Valentine, 69, had several spells with WWE between 1978 and 1994. On one occasion, he landed himself and the company in trouble after a fan claimed that Valentine broke his jaw during a ringside altercation.
Speaking in a Title Match Wrestling video, Valentine said former WWE CEO Linda McMahon contacted him to ask for more details. Although he admitted to punching the fan, he did not believe he had made enough contact to break his jaw.
“I remember this one, Steubenville, Ohio, I’m coming out of the ring and this big tall kid hauls off and spits at me right in the face,” Valentine said. “And he was a big tall guy, and I hauled off and I hit him. So about five days later I get a call from Linda McMahon, ‘Greg, did you hit this guy? You broke his jaw.’ I go, ‘Bulls***, I couldn’t have broke his jaw.’ But they [WWE] paid it for me. I don’t know, he got some kind of deal.”
While Linda McMahon performed as an on-screen character in the late 1990s and early 2000s, she also worked as WWE’s CEO from 1980 to 2009. Vince McMahon’s wife now works for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) as Chair of the Board and Chairman of the Center for the American Worker.
Greg Valentine on WWE crowd reactions changing throughout the years
At the start of Greg Valentine’s career in 1970, many fans were unaware that the outcome of wrestling matches was scripted. As a result, some fans vented their frustration about match outcomes by lashing out at wrestlers at ringside.
Valentine says WWE and other wrestling companies have prevented possible altercations between fans and wrestlers by making the entrance way wider over the years.
“Back in the day we still had believers, and they believe that everything was on the up and up and 100 percent real,” Valentine said. “Of course my stuff, I always say it was [real], but you get them so mad they’d lash out at you. I don’t even know, they probably don’t have that problem anymore. They don’t let them get [close]. What I see on TV is the fans are kept back. You don’t have that narrow, narrow pathway back to the dressing room.”
Valentine received his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. Last year, he made an appearance in the crowd on AEW Dynamite during the Dog Collar match between Brodie Lee and Cody Rhodes.
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