Former pro wrestler ‘Dirty’ Dick Slater dead at 67
Former pro wrestling star “Dirty” Dick Slater — a prolific performer during the 1970s and 80s — has died at the age of 67.
The wrestler, born Richard Van Slater, competed across the mid-Atlantic and south before gaining a wider audience with WWE and WCW in the 1980s and early 1990s. He also wrestled in Japan.
“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,” WWE wrote in a statement.
Details of the Florida native’s death have not been released.
The National Wrestling Alliance called Slater “as tough as they come.”
Ric Flair also reflected on Slater’s death, writing on Twitter, “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.”
Slater, who grew up in Tampa, was introduced to wrestling at age 7.
“I knew a bunch of guys who knew pro wrestlers or taught wrestling and that’s pretty much how I got started,” Slater told the Orlando Sentinel in 2000. “Paul Orndorff was on the wrestling team with me at (the University of) Tampa, and we both trained under Hiro Matsuda. I wrestled my first pro match when I was 20.”
He was known for playing to the crowd — as a good guy or heel.
“Dickie was one of a kind, unique in the ring and as a character. A great “WORKER” and a legit badass!” wrestling trainer Les Thatcher wrote.