Sunday, April 14,
The Lawman was tough on local nurses
By Bill Whitaker
Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker are big draws at tonights
World Wrestling Federation extravaganza, but longtime area wrestling
fans still pin their fondest memories on Don Slatton, alias The
Recent years have seen The Lawman toil at his bail-bond business
(get a load of his ad in the Southwestern Bell yellow pages) as
well as doing occasional bits in such movies as the upcoming Three
Sevens. Yet, the strapping, kinetic, 66-year-old Abilenian still
relishes the sport that made him a West Texas celebrity
even if he now prefers recollections rather than actual wrestling.
Everything in life is still new to me, he said, in
between bailing somebody out of the slammer and slamming down
somebody who skipped bail. But you know what I enjoy the
most? Talking with fans about wrestling.
Plenty has been written about The Lawman, a one-time Abilene cop
who wrestled everybody from Andre the Giant to Hulk Hogan. But
some of his most blood-curdling tales spill out of the wrestling
ring and into local hospital rooms and doctors offices.
Thats only natural. Folks can debate whether todays
matches are more choreography than competition, but The Lawman
says he and others for years took pains to keep wrestling real.
He has the scars, stiffness and soreness to prove it, too.
There was the time in the 1970s when he went into Hendrick Memorial
Hospital to have double surgery on his elbow and nose. Ordered
to bed the night before, he nevertheless slipped past nurses and
headed for Taylor County Coliseum to keep a ring date with Swede
Bloodied and battered by nights end, The Lawman sneaked
back to the hospital and into bed, only for nurses to scream in
horror at his pulverized condition. Asked what had befallen him,
he claimed he had roamed hospital halls for hours under mind-altering
medication before falling down the stairs.
I finally told them the truth, though, he said.
Those nurses got off easier than the pair who assisted a physician
in performing a delicate knee procedure on The Lawman. While under
the gas, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound patient dreamed he was back in
the ring, fighting for his life against Iron Mike DiBiase.
When he came to, the nurses looked disheveled and stressed. Their
uniforms were rumpled, buttons were missing, and the pair glared
at The Lawman as if he were mad.
They didnt say anything, but they gave me the dirtiest
look, he said. I guess Id fought them pretty
Over 25 years, The Lawmans wife came to accept the bone-busting,
tendon-ripping, body-slamming beatings he received in victory
I used to come home with two black eyes and all beat up,
and my wife would just cry, he said. But after 15
years, when Id come in, beat up and practically on my deathbed,
she wouldnt say anything
except maybe to say I was
The old wrestling fever survives. The Lawman insists he would
wrestle Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker, and on the
but only for the big money wrestlers make today.
Id get beat up pretty good probably, he told
me, but Id still do it.
Contact story editor Bill Whitaker at
676-6732 or email@example.com
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