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Dick Slater (1953-2018)

Real Name - Van Richard Slater
Lifespan - 3/19/1953 - 10/18/2018

6'1" 235 lbs. - Tampa, FL


Athletic Background - Wrestling, Football (University of Tampa)

Teacher(s) - Hiro Matsuda, Jack Brisco, Bob Roop, Bill Watts

Professional Background - Florida(`73-`75), Georgia(`75-`77), St. Louis(`77), Florida(`78-`80), Knoxville(`79), San Francisco(`80), All Japan(`80), SWCW(`80-`81), Mid-Atlantic(`83-`84), Cont'l(`85), Mid-South(`86), UWF(`86), WWF(`86), JCP/NWA(`87), WCW(`88-`89), USWA(`90), Japanese Indies(`92-`94), WCW(`92-`97), SMW(`94)

AliasesMr. Florida

Groups - Stud Stable

Peak Years - `77-`84


Finisher(s) - 

- Swinging Neckbreaker

- Back Suplex

- Spinning Toehold


Favorites -

- Atomic Drop

- Sitting Piledriver

- Jumping Elbowdrop

- Bionic Elbow

- Jabs & Haymaker



Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set
 Science
 Aerial
 Power
 Strikes


Intangibles Rating - 

 Entertainment
 Selling
 Bumping
 Carrying
 Heat
 Legacy


Place in History - Dick Slater had the potential to be a world champion and if someone had to make a list of the regional talents in the 70s that seemed destined to carry the NWA into the next decade, he would have been on that list. Slater was an exceptional college athlete, but pursued pro-wrestling instead of the NFL or the Olympics. He was one of the many workers who came out of the Florida territory with all the tools to get it done. Slater developed a close friendship with Terry Funk, who he wrestled many times for the World title and picked up many of Funk's characteristic traits: big bumping, goofy selling and convincing brawling. Slater was also a good interview and was always pushed fairly well, he was just never in the right place at the right time. When he won the Missouri Heavyweight title in 1977 from Jack Brisco, Slater truly arrived as a potential world champion. "Mr. Unpredictable" continued to go strong throughout the Southeast and eventually became a booker in several places, but he was never able to get into the catbird seat for some reason. He lived a wild life and was even unintentionally shot by Wahoo McDaniel one time. As the years passed, it became apparent that Slater's time had passed and he settled in as a very good midcarder with a known name. His last stints were with WCW with unfortunate ends, the first saw him fired after an infamous plastic bag attack on Ric Flair in the late 80s and an unfortunate back injury and subsequent firing in the late 90s. During numerous back surgeries Slater entered the news again when in a drugged state, he assaulted his girlfriend with a knife, but the charges were dropped and he returned the where-are-they-now column.  He later put out what is regarded as one of the worst autobiographies that any pro-wrestler has ever put out. Dick Slater was one of the best pro-wrestlers whose contributions to the sport are largely forgotten due to never getting his just due in the big companies and never winning that NWA World title when he was one of the top runners.

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