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Don Kernodle passes away at 71


Mid-Atlantic mainstay Don Kernodle passed away at 71 years old Monday.

Dave Meltzer reported his death was self-inflicted, but there are no other details available at this time.

From Meltzer:

"Kernodle was best known in the Carolinas as Sgt. Slaughter's tag team partner as one of the best and most underrated historical teams from the early 80s. Many consider the Slaughter & Kernodle cage match with Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood in 1983 as the most important wrestling match ever in the Carolinas since its success in turning so many fans away led to the first Starrcade later that year where they the show was available via closed circuit around the territory."

The Burlington, North Carolina, native was trained by Ole and Gene Anderson and started his career in 1973. 

Along with Mid-Atlantic, Kernodle appeared on several WWF cards co-promoted with the NWA in 1982-83. He eventually made his way back to the NWA and the Carolina indie circuit before retiring in 1986 and moving into law enforcement. He came out of retirement for a 1997 cage match before he and brother Rocky formed a tag team that worked for CWF Mid-Atlantic sparingly from 2002-06.

He won the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team titles twice with Jim Nelson (Boris Zhukov); the NWA World Tag Team titles three times (Sgt. Slaughter, Bob Orton Jr., Ivan Koloff) and the NWA World Six-Man titles with Ivan and Nikita Koloff. He also was a WWC Puerto Rican champion, WWC TV Champion, and an NWA Canadian TV Champion.

He was set to be inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame this July.