The pro wrestling world lost another legend when it was announced Thursday that “Dirty” Dick Slater had died. He was 67.
Slater wrestled for WWE as well as NWA territories like Jim Crockett Promotions Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling and also Japan, having famous feuds with the likes of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and many others.
Slater also had a memorable team in the mid-1980’s with “Cowboy” Bob Orton, a WWE legend and father of WWE veteran Randy Orton.
WWE issued a statement on Slater’s death on Thursday:
WWE is saddened to learn that Dick Slater has passed away at age 67.
Slater was a prolific competitor during the 1970s and 1980s in Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, where he teamed with WWE Hall of Famer Bob Orton and had a memorable rivalry with WWE Hall of Famer Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Slater competed in WWE from 1986 to 1987 before moving to Japan and finishing his in-ring career in WCW.
WWE extends its condolences to Slater’s family, friends and fans.
Slater’s friends, fans and colleagues paid tribute on social media:
So Sad To Hear About The Passing Of My Good Friend Dick Slater Who Was A Great Wrestler And One Of The Legit Toughest Guys Of All Time. RIP pic.twitter.com/cU2YoF648a
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) October 18, 2018
The National Wrestling Alliance sends its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family, friends and fans of Dick Slater.
— NWA (@nwa) October 18, 2018
Sad to hear that Dick Slater passed away this morning at age 67. One hell of a worker, and promo man. Go with God my friend.🙏
— Les Thatcher (@LesThatcher) October 18, 2018
Sadly I report that 1 of the all-time great talents from CWF, Dick Slater, AKA "Dirty" Dick Slater, passed away last night from heart complication, I'll never forget when he knocked this Fan out, that kept sticking his head in the dressing room in Tallahassee may he rest in peace
— B Brian Blair 🇺🇸 (@Killerbee1B) October 18, 2018
Dirty Dick Slater was an awesome wrestler
Champion in many territories
I wrestled him for 22mins & he never said 1 word to me
Accept good job kid
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) October 18, 2018
Very sad to hear of the passing of Dick Slater. A great Pro and foe when we were in WCW together.
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) October 18, 2018
October 17, 1973 – New #Florida tag team champions Dick Slater & Dusty Rhodes retained their belts, defeating Paul Jones & the Great Malenko 45 years ago tonight at the #MiamiBeach Auditorium! #OnThisDay #Miami https://t.co/CmtUNTKJ0U pic.twitter.com/O30dSUD3kg
— NWALegends.com (@NWALegends) October 17, 2018
As a fan growing up in the ’80s, I always remember when Ric Flair would often do promos in which he listed a whole slew of wrestlers that might come for his world title, Dick Slater was always on that list.
When “Stone Cold” Steven Austin sat in on Ric Flair’s podcast a few years ago, the two told a story about Slater and WCW legend Sting that has become part of wrestling lore.
As compiled by What Culture:
“While discussing the toughness of Dick Slater, Flair makes only a passing mention of the time he “stuck one of our mutual friend’s head in the toilet”. For those who aren’t in-the-know, the man he’s speaking of is allegedly Sting. The story goes as follows: While wrestling in Bill Watts’ Mid-South promotion, the rookie Sting was getting a little too cozy to Slater’s valet and real-life love interest Dark Journey, a former stripper who he’d brought into the business himself. Dick didn’t take too kindly to this and took out his frustrations in a very physical way with the man who was at the time one half of The Blade Runners tag team with Rock, who would go on to become The Ultimate Warrior. After delivering a beating to the Stinger, Slater took his head and stuck it in the toilet, giving him a swirlie, and just like that one of the toughest men on earth was transformed into a middle school bully all over again. Some versions of this story even have Slater taking on Sting and Warrior at the same time and besting them both, but only Sting’s head actually received the fearsome flush.”
In 1986, Slater famously threw the Mid-South TV title – which was strangely enough in the form of a gold medallion – into the Arkansas River.
Dick Slater throws the TV Title into the Arkansas River pic.twitter.com/2cpRIMb6sl
— History of Pro Wrestling (@HistoryofWrest) October 18, 2018
Both former WWE creative alumni Jim Cornette and Bruce Prichard have said on their podcasts that Slater’s Arkansas river stunt inspired an angle most of today’s wrestling fans will remember between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock two decades ago.
Dick Slater was a legend both inside and outside the ring – and they didn’t call him “dirty” for nothing.
RIP Dick Slater.