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Grappler

Vital StatisticsEdit

Wrestler Name: Grappler

Real Name: Tanner Greeley

Birthday: January 30, 1956

Hometown: Starkville, MS

Marital Status: Married

Alignment: Heel

Height: 6'

Weight: 235

Theme Music: “La Grange” by ZZ Top

Debut: March 9, 1978

Debut Opp: Mr. Mississippi

Last Match: December 31, 1998

Last Opp: Friends in Low Places

PriDistrict: MidAmerica

Style: Amateur

Finishing Move: Hangman

Weapon: anything

Notable Feuds: 'Sensational' Seth Greeley

Image: Brian Christopher

Personal HistoryEdit

Tanner Greeley was born on January 30, 1956 to Alexander and Cleopatra (Mulcahy) Greeley in Starkville, MS. He is the couple’s only child. Cleopatra had three miscarriages and two stillbirths after Tanner. Alexander’s brother Bernard also lived in Starkville. His wife Cassandra died in 1958. Bernard and his three-year-old son Seth were brought into the family. Tanner and Seth grew up more as brothers than as cousins.

This led to a great competitive spirit between the two from an early age. Both wanted to be the star on the Little League team. Each outdid the other from time to time. When it came to their junior high years at Starkville Junior High, Tanner began to outshine cousin Seth on the baseball diamond. In eighth grade, Tanner was chosen as the starting second basemen over Seth. Seth settled for the starting shortstop position. In high school, the two parted ways as far as athletics were concerned. Tanner continued to play baseball, earning a baseball scholarship to Ole Miss.

Tanner and Seth continued their competitiveness once they entered MVW. They were grouped as a tag team, something of a knock-off of ‘Hollywood’ John Tatum and Len Denton. The storyline peaked after the tag team had lost their third Mississippi State Tag Team Title. In the ensuing tournament for the title, Tanner turned on Seth during the match and left the arena. This sparked a heated decade-long feud between the two cousins. On October 17, 1985, the two Greeleys met in the main event. It was a hair-vs-mask match that went the one-hour time limit. Arnold Adams declared that one of the wrestlers was going to lose their top. A coin toss fell in Tanner’s favor and Seth was shaved. Two years later, it was Delta Heavyweight champion Seth defending against Grappler in a title-vs-mask match. Once again, the match went the time limit. Special stipulations in the match declared that Grappler had to win the title in order to keep his mask. Tanner unmasked to Seth’s great shock and amazement. Seth knew that Tanner was one of the masked wrestlers, but he had always assumed that he was Mr. Mississippi.

While at Ole Miss, Tanner majored in Business Administration. Tanner invested his wrestling winnings carefully. After gaining a sizeable amount from the stock market, he began investing in restaurant franchises. By the mid-1990s, Tanner owned most of the Chili’s® franchises in Mississippi and northern Alabama. He also dabbled in fast food with several McDonald’s® and Krystal® franchises throughout the Mid-South.

Tanner left the ring at the end of 1998. He and his long-time tag team partner, Executioner, held the MVW Tag Team Titles that they had taken from long-time rivals Sensational Excellence earlier in the year. They lost the titles on December 31 to the Friends in Low Places tandem of Vicious Vlad and Tombstone. Both men went on to take head office positions in the MVW. As Seth had already been named Delta district commissioner, Tanner was appointed as the MidAmerican district commissioner.

After retiring from the ring, Tanner married long-time girlfriend Betty Elsner (‘Hot’ Heidi Harris) in November 2000. Betty had divorced Jason Allanson (Johnny Extreme) in February 1992. Tanner and Betty had dated since 1993.

Tanner ended his association with MVW after a nearly fatal train wreck in August 2004. Tanner was taking an Amtrak from Seattle to Chicago when it derailed in Montana. Tanner was crushed under a great deal of debris. His back and both legs were broken. Once he arrived at Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman, he went into surgery to see about saving his legs. Both legs were amputated below the knee, but he was able to get prosthetic limbs to replace them. By January 2007, he was doing quite well and even running several 5k races.

In January 2008, Seth Greeley and Xavier Cross came to Tanner with a brilliant idea. It was a “Bury the Hatchet” match between Seth and Tanner. One last match to decide who would win it all. It didn’t take long for Tanner’s prosthetic feet to become weapons in the match. This match would be viewed by both wrestlers in their “WCBI Looks Back” special as a big mistake. The heated feud had ended a decade before and no one really cared any more about the history.

Tanner continues to be involved in north Mississippi business and politics. He even ran for mayor of Iuka, MS, in 2009. He and Betty have five adopted children—Thomas, Grace, Samantha, Isaac and Kurt.

Title HistoryEdit

Title#Won FromLost To
Mississippi State Tag Team Titles
(w/ 'Sensational' Seth Greeley)
1Canby Twins
(April 13, 1978)
'Double A' Arnold Adams & Al Madril
(June 1, 1978)
Mississippi State Tag Team Titles
(w/ 'Sensational' Seth Greeley)
2'Double A' Arnold Adams & Al Madril
(August 6, 1978)
Ghetto Gang
(December 14, 1978)
Mississippi State Heavyweight Title1Mr. Mississippi
(October 12, 1978)
'Mr. Electricity' Steve Regal
(December 21, 1978)
Mississippi State Tag Team Titles
(w/ 'Sensational' Seth Greeley)
3Ghetto Gang
(March 29, 1979)
STRIPPED
(May 31, 1979)

See also Mississippi's Most Wanted

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