The Patriot

Height: 6'5"

Weight: 282 lbs

Real Name: Del Wilkes

DOB: 1962

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina

Other Names: The Trooper(AWA)

Wrestler Since: 1986 or 1987

Finishing Maneuver: Patriot Missile

Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #99(1997), #186(1996), #68(1995), #79(1994), #143(1993), #180(1992), #55(1991)

History: (Article by Jon Swartz, USA Today, from 3/12/2004)

Del Wilkes was willing to do anything, he says, to be a star. When the former University of South Carolina All-America football star failed to make the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985 and Atlanta Falcons in 1986, he decided on wrestling despite a college degree in criminal justice. "I wanted to be an athlete and this was it," he says.

Wilkes, now 42, started taking steroids in college to bulk up as an offensive lineman. He increased his dosage to become even larger in pro wrestling. His weight went from 225 pounds in high school to 275 in college. He got up to 300 when wrestling.

Overuse of steroids led to persistent arm injuries. Wilkes popped pain pills so he could perform up to 200 times a year as "The Patriot." He says his bosses once gave him an ultimatum: perform with a torn arm muscle or be replaced. (The WWF denies Wilkes' claim and says his contract was not renewed in 1998 because of chronic injuries.)

Eventually, Wilkes says he was taking up to 30 bodybuilding tablets a day and gobbling pain pills and muscle relaxants to get through the day and sleeping pills at night. The next morning he would use cocaine as a pickup, he says.

While traveling, he befriended doctors to get prescriptions or wrote his own. He was arrested 20 times in South Carolina from 1997 to 2002 on charges of using fake prescriptions.

The only way he kicked his 150-pill-a-day habit was a nine-month prison term in South Carolina in 2002-03 that, he says, "saved my life." He now is a car salesman in Columbia, S.C.

Pay-Per-View/Show Summary: (9 - 6)
- WCW Fall Brawl '94 (September 18) = Stars 'n' Stripes (The Patriot & Marcus Bagwell) lost to the WCW Tag Champs, Pretty Wonderful.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '94 (October 23) = Stars 'n' Stripes dropped the WCW World Tag Championships to Pretty Wonderful.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXIX (November 16, '94) = Stars 'n' Stripes won the WCW World Tag-Team Titles from Pretty Wonderful.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXX (January 25, '95) = Stars 'n' Stripes lost to the WCW World Tag Champs, Harlem Heat.
- WCW Superbrawl V (February 19, '95) = In a dark match, Stars 'n' Stripes took down Romeo Valentino & Dino Cassanova.
- WCW Uncensored '95 (March 19) = In a dark match, Stars 'n' Stripes beat Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck.
- WCW United States Heavyweight Title Tournament (April/June '95) = The Patriot lost in the first round to Ric Flair. Sting won the tournament.
- WWF Ground Zero (September 7, '97) = The Patriot was forced to submit to the WWF World Champion, Bret Hart.
- WWF One Night Only (September 27, '97) = The Patriot pinned Flash Funk.
- WWF Bad Blood '97 (October 5) = The Patriot & Vader fell to Bret Hart & Davey Boy Smith.
- IWC Night of Legends I (April 3, '04) = The Patriot, Nikolai Volkoff, & Dion Balunka defeated Dennis Gregory, T. Rantula, & Dr. Feelgood. Later on, the Patriot won the "Franklin Rumble" Match.
- IWC Destruction In Duncansville! (July 24, '04) = The Patriot beat Dennis Gregory.
- IWC Winter Bash '05 (December 3) = The Patriot won over King Kaluha.
- IWC Night of Legends 3 (March 24, '07) = The Patriot took down King Kaluha.

Title Summary:
- AWA World Tag-Team Champion w/ DJ Peterson (8/11/90 - 91)
- GWF (Global) Television Champion (6/29/91 - 8/23/91)
- GWF (Global) North American Heavyweight Champion (8/10/91 - 8/16/91)
- GWF (Global) North American Heavyweight Champion(2) (8/23/91 - 1/31/92)
- WCW World Tag-Team Champion w/ Marcus Bagwell (9/25/94 - 10/23/94)
- WCW World Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Marcus Bagwell (11/16/94 - 12/08/94)

PWI Achievement Awards: (1 win, 1 1st RU, 0 2nd RUs, 0 3rd RUs)
- 1991 Rookie of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 1991 Most Inspirational Wrestler