Name: J.J. Dillon
Year Inducted: 2013

J.J. Dillon

It’s safe to say Wrestling Revue magazine couldn’t foresee the future when it proclaimed 42 years ago in May 1971 that Jim (Morrison) Dillon “has done it all.” Denny Natale’s two-page article introduced Dillon to a national audience as a good-looking, 25-year-old who’d made the transition from fan (he was even Johnny Valentine’s fan club president) to referee to wrestler. “What wrestling enthusiast can deny dreaming of stepping through the ring ropes and receiving the adoring cheers of thousands?” Natale asked, as he traced Dillon’s growth up the wrestling ladder.

Of course, it didn’t end there. Dillon was just getting started. The “done it all” resume expanded to include manager of the Four Horsemen, matchmaker, front office executive, author, and now, PWHF Hall of Famer. That’s probably about as close to “done it all” as one is likely to find. In the pages of that old magazine, though, there was a hint of what would propel Dillon to keep striving. He became a full-time wrestler relatively late in life and Natale asked if he’d ever considered abandoning the sport because it was so tough to enter. “No,” Dillon said, “because I had confidence in my own ability.”

Though he first entered the ring in 1962, the Trenton, New Jersey native went back to school, Albright College, class of 1964, and majored in sociology, minored in history, was a member of the Kappa Upsilon Phi fraternity and the college wrestling team. He considers his first real match to be a tag bout in The Sheik’s Detroit-area promotion in 1968.

Dillon wrestled and managed around the globe, logging an estimated 3,355 matches and traveling, by his count, more than 1.2 million miles by car. “Nature Boy” Dillon held individual and tag titles in Florida and the Midwest and was a main event performer in the Canadian Maritimes.

His last match was in 1989 but he had long since become known as “Manager of Champions”. In particular, he stood as the boss of the legendary and villainous Four Horsemen of WCW—Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn and Ole Anderson, and later, Lex Luger, Barry Windham and others. Reflecting back, Dillon is very satisfied with his career. “I’m best remembered as the leader of the Four Horsemen, which was the pinnacle of my career in the mid-’80s,” he admitted.

When his on-air days were done, Dillon was head of talent relations for the WWF in the early 1990s before returning to finish his behind the scenes career with WCW in a similar capacity. Post-wrestling, he worked in real estate in Atlanta, and now is employed by the Delaware corrections agency. He’s been a good-will ambassador for both the PWHF and the Cauliflower Alley Club. His autobiography, “Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls” has gained acclaim from wrestling historians and aficionados.

“As I reflect back, one word that keeps coming to mind is surreal. I’ve had a storybook career. I’ve been very fortunate to have all the talent in the world. But you have to have a lot of luck too. I’ve had both,” Dillon told SLAM! Wrestling.

 

- Steven Johnson and Greg Oliver



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