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Territories era NWA star Don Kernodle has died

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Sgt. Slaughter’s Twitter

Yesterday, the NWA broke the sad news that Don Kernodle was dead at 71 years of age.

A North Carolina native who was trained by Ole & Gene Anderson, Kernodle was a star in Jim Crockett Promotions’ Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in the 1970s and ‘80s. He was best known as part of Sgt. Slaughter’s “Cobra Corps”, and twice winning the Mid-Atlantic Tag titles with fellow Corps member Jim Nelson. He & Slaughter eventually also became the NWA World Tag champs, an honor Kernodle attained three times (he also had reigns with Cowboy Bob Orton and Ivan Koloff).

In 1982 and 1983 he appeared for the then-WWF, working singles programs putting over the likes of Rocky Johnson and Tito Santana. It was in ‘83 that his steel cage tag match with Slaughter against Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood did so much business for Crockett that it inspired the promoter to hold the first Starrcade later that year.

He retired from the NWA in 1986, but continued to wrestle occasionally on the independent circuit. Kernodle was also a deputy sheriff in Alamance County, North Carolina. He was slated for a July induction into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

PWInsider notes Kernodle had been dealing with numerous health issues recently.

Join us in sending condolences to Kernodle’s family and friends. Here’s some of the remembrances being shared by his peers on social media.