Richard Van Slater (born May 19, 1951), better known by his ring name "Dirty" Dick Slater, is a retired American professional wrestler who wrestled in the 1970s, 1980s, and mid-1990s for various promotions including Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Slater began wrestling with Mike Graham at Robinson High School, in Tampa, Florida. He attended the University of Tampa with Paul Orndorff. From there he began wrestling in Championship Wrestling from Florida and Georgia Championship Wrestling. He worked as a booker in Knoxville, Tennessee after Ron Fuller sold his promotion to Jim Barnett. He wrestled in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (later World Championship Wrestling), where he appeared on the first Starrcade. He also worked in Mid-South Wrestling Association, where he was managed by Dark Journey. Made some trips to the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico. He wrestled briefly in the World Wrestling Federation as a babyface under a "Rebel" gimmick, but soon returned to WCW. He wrestled there until receiving his back injury that ended his career.
In June 2004, Slater was convicted for the stabbing of his former girlfriend Theresa Halbert. He was sentenced to one year of house arrest and two years of probation. He blamed the incident on influence from painkillers.
Slater began wrestling in 1968 with Mike Graham at Robinson High School in Tampa, Florida. Eddie Graham purchased a wrestling mat for his high school and started a high school wrestling program there. He wrestled for an organization called the AAU, a program that trained young wrestlers to go to the Olympics. Slater went to the University of Tampa where he played football in addition to wrestling (among his teammates was John Matuszak and Paul Orndorff). He had a chance to play football for the Miami Dolphins but declined the opportunity, deciding to wrestle instead. After going to a National AAU meet, he was approached by Mike Graham, who asked him if he wanted to become a professional wrestler; Slater decided to go to the Sportatorium in Tampa to train as a professional wrestler. There, he was trained by Jack Brisco, Bob Roop, Hiro Matsuda, and Bill Watts. Slater also became good friends with Dick Murdoch around this time. Slater began working for Championship Wrestling from Florida, which was run by Eddie Graham. He stayed there for three years and won the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (with Dusty Rhodes, Stan Vachon, Toru Tanaka, and Johnny Weaver) and the NWA Florida Television Championship.
Georgia Championship Wrestling (1972–1983)
After leaving CWF, Slater worked in California alongside The Von Brauners, Moondog Mayne, Pat Patterson, and Ray Stevens. From there, he went to Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada (traveling with Moondog Mayne frequently). Slater then went to Georgia Championship Wrestling, an organization he credits with putting him on the map. He worked there for 8 years, winning the NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship four times, as well as the NWA Georgia Tag Team Championship and NWA Macon Tag Team Championship with Bob Orton, Jr.. During the time period he also won the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship and a number of Florida titles. Slater commented that after winning the Missouri Heavyweight Title, he was in the mix to become NWA World Heavyweight Champion, but would attribute his not winning it to "politics".
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (1983–1985)
In 1983, Slater was working in Knoxville, Tennessee for Ron Fuller when Jim Barnett approached Slater with the idea of booking a television show in Atlanta for Ted Turner. At the same time, Jim Crockett was buying out Jim Barnett; thus, Slater started working for Crockett. Around the same time, Dusty Rhodes (one of Slater's many tag team partners) became a booker for Crockett. Slater teamed up with Bob Orton, Jr., and began a feud with Ric Flair where they attacked with an aided piledriver in an attempt to end his career. The team collected a bounty from Harley Race, the reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion for apparently ending Flair's career. Flair would return and attack Slater and Orton. While Flair would go on to fight Race at Starrcade for the championship, Orton and Slater were placed in a tag team match with Mark Youngblood and Wahoo McDaniel, who sought retribution on Slater and Orton for attacking their friend Flair. At the event, Slater and Orton were victorious over Youngblood and McDaniel after Orton superplexed Youngblood.
Slater has said that Crockett ran one of the hardest promotions to work for; in addition to wrestling for Crockett, Slater was also booking three other promotions, Bill Watts’, Joe Blanchard’s, and Paul Boesch's. For a time in Mid-Atlantic, Slater was managed by Gary Hart. While in Mid-Atlantic, Slater won the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship, the NWA Television Championship and the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship He also independently declared himself the true NWA World Heavyweight Champion during Flair's title reign, creating his own belt, and was involved in another program with Flair.
Mid-South Wrestling Association (1985–1986)
In 1985, Slater left Mid-Atlantic and went to Mid-South Wrestling (run by Bill Watts). He has said that the move was because he was tired of the promotion and the multiple bookings he did. In Mid-South, Slater took on his controversial valet of Dark Journey, whom he first saw dancing in a nightclub; he eventually asked her to be his valet. His relationship with her caused a great deal of legitimate heat (due to her being African-American). While in Mid-South, Slater engaged in a lengthy feud with Jake Roberts (who would DDT Dark Journey in one of their matches); Slater would also win the Mid-South North American Championship, the Mid-South Television Championship, and the UWF World Television Championship.
World Wrestling Federation (1986–1987)
Slater wrestled briefly for the World Wrestling Federation as a babyface using a Southern "Rebel" gimmick. While in the WWF, Slater had one match with Jake Roberts; however, this being 1980s WWF TV (where no mention was ever made of a wrestler's past) his Mid-South feud with Roberts was ignored. Slater defeated Mike Sharpe at The Big Event and was squashed by Don Muraco in two minutes on the November 29, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. Shortly after his match with Muraco, the WWF began to use him as a jobber.
World Championship Wrestling (1987–1996)
After a brief run in the AWA where he was supposedly a bodyguard for AWA champion Curt Hennig, Slater returned to Jim Crockett Promotions after leaving the WWF, but was soon fired for placing a plastic bag over Ric Flair's head. However, he would come back to World Championship Wrestling for the final portion of his career. He replaced an injured Terry Funk to team up with The Great Muta at Clash of Champions VIII in a losing effort against Ric Flair and Sting. He briefly won the WCW United States Tag Team Championship with The Barbarian, defeating The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes), but the belts were retired one month later on July 31, 1992. Slater later replaced Terry Funk in the Stud Stable. The group started a feud with the Harlem Heat because of a love/hate relationship between Parker and the Heat's manager, Sister Sherri. He won the WCW World Tag Team Championship with Bunkhouse Buck on an episode of WCW Saturday Night on July 22, 1995, defeating the Harlem Heat thanks to interference from Col. Rob Parker. They dropped the titles back to the Harlem Heat at Fall Brawl 1995. Parker eventually dumped Slater and Buck for Martel, and the Stud Stable was finished. In 1996, Slater formed a tag team with Mike Enos known as 'Rough N Ready'. In Gainesville, Georgia, Slater blew out two vertebrae in a televised match. The back injury ended his wrestling career and his run with Enos, who went on to team with his former partner Wayne Bloom.
In June 2004, Slater was convicted of attacking his former girlfriend, Theresa Halbert. On December 27, 2003, it was reported that Slater had stabbed Halbert with a butcher's knife. Slater claimed that the night before the incident, he had received "a shot of morphine and two forty milligram Oxycontins", for numerous back injuries. In an interview with Mid-Atlantic Gateway, Slater said that "It was all drug related ... most of it all. I mean, I couldn’t tell you what happened ... if I didn’t know what happened...I really don’t know what actually took place, other than I was ... I woke up in Intensive Care in the hospital. I had gone to the hospital by ambulance the night before ... ". On June 10, 2004, Slater was sentenced to one year of house arrest and two years of probation. He was also sentenced to keep away from Halbert and pay more than $18,000 restitution.
Before coming to Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Slater was involved in an incident where Wahoo McDaniel shot him. Slater, McDaniel, Tommy Rich, and André the Giant were at a bar in Tampa when someone in the bar made a comment about Rich's wife, which angered Rich and McDaniel. The man who had commented about Rich's wife got a knife, and seeing that, McDaniel got out a gun. André and Slater went out to the parking lot and watched the altercation; while watching, McDaniel pistol-whipped the man and when he did so, the gun went off and Slater was hit by the bullet in the leg. Slater told the police that a sniper had shot him; he would return to the ring in just three weeks. Slater was also famous for an altercation in a bar in Tampa, Florida with John Matuszak, which Slater won.
- Finishing moves
- Figure four leglock
- Russian legsweep, sometimes floated over into a pin
- Three left-handed jabs followed by a right-handed punch or a clothesline
- Signature moves
- Atomic drop
- Belly to back suplex
- Boston crab
- Elbow drop
- Gutwrench suplex
- Headbutt, with theatrics
- Knee drop
- Vertical suplex
- Dark Journey
- Gary Hart
- Diamond Dallas Page
- Col. Robert Parker
- Mr. Unpredictable
- Mr. Excitement
- "The Rebel"
- ^ "The FUNKS VS Harley Race & Dick Slater". All Japan Pro Wrestling. 1983.
- ^ National Wrestling Alliance (1984). "Dick Slater defeat Greg Valentine by Count Out". NWA TV Tournament.
- ^ World Championship Wrestling (1995-08-06). "Bunkhouse Buck, Dirty Dick Slater & Col. Parker vs Harlem Heat & Sister Sherri". WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI.
- ^ "Dick Slater". Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Gary Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
- "DDP's profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- "Dick Slater". Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
Championships and accomplishments
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Florida version) (1 time)
- NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (4 times) - with Dusty Rhodes (1), Stan Vachon (1), Toru Tanaka (1), and Johnny Weaver (1)
- NWA Florida Television Championship (2 times)
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (4 times)
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (1 time) - with Killer Karl Kox
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
- NWA Macon Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- NWA Georgia Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Bob Orton, Jr.
- NWA Macon Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Bob Orton, Jr.
- International Wrestling Association of Japan
- IWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling / World Championship Wrestling
- NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Television Championship (2 times)
- WCW United States Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with The Barbarian
- NWA (Mid-Atlantic)/WCW World Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Dusty Rhodes (1) and Bunkhouse Buck (1)
- Mid-South Wrestling Association / Universal Wrestling Federation
- Mid-South North American Championship (2 times)
- Mid-South Television Championship (1 time)
- UWF World Television Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him # 153 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- Southeastern Championship Wrestling
- NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship (Northern Division) (3 times)
- NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Jerry Blackwell (1) and Paul Orndorff (1)
- Southwest Championship Wrestling
- SCW Southwest Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- SCW Southwest Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Bob Sweetan
- SCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Bruiser Brody
- St. Louis Wrestling Club
- NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- United States Wrestling Association
- USWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Worst Tag Team (1995) with Bunkhouse Buck
- "N.W.A. Florida Brass Knuckles Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- "Florida Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- "Florida Tag Team Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- "N.W.A. Florida Television Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- "N.W.A. Southern Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- "N.W.A. United States Tag Team Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- "NWA Wildside Heavyweight Title NWA Georgia". NWA Wildside. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Macon Heavyweight Title (Georgia)". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- "N.W.A. Georgia Tag Team Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Macon Tag Team Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "International Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- "United States Tag Team Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "North American Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Mid-South Television Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Universal Wrestling Federation World Television Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "N.W.A. Southeastern Heavyweight Title Southeastern/Continental". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "N.W.A. Southeastern Tag Team Title [Southeastern/Continental]". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "S.C.W. Southwest Television Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "S.C.W. Southwest Tag Team Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Southwest Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "N.W.A. Missouri Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- "United States Wrestling Association Southern Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-15.