The future “Hacksaw” was born James Edward Duggan Jr. on January 14, 1954. The current 63-year old hails from his ring-announced home of Glens Falls, New York. Athleticism was truly his big talent as he excelled in basketball, wrestling, football and track in his high school years.
When he finished high school, he was offered a scholarship to Ohio State University, but instead chose to pursue football at the Southern Methodist University and completed his bachelor’s degree in plant biology of all things. Duggan was later offered a spot in Bill Goldberg’s alta mater, the Atlanta Falcons, but was released due to repeated injuries.
He received his initial wrestling training by the legendary Fritz Von Erich and then later on by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia.
Believe it or not, the perennial face Duggan debuted as a heel, wrestling as “Big” Jim Duggan and in Georgia Championship Wrestling and as the masked “Convict” in Hawaii.
Come 1982, Duggan appeared in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) territory Mid South Wrestling. He was a heel and formed a union with future WWE legends Ted “Million Dollar Man” DiBiase, and Matt “Doink the Clown” Bourne.
As a heel, he feuded briefly with Butch Reed over the name “Hacksaw” as well as with the ever-popular Junkyard Dog. Duggan turned face when DiBiase encouraged him to acquire the managerial services of Skandor Akbar which Duggan refused.
Now a face, Duggan had tremendous success in the NWA and its affiliates, winning the North American Heavyweight Championship and the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) Tag Team Championship belts with partner Terry “Red Rooster” Taylor.
Duggan left the NWA/UWF after losing a “loser leaves town” match to future WWF Superstar One Man Gang (aka Akeem), going to the fruitful land of the WWF.
Duggan debuted as a face in 1987 and was never again heel in his WWF career. He was promoted as being the “All American”, feuding with the evil foreigners Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik and carried by his side a trusty 2 X 4 piece of wood.
Shortly after his debut, Duggan was arrested for having cocaine on his person along with the Iron Sheik. Not lonely was this illegal, but it broke kayfabe as well. Duggan’s career was in serious jeopardy, but he managed to stay on the WWF roster, albeit lower down on the card.
Duggan never won a championship belt during his WWF tenure, but he was hugely over with the fans despite his limited in-ring technical skills. His team won at the first Survivor Series and he lost in the first Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View event.
After a brief feud with Harley Race, Duggan started to feud with Andre the Giant who had cost him a match in the WrestleMania 4 tournament for the WWF Heavyweight Championship. After his run with Andre had run its course, he feuded briefly with Canadian strong man Dino Bravo.
An important moment came about in Duggan’s career when he defeated the tough-as-nails Haku to become the “King of the Ring”. Duggan would defended his “kingly” title for quite some time until he ultimately succumbed to the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage.
The American patriot Duggan then feuded with the evil Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter for a time until Slaughter eventually turned face. The two would then become a tag team and appeared together in Survivor Series, Saturday Night’s main Event and WrestleMania VIII.
In mid 1992, Duggan feuded with the anti-American Japanese wrestler Yokosuka (who was actually Samoan Rodney Anoa’i) and defeated the big man by knocking him of his feet as a stipulation in the match.
He then feuded briefly with Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels to losing efforts and then again to more losing efforts against Yokozuna.
In 1994, Duggan showed up in Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and defeated “Stunning” Steve Austin (in his pre-Stone Cold days) in an embarrassing 34 seconds to capture Austin’s United States Heavyweight Championship.
After losing the title to Big Van Vader, Duggan feuded with old WWF nemesis Ray “Big Bubba Rogers” Traylor (aka Big Boss Man) and the engaged in several unremarkable matches thereafter until he had to undergo treatment for kidney cancer.
Upon his return from treatment, he floundered in WCW, mostly engaging in losing matches with no titles or major storylines to speak of.
He then found the World Television Championship belt in the trash after being dumped there by Scott Hall and claimed the title for his own thereafter. He joined the faction of old-timers known as the “Millionaire’s Club” fighting against newer WCW talent and the title became defunct.
He then was involved in a new angle which turned him heel once again for the first time in a long time. Duggan shaved off his trademark bread, did not use his trademark 2 X 4 and started to denounce the USA, joining forces with anti-American Canadian Lance Storm. Despite the radical change in attitude and behavior, Dugan never achieved great status as a heel in WCW.
He then had a three year stent in the independents as well as a brief uneventful run in Dixie Carter’s Total Nonstop Action (TNA).
He re-appeared in the WWE in 2005 as a face and feuded briefly with Edge and Lita on the losing end of things. He was then paired with a (kayfabe) mentally challenged Eugene to fight D- list talent like the Highlanders and the Spirit Squad. Eugene became heel by turning on Duggan after they lost to Spirit Squad and Duggan jobbed to Eugene when the two faced each other thereafter.
From 2007 – 2009, Duggan made appearances in the WWE in various angles such as trying to break Chris Masters’ Masterlock, teaming with Super Crazy, getting attacked by Santino Marella and teaming with Jerry Lawler to lose to Cody Rides and Ted DiBiase Jr.
Duggan presently wrestles on the independent circuit and has recently become a regular member of Jeff Jarrett’s Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) roster. He sporadically also has appeared in the WWE, participating in the Royal Rumble and at SuperSmackDown Live.
Duggan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. The fans will never forget him for his 2X4, crossed eyes, protruding tongue and famous holler, “HOOOOOOOOO” as well as his patented finishing move, the football tackle. Despite his advancing age, Duggan remains active in the wrestling scene and is forever and endearing presence in the hearts of the fans world wide.
Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Balsky for contributing the above wrestler profile.
Dr. Stephen Balsky is a chiropractor currently in practice in his native Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been a wrestling fan since age 13 and is very passionate about the product, especially the “old-school” 80’s – 90’s era. He completed his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2015 and currently is also working part-time as a professor in both business and healthcare.