Don Kernodle, from Eastern Alamance High School/Elon College and former NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag-Team Wrestling Champion, gone at age 71

Don Kernodle, a former high school wrestler at Eastern Alamance High School and at Elon College, and then later on an NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag-Team wrestling champion, has passed away at the age of 71 years old…

Don Kernodle was part of some of the best angles in Jim Crockett Promotions history, when he teamed with Private Jim Nelson, with Sergeant Slaughter, and with Ivan Koloff to win the Mid-Atlantic Tag-Team titles…

Kernodle got his start in wrestling down in Alamance county, at Eastern Alamance High School, and then he attended and wrestled for Elon College…Don was always a heavyweight wrestler, from high school, on to college, and then on to professional wrestling…

Don Kernodle was also a National Arm Wrestling Champion and he appeared in the movie Paradise Alley, with Terry Funk and Sylvester Stallone…

Kernodle was trained to wrestle by Ole and Gene Anderson down at the old Charlotte YMCA….His first professional match was against Bob Roop at at Raleigh’s Dorton Arena..

Don Kernodle, who at one one time in his career went by the moniker ‘The Pride of the Carolinas/USA”, spent the majority of his professional wrestling career working in North Carolina and South Carolina, but he also worked in the Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee and Canadian territories, and he also worked a stint for Vince McMahon in the WWF….

Kernodle had his most notable success tag-teaming with Sergeant Slaughter and with Ivan Koloff, but he found success and made good money in the business, for most of his entire career….Kernodle said Jim Crockett Jr. paid him $300.00 per week, while Don was training to be a wrestler and that was great money back in the early 1970’s….

Some of Kernodle’s top matches came at the Greensboro Coliseum, and he had a match there on Thanksgiving night back around 1984, when Ivan and Nikita Koloff turned on him and beat him to a pulp, and he was taken to the local Moses Cone Hospital for observation, but Kernodle was not hurt at all, but the storyline had him suffering from a concussion, and the doctors made him stay at the hospital overnight, and then released him the next morning….Kernodle and the Russians even had the doctors fooled on that night…

You can’t take it away from him, Don Kernodle was “The Pride of the Carolinas/USA” and he was one of the top pro wrestlers to ever come out of the Triad area, along with names like New Jack/Jerome Young, Stan Lane and Diamond Dan Grondy…

RIP Don Kernodle, you were one of us, a true professional wrestling legend from the Triad area of North Carolina….

Don Kernodle, gone at age 71, and it seems like it was just yesterday when he was on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, on Saturday afternoons/Saturday evenings…He was right there on our TV’s, and we were all better for it, for having known and seen Don Kernodle, or Don Kernoodle, as Johnny Weaver used to call him…

from www.wrestlinginc.com:
Former NWA World Tag Team Champion Don Kernodle has passed away.

Kernodle passed way earlier Monday at the age of 71, according to PWInsider. He had been dealing with a number of health issues from the past few years, but we’re still waiting to confirm reports on his cause of death.

Kernodle had runs with WWE, Mid-Atlantic Wrestling and the NWA, among other promotions. He debuted in 1973 with Jim Crockett Promotions, and regularly teamed with WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter at one point, as he was a member of Sgt. Slaughter’s Cobra Corp.

Kernodle was never signed to WWE but he defeated several enhancement talents over the years, and later lost several matches to pushed stars such as Tito Santana and WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson.

In his post-wrestling life, Kernodle later worked as a Sergeant for Immigration Customs Enforcement for Alamance County, North Carolina, and was later a deputy sheriff in Alamance County.

from GreensboroSports.com, by way of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway with proof that Don Kernodle was in the WWF:

David Chappell(Mid-Atlantic Gateway):How was it with the WWF?

Don Kernodle: I went to New York, and did really, really well money-wise. I was in the mid-card. I was wrestling Tito Santana again, and stuff like that. I was making really good money.

David Chappell: How was Vince McMahon to deal with?

Don Kernodle: Vince told us in 1983 that he was going national. He told Sarge and I, because we’d go out and eat dinner with him after TV.

He said, “Here’s what I’m gonna do…I’m gonna put everybody else out of business.”

In the photos below, Don is on the far left…

from the MidAtlanticGateway.com:

We are very saddened to hear the news of Don Kernodle’s passing. He was a true legend of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, and while most remember his ground breaking feud with partner Sgt. Slaughter against Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood, older fans will remember the many years Don toiled away in the mid-card and under-card before finally getting that break. He earned every bit of it.

Rest in peace.

CLICK HERE to see a great photo of Don Kernodle at the MidAtlanticGateway.com…….

from the Memory of Ivan Koloff website:

1 comment

  1. In an update, F4Wonline.com reports that Kernodle’s death was self-inflicted. There are no other details available as of this writing, but Kernodle had dealt with various health issues over the past several years.

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