Some of you may remember Private Terry Daniels, who was a high-on-the-card prelim wrestler who was briefly thrust into the spotlight during Sgt. Slaughter’s feud with the Iron Sheik.
Daniels was a former U.S. Marine in real life, which his wrestling character reflected. At one point, Daniels was standing in the aisle facing the ring while holding the American flag during a WWF Championship Wrestling TV taping. The Sheik attacked him; however, Daniels, despite getting beaten down, never let the flag touch the ground, thus keeping the honor the country intact.
I read an interesting tale about Daniels’ beginnings in wrestling that I had never heard before, thanks to the May 20, 2013, issue of the Wrestling Observer newsletter. The Observer was discussing fans who challenged wrestlers in the ring for sanctioned shoots, with the idea that you put the fans in with experienced workers who could quickly control the contest.
Back in early ‘80s, Adrian Adonis answered a challenged from Daniels, who was a fan at the time, while Adonis was working in the Amarillo territory. I’m guessing this must have been around 1983, at the same time he competed for Southwest Championship Wrestling in San Antonio (it’s hard to find any records online of Adonis wrestling in Amarillo).
According to the Observer, apparently to the surprise of everyone, Daniels held his own with Adonis, who was very good in the ring despite his later years playing the feminine Adorable Adrian character. Daniels impressive showing opened the door into wrestling for him. Daniels would run into Adonis again, as he and Slaughter unsuccessfully challenged for the WWF Tag Team Title held by Adonis and Dick Murdoch in 1984.