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"Pistol" Pez Whatley (1951-2005)

Real Name - Pezavan Whatley

Birthdate - 1/10/1951 - 1/18/2005

5’10” 245 lbs. - Chattanooga, TN


Athletic Background - Wrestling [University of Tennessee]; Football [High School]; Powerlifting

Teacher(s) - Phil Golden, Saul Weingeroff

Professional Background - Nashville(`73-`78), Tri-State(`73), Detroit(`75), IWA(`75-`77), Amarillo(`76-`77), Memphis(`78-`79), Georgia(`78-`79), ICW(`79-`83), Georgia(`83-`84), SECW(`84), Florida(`84-`85), AWA(`85), Memphis(`85), JCP/NWA(`85-`88), Florida(`88), Cont’l(`88), All Japan(`89), WWF(`90-`91), SAPW(`91-`92), Memphis(`91-`92), UWFi(`92), WCW(`91-`98)

AliasesPistol Pronto, Mr. Paducah, Shaska Whatley, The Shadow, Willie B. Hert

Groups - Convertible Blondes, Paul Jones’ Army

Peak Years - `80-`88


Finisher(s) - 

- Jumping Hooking Lariat

- Flying Willie (Jumping Headbutt)


Favorites -

- Headbutt

- Bodyslam

- Dropkick

- Hip Toss

- Overhead Forearm


Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set6
 Science3
 Aerial3
 Power7
 Strikes7


Intangibles Rating - 

 Entertainment7
 Selling6
 Bumping7
 Carrying6
 Heat6
 Legacy3


Place in History - Only in the wacky world of pro-wrestling can a man be called a king at one time and be a garbage man at another; be a legitimate tough guy and yet play a professional punching bag for much of his career.  Pez Whatley has a story like so many others who traveled through the pro-wrestling world.  Prior to turning pro, Whatley was a great athlete, who won several state championships in amateur wrestling and joined the University of Tennessee’s team.  A teammate at UTC, George Weingeroff, helped him into the fraternity through his father Saul and he began working the territories.  At that time, race was a gimmick, so promotions tended to limit the number of blacks on their roster.  For a young unknown like Whatley, he tended to float around small offices, independents and outlaws in his early years.  According to many of his colleagues, Pez was a nice guy who was very good in the ring and even better on the microphone.  Like many black wrestlers, Whatley worked in mid-level tag teams with partners like Ray Candy, Tiger Conway Jr., Burrhead Jones and Skip Young under names like the “Soul Patrol” and the “Jive Tones.”  While they might hold tag titles, they were never going to be pushed as a top babyface team and certainly never going to receive top money.  It was in ICW that “Pistol” Pez was finally able to break out of the token black characters he had been playing.  As a heel, he was able to “show ass” by having a mop stuck on his head or getting stuck in women’s clothes and really deliver.  Whatley was a natural entertainer.  In Jim Crockett Promotions, he teamed with and then turned on Jimmy Valiant.  That angle and that period are certainly the most widely seen of his career.  He became “Shaska Whatley,” a black heel in Paul Jones’ Army and feuding with Valiant in matches that involved both men losing hair along the way.  After leaving the Carolinas, Shaska was reborn as “Willie B. Hert” in Alabama under Eddie Gilbert’s booking.  A heavy angle involving his son established him as a hot babyface and with his rap and intensity he might have done more had his run lasted longer.  By the 1990s, the territories had dried up and a black man in his forties without a big reputation was not going to catch a big break.  Pez Whatley worked for both the WWF and WCW as enhancement talent.  Fundamentally, he was strong enough that WCW employed as a trainer at the Power Plant and he worked there until his ailing health took its toll.  He passed away in 2005.  Pez Whatley is certainly an example of the racial prejudices in pro-wrestling.  His athletic prowess, his charisma and his work were exceptional enough that when given opportunities, he always got over.  When people talk about talent that could have risen to greater heights, Pistol Pez Whatley is definitely worth of being in the discussion.
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