From the Gridiron to the Squared Circle:
Jim Duggan was bron on January 14, 1954, in Glenns Falls, New York. He went on to play college football at Southern Methodist University and then played in the NFL as an offensive guard for the Atlanta Falcons and then for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. It was during a recruiting trip to SMU that he met Fritz Von Erich. He was trained to wrestle by Fritz and referee David Manning. By 1980, he started to wrestle full-time for the WWWF, which was then a regional territory in the Northeast which eventually morphed into the WWE.
The Rat Pack:
After wrestling in several territories like the WWWF, Georgia, and World Class, Jim Duggan really made a name for himself in the Mid-South territory. He joined forces with Ted DiBiase and the two men dubbed themselves The Rat Pack. The highlight of their heinous behavior saw Ted and Jim challenge the Junkyard Dog and Mr. Olympia to a match where the loser had to leave the territory. Prior to that 1982 bout, Jim was "injured" and his spot in the match was taken by Matt Borne. At ringside that evening was a man dressed as a gorilla to promote the state fair. However, the gorilla was revealed to be Jim Duggan after he interfered in the match and caused teh Junkyard Dog to be banished from the territory. The JYD would have his revenge when a new masked wrestler named Stagger Lee entered the territory.
An American Hero is Born:
The association between Ted and Jim ended because Ted aligned himself with the anti-American manager General Skandor Akbar and his stable which was known as Devastation Inc. The feud between Jim Duggan and Devastation Inc. lasted for several years. In 1986, Jim was the last North American Champion before the company changed their name to the Universal Wrestling Federation. Prior to the final match of the tournament to crown the first UWF Champion, the One Man Gang, who was a part of Devastation Inc. attacked "Hacksaw". A weakened Jim Duggan was no match for Terry Gordy who went on to win the title. A few months later, Jim Duggan lost a loser-leave-town match to the One Man Gang, who by then had won the UWF Championship from Terry Gordy via forfeit. That loss was Jim's final match for the company.
Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik:
Jim Duggan entered the WWE in 1987 and immediately feuded with anti-American stars Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. Jim Duggan became infuriated whenever Nikolai sang the Russian National Anthem and did everything in his power to stop him from doing so. In most cases, that involved Jim bringing his 2x4 into the ring. The feud was one of the biggest in the company but ended when Jim and the Iron Sheik were pulled over by New jersey State Troopers when Jim was drinking an open container while driving. The police also found cocaine on the Iron Sheik. Because of the embarrasment the incident caused the WWE, Jim Duggan was fired from the WWE. Jim returned a few months later at the request of Paul Boesch for a retirement show the company did for the long-time promoter of the Houston area.
Despite the major break of kayfabe, the fans still loved Jim Duggan and would chant USA during his bouts and repeat Jim's "Hoooo" whenever he let one loose. In 1988, he won the inaugural Royal Rumble match. At the time he was feuding with "King" Harley Race. Following WrestleMania IV, Jim found himself in a main event feud with Andre the Giant. In 1989, Jim won the crown of "King" from Haku. He lost it a few months later to Randy Savage who went on to be known as the "Macho King". Jim stayed with the WWE until 1994.
Jim Duggan joined World Championship Wrestling in 1994. Shortly before Jim joined the company, Hulk Hogan signed a contract with them and his arrival signaled the start of many former WWE talents joining the company. At Fall Brawl '94, Jim Duggan won the US Championship from Steve Austin in less than a minute. He held onto the belt until Starrcade '94 where he lost the title to Vader. However, his biggest opponent during his time in WCW was a battle against kidney cancer in 1998. Thankfully, Jim vanquished that foe and stayed with the company until it went out of business in 2001.
Return to the WWE:
Jim returned to the WWE in 2005 and has made sporadic appearances for the company ever since. In 2011, he received the highest honor a WWE Superstar can receive, he was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Mid-South/UWF, WWE, & WCW Title Victory History:
Mid-South North American Championship
- 3/16/86 - beat Buzz Sawyer (who was defending the title for Dick Slater)
- 7/24/83 - w/Magnum TA beat Ted DiBiase & Mr. Olympia
- 12/27/86 - w/Terry Taylor beat Bill Irwin & LeRoy Brown
- 10/13/82 - beat Mike Sharpe
Mid-South Tag Team Championship
UWF Tag Team Championship
Jim never won an official championship in the WWE
United States Championship
- 9/18/94 Fall Brawl - beat Steve Austin
- 2/16/00 Thunder - found the title in a garbage can
Sources: Hacksaw: The Jim Duggan Story by Jim Duggan, wwe.com, onlineworldofwrestling.com, & Pro Wrestling Illustrated Almanac