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The Patriot

Real Name - Del Wilkes

Birthdate - 12/21/61

6’5” 275 lbs. - Columbia, GA

Athletic Background - Football [University of South Carolina]

Teacher(s) - Fabulous Moolah

Professional Background - Indies(`88), AWA(`88-`91), Global(`91-`92), All Japan(`92-`94), WCW(`94-`95), All Japan(`95-`97), WWF(`97-`98)

Aliases - Del Wilkes, The Trooper

Groups - GET

Peak Years - `93-`97

Finisher(s) - 

- Patriot Missile (Flying Shoulder Tackle)

- Uncle Slam (Full Nelson Slam)

- Dragon Suplex

Favorites -

- Back Suplex

- Bodyslam

- Snap Suplex

- Dropkick

- Haymaker

Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set

Intangibles Rating - 

 Entertainment 7 
 Selling 6 
 Bumping 5 
 Heat 6 

Place in History - When second-tier foreign talent in Japan tried to transition back to the American scene as it heated back up in the late 90s, most were met with limited roles and half-hearted pushes.  The Patriot is perhaps the best example of this scenario.  Del Wilkes was one of those football players turned pro-wrestlers who showed great promise in his early years due to his size and athleticism.  As The Trooper in the final days of the AWA, he was a fiery babyface with a good build in a distinct state trooper persona.  He went under a mask and became the Patriot in Global, who pushed him as their top babyface.  The Patriot was brought into All Japan and spent most of his prime years working there.  The company had shifted its style, its top stars and was hunting for the right gaijin talent.  The Patriot was a perfect fit as a mid-level gaijin who could learn under Stan Hansen, Steve Williams and Terry Gordy.  He was mainly pushed in tag teams and thrived in that atmosphere.  Jackie Fulton (Gregory Hines) adopted a similar masked persona as the Eagle and the Patriot really developed as an in-ring performer.  He tried to come back to the US with WCW, forming a good team with Marcus Alexander Bagwell.  The Patriot had potential, but was relegated to the undercards and he grew frustrated and went back to All Japan.  During this second run, he was given more opportunities teaming with Johnny Ace and Kenta Kobashi.  The Patriot might never have been put into a top slot in All Japan, but he was certainly in the second level and was at his best.  A combination of the physical style, intense tours and years of steroid abuse were really taking a toll on the man behind the mask.  Wilkes was brought into the WWF as a foil to Bret Hart who was on fire as a Canadian heel.  This run was bust.  His masked persona seemed too cartoonish in the early days of the Attitude Era, he was not part of any of the backstage cliques and was used as a top singles act as opposed to working to his strengths as a tag wrestler.  After a lackluster run with Hart and a series of injuries, the Patriot was released and retired in 1998.  After leaving the sport, he continued to struggle with his addictions to cocaine and prescription drugs and even did some time before cleaning up and becoming a vocal opponent of pro-wrestling’s drug culture.  The Patriot, Danny Spivey and Doug Furnas were those secondary gaijins who were legitimate athletes who looked impressive, worked intensely and had a charisma that no one in the US was ever able to harness properly.  They were key supporting characters in All Japan during its hottest period and should be remembered for their contributions there.  However, most remember their time in the States, whether it was when they were green yet promising or when they were breaking down and limited.