What if…Bruiser Brody Hadn’t Died?
I need to step in firstly as an author and apologise. I’m a big fan of Brody’s work, and the question of what he would have done had he stayed with us has been a fun game to play in my mind and on EWR. While I feel I have a right to write about Brody the wrestler, there’s a degree to which I feel uncomfortable writing about Frank Goodish, the man who was a husband, a father, a son. He belongs to those who knew him, and I would just like to state that this is done out of the utmost respect for the man’s work, and for who I understand that man to be. The most feasible way to keep him in the narrative also draws on a very real tragedy, and I can’t help but apologise for that too. ‘Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel’ was a great help in writing this, and is a fascinating and moving account of his life. I’d recommend anyone who’s bothered to read this far to pick it up. I’ll pull myself out of the narrative now, I just felt I had to explain where the story came from: a place of respect. I’ll let the story speak for itself from now on.
RF Video: Shooting With Bruiser Brody
Sat in front of the black and purple banner is a mountain of a man. Grown old now, black streaks in grey hair, but with obvious strength still hanging to his frame. He looks a little bored to be here. The shoot has been going for some time, him recalling his career. He lowers his head and scratches the back of his neck. He lifts his head up. “Where were we?”
“We were in Puerto Rico.” a passive voice answers
“Oh right, yeah. Well, I wound up not staying there too long. I was having trouble with the booker, Carlos Colon over pay, and that caused trouble”
“Brody being Brody”
Frank looks irritated at the interruption.
“Well, no. Frank and Brody are two different people. But I owe an awful lot to Brody, I’m really in his debt. Because of Brody, I got to meet a lot of great people, travel the world, do something athletic, creative and fun for a living. So I try to make sure he gets the respect he deserves. Brody needs to be treated right by the booker, which doesn’t mean never lying down, it means never looking weak. Brody needs to be treated right by the office too, he needs to get paid what they said they’d pay him. I was having trouble with both of those, and creating huge problems for myself by fighting for them. I still would have gone back, but” he goes quiet for a moment, his voice swells with regret “Barbara had a miscarriage. Between things in Puerto Rico being bad, general wear and tear on the road, and that, I decided to stay home with her and my son, just take some time appreciating what I had. I didn’t really work much then, back in my day, I was notoriously cheap. Still am really, but you get what I’m saying. I did a few dates for WCCW, because I had friends there, and they were pretty close by, but it was a while before I started doing them. I did a New Japan tour after a while out. I think I wanted mostly just to see if I could still hang with those guys. It really reinvigorated me for wrestling, I think. I’d rebuilt at home, done a few local dates as well as WCCW, and really got to spend some time back home. But when I came back from Japan, I’d rebuilt as a wrestler, I really had that fire again.”
“So when did the WWF deal first get brought up?”
“Late 1988, I think. Fall, probably.”
“What made you sign that deal?”
“Money” the big man laughs “Okay, it was more than that. I think it was time for it, and the scenario Vince proposed interested me.”
“So the thing with Andre was on the table from the start?”
“Oh yeah, absolutely. It was a dream match Vince wanted to promote, and one I wanted to have. I didn’t know the Rumble was going to turn into such a huge deal back when I did it, but now, looking back, it was cool to make my debut in that first Rumble. It was done very differently to how its done nowadays.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, people are always making surprise appearances at the Rumble now, its one of its staples. At the time though, the Rumble had no reputation. I think they wanted to use my debut to advertise the match, we did this whole package of videos about how I was coming at the Rumble. I turned up there, and did that whole thing with Andre, which of course set us up. I initially thought it was going to be for Wrestlemania, but they kept going with Andre and Jake. I think I wound up working against Tito Santana for about five minutes in my Wrestlemania debut. Still, we wound up working Summerslam together, back when Summerslam still mattered a damn, and I got to go over him then.”
August 18th, 1989: WWF Summerslam
The crowd at the Meadowlands Arena are ready to explode for the semi-main event to Summerslam: Andre The Giant vs Bruiser Brody. Brody has a rare experience as he stares up at his opponent. They make for a test of strength, and Andre wins, pushing Brody back into the turnbuckle, where he lays a large chop across Brody’s chest. He then whips Brody across the ring, and avalanches him into the corner. Brody is pulled out to the middle of the ring and bodyslammed. Andre pulls Brody up by the hair, only to catch a shot in the jaw. Brody keeps pummelling away with furious punches, staggering the bigger man. Brody then follows it up with a kick to the gut, and tries to hoist Andre up, vastly overestimating his own strength. Andre head butts him down, and proceeds to go to work on Brody. Brody is unused to being on the receiving end of this kind of punishment, and looks utterly lost as he’s battered about the ring. He manages to start a comeback by turning an irish whip around. Andre hits the ropes and comes back to a running big boot, which catches him in the chest. Brody follows it up with his always impressive dropkick, which fells Andre to one knee. Andre is then choked against the ropes for four, Brody not holding back at all to earn his victory. Brody starts slamming fists down about and around the head of Andre, until he’s pulled off by the ref. The damage is done, however, and Andre slumps down. Brody moves the ref out of the way, and climbs the nearest turnbuckle. He waits for Andre to begin to stand, then swoops down, connecting with a vicious overhead chop. Andre falls this time, as Bobby Heenan speculates that Andre may have been knocked out by that powerful blow. Brody takes no such chances with the motionless giant. He hits the ropes, and comes back, launching himself high into the air. The crowd becomes a sea of flashing cameras as Brody brings the thunderous knee down on the skull of Andre The Giant. Andre lies next to the ropes, but makes no effort at putting his foot on them, confirming Heenan’s earlier guess. The three count is entirely academic at this point.
“So” the voice behind the camera asks again “if it was so good there, why go?”
“Well, because I had been promised bigger things. Me and Hogan built against each other over Hogan’s title. We even had that Survivor Series match, where I pinned him, before Warrior pinned me. Warrior took off in a way they hadn’t expected, and they ran with him and Hogan for Wrestlemania. Which I guess I understand, but they saddled me with carrying Hillbilly Jim to something passable. Hell, might have stayed around longer, I guess, but it became pretty damn obvious they just weren’t interested in using me in any main event capacity. I figured sitting around the midcard was bad for the Brody image, even if it was great for the Goodish wallet, so I walked.”
“So WCW weren’t actually trying to bring you over, to steal you, so to speak?”
“Because it looked that way.”
“Well, it wasn’t, but I guess I can see where you got that idea. No, I left, I think it was after Summerslam. Summer of 1990, anyway. I went to WCW in September that same year. Things were still good there, back then. Herd hadn’t fucked that place up too bad. I got to work with Flair again at Halloween Havoc. That was a lot of fun, I can tell you. I think me and Flair had the best match of my career, back in the territory days. I think I might have preferred Havoc though, but then, I got to win at Havoc, so maybe I’m biased.”
October 27th, 1990: WCW Halloween Havoc
The semi-main event between Flair and Brody has the fans pumped, and evenly split between Flair loyalists and Brody fans. The two eye each other cautiously, then proceed to tie up. A slick chain wrestling sequence ends with Flair pulling Brody to the ground. Brody kicks away at Flair, who has gone to work the leg over, and stands up. He comes at Flair with some nasty punches, but is answered by knife edge chops that echo through the building. Flair takes control from here, working Brody over with an abdominal stretch, using the ropes for extra leverage, and a shin breaker. Brody on the ground from the shin breaker, Flair keeps the pressure on, working Brody’s leg. Too early in, he tries for a figure four, Brody is easily able to reach the ropes. Flair uses the ropes to choke Brody, then takes advantage of the giant’s stunned state to work away at the legs. Brody starts a few comebacks, but is shut down by Flair’s typical dirty ways. A second figure four is slapped on, and this time Brody has a much harder time getting to the ropes. Sensing he’s in danger of submitting, Brody rolls to the outside. Flair follows, of course, but the outside is much more Brody’s arena. For the first time in the match, Brody seizes control, smashing Flair’s head against the ringsteps, picking him up and ramming him into the ringpost, and generally brutalising him on the outside, stopping every now and again to roll inside and break the count. Flair being Flair, he inevitably begins bleeding as a result of this nasty beating. Eventually, Brody is satisfied with the damage done, and hurls Flair inside. Cover gets two. Flair is dragged up by the hair, and Brody lifts him high for his suplex lift powerslam, only for Flair to drop behind him, locking in a sleeper. Brody staggers backwards, forcing Flair into the ropes. The break is made, but Flair stays on the offensive, trying to lift Brody up for an atomic drop, only for Brody to grab him in a side headlock and slam punch after punch into Flair’s forehead. Not pretty, but it works, as Flair slumps against the ropes. Brody places Flair in the nearest turnbuckle, then backs up to get a running start on a big boot. Flair looks dead to the world in his corner, and is propped up top. Brody climbs up to join him, and starts lifting him for a superplex, only for Flair to bring an arm up between Brody’s legs. Brody doubles over, and fights to keep his balance. Flair takes advantage, slinging himself over to sunset flip Brody from the top rope, but only for a two count. Flair tries for the figure four, but is kicked away. He moves back to Brody’s torso, and drops elbow after elbow onto it. Again, only a two count. Brody slowly begins to move himself up after rolling away from a Flair elbow drop. He’s caught from behind with a knee clip, but that only manages to bring him down to one knee. He pulls himself back up, but is hit with a spectacular belly-to-back suplex. Flair is unable to capitalise, however, as that seems to have taken the last of his strength from him. Standing count by the ref reaches seven before they stand. They trade punches for chops. Exchange rate favours Brody, who works Flair into the turnbuckle, and manages to hit the superplex this time around. Again, however, he doesn’t have the strength to capitalise, and both men take nine to stand this time. Flair ducks a Brody clothesline, and comes back with a knee lift. Brody staggers back, only to be kicked in the gut by Flair, who follows it up with a DDT. Cover, two. Knee drop by Flair. Cover for two and two thirds. Flair, enraged, argues with the referee. All the while, Brody is reaching his feet. Brody spins Flair around, kicks him in the gut, and delivers, for the first time in WCW, his jumping piledriver. Brody covers up the lifeless Flair, one, two, Brody l ifts the shoulder. He backs off, and takes a running start, before showing Flair how to really hit a knee drop. One, Two, Three.
“After that, I got to headline Starrcade against Sting.”
“What was that like?”
“That was great, just great. I got to be a real monster against him, and he’s such a great babyface in peril. Our styles really clicked together at the show itself, and hell, I got to headline Starrcade. After the way I was treated at Wrestlemania, Tito and Jim on the undercard for five minutes, headlining Starrcade for a half hour with Sting? Golden.”
December 6th, 1990: WCW Starrcade
Before the match, a hype video plays. It shows the matches of both men, highlights of what they can do, with promos leading up the match playing over the violent images. Sting, telling Brody “If you’d asked me, back when I was just starting out, my dream, it would have been this, right here. It would have been fighting for the most important wrestling title in the world, at the most important show in the world. But it wouldn’t have been you, Brody! It wouldn’t have been a monster, a madman, it would have been a wrestler, a man of honour! At Starrcade, Brody, I will defend that title against you, because I will be defending this company from you! I’ve beaten Ric Flair for the title! You beat Flair, sure, but it wasn’t for the gold, and that man, he’s a different man when the gold is on the line, and I’m a different man when the honour of WCW, my home, is on the line! You don’t come into my home, Brody, and starting breaking all the furniture, and not expect to get your bell rung!”
Brody telling Sting “Let me tell you something about Bruiser Brody, Sting! Bruiser Brody is man who, at Starrcade, is going to break you! A man who, at Starrcade, is going to smash you up and down that ring! You see these scars, Sting? Look at these scars! I got these scars when I wasn’t at Starrcade, when I wasn’t coming after the world title! Imagine what you’ll have to go through, Sting, to put me down, if I get these kinda scars when it don’t matter this much! I don’t think you’ve got it in you, Sting! I don’t think you’ve got what it takes to beat Bruiser Brody as beat as he needs to be beaten to stop him! You beat a lotta great guys, Sting, but you ain’t beat me, and you ain’t got what it takes to beat me!”
When the bell rings, Sting goes right for Brody, the already hot crowd exploding for their hero. Sting has made an obvious mistake here, however, as Brody uses his superior strength and brawling experience to take early control of the match, working Sting over until a chant for the icon starts up. Sting is able to get his feet up on a Brody charge in the corner, staggering the big guy. A dropkick staggers him further, but doesn’t quite put him down. Sting gets back up, to eat a Brody dropkick, which sends him tumbling between the top and middle ropes to the outside. Brody beats Sting down on the outside for a bit, before tossing him back in. Cover gets two. Sting is hoisted up, and whipped towards the ropes, only for Sting to reverse it. Brody comes charging back, and Sting hoists him up for an inverted atomic drop, only for Brody to carry his momentum through into a Thesz press. Brody continues to work Sting over on the ground, before pulling him up for a suplex lift powerslam, which Sting counters nimbly into a facebuster. Sting lets loose, and really takes it to Brody, to the delight of the fans. He loses his momentum when Brody backdrops out of a piledriver attempt, and Brody is back in the driver’s seat, until Sting backdrops him to the outside as Brody is charging in to clothesline Sting over the ropes. Sting then hits the opposite ropes, and nails Brody with an absolutely perfect crossbody into the guardrail. Sting barely reaches his feet in time to get back into the ring, but comes right back out, to the groans of Jim Ross, who is convinced Sting can’t beat Brody on the outside. Sting takes it to Brody with punches, but again, Brody’s brawling proves the better. Brody follows through with a whip into the guardrail, only for Sting to reverse it. Sting breaks the count, then comes back to drive Brody into the guardrail with a Stinger Splash. Sting whips Brody back into the ring and covers, but only for two. Sting tires for the Scorpion Deathlock, but is kicked away by Brody. Brody gets up, and starts to take it once more to Sting with an array of brutal slams and strikes. Brody lines up the King Kong Kneedrop, but Sting rolls away. Brody on the ground, having just hurt his knee, Sting sees what might be his last chance to retain the title. He lunges desperately for the legs of Brody, pulling Brody into the Scorpion Deathlock. Brody struggles desperately for a way out, but none appears. Brody is left with no choice but to tap out in the middle of the ring.
“Again, why leave?”
“Same reason Ric did. Herd. Herd eventually got it into his head to destroy that place, god knows why. It was just miserable to be there. I stuck around, and protested the rest of my contract in my usual way: work stiff, don’t sell. Eventually, Herd had to let me go. So he let me go, but only after I promised him I wasn’t off back to WWF. After the way they treated me, that wasn’t a lie, either.”
“Gotta tell you, thought about hanging them up. WCCW was dead, Carlos Colon didn’t want me in Puerto Rico, and honestly, I wasn’t too keen on the idea either. WWF and WCW had neither of them treated Brody like Brody deserves to be treated. I worked New Japan every now and again, but that was it, really. It was actually really nice, staying with the family.”
“What made you go back?”
“Well, one of the few guys who ever made WCW fun was this Paul Heyman guy. Turns out he was pretty much in charge of this whole ECW thing. He called me up, and we bullshit each other on the phone for about an hour, just catching up, and then he springs it out of the blue – he wants to sell me against this guy Sabu, for their biggest show of the year, November To Remember. I say that it’d have to be the right match, I’m kind of on my way out, all that bullshit. Why doesn’t Paul send me a tape of Sabu matches? Paul says he sent it a couple of days ago, then reminds me that Terry just came over. Me and Terry, we’ve always got on. Always fun to hang with him, you know? So I watch the tape when it comes, and this Sabu guy is insane, and it hits me that this is just the perfect guy to work with. So I go down, and I tape some shows with them, and the fans. Man, the fans. You’ve got to remember, I’d pretty much been on a diet of straight New Japan at this point, I was just used to quiet, respectful Japanese fans. ECW fans? Not so quiet. I was over huge there though, even more so after me and Sabu just tore each other up at November To Remember.
November 5th, 1994: ECW November To Remember
Main event time in the arena, and these fans are loud. Sabu makes his way out, brandishing a chair. He sets it in the middle of the ring, and moves impatiently around. Out comes Brody, complete with chains, and the fans explode. Brody, roaring and threatening, makes his way down the ramp, but is caught as Sabu chooses not to wait, and instead to launch himself from chair, to rope, to Brody. The two of them rise, and brawl on the outside from the start, a violent, bloody fight that works its way into the crowd. Brody’s chains prove the most effective weapon here, and Sabu is choked and battered all around the arena. Sabu is tossed back into the ring, where Brody joins him. Sabu grabs the chair used for his triple dive at the start, and tosses it into Brody’s face. The big man staggers, but doesn’t fall. Sabu dives for the chair, and throws it again. This time, Brody sways like a tree in the wind. The next time, Brody collpases into the turnbuckle. Chair set up, and Sabu launches himself into Brody with his chair assisted leg lariat. Brody slumps into the bottom of the turnbuckle, where he has a chair dropkicked into his face.
Sabu keeps up the chair related offence, trying never to give Brody a chance to gain any wind. When Brody finally mounts a comeback, it doesn’t last long, as his attempt to powerbomb Sabu gets him hurracarana’d out of the ring. Sabu slides outside, and sets up a table. A superhuman effort gets Brody lying down on it. Sabu stands on the apron, and springboards off the top rope for a moonsault onto the table, but not onto Brody, who’s moved himself to his feet at the last minute. Sabu crawls away, clutching his stomach. Brody bends over the table, begins to tear at it with his hands, until he manages to work a large, sharp shard. Holding what resembles nothing quite so much as it does a shiv, Brody grabs Sabu by the hair, and yanks his head back. With Sabu at his mercy, Brody begins cutting, slowly at first, tracing out long, deep patterns atop Sabu’s forehead, before finally just smashing the table shard repeatedly into Sabu’s skull. Sabu collpases face first onto the floor as Brody releases him. When Brody pulls him up, a stain can be seen on the concrete from the gusher Sabu’s got himself. Sabu is hurled into the ring, and Brody follows for a cover. Unbelievably, he only gets a two count. Enraged, he storms outside, and yanks away at a piece of guardrail. Security quickly moves to fill the gap, as Brody brings a segment of the guardrail into the ring with him. He stands in one corner, Sabu crouches, bleeding profusely in the other. Sabu begins to pull himself up, and Brody charges. At the last second, Sabu probably saves his life by ducking, and spitting a vicious fireball into Brody’s face. Brody falls, clutching at his face. Sabu himself collapses, but, on hands and knees, brings the guardrail inch by inch, until it lays atop Brody. He then reaches for the chair, and performs a desperate Arabian Facebuster, Brody crushed beneath the guardrail. The wreckage is yanked off of Brody, and Sabu covers him, but only for two. Sabu searches for something, as Brody reaches his knees and elbows. Sabu’s found it outside the ring: Brody’s chains. He manages to pull himself back inside, and moves over to Brody. He wraps the chain around Brody’s face, and squats over him, pulling the arms back, while tightening the chains’ grip aroudn Brody’s skull. Brody doesn’t tap, but he does pass out from the pain. Sabu holds on until security have to pull him off, at which point he collapses back himself. Stretchers make their way to the ring, and take both Sabu and Brody to the back.
“It was just a lot of fun being there. I got to work my way, I got to enjoy the ridiculous energy of the fans, and I got to hang out with Paul, Terry and this Mick Foley guy, maybe you’ve heard of him? Me and Mick became friends the same way him and Terry became friends, really. That thing where, hell, I think Mick said it better than I would, he’s a much more eloquent guy, you know? What did he say, on that Beyond The Mat DVD? That the more they hurt each other, the more money they made, and the more money they made, the better friends they were? Yeah, it was all that really. So ECW was a lot of fun, but it wore me down, and the money wasn’t great. I was about ready for one last big money run when Vince called. After Austin’s whole speech thing at King Of The Ring, he saw cash in attitude, and figured Brody was the man for it. So the stage was set for the Royal Rumble, 1997. They were going to recreate that old thing with Andre, except Vader was the Andre this time around. I think my last ECW battle was with Dreamer, and I got to go out on top. November To Remember 1996, me and Dreamer. I actually fought against going out with a win, but Paul told me it was Dreamer’s idea, just like him never beating Raven was. He figured he’d get over more by getting his ass kicked but really shining through with how tough he was. So I guess I kicked Tommy’s ass as brutally as I could all over the ECW arena just as a favour to him.
November 16th, 1996: ECW November To Remember
Bruiser Brody gets a mixed response from fans excited to see him, and fans letting him know what a sell-out he is. Him and Dreamer circle each other, and the crowd splits in its support for them. The two brawl wildly, Brody taking the advantage. He presses the advantage further, repeatedly hitting his backbreaker. He moves to stomping on Dreamer’s lower back, before going out of the ring, fetching a chair, and coming back in. The back is under fire again, chair smashing again and again against it, sending shocks through Dreamer’s body. Brody pulls Dreamer up, and tosses him out of the ring, where Dreamer fights to make it to his feet. He is handed a fan sign, and tears the cardboard off as Brody follows him out. Underneath the fan sign is a stop sign, which stops Brody pretty well. Brody staggers away, Dreamer strikes again, and again, and again. The sign twisted beyond recognition, Dreamer throws it away. He starts pummelling Brody with fists, until Brody drops him with a headbutt. Brody then pulls Dreamer up, and charges his back into the ringpost, before turning around and dropping Dreamer backfirst onto the guardrail. Through the crowd go Brody and Dreamer, Dreamer leading the way, staggering from Brody’s massive fists. Brody herds him to the Eagle’s Nest. Up on the top there, Brody hoists Dreamer up for a bodyslam onto the tables beneath the Nest, only for Dreamer to slip out the back, and shove Brody forwards. Brody stumbles, but manages to keep his balance. Desperation flares up in Dreamer, and he unloads a furious assault on Brody, hammering him with punches, elbows, kicks and knees, until Brody topples back from the sheer intensity, smashing through the tables below the Nest. Dreamer collapses to his knees and takes long, deep breaths, before pulling himself up gradually, and climbing down. He takes the fight to Brody now, all the way back to the ring. Dreamer in control for some time, utilising a singapore cane to smash at Brody, until Brody is able to score a low blow, followed by a neckbreaker. Brody clambers up the top turnbuckle, and leaps off as Dreamer stands, going for his flying overhand chop, only to catch the cane between the eyes! Dreamer collapses atop him, but the count only gets two. Dreamer looks at the cane, which is battered beyond usability. He takes up the chair Brody used on his back earlier, and waits for Brody to stand. Brody up, barely, and Dreamer charges him. Brody touches at his forehead, feels blood, and, enraged, charges at Dreamer, raising his leg at the last minute, and big booting the chair into Dreamer’s face. Cover only earns two. Brody goes outside, and fetches a table. He sets it up in the middle of the ring, and tries for his one handed bodyslam through it, only for Dreamer to turn it around into a DDT through the table. Cover gets two. Brody and Dreamer lie exhausted amongst the wreckage of the table, and slowly work their way up. They trade fists, Brody coming out on top. Brody goes for his chains. He wraps them around his fist, and climbs to the top turnbuckle. This time, the flying overhead chop lands, smashing the chains into Dreamer’s skull at great velocity. Cover. One. Two. Kick out! Brody can’t believe it. He moves back from Dreamer, takes a run up, and drops the King Kong Kneedrop on him. Cover. One. Two. Kick out! Brody is obviously enraged now. He goes outside, grabs a new chair. He lays it down, then pulls Dreamer up. Dreamer is stuffed between Brody’s legs. Brody teases the moment for as long as possible, letting the fans know what’s coming, before giving Dreamer a jumping piledriver onto the chair. Cover. One. Two. Three.
“Then it was time to heal up in time for the Rumble. Vader’s in there, tossing bodies around, I come out, we fight, all a whole lot of deja-vu from the Andre program. Works for the character though, and the fans bought it. Plus, this time, I got to actually have a real Wrestlemania match, tearing it up with Vader.”
March 23rd, 1997: WWF Wrestlemania 13
The war of the monsters: Vader and Brody has been built up as heavily as you’d expect Vince McMahon to build two big men being big at each other. Combine a huge build with a Wrestlemania crowd, and the buzz is insane as both men stomp their ways to the ring. The match starts with the typical test of strength stuff, shoving escalates to shoulderblocks, escalates to clotheslines, until Brody hits a slick dropkick, which staggers Vader, but fails to fell him. Brody pulls himself up and launches himself at Vader with another, causing Vader to stumble back to the turnbuckle to recover. Brody hits a running clothesline into the corner, and follows it up with knees to the gut. Vader turns things around with his ‘Vader Hammer’ brutal strikes, which rock the wild man, who staggers away, doubled over. A running knee to the side of the head drops him, and Vader pulls the big guy up for a high angle back suplex. Brody goes crashing into the mat, drawing shocked exclamations from J.R. Vader covers for two. He proceeds to wear Brody down, until he has him worn down enough to try for a Vader Bomb. Brody blocks the attempt, and charges furiously forwards, propelling them both through the ropes in a tangled heap. Paul Bearer hisses at Brody, approaching the downed giant, only for Brody to reach his feet and glare furiously at Bearer, who backs off. While Vader may be great at ring control, no-one brawls wilder than Brody, and no environment is better suited for wild brawling than ringside. Breaking the count when needed, Brody grabs his advantage on the outside, smashing Vader around and busting him open, before pushing him back into the ring and following. Brody’s assault on Vader is interrupted by Paul Bearer, who jumps up on the apron to get the big guy’s attention. It works long enough for Vader to regain his bearings and land a sickening lariat on Brody, which staggers him, but doesn’t drop him. Vader tries to see if a second will, only to be caught by a running big boot, which actually fells the giant. Brody lines him up for a second one, charges in, but Vader ducks it, and hits a rather clumsy looking german suplex, bridging for two. Vader drags Brody to the turnbuckle, and climbs up, looking for the Vadersault. Brody is able to block the ascent with a low blow, than hammering forearms to Vader’s back, doubling him over, feet still on the second rope. Brody climbs there himself, and hits a high angle german suplex from the second rope. Both men collapse together on the canvas, and Brody crawls across, covering Vader for one, two, three.
“The announcers talked me up after the match, how I was 3-0 at Wrestlemania, which I found hilarious, since I’d only won one match worth talking about at Mania. They’d given me a clean win over Vader though, so that one was kind of over. Mick, who’d been there a while, really pushed to work with me.”
“I was just about to bring that program up.”
“Yeah, that was killer. Him as Mankind, talking about how beautiful my violence was, how he knew I was just holding back though, I had been much worse in ECW. Then he wins that first match, and I bring the chains out next night on RAW, I get to talk about how these chains were from a time I had to be chained down, and how now they were back, I was going to show him just how beautiful my violence could be, and I win that next pay per view. Then he turns all Cactus Jack on me, and wins the third one, that falls count anywhere match from King of the Ring.”
June 8th, 1997: WWF King of The Ring
This one starts out on the ramp, as Brody jumps Cactus Jack on his way to the ring. Jack is battered about, whipped and choked by Brody’s chains, before Brody tosses Jack into the ring, where the beating continues. Jack is only able to mount any sort of comeback when he dodges a Brody charge in the corner. Desperate, he swings his leg and buries his entire shin into Brody’s crotch. Brody sinks to his knees, and takes a running boot to the side of the head. Brody lies across the middle rope, leading to Jack hitting a seated splash on him in the ropes. Jack goes outside for a chair. He grabs it, and blasts Brody’s head, which is still laying on the second rope. Brody slumps down inside. Jack climbs back in and waits behind Brody. When Brody gets up, Jack blasts him in the back with the chair, doubling him over. Jack then drops the chair onto the mat, and tries for a side russian legsweep onto it. Brody has other ideas, however, lifting Jack from the side and hitting an improvised sidewalk slam that drops Jack headfirst onto the chair.
Brody is back in control then, taking it to Jack with boots, knees and punches, until he goes for his suplex lift powerslam. Jack is able to get a leg hooked on the bottom rope, making him difficult to lift. As Brody struggles, Jack scroes a swinging neckbreaker. It barely gets one, but it turns things back to Jack’s favour. Jack crawls away to regain his composure while Brody gets to his feet. Once Brody is standing, he finds himself the victim of a series of hard punches to the chin that rock him back onto the ropes. Jack runs in after him, hitting the Cactus Clothesline, but its not enough to send Brody over! Jack stares in shock at Brody, and runs to hit the opposite ropes. Brody follows, however, and almost the moment he hits the opposite ropes, he eats a running boot from Brody that sends him over the top rope, bouncing awkwardly off the apron, and then dropping face down on the outside.
Brody goes outside and removes the mat closest to Jack. He pulls Jack up by the head, and suplexes him onto the exposed floor. Jack is covered for two, then laid flat, as Brody takes a run up, and tries for a King Kong Knee Drop. Jack moves at the last second, and all Brody does is spike his own knee into the concrete. Brody rolls away, clutching at his knee. Jack struggles up and puts the boots to him, before pulling him up for a stump piledriver onto the exposed floor, only for Brody to backdrop him out. Brody pulls Jack up and scores a jumping piledriver onto the concrete! Jack looks just about dead, but Brody is too distracted by the incredible pain in his knee to cover quickly enough, as Jack is able to show some sign of life just before the three. Brody goes under the ring, and pulls out a table. He sets it up nearby, and drags Jack onto the apron. Leading him by the head, he looks to suplex Jack, only for Jack to score a lowblow, followed by a desperate barrage of punches, followed by Jack shoving Brody through the table. Jack walks back, takes a run up, and cactus elbow through the wreckage of the table! Cover, only gets two. Jack drags Brody’s head against the ring post, and scores a running knee. Brody is then battered as he stands, but manages to drop Jack with a headbutt. Not elegant, not imaginative, but it worked. Brody then pulls Jack up and slams his back into the ringpost. Jack is hurled back inside, and Brody goes under the ring. Looking under there, he discovers Jack’s signature weapon: a barbed wire covered board. Grinning sickly, Brody climbs to the top turnbuckle, where he waits for Jack to stand. Stand Jack does, and as such, is hit by a barbed wire board shot from the top rope, tearing his flesh open. Jack is left to bleed and struggle to move on the mat, as Brody is more interested in going back outside, back under the ring, where another trademark Jack toy is discovered: a bag of tacks. In Brody rolls, and he dumps the thumbtacks out in front of Jack, lifting him by the bloodied head to point them out. Jack shakes his head wildly as he is pulled up by the hair. Brody manages to hit his suplex lift powerslam this time, not only dropping Jack onto the tacks, but also landing with his full weight upon Jack. A cover, and somehow, calling on every reserve Jack has, he lifts the shoulder. Brody stares exhausted at Jack. What does he have to do to put this crazy bastard away? He laughs as he sees Jack crawl, hands and knees, through the tacks, towards the corner of the ring, where its apparent he’s seen something.
And seen something Jack has. From the corner of his eye, he spots Brody’s chain, and uses every reserve of strength to crawl towards it. He draws on the wellspring of crazy that is Cactus Jack, and Foley is able to make it across. Brody spots what he’s going for, and lunges in towards him, but Jack is able to wrap Foley’s fist in the chain, and drag Foley to his feet to swing a wild haymaker at Brody’s chin, which fells the giant. Foley falls to his knees, and it seems Mankind is whispering in his ear as he watches Brody slowly, groggily rise. Foley lunges forwards and shoves the chain wrapped fist into Brody’s mouth, tring to stuff the chain down his throat. Brody taps furiously. Mick Foley falls back, broken by the effort.
“Real career highlight there, brutal matches that the fans loved, a great story, a lot of money made. A fairytale come true, huh? I actually got to see the real advantage of being a veteran there, because Taker wanted to work with me. I had the big names actually pushing the office to do a program with me. Taker made sense, his whole in ring style was based on mine. Passing the torch was nice.”
July 6th, 1997: In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede
The action between Brody and Taker starts off even handedly, with brawling. Undertaker only manages to take the lead with his jumping clothesline, which actually takes Brody off his feet. Taker continues to press the advantage, really going at Brody, knowing that if he lets Brody build up steam, he’s done for. He even manages to hit a chokeslam fairly early on in the action, popping the crowd, but barely earning a one. He tries for it a second time, but this time gets kicked square in the gut. Brody hits the nearby ropes and delivers a thunderous big boot to Taker’s skull, dropping him. He pulls the former champion up by the hair and whips him off into the turnbuckle. Brody charges in and delivers a big boot in the corner, before then whipping Taker back across the ring to the other side, where he looks to repeat the trick. Taker dodges, however, and Brody gets his leg hung up on the top rope. He struggles, and finally frees it, turning around just in time to catch soupbone punches from Taker. Brody slumps into the corner, and is lifted up out of it, and dropped face first on the top. Snake Eyes is followed as ever by the running big boot of Taker’s, which sends Brody over the top rope. Taker wastes no time in going out after him and throwing more punches, taking the fight to Brody even harder. Brody is able, however, to turn the tide by smashing Taker’s head against the ring post. He repeats the trick, and Taker is thoroughly dazed. Brody scoops up the big guy, and runs him back first into the ringpost. Brody breaks the count, then climbs the turnbuckle. Taker is crawling away to the gaurdrail, planning to use that to stand. He gets up, and immediately goes down again from a flying overhead chop by Brody. Brody pulls Taker up, and tries to ram him into the ringpost once more, only for Taker to drop out the back, resulting in Brody running into the post. Taker capitalises, and throws Brody back inside the ring. He fixes the position of Brody’s head so that it hangs over the apron, climbs onto the apron, and scores a perfect apron leg drop. He climbs up the turnbuckle and waits patiently as Brody struggles to reach his feet. As soon as Brody turns back towards Taker, Taker flies off the turnbuckle for a clothesline, only to be met with an impressive dropkick that catches him in mid-air, amazing the fans. Cover only gets two, Brody looks exhausted. He slowly picks himself up, and draws Taker up, before slamming him back down with a one-armed body slam. He goes to the well again, hits the one-armed body slam once more. A third time proves once too often, however. Taker floats over, and counters into a Tombstone Piledriver! One, Two, Foot On The Ropes! Brody is still in this, barely. He rolls outside the ring to get his bearings, but instead finds Taker bearing down on him with a breathtaking dive to the outside that slams him back first into the announce table. Both men spill across the table and land on the other side, where they come up brawling. Taker grabs Brody by the throat on top of the table, only to be kicked in the gut. Brody delivers his suplex lift powerslam through the Spanish announce desk! Both men lie in the wreckage of the table, and crawl back to the ring, barely making it in at eight and nine. They reach their feet slowly, trading shots at a rate that could be generously described as glacial. Eventually, Taker ducks one, and Brody spills forward with wasted momentum. Taker kicks him in the gut as he turns around, and lifts him up for a Tombstone Piledriver. This time, he makes certain to direct Brody to the middle of the ring, with no ropes around before dropping the big guy on his head. One, Two, Three.
“I’d been in a lot of great matches that the fans had loved, but I’d lost my last two pay per views. I guess the first part was more important to Vince, because I got thrown in with Bret next, and our match, now that was great. So far, I’d brawled with Vader, I’d brawled with Mick, and I’d brawled with Taker. Brawling was in back then, but you might be spotting a pattern. Me and Bret going at it over the gold though? I got to really show myself off on the technical side. I think that shocked a lot of the new fans. Sort of a “wow, this Brody guy wrestles too?”
August 3rd, 1997: WWF Summerslam
Main event time, and Bret Hartis making his second title defence since picking the belt up at King of the Ring. Originally set to face nemesis Stone Cold, the winner of King of the Ring, he has had his cronies in The Hart Foundation take Austin out. Brody set himself as a challenge the Foundation couldn’t cripple before the match, and has stood tall against Hart and his lackies. It all comes down to tonight, with the gold on the line. Brody, the fans fully in his corner, against the hated Bret Hart, enjoying a different reaction from the thunderous ovation he got at last month’s Canadian Stampede Pay-Per-View.
Brody goes right for Bret, swinging for the fences in his usual wild, crazy style. It works, but only very briefly, before Bret is able to take advantage of the massive holes this tactic leaves in Brody’s defence. About the third time he finds himself trapped in a nasty hooking submission, Brody changes his plan, and starts to play Bret’s game. He transitions himself from the Fujiwara Armbar he’s trapped in to putting Bret in an ankle lock, using veteran wiles and superior strength to overpower the champion. Bret reaches the ropes, and Brody holds on until four. Bret tries to get up via the turnbuckle, but finds himself trapped against it in a nasty arm-lock variant that uses Brody’s weight to crush Bret. Bret is pulled out, and Brody voluntarily brings things to the ground, where he holds his own against Bret, mostly using his weight and strength to tire the champion out. Only when Neidhart tries to jump in to help Bret out does the tone change. Brody charges over, dropping Neidhart with a running big boot. Bret uses the distraction to clip the knees of Brody, bringing him down to his knees. Bret utilises the variety of stomps and kicks on the legs of Brody to wear him down to the ground, where he embarks on the usual hamstring pull, elbow drop to knee, knee drop to knee, seated senton to knee, all of which prefaces the figure four. Brody screams and writhes in agony, but also manages to twist it around, reversing the pressure. Bret struggles and manages, just about, to get his hand on the rope. Brody limps over, pulls Bret back to the centre and uses a leg lock which he transitions to a Texas Cloverleaf. Owen makes the run in this time, and is dropped by a clothesline, before being tossed over the top rope. Back on their feet, the two trade shots and holds, until Bret is able to slip behind Brody and go for a side-russian leg sweep. Brody is able to counter, however, throwing elbows, then hoisting Bret up for a backbreaker. Knees dropped into the small of Bret’s back, giving him a taste of his own medicine. It takes a low blow followed by a DDT for Bret to get some momentum back. He moves as fast as he can manage to the tunbuckle, climbs to the second rope, and hits his elbow drop into Brody’s back. He follows up by trying to lock Brody in the Sharpshooter, but Brody kicks him away. Brody back up, and he takes control back, having worn Bret down to the point where he can start wailing away with power moves. The ref gets bumped on a missed clothesline, and in rush Neidhart, Owen and Smith. Brody fights valiantly, but four on one is a little much for him. The fans pop as you expect they might when they hear glass shatter, signalling the arrival of Stone Cold! Out the rattlesnake comes, arm in a cast! He rolls under the bottom rope, blasts Owen with the cast, hits a stunner using his healthy arm on Neidhart. Smith and Bret two on one him, but Brody makes the save, and together they clear the ring. Austin drops outside, and starts to take it to the Foundation on the outside, singling them off on their own, hitting them with the cast or the stunner, then going to make sure another one goes back down. Meanwhile, Bret rolls back into the ring just as Brody is waking the ref up in his usual surly manner. Bret slides behind Brody, and quickly rolls him up by surprise. Ref comes to, just in time to see it, and count the three.
“Then it all went to shit.”
“Why was that?”
“Shawn. I’d actually worked him back in my first run, and he’d turned up hungover, or maybe still drunk, so I just stiffed him to hell, stiffed him harder than I think I’d stiffed anyone. He went back hurting real, real bad. I reckon he must have remembered, because we were supposed to work each other for a trilogy. I’d win the first match, he’d mount a comeback in the second and get a lucky win with that finisher of his out of nowhere, then he’d beat me clean in the last one, just to prove it wasn’t all a fluke. But at the last minute, he throws his temper tantrum at Vince, and out goes the program, which is bad for business. Shawn was never too bright though. He was pissed at me for stiffing him all those years back, so he gets me angry then works a match with me? So yeah, I stiffed the hell out of him, and didn’t sell a thing. They changed the finish on the fly, made it a DQ, and hustled Shawn out to the back. I was out the door, what, a week after that? Just told to go and sit at home for the rest of my contract, they didn’t want me, I was bad for business. I’d made enough money, and I’d made the Brody name big. I went home, and I stayed home.”
“Was that your last match?”
“No, I had that Wrestlepalooza deal with Taz. That was a much cleaner ending, I think I needed it to wash the bad taste out of my mouth. That was fun. I went back, hung around ECW a bit, put Taz over on pay per view, and said my goodbyes at the end.”
November 30th, 1997: ECW November to Remember:
The reaction for both men is huge, Brody’d entrance music practically drowned out by the chants of “Welcome Back!” The two men pace the ring in the main event of November To Remember, teasing the fans for as long as possible before tying up. When they do, Brody pushes Taz back into the corner, and throws knees at his gut, before hip tossing him out of the corner. Taz grogilly finds his feet, only to find Bruiser Brody’s feet in his face from a dropkick. Brody pulls Taz up and goes for a backbreaker, only for Taz to float it over into a release german suplex that actually hurls Brody out of the ring. Taz follows, and the two brawl on the outside, then into the crowd, and back to ringside, in a back and forth that pumps the fans up. Brody was in control when it returned ringside, tossing Taz over the guardrail, then lifting him by the shoulder and legs, and ramming his body into the ringpost. Brody takes the chains from ringside and batters Taz with them, before tossing Taz back in the ring. Brody clambers up the turnbuckle, but its a slow, rather unconfident ascent, which gives Taz time to spring up to the top turnbuckle and deliver a release belly to belly from there. Taz crawls across and covers, but only gets two. Taz takes control for now, and the pace slows down a bit as Brody catches his wind. A lariat brings the match back in Brody’s favour, and he follows it up with a legdrop. Cover gets two. Brody pulls Taz up for a one- armed bodyslam, but Taz is able to float over again, this time locking in the Tazmission. Brody pulls himself up, however, lifting Taz with him, and repeatedly smashes Taz into the tunrbuckle until he drops off. Brody props Taz high up on the turnbuckle, then climbs up to join him. From there, he manages to hit a super version of his suplex lift powerslam, covering for two. Both men are visibly worn out at this point, although it seems much worse with Brody. They go crawling in opposite directions to use the ropes to find their feet. Brody charges at Taz for a running big boot, but Taz is able to catch it into an exploder suplex, again hurling Brody from the ring. Brody looks completely gone on the outside, and the fans begin to turn against Taz as Taz takes him apart on the outside. Taz brings Brody into the ring, brings a table in after him. He sets up the table and looks to powerbomb Brody through it, only for Brody to backdrop Taz through the table. Brody falls backwards to cover, but only a two. He summons his last strength, and gets the running start for a King Kong Kneedrop, but only two. He pulls Taz up for a piledriver, but Taz manages to counter into a backdrop of his own. Taz stumbles to the ropes, and leans against them, catching his wind. He stares as Brody struggles up, stumbling, but standing. He trips Brody easily back down, and locks on the Tazmission. This time, it’s all over.
Afterwards, Brody and Taz shake hands and hug. Brody is given a microphone, and is visibly on the point of tears: “Thank you, Taz. I want to thank Paul Heyman too, and all of you. See, this is it. I’m done. I could keep going, but I wouldn’t be the Brody you all know. I felt myself slowing up over the years, not massively, but I’m sure you noticed it just then. Hell, I think you let me know with a ‘You Fucked Up!’ or two back there. And that’s all I’ll hear if I stay in the business. It’s time for Brody to say goodbye to wrestling. It’s time for him to hang up his boots. I’ve had a hell of a life here in this business with all of you, but now, its over. Now its time for me to just go home and be Frank Goodish. I’m just glad the last night was here with all of you, and it is the last night. I love the man, but I’ve got no plans to Terry Funk this retirement. This is it. Thank you all.”
“WCW never came calling?”
“Of course they did. They came calling during my first ECW run, promising the big match with Hogan. They came calling after I beat the tar out of Shawn. I just wasn’t interested in doing business their way. I didn’t need the money, and I heard horror stories from everyone who was back there.”
“Well, I think that’s the interview over. I’d just like to thank Bruiser Brody for his time here today, and for everything he’s given over the years. Thank you, Brody”