Born in Oklahoma, Edward "Wahoo" McDaniel was a Choctaw-Chickasaw Native American who joined the University of Oklahoma Sooners football team as a linebacker and then played professional football for the Houston Oilers, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers before embarking full-time on his professional wrestling career. McDaniel made a name for himself wrestling in Houston and feuding with the likes of Boris Malenko and Dory Funk Jr. However, he soon left Houston for the American Wrestling Association and engaged in a notorious feud with "Superstar" Billy Graham and later feuded with Ric Flair (with the two swapping the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship title back and forth during the mid-'70s). In his autobiography, To Be the Man, Flair called McDaniel "the single greatest influence on my wrestling career." During the 1980s, McDaniel feuded regularly with the likes of Tully Blanchard, Roddy Piper and Sgt. Slaughter. In 1986, McDaniel captured the NWA National Heavyweight Championship after defeating Blanchard. McDaniel was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame in 1995, retired from the ring in 1996 and died from complications related to diabetes in 2002.