Private Terry Daniels got into wrestling after a shoot with Adrian Adonis

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.


  1. Jim A.

    I remember him, probably in 1985 or 1986, in International Championship Wrestling (the northeast territory, not the earlier Poffo family promotion). He was interviewed by (I believe) Mario Savoldi and had an old picture of his father, whom he’d never met, and was seeking help in identifying and finding him.

  2. Tommy Cee

    I remember Terry Daniels from Mid-South wrestling in Oklahoma City. Any time a new pro wrestler entered
    the territory the first match was always against Private Terry Daniels. Many years later I read about him
    being champion in some territory in the NE United States.

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  5. Cee Bee

    Great article! The very battle royale the first poster mentioned is on WWE Classics this month, along with a tag title match with Adonis and Murdoch defending against Daniels and Slaughter.

  6. J.Cee

    Terry Daniels was an on-air radio guest on Wrestling Head-To-Head, an obscure albeit rare local talk show back in the early to mid 90s on a local SE Mass AM station. It was hosted by some local area media celebrities; a fun show for a small market. He was out of the biz and doing floor cleaning at that time. Terry didn’t say much about the Cobra Corps, but he cited the highlight of his career was being part of the last few wrestlers remaining in the first battle royal held in MSG earlier in the 80’s, with highlights featured on a tape on the early Coliseum Video label.

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