Last updated: May 01. 2014 7:33AM - 1104 Views
By - dvanderford@civitasmedia.com

Photo submittedThe late Bob Hope, right, introduced All-American Del Wilkes as part of a holiday TV special in 1984.
Photo submittedThe late Bob Hope, right, introduced All-American Del Wilkes as part of a holiday TV special in 1984.
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UNION — In addition to a full card of pro wrestling matches, this Saturday’s Trans-South Wrestling event will feature a “Salute to Gamecock Football.”

The guest of honor at this Saturday’s pro wrestling event at Union County Fairgrounds — which will have a special 8 p.m. bell time — will be former Gamecock offensive guard and world-famous pro wrestler Del Wilkes.

“Del Wilkes is our guest of honor for Gamecock Night because he ties together Gamecock football and pro wrestling,” said TSW senior referee Tracy Rash. “He excelled at both.”

Wilkes — a four-year letterman and three-year starter — played for the University of South Carolina from 1980-1984. Many Gamecock fans remember the 1984 team — nicknamed “Black Magic” — for being the first USC team to win 10 games in the school’s history. Wilkes was the Offensive Captain for the 1984 team, as well as the team’s MVP. Wilkes was also the second consensus All-American in the history of the university (with George Rogers being the first). To this day, Wilkes is one of only four consensus All-Americans in Gamecock football history — the other three are Rogers (1980), Melvin Ingram (2011) and Jadeveon Clowney (2012).

Following his football career, Wilkes went on to worldwide pro wrestling fame as a masked fan-favorite known as “The Patriot,” donning red, white and blue ring attire. Wilkes wrestled for the WWE, AWA, WCW, and All-Japan Pro Wrestling. Wilkes is perhaps best known to wrestling fans for his feud with Bret “The Hitman” Hart in WWE, which began on Monday Night RAW in 1997.

Wilkes said he is excited to meet Gamecock fans and wrestling fans alike in Union this Saturday.

“Gamecock football and pro wrestling are both near and dear to my heart,” Wilkes said. “I’m looking forward to being there and enjoying a special night with fans of both in Union.”

Several other former Gamecock football players will join Wilkes in Saturday’s festivities, including former standout quarterback and current Union County High School head football coach Steve Taneyhill. Other former Gamecocks planning to attend are Union natives — Darrell Austin, Monty Means, Tommy Simmons, and Don Bobo.

Saturday’s card of wrestling matches will include a title defense by new TSW Heavyweight Champion, former WCW star The Stro “The Maestro of Wrestling.” Also scheduled to appear on the card are former champion Deon Johnson, Ring of Honor star Cedric Alexander, Tessa Blanchard, Kameron Kade, Chase “Cauliflower” Brown, Alex Avgerinos, and many more. Advance tickets for all ages are available at Buffalo Pawn & Gun. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/transsouthwrestling.

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