WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Valiant was killed after being struck by a pickup truck this morning in Ross Township, Pennsylvania.
He was initially not identified by WPXI, which broke the story. The TV station, however, has since confirmed the victim as Valiant.
JUST IN: We've confirmed Former pro wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Valiant killed after being hit by a car in Ross Township, PA this morning #wpxihttps://t.co/vPSDnIAIn1 pic.twitter.com/12kgw9vys6
— Lisa Sylvester (@LisaSylvester) April 5, 2018
Valiant — real name Thomas Sullivan — was 71 years old.
Police said Sullivan ran across the busy road and was struck by the truck. He was not in a crosswalk.
“We do have witnesses. There was other traffic on McKnight at the time, so we were able to speak with people who actually witnessed the accident,” Ross Township Det. Brian Kohlepp said.
Sullivan was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“The driver of the truck stayed here on the scene. There’s no indication that this was anything other than a terrible accident at this point, but we’re still investigating,” Kohlhepp added.
Here is video of WPXI’s report.
As Valiant, he competed in WWE from 1969 through the early 1980s (then known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation). He won the World Tag Team Championship two times. The first run (which lasted over a year) was with his first and most famous storyline brother, Jimmy Valiant, over Tony Garea and Dean Ho on May 8, 1974. His second title run was with his second storyline brother, Jerry Valiant, over Garea and Larry Zbyszko on March 6, 1979.
After retiring from active competition, Johnny redirected his efforts into managing. After managing Hulk Hogan in the AWA in the early 1980s, Johnny came back to WWE (then known as the World Wrestling Federation) under the name Luscious Johnny V. In 1985, Johnny managed the Dream Team (Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) to the World Tag Team Championship. Dino Bravo and Demolition also spent time under his tutelage, and Johnny was known to do color commentary for WWE broadcasts as well. He left the promotion in March 1988.
In 1989, he moved back to the AWA, where he managed Wayne Bloom and Mike Enos to the AWA Tag Team Championship. When the AWA closed, Johnny went into semi-retirement.
In 1996, Johnny and Jimmy were inducted together into WWE’s Hall of Fame by Tony Garea.