BIO: Sunshine

Real Name: Valerie French

Hometown: Tampa, FL

Notable WCCW Feuds: David Von Erich, Chris Adams, Jimmy Garvin, Jim Cornette and Missy Hyatt.

Need to Know Facts: One of the sport's original "first ladies", the beautiful Ms. French made her professional wrestling debut as the valet for "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin (who, unbeknownst to fans at the time, was her real-life cousin), in early 1983.

Unlike the submissive roles traditionally played by women in wrestling, Sunshine was portrayed as more than just a pretty face. She was a strong-willed valet who, while maintaining an unconditional loyalty toward her man, was not afraid to mix it up with his opponents if she felt she needed to.

Sunshine was a vital part of the classic Garvin-David Von Erich feud, doing whatever she deemed necessary to ensure that the "Gorgeous One" would leave the ring with the prestigious Texas Heavyweight title which the two grapplers fought over during the first half of 1983.  In an angle that started upon Garvin's arrival in World Class, Jimmy's matches were not televised, as he asserted that fans should not be able to see him for free, and added that he did not want his opponent's scouting his matches (this was quickly overruled by WCCW officials).  However, it would be Sunshine's responsibility to film Garvin's future opponents' matches for scouting purposes.

In one of the most memorable moments in pro wrestling history, Von Erich turned Sunshine over his knee after she had attempted to step in between him and Garvin during a confrontation, and spanked her -- much like John Wayne had done to Maureen O'Hara in the classic film McLintock!  Although at the time this was seen as somewhat controversial, it actually helped David to keep his tough demeanor intact without sacrificing his character's good guy appeal, as this occurred long before women were being struck by male wrestlers on a regular basis in the ring.

One of the sport's most hilarious scenes took place as a result of a match Garvin lost to David on June 17, 1983 at Reunion Arena, with the stipulation that the loser of the bout had to be the victor's personal servant(s) for a day.  Needless to say, WCCW cameras and announcer Bill Mercer were on hand at David's ranch in Denton County on that hot summer's day to document the humiliating events that both Garvin and Sunshine endured as David's personal "ranch hands".  Forced to do what they considered demeaning tasks such as cleaning horse stables, building fences, pitching hay and washing Von Erich's dog, Garvin and Sunshine groaned and whined throughout the day, much to the delight of the taunting David. World Class television viewers found it hysterical watching both Garvin and Sunshine's expressions of disgust and fatigue each time another order was given by Von Erich.

Shortly after this angle, Garvin brought in Precious (his real-life wife Patti) as a valet for Sunshine.  However, this arrangement was short-lived as Precious, whose botched interference resulted in Johnny Mantell scoring an upset TV title win over Garvin, blamed Sunshine for Jimmy's loss.  Proving the old adage that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, Sunshine, after her dismissal by Garvin, took tapes of his matches, as well as his "medical records", to another of his arch-rivals: "Gentleman" Chris Adams.  Adams was thus able to focus his attack on Garvin's left arm, supposedly weakened by an injury, for most of their American Heavyweight title battle at Thanksgiving Star Wars 1983.

After the 1984 Parade of Champions at Texas Stadium, Sunshine seemingly disappeared from the wrestling scene altogether, causing panicked WCCW officials to bring in her truck-driving "aunt" Stella Mae French (who was played by former wrestler Tanya West). To this day, no one knows for sure why Sunshine abruptly left WCCW during this time.  She would reappear, however, at the 1984 Cotton Bowl Spectacular, arriving via helicopter to second Stella Mae and Mike Von Erich in a mixed tag match against Gino Hernandez and Andrea the Lady Giant (Nickla Roberts, later known in the NWA as Baby Doll).

During the summer of 1985, Sunshine had a brief feud against manager Jim Cornette over his green jacket, ultimately defeating him (with a little help from The Great Kabuki) in a match where he had one arm tied behind his back and was blindfolded.  Later that same year, Sunshine clashed with World Class newcomer Missy Hyatt, resulting in several catfights in which Hyatt's wrestling boyfriend "Hollywood" John Tatum wreaked havoc, forcing Sunshine to enlist the help of Texas wrestling veteran "Cowboy" Scott Casey, and eventually Kabuki, in an attempt to level the playing field. The feud culminated at the Parade of Champions on May 4, 1986 where Sunshine beat Hyatt in a mud match.

When booker Ken Mantell left shortly thereafter for Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation, Sunshine was among the many WCCW stars who followed him into the territory.  In the UWF, Sunshine, turning heel once more, initially managed the Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts). After the 'Birds turned on her, she switched her allegiance briefly to the Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers), while resuming her feud with Missy Hyatt.

Sunshine left the UWF in mid-1987, and worked very briefly in Mantell's Fort Worth-based Wild West Wrestling as valet for "Hollywood" John Tatum and Jack Victory, before retiring later that year.

As Jimmy Garvin has revealed in recent years, Sunshine currently resides in the Tampa area with her husband and daughter.  Much like the late Gino Hernandez, she remains something of an enigma to WCCW fans today, and is currently the subject of the Yahoo club The Search for Sunshine, as fans from around the world clamor to hear from professional wrestling's true "first lady".