in 1993.
One man who spent a lot of time in the ring with the giant lives here in our area.
Jimmy “the Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant is in just about every wrestling hall of fame there is.
For more than 27 years, he has taught the next generation of wrestlers how to take bumps and bruises at his school, Boogie’s Wresting Camp, in Shawsville.
During his long career, he was with the Giant hundreds of times in the ring, both as a partner and an opponent.
Valiant said, “I worked against him many times. Me and Johnny. Man, he would take both of us on. Andre’s like a bear you know. I’m telling you if he backed handed you, you’d end up in the third row.”
Valiant said the Washington Redskins once tried to sign the Giant just to block field goals.
Jimmy Valiant and the students at Boogie’s Wrestling Camp paused this past Sunday to pay their respects to the man known as Johnny Valiant a.k.a. Tommy Sullivan. Sullivan was the in-ring “brother” to Jimmy Valiant. Together the two sold out buildings across the country for much of the 1970's. They entered the WWE Hall of Fame together in 1996. Sullivan was also known as an actor on such television shows as “The Sopranos” and “Law & Order”
In Shawsville on Sunday, Sullivan was honored with a ceremonial 10 bell count. He died last week when he was struck by a truck as he was crossing the road in Ross Township, PA. He was 71 years old.