Wrestler Name: 'Double A' Arnold Adams
Real Name: Arnold Adams
Birthday: August 26, 1941
Hometown: Tunica, MS
Death Date: April 26, 2010
Where: Memphis, TN
Marital Status: Married (Ethel)
Theme Music: "Cold As Ice" by Foreigner
Wrestling Debut: February 3, 1960 (Mobile, AL)
MVW Debut: March 9, 1978
Debut Opp: Jason James
Last Match: March 31, 1990
Last Opp: ‘Excellent’ Xavier Cross
Finishing Move: Adams Arm Dance (double chickenwing submission)
Favorite Moves: abdominal stretch, belly-to-back suplex, belly-to-belly suplex
Notable Feuds: Jason James
Image: Tommy Lee Jones
Arnold was born on August 26, 1941, in Foley, AL. He is the oldest of Hector and Caroline Adams’ five children. He grew up watching his uncle Corey Terrell wrestle in the NWA’s Gulf Coast office in Mobile. Arnold played football at Foley High School, being selected to the All-State Team in 57-59. After graduating from high school, he began attending classes at University of South Alabama with a football scholarship.
Arnold’s grades didn’t allow him to keep the scholarship so he had to find another way to finance college. He turned to his uncle Corey. Corey talked with Lee Fields about a job for his nephew. Fields gave him a try-out match against future Alabama champion Don Fields. Both Fields were impressed with Arnold’s technical ability. His first official match was February 3, 1960 against Corsica Joe, one half of the NWA Southern Tag Team champions. He won the Panhandle Junior Heavyweight Title in 1963 and the NWA Gulf Coast’s version of the United States Tag Team Title with Joe McCarthy in 1964.
During his first stint in the Gulf Coast region, he worked alongside the Civil Rights Movement to make professional wrestling more open to African-Americans. Many of the feuds through the early and middle 1960s were caused by Arnold bringing African American wrestlers into the region. There were still several obstacles to remove the segregation in the very divided southern regions of Mississippi and Alabama. He met Medgar Evars early in his career. On the twentieth anniversary of Evars’ assassination, he organized an eight-man tournament showcasing the best African American wrestlers in America at that time. He repeated the tournament every five years.
From June 1964 to August 1966, he wrestled between Gulf Coast and Big Time Wrestling in Dallas. He feuded with Fritz von Erich, Billy Red Lyons and Pepper Gomez over the Texas Heavyweight Title during that time. He also teamed with Wahoo McDaniel to win the Texas Tag Team Titles in 1965. While wrestling in Houston, Arnold became friends with Frank Beard, future member of the band ZZ Top.
From 1968 to 1970, he wrestled with Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) in Tallahassee. During these two years, he feuded with Johnny Valentine and Jack Brisco. He teamed with the Missouri Mauler and Bronko Lubich on rare occasions. He held the Florida Junior Heavyweight Title the entire year of 1969. He left in late 1970 with after being injured by the Texas Outlaws. During his almost three years in the CWF, he began to establish relationships with people inside and outside the world of wrestling. While wrestling in Tallahassee, he met Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington, who had just formed the band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Back in Gulf Coast, Arnold defeated Mike Boyette and Wrestling Pro in a triple-threat match for the City of Pensacola Heavyweight Title in 1972. He lost the title in late 1973. In 1974, Arnold embarked on a national tour: Gulf Coast (January), CWF (February-March), Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (March-April), World Wrestling Association [Indianapolis] (May-July), Pacific Northwest (August-October) and Big Time Wrestling [San Fransisco] (November-December). In June 1974, Arnold tried out for the World Wide Wrestling Federation, but Vince McMahon didn’t want his type of wrestler in the ring, especially since he already had Dick Murdoch on the roster. The New York trip wasn’t a complete failure. Arnold met Lou Gramm from the newly created band Foreigner and Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin. All of these contacts and connections Arnold used to make the music used in the MVW less expensive. Also during this time, Arnold met Curtis Collins (Good Time Charlie) in WWA and challenged Jimmy Valiant for the WWA World Heavyweight Title. Arnold met Al Madril in Pacific Northwest and challenged Jimmy Snuka for the PNW Heavyweight Title. Arnold and Madril also challenged Snuka and Dutch Savage for the Tag Team Titles in PNW.
From May 1975 to January 1976, Arnold toured the middle of the country. He wrestled for the NWA in Kansas City, St. Louis and Minneapolis. Arnold met Lewis Losey (Mr. Missouri) and began tag teaming with him during this time. They defeated Ken Mantell & Ron Bass for the Central States World Tag Team Titles in controversial fashion, only to have the titles given back to the champions. He challenged Harley Race three times for the NWA Missouri State Heavyweight Title during this time. Arnold and Losey also challenged Crusher & Dick the Bruiser for the AWA World Tag Team Titles.
In 1977, Arnold went for another stint in PNW, hoping to team again with Al Madril, but Madril had already moved onto World Class Championship Wrestling. While he was in PNW this time, he met and became good friends with ‘Mr. Electricity’ Steve Regal. When Regal left the PNW, he became one of the original twelve wrestlers in MVW. Arnold spent two months in Oregon before going onto NWA Hollywood in Los Angeles. He teamed with L.A. Underground as a dominant six-man tag team. When their NWA Hollywood contracts expired, Arnold asked them to come to the MVW.
Arnold began putting the pieces together to begin running his own wrestling organization. During all his touring, his wife Ethel moved the family to Tunica, MS. In June 1975, Arnold became a booker for the Biloxi office of Gulf Coast. He pooled together many of his contacts throughout the country and established a solid lineup of experienced wrestlers and rookies for his own extended family. The MVW began with twelve wrestlers and worked through its thirty-year history with ninety-five wrestlers.
Arnold’s self-proclaimed “greatest moment” was when his grandchildren Arnold III and Amanda Adams began wrestling as the Angel of Death and Angel of Music. The MVW’s first third-generation wrestlers were almost God-sends for the early 1990s when things had begun to wane for the MVW in spite of the Monday Night Wars between the WWF and WCW.
Arnold retired from the ring March 31, 1990, after a match against ‘Excellent’ Xavier Cross. Thirty years in the ring was enough for him. He was ready to take a step away and simply manage the organization’s business affairs. He had one last hurrah against his nemesis Jason James in the final match in MVW history. The two of them bloodied each other almost senseless.
After the MVW folded, Arnold and Ethel retired back to Tunica. Arnold was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2010. He spent the majority of the month of April hospitalized at the Med in Memphis. He died on April 26 from complications from the cancer and the radiation treatments.
|Title||#||Won From||Lost To|
|Mississippi State Tag Team Titles
(w/ Al Madril)
|1||Grappler & 'Sensational' Seth Greeley
(June 1, 1978)
|Grappler & 'Sensational' Seth Greeley|
(August 6, 1978)
|City of Tupelo Heavyweight Title||1||Jason James|
(June 13, 1981)