Squared Circle Pit

Squared Circle Pit

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bruiser Brody - The Man, The Legend, The Music

Bloody but unbowed Brody

Brody dropkicks Giant Baba into next week

I was recently inspired by The Old School Wrestling Podcast's excellent Bruiser Brody vs. Lex Luger episode. Now I gotta lot to say about Bruiser Brody/sometimes known as King Kong Brody...

I first knew of Brody from the Apter mags. These images showed his giant stature, mountain man locks and beard made me think: "this guy looks dangerous!" For at least a year I read of his exploits in really brutal matches from Texas to Puerto Rico to Japan. Though he was known as a brawler - he was also known to put on 45 min matches with Ric Flair. I recently discovered this MSG match against a young face named Kevin Sullivan (!) in the WWWF. Lest I forget he was then managed by The Grand Wizard. What kinda crazy world is this?!?  As one of the comments on this vid said "Bruiser Brody and Kevin Sullivan - there's two names I'd never thought I'd hear Vince McMahon ever say".

Finally I got to see Brody on TV around 1986 when both Gordon Solie's "This Week In Pro Wrestling" show aired. Solie's show was like reading Maximum Rock N' Roll's scene reports of bands I had never heard of or knew of but didn't know what they sounded like. Through Solie's show I saw a LOT of grapplers from the territories we couldn't get on cable - i.e. - Memphis, Calgary (Stampede) and Japan.

I caught more of Brody when ESPN started airing World Class Championship Wrestling in the summer of '86. I was taking summer school classes that ended at noon - just in time enough to get home at 1pm to have lunch and catch on what was up with the Von Erichs and see who was gonna show up in the territory next. Brody had some great matches here as well. One match I didn't get to see but I saw pictures of  was a knock-out bloody barb-wire bout with Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy of the Freebirds. I had the picture on my wall next to my "Dr. Death" Steve Williams photo (circa: '87 for that 'un when he won the UWF Heavyweight belt) and pics of The Scorpions and Iron Maiden.

A short-haired, 70's Brody going for the WWWF belt vs. champ Bruno Sammartino

 Sabu knows it's Bruiser Brody time

Brody had some great matches that I did get to see on ESPN with Killer Tim Brooks and Abdullah The Butcher. There was something larger than life hearing him bark: "HUSS! HUSS! HUSS!" while marching around like a mad barbarian in his fuzzy boots. These boots were sorta like a caveman version of leg warmers - but nevermind this is old school wrestling! Like Ric Flair (who granted I didn't like much at the time since I was more of a mark for Dusty Rhodes), Brody traveled all over working for nearly every promoter in the business. Brody was also known for being fair and ideally wanted to have the wrestlers earn more money instead of the promoters taking took much. I believe this struggle is pointed out in the biography of Brody. Additionally, Brody would show up in the AWA where he was billed as "King Kong Brody" to avoid confusion with Dick The Bruiser he was in the AWA mostly around 1984 but I did manage to see him teaming with the John "Nord the Barbiarian" Nord and his great viking gimmick. The pair took on Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and Greg Gagne. The match had interesting implications since Snuka was Brody's one time tag partner in the All-Japan territory.

                                   Brody vs. Gordy barbwire brutality: May 4. 1986 Texas Stadium

Sadly, Brody was killed in July 1988 in Puerto Rico in the locker room after a match. This event was not, I repeat NOT a work. Brody was stabbed by a fellow wrestler Jose Gonzales aka: Invader #1. Many of the details can be found in Tony Atlas' account and this great write up on Brody's career & including his legendary matches with Abdullah the Butcher via Deadspin's Masked Man.

Brody's hardcore reputation in the ring and the respect he earned outside the squared circle inspired a few songs in the heavy metal & punk scenes.

Naturally, I'll start with my all-time favorites - the kings of the Heavy Metal-Pro Wrestlin' connection - Nasty Savage and their song "Powerslam":

The lyrics mention a variety of elements from the squared circle (in between those massive Ben Meyer/David Austin riffs):

"Ring the bell/born with a bent for brutality/Prince of Darkness says/'pleasure is pain'!" 

and later on they huss out these lines:

"Hit with a chair/As it opens up your forehead
Raging barks of Bruiser Brody/In cold blood/
he was taken away/The invader - must pay!"

Brody's life and tragic death insipred this great tune by Kansas destructo-punks, Cocknoose called "Invader #1 Must Die". (Also covered by their fellow members of the Confederacy of Scum, AntiSeen and Rancid Vat). 

The last line in this Cocknoose tune makes me wonder if it also inspired the explosive hardcore punks from Ohio named Brody's Milita who often use his visage on their t-shirts and records - like one that Sabu is wearing near in the 4th pic of this post.

Rancid Vat/AntiSeen - split 7" (1996, Ruff-Nite Records)

Brody visits Creepslyvania from the Brody's Militia/Ghoul split 7" 
(Rescued from Life Records, 2008)

The previous ref'd Texas outlaws of rock n' roll - Rancid Vat also did an additional tribute with their own penned tune, "The Ballad of Bruiser Brody."

Even more proof of the great punk n' wrestling connection with some great pics of Brody & his equally dangerous tag partner, Stan "The Lariat"Hansen here.

Finally, what's Ukrainian for "Invader #1 must pay!??"


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