Jim Duggan Profile
Born: January 14, 1954 (James Edward Duggan Jr) | Birthplace: Glens Falls, New York
Billed Weight: 280 lbs | Other Aliases: “Big” Jim Duggan, The Convict, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, King Duggan
James Edward Duggan Jr. was born and grew up in Glens Falls, New York, where his father was chief of police. In high school, he participated in a number of sports, including football and wrestling. He won the New York State high school wrestling championship in the unlimited weight division, the first from Glens Falls to do so. After graduating high school, he attended Southwest Methodist University and pursued a professional football career.
After college, he was signed by the Atlanta Falcons, but was released after a series of knee injuries. Duggan turned to professional wrestling and trained in Dallas, making his debut in 1979 against Gino Hernandez. As “Big” Jim Duggan, he worked in Georgia, and as the masked “Convict” in Hawaii. Around this time, he wrestled some preliminary matches for the World Wide Wrestling Federation, before going to San Antonio. It was here that he befriended Bruiser Brody, and adopted the name “Hacksaw” (a nickname from his football days) and the trademark 2×4.
His first major run came in 1982, when he signed with Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling. He came in as a heel and was managed by General Skandor Akbar, before becoming a part of “The Rat Pack,” along with Ted Dibiase, Matt Borne and Mr. OIympia. Duggan made the difference in a loser leaves town match between Dibiase and Junkyard Dog when – disguised in a gorilla suit – he attacked JYD, leading to Dibiase getting the win. In 1983, Duggan feuded with new company arrival Butch Reed, who also used the nickname “Hacksaw.”
In the middle of 1983, Dibiase aligned with Akbar and turned on Duggan during the April 21 edition of Mid-South television. Now billed as a fan favorite, Duggan and Dibiase entered a classic rivalry over the course of the next two years. He also battled new Dibiase ally “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, and they had a series of ‘football’ matches, ramming into each other while wearing football helmets. Duggan teamed with former rival Magnum TA, and they defeated Dibiase and Mr. Olympia on July 24, 1983 for the Mid-South Tag Team titles. They held them until October 12, when they lost to Butch Reed and Jim Neidhart.
Duggan was named Mid-South Wrestler of the Year on December 31, and presented with a pair of expensive cuff-links by Bill Watts. Dibiase responded that putting cuff links on Jim Duggan was like “putting mag wheels on a dump truck.” The following week, Duggan came to the ring in a white tuxedo to thank Mid-South, which brought out Dibiase, but he was chased off. Dibiase began wearing his own black tuxedo, and challenged Duggan to a ‘best dressed man’ competition. Using the fan’s response to gauge the winner, Duggan won easily. In revenge, Dibiase took to his car with a baseball bat.
The finish of the Duggan/Dibiase story took place on March 30, 1985, when Duggan defeated him in a ‘loser leaves town, steel cage match, with a coal miner’s glove on a pole,’ while wearing tuxedos. (They also wrestled a match with the same stipulations at the Sam Houston Coliseum on March 22, for the same result).
Duggan became North American Heavyweight champion on March 16, 1986, when he defeated Buzz Sawyer. A few months later, the company was re-branded as the Universal Wrestling Federation, and the title was retired. On May 30, Duggan lost to Terry Gordy in a tournament final to determine the first UWF Heavyweight champion. With Terry Taylor, he became UWF Tag Team champions on December 27, and held them until he left for the WWF. His final feud was against One Man Gang, which culminated in Duggan dropping a ‘loser leaves town’ match to Gang on January 23, 1987.
His first major appearance in the WWF was at Wrestlemania III, where he interfered in the tag team match between Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik against The Killer Bees. The feud with Volkoff and Sheik was derailed when Duggan and Sheik were pulled over by police in New Jersey. Believing Duggan to be under the influence, a search of the car uncovered a small amount of cocaine and marijuana. Duggan was suspended by the WWF but brought back a short time later.
In late-1987, Duggan began a feud with Harley Race, who had just won a King of the Ring tournament. The two got into a wild brawl that went all throughout the building at that year’s Slammy Awards, until it was broken up by Gorilla Monsoon. At the inaugural Survivor Series on November 26, Duggan and Race opposed each over on their respective teams, and were both counted-out. He went on to win the first Royal Rumble on January 24, 1988, when he eliminated One Man Gang.
Hacksaw began a rivalry with Andre the Giant, who had cost him a chance at being WWF champion at Wrestlemania IV. Duggan was in control of Dibiase in their first round match of a tournament to crown an undisputed champion, when Andre tripped him from the outside. As Duggan was distracted, Dibiase kneed him in the back and got the win.
Duggan confronted The Giant at the next television taping and challenged him to a match. Andre initially brushed him off, but then attacked him and tried to choke him with the shoulder strap of his ring gear. Bleeding profusely from the mouth, Duggan faded, until he reached down and knocked Andre out with his 2×4, which Vince McMahon sold on the commentary as the first time he’d ever seen Andre out cold. However for the most part, Andre dominated their proceeding bouts.
The patriotic Hacksaw came to light in 1988, and be began bringing an American flag to the ring. He mostly feuded with ‘foreign’ heels, such as the French Canadian Dino Bravo, and ‘Russian’ Boris Zhukov, whom he defeated in a flag match on the November 26, 1988 edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event. The rivalry with Bravo was wound up at the 1989 Royal Rumble, when Duggan and The Hart Foundation bested Bravo and The Fabulous Rougeaus in a two-out-of-three falls bout.
After a double disqualification result at Wrestlemania V with Bad News Brown, he defeated King Haku on the May 13, 1989 Superstars, and took to wearing the purple crown and robe. As “King” Duggan, he teamed with Demolition in a winning effort over Andre and The Twin Towers at Summerslam.
After losing the crown to Randy Savage – who took to calling himself The Macho King – the two entered into a rivalry, which led to them captaining opposing teams at the Survivor Series on November 23. Unfortunately for him, he accomplished the only elimination and was left three against one at the end, before being counted out after interference from “Queen” Sherri.
When Nikolai Volkoff wished to become an American citizen, he found a natural ally in Hacksaw, despite their past feud. They smashed The Orient Express at Summerslam on August 27, 1990, and then Duggan formed another short-lived team with Sgt. Slaughter, when the latter renounced his past sins of aligning against America during the Gulf War.
Hacksaw’s last feud in the WWF commenced in early 1993 with WWF champion, Yokozuna. Duggan knocked Yoko off his feet on the February 6 edition of Superstars, the first to do so. But he paid the price when Yoko attacked him and injured him with four consecutive Banzai Drops. He returned to action four months later and had a series of matches with Intercontinental champion Shawn Michaels, which ended in either a count-out or a disqualification.
His last WWF pay-per-view appearance took place at the King of the Ring, where he lost to Bam Bam Bigelow in the quarter final. Duggan departed for the time being after losing a series of matches to Yokozuna in the leadup to Summerslam.
Duggan toured Austria with the Catch Wrestling Association and signed with WCW in the summer of 1994. He debuted on the August 6 edition of WCW Saturday Night, where he defeated Rip Rogers. It took just thirty-five seconds for him to pin “Stunning” Steve Austin for the United States Title at Fall Brawl (September 18), and won the rematch with Austin at Halloween Havoc by disqualification. After another disqualification victory, he lost the US Title to Vader at Starrcade.
Duggan began taping his fist when he discovered his Irish great-grandmother was a taped fist champion in the ‘old country.’ While this tactic generally worked, he would lose a taped fist match to Big Bubba at World War 3 1995, and another against Diamond Dallas Page at Bash at the Beach 1996.
When the New World Order arrived on the scene, Duggan attempted to rally the locker room by bringing a large WCW banner to the ring during his matches, but the angle was abruptly dropped. For the next two years, he was mostly seen on the company’s ‘B’ and ‘C’ shows, and rarely on pay-per-view.
In a real and emotional segment on the September 7, 1998 WCW Saturday Night, Duggan announced he had kidney cancer. Fortunately, it was detected early and without even needing chemotherapy, he had successful surgery to remove it. He returned at Fall Brawl on September 12, 1999 in a losing effort to Berlyn (Alex Wright).
The new creative team of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara attempted to phase out Hacksaw by making him a janitor. When Scott Hall disposed of the Television Title into a garbage can, Duggan inevitably recovered it and proclaimed himself champion.
Duggan aligned with The Varsity Club against The Revolution at Starrcade on December 19. The stipulation stated that if The Revolution won, Duggan would have to renounce the flag and America. Despite losing the match – when The Varsity Club turned on him – Duggan refused to go along with the stipulation and was beaten up by The Revolution the next night on Nitro, until The Filthy Animals made the save.
When Russo and Eric Bischoff rebooted the company, Duggan was made a part of the Millionaire’s Club. He later became a heel for the first time since Mid-South, when he turned on the Misfits in Action in favour of Team Canada. His hair was cut short and his beard shaved, and now brought a Canadian flag to the ring. This was also quickly dropped when Team Canada turned on him.
After the purchase of WCW in March 2001 by the WWF, Duggan went on the independent circuit. He made an unadvertised appearance at NWA TNA’s March 12, 2003 pay-per-view, and defeated former WCW wrestler, Mike Sanders. He worked a second match for the company on October 29, in a losing effort against Jeff Jarrett. Duggan returned to the now-World Wrestling Entertainment on the October 3, 2005 RAW, and became a mentor and tag team partner for Eugene.
He made a number of appearances for the company between 2007-2009, mostly on Sunday Night Heat, but did appear in the 2009 Royal Rumble, where he was eliminated by The Big Show. In 2011, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his long-time friend and greatest rival, Ted Dibiase. A second short run saw him entered into the 2012 Royal Rumble, where he was eliminated by Cody Rhodes, and was a part of the WWE reality show, “Legends House.”
Duggan sadly had some health issues in 2018, and the following year had two heart surgeries. In October 2021, it was announced that he was battling prostate cancer. A surgery on October 29 went as planned, and on December 8, Duggan stated that he is again cancer-free. Unfortunately, he would have another cancer scare but once again managed to beat it in August 2022.