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John Tatum

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John Frankel III (October 21, 1959), known by his ringname "Hollywood" John Tatum, is a retired American professional wrestler who competed in North American regional promotions including World Class Championship Wrestling, Universal Wrestling Federation and the National Wrestling Alliance as well as independent promotions such as the Global Wrestling Federation and the United States Wrestling Association during the 1980s and early 1990s. He is also the ex-boyfriend of Missy Hyatt.

Early career

A childhood friend of wrestlers Robert Gibson, Percy Pringle and Michael Hayes, he was booked as Hayes' cousin when he first began wrestling in the National Wrestling Alliance in 1983, although he later moved on to World Class Championship Wrestling with then girlfriend and manager Missy Hyatt two years later.

In 1986, he began a feud with Chris Adams mocking him for being temporarily "blinded" (in reality, Adams wore an eye patch over his left eye while involved in a separate feud with Gino Hernandez the previous January). During his time in WCCW, he and Hyatt would feud with Scott Casey and his valet Sunshine which resulted in several cat fights between Hyatt and Sunshine.

Universal Wrestling Federation

Leaving WCCW later that year, Tatum and Hyatt joined Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation and teamed with Jack Victory against The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) before eventually joining Eddie Gilbert's stable "Hot Stuff Inc." (later renamed "Hyatt & Hot Stuff International").

In 1987, Tatum and Hyatt began a storyline in which Tatum lost a "Valet For A Day Match" to The Missing Link after interference by Gilbert (on behalf of Tatum). Shortly thereafter, Tatum began feuding with Gilbert in which had Hyatt siding with Gilbert after hitting him from behind with a "loaded" Gucci handbag (considered to be one of the more unusual "heel turns" in wrestling at the time). However, as a result of a real life affair between Hyatt and Gilbert, Tatum left the promotion with Victory at the end of year.

Returning to independent circuit, the two feuded over the World Class Championship Wrestling and Wild West Wrestling tag team titles with Steve & Shaun Simpson during the next year.

United States Wrestling Association & the Global Wrestling Federation

In 1990, Tatum wrestled in the United States Wrestling Association. He was involved in a brief angle with Kevin Von Erich in the Texas end of the USWA and later began an angle involving Bill Dundee both in Dallas and Memphis. Tatum introduced a new valet, known as "Tessa". However, unlike Missy Hyatt, Tessa was reluctant to interfere in his matches; and eventually she became a babyface manager, very similar to Sunshine. In addition, Tatum began using a thrust kick (similar to Chris Adams' superkick), which he called the California Kick.

Tatum drew huge controversy in a July 6, 1990 match at the Dallas Sportatorium, whereas Tatum was slapped by Tessa, who became Dundee's valet. As Tessa turned away, Tatum knocked her unconscious with a superkick, resulting in her being carried out of the Sportatorium on a stretcher. This incident and another controversial incident involving Steve Austin and Toni Adams (which led to Toni also being carried out on a stretcher), resulted in several TV stations cancelling its USWA broadcasts.

In 1991, Tatum reunited with Rod Price as the California Connection in the Global Wrestling Federation winning the Tag Team titles twice and competed in the GWF North American Championship tournament before leaving the promotion a year later. He continued wrestling on the Texas independent circuit for three years until his retirement in 1995 to take over his family's business at the Pensacola Interstate Fair in Pensacola, Florida.

As recently as January 2007, Tatum has made plans to open a wrestling academy in the summer of 2007 in his native Pensacola, Florida.

Championships and accomplishments

  • Big D Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Big D Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Gary Young (1) and Rod Price (1)
  • PWI ranked him #407 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003
  • WWW Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Jack Victory

Further reading

  • Missy Hyatt, Missy and Mark Goldblatt. Missy Hyatt, First Lady of Wrestling. Toronto: ECW Press, 2001. ISBN 1-55022-498-0
  • Shoot Interview With "Hollywood" John Tatum. Perf. John Tatum. 2007. DVD.

External links

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