Early Morning Auto Accident Claims The Life Of "Luscious" Johnny Valiant

April 5, 2018
By Trapper Tom, Editor, KSWA Digest

Thomas Sullivan, 71, was a native of Pittsburgh’s Ross Township, in the North Hills. Sullivan’s childhood home was less than 10 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Sullivan became friends with Bruno Sammartino, who also lived in the same neighborhood.

Sullivan, on Sammartino’s urging, when to Detroit and worked with The Sheik. There he set up the ring, refereed, and wrestled. He traveled extensively before signing on for an extended stint with the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) territory, which famously included Pittsburgh.

Sullivan began to appear frequently in Pittsburgh in 1968 as John L. Sullivan. Then he appeared on cards with such notables as Lou Albano, The Battman, Johnny DeFazio, Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci and others.

Along his travels, Sullivan met “Handsome” Jimmy Valiant and the two formed the “Valiant Brothers.” The two had a highly successful run, one that put them into the WWE Hall of Fame.

For many, Valiant was best known as the colorful and flamboyant manager of Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and others.

In 2013, Valiant was inducted into the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) Hall of Fame. His December, 2013 Pittsburgh appearance was Valiant’s last in an independent wrestling venue.

Sullivan was killed in a freak auto accident on April 4, 2018 near his family home in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, PA. Sullivan traveled from Pittsburgh to New York on a near weekly basis, as his wife lives in New York.

In addition to wrestling, Valiant was known as a stand-up comedian, who had a one-man show in New York City.

Funeral arraignments have not yet been finalized.

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