25 YEARS AGO TODAY
Excerpt from Jamie’s This Day Wrestling in History column:
On this day in 1988, NWA star Bruiser Brody lost his life aged 42. Brody began his career in the early 70’s, freelancing for several NWA-affiliated promotions all over North America. He became a regular in the Texas territory, eventually winning a total of 12 singles titles (including one Texas Heavyweight Title) and 6 tag team titles in the area. In the early 80’s he became a star in Japan, competing regularly for AJPW and winning their heavyweight title on three occasions. He also won two World’s Strongest Tag Leagues, one with Stan Hansen, the other with Jimmy Snuka. However, Brody also gained a reputation as being exceptionally difficult to work with; he would often no-sell during matches and on one notable occasion, stopped working altogether during a cage match with Lex Luger, later stating that ‘the match just wasn’t working’. Late in his career, he began to work frequently in Puerto Rico, a decision which would lead to his death. Brody got into a fight with fellow wrestler José Gonzalez, known as Invader 1, who stabbed Brody in the shower. The entire locker room heard the commotion; Tony Atlas saw Gonzalez standing over Brody holding the knife and indeed it was he who had to carry Brody to the ambulance when the paramedics couldn’t lift the near-300lb Brody. The scandal intensified a year later when Gonzalez was inexplicably found not guilty, on account of self-defence. Several American wrestlers who had been in the locker room at the time, including Tony Atlas and Dutch Mantel, were not called to testify at the trial. The incident led many wrestlers to boycott Puerto Rico, nearly crippling the wrestling business on the island.