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Celebrity Death

Former NWA & WWE Star Don Kernodle’s Cause of Death at 71


The real story behind former NWA World Tag Team Champion Don Kernodle’s cause of death is still unconfirmed after he passed away earlier today (May 17, 2021) at the age of 71. Rest in power.

Born on May 2, 1950, Don Kernodle was a former American professional wrestler who had run with WWE, Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, and the NWA, among other promotions.

After graduating from Elon College, he kicked off wrestling in 1973 with Jim Crockett Promotions and then frequently teamed with WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter at one point, as he was a member of Sgt. Slaughter’s Cobra Corp.

The real story behind former NWA World Tag Team Champion Don Kernodle's cause of death is still unconfirmed

Don Kernodle got his debut by accepting a “shoot” wrestling challenge from Bob Roop. Roop won by submission, but Kernodle’s skills surprised Ole Anderson and Gene Anderson, who both offered to train Kernodle for free.

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Don Kernodle’s Cause of Death Relates to his Illness

He had been suffering from some health issues in recent years before his death, but US day News is still trying to find more information to confirm reports on Don Kernodle’s cause of death.

He was never under contract to the WWF; however, he crossed from multiple talents over the years and later lost several matches to advanced stars, including Tito Santana and WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson.

In 1986 Kernodles left Crockett Promotions, and after finishing his wrestling life, he served as a Sergeant for Immigration Customs Enforcement for Alamance County, North Carolina, and was also a deputy sheriff in Alamance County.

Good to know, Don Kernodle starred in the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie Paradise Alley.

The real story behind former NWA World Tag Team Champion Don Kernodle's cause of death is still unconfirmed

Lettering four times in amateur wrestling, he was additionally a two-time national arm wrestling champion.

Don Kernodle started to have semi-regular appearances in 2002 for the CWF Mid-Atlantic promotion in Burlington, North Carolina. He was regulars at the Greg Price conventions in Charlotte, celebrating the NWA and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling history.

Reactions to Don Kernodle’s Death

As you know, Celebrities’ death news always breaks many hearts; nevertheless, fans remember memories, and their idols are alive in their hearts even after their passing.

We offer our deepest sympathies for Don Kernodle’s family, friends, fans, and all of his loved ones during these hard times. Please kindly leave a condolence message below the comment box to honor Don.

Soon after the heartbreaking news was released, many of Kernodle’s friends and fans expressed their sadness on social media by sharing their tributes.

Wrestling Travel wrote, “We are very saddened to learn of the passing of #DonKernodle today. Sending our condolences to his family & friends from across the pond. Some of my earliest memories are of Don & @_SgtSlaughter #RIPDonKernodle”

Someone said: “Very sad to hear the news about the death of Don Kernodle this afternoon. Very underrated actual great worker in perhaps the biggest match in Carolinas history in 1983.”

Another tweeted, “We are saddened to hear the news of DonKernodle’s passing. He was a true legend of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, and the years he put in before getting that big break with Sarge demonstrated his dedication and love for the business. He earned every bit of it. Rest in peace.”

A user also reacted to the tragic news in a tweet, saying, “Sorry to hear of the passing of Don Kernodle today. He was a huge part of my childhood & fandom. I got to see him & Sgt Slaughter vs Steamboat & Youngblood. I also saw him with Ivan Koloff & Bob Orton Jr as the World tag Team Champions. Much respect wRESTle in peace, 10 bells”

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  1. Richie Whitfield May 19, 2021

    So sad to hear about Don kernodle passing away he went to my high school when he wrestled at Eastern Alamance I grew up watching him and want to be just like him really sad rest in peace Don kernodle.

    1. US day News May 19, 2021

      Thank you for sharing your memory; Don Kernodle was great, undoubtedly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. God bless him.

  2. Brian Jack May 19, 2021

    From 11000 feet from The Great Rocky Mountains I am hurt n saddened by this news. Don and Rocky broke me in with zero training put me in two main events. Don took me aside, took me in and smartened me up. He sent me to Tampa with Jeff Rudd. Which led to working for Randy Savage thru Kiern n others. Eddie Guerrero trained me, Don and Rocky Kernodle. Hector Guerrero. Randy Savage. Dennis Knight. Jerry Saggs that’s it. Maybe 20 times. That’s it. Next thing I know Randy sends me to Japan to get away from Kiern and more main events and training in Takada and Battlarts Dojos.
    I am the last American to Proudly place at the Pride Challenge. I was sitting next to Rick Steamboat in Japan when I got word my black lab was murdered in WI.
    I was sent by Lauraneitis to Kierns. Ty Bailey too. I got hurt. Retired.
    I can still go better than9 out if 10 on any roster. The reason.
    Don Kernodle. Don gave me the confidence to get in a ring with any man and to fear not one if them. In 1 minute he smartened me up in the ring. He never touched me after I was work shooting him without even knowing it. Total professional. I get it. Because if you Don. Yes I did security for Rick Flair, Timmy Duncan, Brett Favre and others as I was just a crazy college two sport athlete in Juco and at Lenoir Rhyne in North Carolina.
    Every single thing I did in wrestling was because you saw something in me and trusted me as a life long martial artist and athlete. You gave me so much confidence. I know there’s not one person in pro wrestling that has ever main events twice in a month with zero training. I never even saw a ring in real life.
    Coming from WI I lived Gagne n Hennig. Kerry as modern day warrior awa. I remember hunting pheasants racing back crawling in bush for my dad next to my dog molly so we could get back to the clubhouse. To watch AWA on a black n white TV. I knew I was going to do it my entire life. How I came to you us in my book Don.
    I’m so Grateful sir. Rocky. If you see this brother. I’m crushed. I’ve told everyone I could from Japan to Germany to Canada all about what you two did for me. To Greg Helms. To Jeff Rudd. To Sarge Slaughter. I know you think I gave a bad attitude but it’s not true. Imso sorry. For everything.
    Rocky. Trust in Jesus. Trust in God. Your brother was so kind bro and gentle. He coulda hurt anybody but he didn’t even me. I honestly thought it was 3/4 or so n your brothers eyes lit up my first contact. He never touched me. I saw flashes from your punches lol but I never defended myself nothing. I gave myself to you. I think that fast after the first flash I figured I hit your brother too hard. I’d never disrespect you or Don. Xo. I can still feel your work n hear your words and your brothers. Every word. I’m so sad for you but Rocky, you kinda kicked the shit out if me. Your tough. Shoot tough. So honor your bad ass brother by being just as tough as he was and still is. Don’t be sad bro. Please be happy for him. Think of his lived ones and Grandma and Grandpa. Mom’s n Pops. Your brothers in Heaven bro. Fact. Dear Don I truly love you man more than my dad . For your time and patience
    I never ever ever forget your voice paly. Don Kernodle was a good man. One of few in a business full of animals. Don was and us and will always remain, Thee mist classiest man in professional wrestling that did it by the book. Thank you Rocky. Be strong. USA Prides watching

    1. Brian Jack May 19, 2021

      Please excuse my typos kinda hard to text thru tears. Administrator please edit my first post grammar. I’m sorry Thank you.

      1. US day News May 19, 2021

        We are deeply grateful that you shared your story with us and revived a heartwarming memory of the late Don Kernodle. Our hearts are filled with sympathies for your loss, dear Brian Jack; please accept our condolences.
        Don Kernodle was an unforgettable legend; he would always be dearly missed.


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