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Bruiser Brody/Stan Hansen v. Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood (11/26/82)

- Shit, Brody and Hansen give the faces NOTHING. What an unprofessional sack of shit Bruiser Brody is. Seriously, all take and no give on his part. Really, they treated this like an extended squash and the match suffered as a result.

This actually isn't true. Hansen does give the face things. Covered it in my review of the match, as a contrast to Brody's unwillingness to give the faces much if anything.

 

Not saying that Hansen was Ric Flair in there bumping and stooging his ass of for Steamer and Jay. That's not Hansen's character anyway. But he was very giving relative to Brody.

 

John

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I know this has been pointed out to me before, but it always surprises me to see so much time devoted to Brody criticism, when I personally can't recall a single person ever praising him. I get that he was praised by hardcores in the 1980s, but does he still have avid defenders? He doesn't strike me as a particularly contentious wrestler. The feeling that he sucked is fairly unanimous these days, is it not? Maybe Classics types defend him, but they formed all of their wrestling opinions decades ago and havent changed them. I would be interested in a huge Brody fan explaining his appeal.

The Molinaro book (which was produced by the Observer) rated Brody #18 among professional wrestlers all time. That's pretty substantial praise coming from somewhere.

 

And it's easily the most absurd ranking in that book. Brody over Terry Funk? Harley Race? That's not just overrating Brody. That's ranking him over some of the iconic figures of wrestling.

 

I take it most here wouldn't rank Brody in the top 100? (Keeping in mind that includes more than ringwork)

 

This.

 

I'm somewhat surprised that Loss thought there doesn't remain a strong pro-Brody group out there. The "mainstream" is the Brody is an all-time great. We are the idiots who think he's wildly overrated as a worker.

 

John

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I do think we need to move away from the notion that the only reason hardcore fans in the 80s thought Brody was great was because he got stabbed to death resulting in Dave making him a god.

 

Best Brawler

1980 Bruiser Brody

1981 Bruiser Brody

1982 Bruiser Brody

1983 Bruiser Brody

1984 Bruiser Brody

1985 Stan Hansen

1986 Terry Gordy

1987 Bruiser Brody

 

He was thought of as "great" before he died. In the early 1983-84 WON's, Dave had him up there with the very best workers - up there with Flair.

 

Those votes weren't just Dave counting his own votes like PWI. It was other WON readers sending in ballots that agreed with him. Suspect we'd find Brody high in the Worker Polls in most of those years as well.

 

Not defending them... but let's be clear in getting across that it wasn't just Dave and Larry who thought he was great back when he was alive.

 

John

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Even in the WON's that I've recapped, Dave seems to be trying to stay neutral when he's reporting about Brody screwing over Baba and Inoki by no-showing on them. In the one I'm presently working on, Brody has fucked Inoki over again, and the only comment Dave really makes is that Maeda/Brody would have been a huge money match. When Brody jumped to NJPW, he only commented that Baba could legally try to sue for breach of contract, but that Baba had stolen several of Inoki's guys, and that snagging Brody was great for NJPW.

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Also, look at Japan. I don't think anyone there gives two fucks about what Meltzer thinks, and he was voted the biggest foreign star of all time in some poll a while back.

 

Speaking of Meltzer, he has said that Brody was the Johnny Valentine of his generation (that is, someone who couldn't make people believe that wrestling was real but could make them believe that he was real). Here's what he wrote in May:

 

Brody had a very unique philosophy, which included throwing stiff kicks–not every time–but when the audience had its guard down, and thus would be shocked. Work a few, they think they’re seeing a fake pro wrestling match, and wham, all of a sudden the entire building changes. They think it’s a fight.

So there's that.

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Also, look at Japan. I don't think anyone there gives two fucks about what Meltzer thinks, and he was voted the biggest foreign star of all time in some poll a while back.

What's this meant to mean? The average WWF fan doesn't give a fuck about Meltzer either and for them Jim Duggan was one of the most over faces of the 80s and 90s and the Ultimate Warrior is awesome. Who was voting in this poll? If it's the average Japanese fan then why should we care about what they think?

 

We can't really take overness as a measure of someone's ability. If we did JYD and Jimmy Valiant would be seen as super workers.

 

It's not like Japan doesn't have and never had its own version of kayfabe. Where did Dory Funk Jr. finish in that poll?

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One thing people do seem to agree on is that Baba was building towards Brody vs. Hansen when Brody was killed. I love the reaction of the crowd and announcers during this match. Check out the reaction at about 55 seconds into that clip...you can tell AJPW fans were salivating at the potential of the Brody vs. Hansen dream match and rumor had it Baba was planning on giving it to them.

I remember noticing that when watching this on the AJ 80s set. No question he was loved in Japan and Brody/Hansen would've been electric over there. Taking another look at it I'm also struck by how gray Brody was. If Bin Laden could spring for Just For Men you'd think Mr. Goodish could as well.

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We can't really take overness as a measure of someone's ability. If we did JYD and Jimmy Valiant would be seen as super workers.

Is the overness the result of a persona the wrestler created and their projection of that persona? Did the overness translate over virtually the entire globe? You should consider than it's the measure of some sort of quality instead of filing Brody in the chump file because he doesn't pretend to fight exactly like you enjoy.

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I do think we need to move away from the notion that the only reason hardcore fans in the 80s thought Brody was great was because he got stabbed to death resulting in Dave making him a god.

 

Best Brawler

1980 Bruiser Brody

1981 Bruiser Brody

1982 Bruiser Brody

1983 Bruiser Brody

1984 Bruiser Brody

1985 Stan Hansen

1986 Terry Gordy

1987 Bruiser Brody

 

He was thought of as "great" before he died. In the early 1983-84 WON's, Dave had him up there with the very best workers - up there with Flair.

 

Those votes weren't just Dave counting his own votes like PWI. It was other WON readers sending in ballots that agreed with him. Suspect we'd find Brody high in the Worker Polls in most of those years as well.

 

Not defending them... but let's be clear in getting across that it wasn't just Dave and Larry who thought he was great back when he was alive.

 

John

Somehow forgot about that, even with the thread on renaming the WON brawler award the history of it wasn't picked up on. Pretty clear this book was being written long before July 1988.

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Even in the WON's that I've recapped, Dave seems to be trying to stay neutral when he's reporting about Brody screwing over Baba and Inoki by no-showing on them. In the one I'm presently working on, Brody has fucked Inoki over again, and the only comment Dave really makes is that Maeda/Brody would have been a huge money match. When Brody jumped to NJPW, he only commented that Baba could legally try to sue for breach of contract, but that Baba had stolen several of Inoki's guys, and that snagging Brody was great for NJPW.

I didn't take Dave's writing in those issues to be "neutral". It was pretty pro-Brody. Frank left AJPW because the Roadies were coming in for a big push and big money, and Frank didn't respect them. In reality, Choshu's Army largely made Brody (and the gaijin in general) much less relevant. The sign was on the wall. The Warriors were just another item making Brody less important to AJPW.

 

In turn, Brody's jump was played up as a life saver for NJPW, but it really didn't have a sustained impact.

 

Brody was to a degree like Flair - there always was a "reason" to justify his fuck ups / being an asshole.

 

John

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Also, look at Japan. I don't think anyone there gives two fucks about what Meltzer thinks, and he was voted the biggest foreign star of all time in some poll a while back.

Brody was over in Japan. No doubt... though the irony is that:

 

* AJPW drew more with Choshu than with Brody

* they drew more with Tenryu going opposite Jumbo as well

* they drew more with Misawa going opposite Jumbo than any of those... including Brody

 

New Japan drew more with Ishingundan on top than Brody. They drew far more in the 90s than what Brody did.

 

So it's an overstatement to say just how big Brody was. Big... but the rising Native vs Native didn't just make him obsolete, but blew him away as a draw.

 

Speaking of Meltzer, he has said that Brody was the Johnny Valentine of his generation (that is, someone who couldn't make people believe that wrestling was real but could make them believe that he was real). Here's what he wrote in May:

 

Brody had a very unique philosophy, which included throwing stiff kicks, not every time, but when the audience had its guard down, and thus would be shocked. Work a few, they think they're seeing a fake pro wrestling match, and wham, all of a sudden the entire building changes. They think it's a fight.

So there's that.

 

The funny thing about this is that a lot of us watching Brody today look at him like 1991-96 Undertaker: a faker than fake gimmick goofball. A stiff kick doesn't cover up the rest of the silly gimmick.

 

I'd also love for people reading the WONs that were written while Brody was alive to find Dave expressing that regularly about Brody. The "real" stuff wasn't all that important to Dave in the 80s.

 

Instead, what Dave liked to say made Brody was great was that Frank could go into any area in any setting and get *himself* over.

 

In hindsight, the problem with that old positive about Brody was that it could be applied even more so to...

 

Hulk Hogan

 

;)

 

John

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Brody was to a degree like Flair - there always was a "reason" to justify his fuck ups / being an asshole.

I know people like this. It's fucking infuriating and you do want to kill them at some points. Well, figuratively.

 

The whole point about Brody not delivering at all in the ring what he projected as a character with his look and intros, added to the fact he was super over but maybe not that great of a draw after all, and also an unprofesionnal prick, reminds me of someone else. Sid.

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Buck Robley has said that Brody was on his way to WWF in the Summer of 1984 but backed out at the last minute. Whether that's true or not who knows but Buck was extremely close to Brody and has credibility in past stories in fact Buck flat out has said that he was the one who advised Brody basically to screw over promoters and only look out for himself.

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Here's a question: what percentage of wrestling fans total do you think have A. heard of Brody and B. ever seen a Brody match?

 

He was not part of Vince's 80s boom-era WWF and there's no attitude-era guy who has endlessly pimped him (e.g. Foley pimping Snuka), so I'm willing to bet that it's less than 10% in both cases.

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Here's a question: what percentage of wrestling fans total do you think have A. heard of Brody and B. ever seen a Brody match?

 

He was not part of Vince's 80s boom-era WWF and there's no attitude-era guy who has endlessly pimped him (e.g. Foley pimping Snuka), so I'm willing to bet that it's less than 10% in both cases.

 

Think this is tough to articulate. If you ask how many of the current WWE viewers each week have heard of Brody and watched a match, I think the percentage is closer to that 10% but that is not including a lot of fans including you and me Parv or even someone like my dad that if he was asked in a random poll on the street if he likes pro wrestling he would say yes, even though he hasn't watched since the attitude era.

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Here's a question: what percentage of wrestling fans total do you think have A. heard of Brody and B. ever seen a Brody match?

I am not sure what the relevance of a wrestler who died 25 years ago not being famous is. Judging by The YouTubes I'd say Brody does very well for a guy that WWE is not at all interested in promoting.

 

edit: well "not at all" may be a stretch because I think he gets like a minute of face time on the WCCW and AAA dvds as well one of the matches on the cage set.

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Probably very few fans, but I really don't like the idea that it's because he wasn't in the WWF. It's probably true, but it's a truth I hate for that reason.

 

But most WWE fans have probably never heard of Lou Thesz either. It doesn't mean much.

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What does the fact that Brody was gutted in Puerto Rico have to do with acknowledging him stinking up Japan, Texas and most anywhere else he went? I don't see the connection.

It's not so much the fact he was killed but the fact that him being killed resulted in a massive eulogy from Meltzer which helped to generate a myth of this great and legendary worker.

 

The timing is arguably key: 1988. That was a time when a guy like Meltzer had a sizable audience but also a time when footage was not readily available and the tape trading scene wasn't what it was in, say, the late 90s.

 

Received wisdom, once it is acquired, dies very hard. Look at Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask. The idea that that is a great match is almost hard-wired into the minds of at least two generations of fans.

 

If Brody doesn't die, he doesn't acquire this mythical status. He probably has a run in early 90s WCW or something and is remembered by lots of people as being a shitty brawling guy not too much better than Jim Duggan. If Brody does die, he doesn't get Meltzer working overtime to put him over as an all-time great.

 

Point being: most fans don't go back and watch old 80s territories, or All Japan footage from 1981. Most fans will remember seeing one or two Brody matches they were ok with and be happy to go on rep. That rep is absolutely connected with his death and its timing.

 

The thing is if you read the Observers in 83, 84, 85, 86 etc Brody was very well thought of, just look at Meltzer's top 100 lists during the the observer years in the 80's and Brody was near the top much of the time. Hardcore fans back then loved Brody for the most part. By 1988 I had seen Brody in Texas, AWA, St. Louis, Japan-All and New so I had seen much of Brody and loved what I saw. I think the Hardcores in the 80's including myself put a premium on realism which INHO Brody delivered. I think much of the Hardcore audience was turned off by the Powder Puff style of wrestling that the WWF presented much of the time. When Bordy died I had heard it from my dad who shoed me the L.A. Times article so Brody being a Legend wasn't something that just came about because of his death or because of Meltzer. I didn't subscribe to Meltzer then but I looked at Brody as a legend and so did many fans back then. I

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What does the fact that Brody was gutted in Puerto Rico have to do with acknowledging him stinking up Japan, Texas and most anywhere else he went? I don't see the connection.

It's not so much the fact he was killed but the fact that him being killed resulted in a massive eulogy from Meltzer which helped to generate a myth of this great and legendary worker.

 

The timing is arguably key: 1988. That was a time when a guy like Meltzer had a sizable audience but also a time when footage was not readily available and the tape trading scene wasn't what it was in, say, the late 90s.

 

Received wisdom, once it is acquired, dies very hard. Look at Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask. The idea that that is a great match is almost hard-wired into the minds of at least two generations of fans.

 

If Brody doesn't die, he doesn't acquire this mythical status. He probably has a run in early 90s WCW or something and is remembered by lots of people as being a shitty brawling guy not too much better than Jim Duggan. If Brody does die, he doesn't get Meltzer working overtime to put him over as an all-time great.

 

Point being: most fans don't go back and watch old 80s territories, or All Japan footage from 1981. Most fans will remember seeing one or two Brody matches they were ok with and be happy to go on rep. That rep is absolutely connected with his death and its timing.

 

 

The thing is though that Brody was looked at a legend far before 1988, just read the Observers in 83, 84, 85 and 86 for example as Brody was very well thought of by Meltzer and the Hardcore fans of the day. Just look at the top 100 wreslters lists that Meltzer used to publish back then, Brody was near the top much of the time. By 1988 I had saw Brody matches from New Japan, All Japan, AWA, Texas, St. Louis, WWC and I loved what I saw. The thing is the Hardcore fans of the day put a premium on realism which IMHO Brody delivered. Hardcore fans back then were turned off by the WWF's style of Powder Puff wrestling which they presented much of the time including myself. When Brody died I wasn't even a subscriber to the observer and I had heard about the death via L.A. Times news article. So Brody being looked at as a Legend came well before 1988. I was at a fan convention in early 88 and Brody was glorified by the hardcores there so his death did not create his Legend.

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I don't like Brody and do think he was mythologized in death, but he was clearly a big star in life. He's not one of the twenty best wrestlers of all time like the Molinaro book argued, but he's not Sid either.

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One thing I should say for Brody - particularly in regards to how his death effected public perception of him - is that that last year or so run in World Class is by far his best run of his career in-ring in my opinion, because he seemed a lot less focused on just getting himself over and was more willing to be a team player. The main example I always point to was a great match against Buzz Sawyer. He wasn't afraid to lay around in holds for a while at certain points, but his offense looked good and, more significantly, he gave Sawyer way more than you would ever expect him to. And that's the case for a lot of what he did there at the time. Nothing that screams "GREATEST BRAWLER EVER!", but he came off as a good hand, which is more than I can say for him anywhere else in his career.

 

I bring this up, because the natural inclination is to look at Brody's overhyped career and assume that, had he not been murdered, his bad attitude, shitty work, and advancing age would've sunk his career in the post-territorial era. But for all of Brody's faults, he doesn't strike me as having been a stupid man. Honestly, part of me wonders if, had he lived, Brody would've seen the writing on the wall and dialed back his shenanigans accordingly, if only to keep himself employable, in which case, even without his post-mortem mytholgization, he probably still gets legend status from Meltzer and the like. I think that status only really falls if he lives AND fails to maintain a viable career into the 90's, in which case he becomes forgotten/only remembered for a lousy late career by a lot of fans, and doesn't have guys like us who go back and watch old stuff to save him, because his old stuff sucked, too.

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I don't like Brody and do think he was mythologized in death, but he was clearly a big star in life. He's not one of the twenty best wrestlers of all time like the Molinaro book argued, but he's not Sid either.

I'd rather watch a Sid match than a Brody match.

 

That's not to say a Sid match would innately be better, but I'd probably find more to be amused by.

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