Jan 14, 2010 - by Steve Gerweck

Photo credit: World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Photo credit: World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Real name: Chris Chavis
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 285 lbs.
Date of birth: June 8, 1961
From: Pembroke, NC
Pro debut: 1990
Trained by: Larry Sharpe
Finishing move: Tomahawk Chop


– Chavis was a competitive bodybuilder in the early 1980s, but opted against turning pro in favour of working at Bally’s Fitness
– Chavis attended tryouts for the Miami Dolphins during the 1987 NFL strike and made the cut, but rejected the contract as it didn’t match the money he was making at Bally’s
– After leaving Bally’s for a career in accountancy, Chavis had a chance meeting with Buddy Rogers at a video store. Rogers put Chavis in touch with Larry Sharpe, who trained him at the Monster Factory
– Chavis wrestled his first match on January 13, 1990 as ‘Tatanka’, defeating Joe Thunder
– George Scott signed Chavis for his new North American Wrestling Association promotion, where he would compete under his real name
– On July 1, 1990, Chavis fought NAWA Heavyweight Champion Robert Fuller to a double DQ
– Chavis won the NAWA Mercedes Benz 400 SL Tournament, defeating Pitbulldog Spike in the final
– In early 1991, Chavis wrestled a pair of WWF tryout matches at Wrestling Challenge tapings
– In July 1991, Chavis defeated Vince Torelli to win the SAPW Heavyweight Title
– On August 1, Chavis defeated Torelli to retain the the SAPW Heavyweight Title
– On August 7, Chavis defeated Brad Anderson to retain the the SAPW Heavyweight Title
– The next day, Chavis defeated Helmut Hessler by DQ to retain the the SAPW Heavyweight Title
– On August 14, Chavis defeated Brad Anderson to retain the the SAPW Heavyweight Title
– On August 20, Chavis again defeated Anderson to retain the the SAPW Heavyweight Title
– Chavis signed with the WWF in September 1991 and began working house shows for the company in October
– The ‘Tatanka’ character debuted for WWF on the February 1, 1992 episode of Superstars, defeating Pat Tanaka
– At WrestleMania VIII, Tatanka defeated Rick Martel
– At the 1992 Survivor Series, Tatanka again defeated Rick Martel
– At WrestleMania IX, Tatanka defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels by countout
– At King Of The Ring 1993, Tatanka fought Lex Luger to a time-limit draw in the first round. Both were eliminated from the tournament
– At Summerslam 1993, Tatanka & The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow & The Headshrinkers (Fatu & Samu)
– On September 13, Tatanka defeated Jerry Lawler to win the USWA Unified World Title
– Tatanka suffered his first televised WWF loss on the October 30 episode of Superstars, though Ludvig Borga used a steel chair to down Tatanka
– At the 1994 Royal Rumble, Tatanka defeated Bam Bam Bigelow
– At Summerslam 1994, Tatanka defeated Lex Luger
– At the 1994 Survivor Series, The Million Dollar Team (Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, Tom Prichard & Jimmy Del Ray) defeated Guts And Glory (Lex Luger, Billy Gunn, Bart Gunn, Adam Bomb & Mabel)
– Tatanka left the WWF in the spring of 1996 citing family issues. He continued working the indies on a lighter schedule
– In October 1998, Tatanka won the vacant Stampede North American Title
– On April 2, 1999, Tatanka defeated Jason Neidhart in a Best Of Three Falls Match to retain the Stampede North American Title and would retain against Neidhart twice on each of the following two days
– On May 20 and 21, Tatanka defeated Jim Neidhart by DQ to retain the Stampede North American Title
– On July 28, 2000, Tatanka defeated One Man Gang in Wollongong, Australia to win the iGW Australasian Title. The pair would trade the title back and forth on the summer tour
– On September 11, 1999, Tatanka beat Tom Burton to capture the IWA Title
– On January 28, 2002, Tatanka defeated Vance Nevada to win the TRCW International Title
– On August 1, Tatanka defeated The Axe to retain the TRCW International Title
– Tatanka competed in the Eugene Invitational Challenge on the August 1, 2005 episode of Raw, losing the match by DQ after Kurt Angle attacked Eugene
– Following the match, Tatanka was re-signed by WWE and began working live events again in late December
– Tatanka made his official re-debut at the 2006 Royal Rumble and would be assigned to the Smackdown brand thereafter
– At No Way Out 2006, Tatanka & Matt Hardy defeated MNM (Mercury & Nitro)
– After his partnership with Hardy had run its course, Tatanka was largely relegated to a lower card act
– Just days after debuting a new heel character, Tatanka was released by WWE on January 19, 2007. He would return to the indies once more
– On November 10, Tatanka defeated Martin Nolte to win the DWA Heavyweight Title
– On February 2, 2008, Tatanka defeated Jean-Pierre LaFitte to retain the DWA Heavyweight Title
– On November 15, Tatanka defeated Cannonball Grizzly to retain the DWA Heavyweight Title
– On December 12, Tatanka defeated Starbuck to win the IWS Heavyweight Title
– On February 7, 2009, Tatanka defeated Chris Raaber to retain the DWA Heavyweight Title
– On February 21, Tatanka defeated Griffen to win the CP Heavyweight Title
– On March 21, Tatanka defeated Doug Williams to retain the DWA Heavyweight Title
– On April 25, Tatanka defeated Bazooka Joe to retain the CP Heavyweight Title
– Tatanka appeared on the December 17, 2009 episode of TNA Impact, defeating Jay Lethal
– On December 3, 2011, Tatanka defeated Soren Reuter to win the ACW German Title
– On August 16, 2012, Tatanka defeated Rabbi Swissa to win the IPWA Heavyweight Title
– On June 22, 2013, Tatanka defeated Murat Bosporus & Absolute Andy to win the vacant GHW Heavyweight Title, but lost it to Bosporus later that day
– On March 1, 2014, Tatanka & Primal Warpath defeated The Industry (Seth Allen & Ethan Wright) to win the MFW Tag Team Titles
– On March 29, Tatanka defeated Jason Cage to win the ASW Wrestling Legends Title
– On May 2, Tatanka & Rick Dominick defeated Damage Inc (Michael Schenkenberg & Chaos) to win the DPW Tag Team Titles, and retained them in a Tables Match the next day
– Tatanka competed in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32
– On October 28, 2017, Tatanka & Demolition Davies defeated Michael Schenkenberg & Nik Hellstrom to win the vacant IPW Germany Tag Team Titles
– On November 11, Tatanka defeated Aaron Insane & The German Eagle to win the CWE Rhein-Neckar Title, but lost it back to Insane later that day
– Tatanka made a non-wrestling appearance at the January 2021 Raw Legends Night special

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