Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine were approaching a lull in their careers when the opportunity to form the tag team Rhythm and Blues arose. Ideas were met initially with reluctance, and the two would eventually get fired from the WWF after unkept promises by Vince McMahon.
Hunka Hunka, this is the story of Rhythm and Blues, in their own words.
Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine – The Story of Rhythm and Blues
“I was bored with my career at the time.
Me and Honky decided to do it, just for the hell of it.”
HONKY TONK MAN:
“The Rhythm and Blues thing was something that was going to rejuvenate both myself and Greg Valentine, but Greg was always very much, ‘I’m Greg, I’ve got blond hair, my father’s Johnny Valentine, I’m a wrestler…’
I said ‘Listen, if you don’t do this – dye your hair black and at least give us a shot – [Vince] ’s gonna fire both of us.’”
“I look back at [dying my hair for Rhythm and Blues] now and laugh at it. I didn’t want to do it, but Jimmy Hart chased me around with that black hair dye for about a year. I didn’t want to do it. I said, ‘I like being Honky’s partner, but why can’t I keep my hair blonde?’
I think it was Jesse Ventura who mentioned to Vince McMahon while they were announcing one night. ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if Valentine came out with his hair black one night? It would shock everybody.’ So eventually, I did it. When I did it, I didn’t like it, but I already committed to it. So I put my all into it like I do everything else. I started enjoying it. Then all of a sudden, they split us up, and I was mad about that.”
“We were in line to get the belts. We beat the Hart Foundation every night we wrestled them. But Greg just did not try to make it work, and it showed.
Then, we got fired…”
“I was mad about that. They fired us because we didn’t kiss ass. But I look back at now and laugh at it.”
In May of 2019, Valentine shared further details about his time with Rhythm and Blues to Devon Nicholson of Hannibal TV.
“I was [originally] for it when I had my blonde hair. For a year or so, they wanted to do the black hair thing to shock the people,” Valentine said. “I look back at it now, and I’ve watched the business change, and it’s become really gimmicky, and I’m trying to hold out as a hard-nosed wrestler and trying to make everything believable. I said, ‘You know what, I’ll go out and be a showman.’”
Valentine continued, “I look back, and I laugh, and I enjoy it. But they cut it off, and I’m sorry they did because I think we could have done very, very well as World Tag Team Champions. But they cut it off because of the signing with the Road Warriors, I believe.”
With the benefit of father time, Valentine has been able to look back on his time with Honky Tonk Man in Rhythm and Blues in a positive light, even if he wasn’t behind all of the ideas at the start. Rhythm and Blues never reached the heights they were promised in the WWF, and some may go as far as saying they were a one-hit wonder! Joking aside, the team found success on the independent circuit after reuniting in 1991, where they captured tag team gold in the Northern States Wrestling Alliance.
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Sources used in this article: Inside The Ropes Radio with Honky Tonk Man, Online World of Wrestling interview with Greg Valentine, Hannibal TV interview with Greg Valentine (H/T: WrestleZone)
Some quotes above were compiled by Matt Pender and shared here with thanks to our friends over at ‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page.