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The Name on the Marquee: RF Video Shoot Interview with Bad News Brown

January 6, 2009 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: RF Video Shoot Interview with Bad News Brown  

I know how much you kids like your shoot reviews, and a friend of mine strongly recommended this one, so I thought I’d check it out.

-Bad News started out a wrestling fan, but got out of it when he was 10 after bodyslamming his sister and being forbidden by his parents from watching it. Holy crap, they took action against the child instead of suing the promoter? Bad News had weird parents.

-Bad News goes on to win two gold medals for judo in the Pan-Am games and wins the U.S. championship for five consecutive years. He missed out on the 1972 Olympics after blowing out his knee, and if you know your history, you know that he got the better end of that deal.

-He made it to the Olympics in 1976 and Bad News found himself at a disadvantage because European bloc countries funded their athletes’ training, while U.S. Olympians had to train in their spare time while holding down day jobs.

-After the Olympics, Bad News comes to the realization that there’s no money in judo and calls it a career at age 33. A friend suggests professional wrestling and Bad News laughs right in his face before changing his mind.

-Bad News heads to Japan to train for wrestling, since all the folks running the dojos there already knew him from his judo training. Following the Muhammed Ali fiasco, Antonio Inoki was interested in guys with legit martial arts backgrounds, and Bad News starts his career in New Japan.

-Training for pro wrestling was nothing compared to years of training for judo. His background gave him an immediate reputation as a shooter, and it came to a point where they had Bad News stretch his opponents to teach them respect.

-Was surprised by the honesty and generous payoffs he got from Japanese promoters, which made returning to the U.S. an eye-opening experience.

-Met Chris Benoit when he was starting out and offered to help train him because he didn’t like the way the Harts treated him. Also had a hand in training Pat Tanaka and 2 Cold Scorpio.

-And from that, we backtrack to the beginning of his career, where he was hyped as Judo Olympic hero Buffalo Allen (a name he hated) and was shocked by how Japan treated him as a bona fide celebrity.

-Met Chief Jay Strongbow and Peter Maivia in Japan. His lasting memory of Chief Jay Strongbow was being impressed by how far he got in the business without doing anything. He’d dance and make faces and that was good enough for the people, apparently.

-The Yakuza (Japanese mafia) were huge fans of heel wrestlers, and they treated Bad News like a king.

-Disliked Abdullah the Butcher because of the way he would screw younger guys out of their money in exchange for “helping their careers.” He takes pride not charging a dime to any of the guys that he trained on the road. He did enjoy being with him socially, though, and had fun working tag team matches with him until it came to the point where the promoters began using him as a “babysitter” for Abdullah and asking him to give orders on their behalf.

-Andre the Giant: One hell of a worker for a big man. Bad News really surprises me with how strongly he’s putting over Andre as a talented star and a legend, and the moment I type that he veers into the bus incident in the WWF where Andre whipped out the N-word while telling dirty jokes in the back of the bus. Bad News turns around and tells him to stop and Andre tells him to fuck off. Bad News didn’t sleep that night, and the next day, he confronted Andre about it and after a while, he managed to wring an apology out of him. They didn’t talk for a long time after that, but right before Andre died, they made peace.

-Antonio Inoki introduced Bad News to Vince McMahon, Sr., and Bad News remembers him as one hell of a guy and one of the last great honest promoters.

-Vince, Sr. brought him into the WWWF as a jobber for a while, which didn’t bother Bad News because for all the experience he had in judo, he still saw himself as a green rookie.

-Onto Los Angeles in the later days of that territory; Bad News had a lot of fun because he was learning new things, he learned how to cut a promo, and best of all, he had a sister in LA, so he came home and slept in his own bed every night.

-Eddie Guerrero: Surprised at how he turned out because he always remembered Eddie as “the little fat kid.” Great guy, but his brothers were jerks.

-Hulk Hogan: A good guy, charismatic, and a better worker than he gets credit for, though Bad News clarifies that he was never a GREAT worker.

-Antonio Inoki: Ditto.

-Ken Patera: Ditto.

-Tells a story about a night that a bunch of wrestlers got unbelievably drunk in Japan to the point that the Yakuza kicked them out of their nightclub and riot police were brought in to get rid of them.

-Never got approached by All Japan to jump ship, but when Stan Hansen and the British Bulldogs jumped ship, he caught hell for it because the office was convinced that he knew about it.

-Bill Eadie (Ax/Masked Superstar): Good man and smart as heck.

-Dick Murdoch: “Member of the Klan.” When he found out they’d be touring together, he immediately pulled Dick aside and told him, in so many words, no bullshit. Never had any problem with him after that. Murdoch cracked him up so much one night with the way he sold a chop that Bad News had to hide under the ring.

-Freddie Blassie: From the sound of it, Bad News liked him more than anybody else he talks about here. Blassie would call him names and curse at him constantly, but the way he did it always amused Bad News.

-Jim Duggan: He could never make eye contact when they worked together because the sight of him made Bad News laugh.

-Onto Calgary: Came over to that territory at the suggestion of Dynamite Kid, and Bad News was happy to go because his girlfriend was turning into a pain in the ass and he was ready to move on.

-Hart Family: “Dysfunctional,” defined, but Stu himself was a hell of a guy.

-Bret Hart: Good technician, but he turned annoying when he started believing his own hype. Counters Bret’s complaints about Bad News not selling for him by noting that Bret had a tendency to stop short with moves and visibly miss. Why should he sell something when the fans can see that it couldn’t possibly hurt?

-He never did steroids, and he was never told or pressured into doing steroids…although it was rather clear what Vince would prefer you do. Makes a GREAT point about one of the consequences of steroid use that I’ve never heard before, but by golly, he’s right: One of the problems with wrestling after everybody began using steroids was that all of the guys ended up having identical looks and they just ended up blending together. Before steroids took over, everybody had a unique look.

-Davey Boy Smith: “Jethro Bodine.”

-Never went to the Dungeon; he figures Stu knew about his Olympic background and decided he didn’t need it.

-Worked the first ladder matches with Bret Hart and came up with a finish for one of them that drew unbelievable heat.

-Bret once said he took pride in the fact that he never injured an opponent during his career; Bad News now tells us the story of the time that Bret gave him two concussions during their feud. He warned Bret about being more careful, and Bret immediately cracks him with a chair in their next match. Bad News chokes him and breaks a kendo stick across his nose, and he didn’t see Bret for a while after that.

-Bad News finally got fed up and went to Stu and told him that he couldn’t work with Bret anymore. Stu asks him who he’d rather work with and Bad News asks for a feud with Dynamite Kid.

-The feud got so intense that Bad News wound up getting suspended by the wrestling & boxing commission. When they finally went somewhere where Bad News was allowed to wrestle, Dynamite insisted on working an angle where Bad News ran him over with his car, and Bad News refused.

-Back to feuding with Bret. They work an extreme angle where Bad News stabbed Bret in the eye with a fork, and Bret immediately fucked it up by working the next night without an eye patch.

-Stu couldn’t stand his son Bruce’s booking but wouldn’t say anything because Bruce was Helen’s favorite. Once privately told Bad News that he wished he could send Bruce to some other territory to be a curtain-jerk jobber for the rest of his career.

-David Shultz: Asshole.

-Jim Neidhart: Funniest guy he ever met. Tells a weird story about the time that Jim left town and put Davey Boy in charge of taking care of his cat while he was gone.

-Smith Hart: The lowest of the low. Nearly adopted his daughter, but had a long talk with Mrs. Bad News and decided that if adopting this girl meant having to deal with Smith Hart for the rest of their lives, they’d rather not do it.

-Honky Tonk Man: Couldn’t work worth a damn but liked him a lot.

-JYD: Once broke Bad News up with the incredibly weird way that he sold the Ghetto Blaster.

-Feud with Archie Gouldie: This was a fairly infamous feud. Gouldie was a legend in the territory who hinted at his impending retirement and brought in his “son” Jeff to carry on the family name. In his debut match, Bad News bloodies and maims the kid, ending his career immediately. Bad News REEEEEALLLLY didn’t want to do the angle because he was in enough hot water with the wrestling & boxing commission.

-But they do the angle anyway and not only do the people buy into it (local hospitals were inundated with cards & letters for the non-existant Jeff Gouldie), but Archie cuts the greatest, most believable promo in wrestling history. It looked like this feud was going to be easy money, but then Ed Whalen, who was a complete mark and horse’s ass, screws things up by quitting on air to voice his disgust and put himself over, and the angle just totally fell apart from there.

-Billy Robinson: Miserable human being who liked to mistreat younger guys.

-Mexican fans are decent people, but then they’d go to the arenas and suddenly turn insane.

-This veers into another funny story about the last time he ever saw Andre the Giant, about a month before he died. They had made peace over the bus incident, but when they were booked in a tag team match, two problems came up: #1, Andre had a lot of tequila. #2, Andre had a lot of diarrhea. Andre did his spot where he backed his opponent into a corner and then rammed them with his ass a few times…So Bad News is trapped in the corner, Andre does the ram, and the impact causes him to…well…splatter. Bad News immediately sprints out of the arena and runs to the showers, with all the fans asking him “What’s that smell?!” as he heads to the curtain.

-In 1984, Vince raids Calgary and wants to take Bad News with him, but his wife is about to have a baby and Bad News has missed every birth so far, so he refused to jump ship just so he could finally be there to see his child being born.

-Stu sold Stampede to the WWF without telling his kids; they found out about it when they watched the news that night.

-Hated the way that the Harts bullied Chris Benoit and got so fed up that he called in some favors from friends in Japan so that Chris could go over there and turn into a star.

-Spent three years working for Japan’s UWF, which was a hot company for about three years with sell-out after sell-out until it abruptly went out of business. It turned out every person in charge was dishonest and they all secretly stole money from the company until there was nothing left to steal.

-Onto Florida; had fun but didn’t make a dime there.

-Wahoo McDaniel: Saw a lot of himself in him; neither one of them took crap from anybody and just came in to do their jobs.

-Mike Graham: Spoiled brat.

-Lex Luger: Total moron; got what he deserved from Bruiser Brody because with only 8 months in his business, he went to Brody and laid out exactly what he wanted to do during the match. Lex refused to work with Brody after the shoot in the cage, and Bad News had to come in and replace Lex for the remaining dates.

-On the flip side of the coin, Bruiser was an incredible whiner about quality of the hotels when he worked tours.

-Kevin Sullivan: Insane in & out of the ring. Loved his promos.

-Went back to Stampede and worked with Brian Pillman for a while. His lasting contribution to Brian’s career was encouraging him to stay the hell away from Bruce Hart.

-Along comes Owen Hart, and right out of the gate he gets pushed as an asskicking machine and the fans don’t buy into it, and Owen poisoned the box office for a little while.

-In the WWF, Owen (as Blue Blazer) no-sold the Ghetto Blaster over and over again until Bad News legitimately kicked his ass one night and then reamed him in the locker room. Years later, Owen turned out to be a decent guy because, as Bad News saw it, Owen finally figured out what professional wrestling was.

-In 1988 he was brought into the WWF at Hulk Hogan’s request because he was running out of fresh opponents. Vince promised him the World Title, among other things, and Bad News came in.

-Thoughts on Vince: “If you shake hands with him, count your fingers.”

-Vince reneges on his promise to give Bad News the title because “the office talked me out of it.” He also relayed a story he heard about Antonio Inoki offering Bad News $2 million to break Hulk’s leg, and Bad News didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

-Remembers the odd phrasing in a merchandising contract that Vince once made him sign, saying that Bad News couldn’t do merchandise for any other wrestling promotion “in the universe.” So apparently, Vince controlled the wrestling business on Mars.

-Worked a feud with Randy Savage, where Randy turned the match into a shoot for reasons not known, although Bad News suspects Vince. Bad News was ready for a shoot, of course, and legitimately kicked the crap out of Randy before going to the planned finish. Vince pulled him aside in the locker room and surprised him by telling him it was the best main event he had seen in a long time.

-In 1989, Bad News gets a check for $250 for working a main event and complains to Vince about his payoff. Vince chooses his words carefully but basically admits that he’s screwing everybody on the roster to make up for the money he lost on “No Holds Barred.”

-Thinks that winning the battle royale at Wrestlemania IV was to butter him up so he wouldn’t be mad later about not winning the title.

-Worst payoff he ever got was in Los Angeles when Victor Rivera no-showed and to make up for it, Bad News worked 90 minutes against the three Guerreros and got $5 for it.

-Ultimate Warrior: Warrior & Bad News were both just in it for the money, but at least Bad News tried to enjoy himself, while Warrior was just a miserable person all the time and he hated the business. The office had them work a dark match once to “see how they looked together,” and the planned feud was scrapped on the spot because Warrior was turning purple and had to be carried back to the locker room by ushers after the match. Bad News talked Warrior into asking Vince for $1 million for Wrestlemania VI. Vince gave it to him, and Warrior never so much as bought Bad News dinner for it.

-Back to Randy Savage and another match that melted down into a shoot, followed by an angle at a TV taping where Randy again tried to beat the crap out of him legitimately. A while later, Bad News sees Elizabeth going into her dressing room and she invites him in just to talk for a while, and Bad News describes trying to delicately tell Elizabeth, “There’s no way I’m letting your husband see us in the same room.”

-Ronnie Garvin: Refused to take a chop from him.

-Haku: Most legitimate tough guy on the roster at that time.

-Bad News had a front row seat for the Jacques Rougeau/Dynamite Kid brawl. Bad News personally stepped in to stop Jacques from doing anything more and had Dynamite sent to the hospital for stitches. Bad News’ stance was that maybe Dynamite deserved SOME retribution, but what Jacques did went way too far. Also thinks Pat Patterson helped orchestrate it, because you don’t kick a guy’s ass like that with your boss standing right there.

-Remembers the first time he ever met Dusty Rhodes, and Dusty immediately whips out the n-word while talking to SD Jones. Down the road, Bad News refused to job to him and threatened to shoot on him when they worked a tag match together.

-In late 1989, Vince introduces Dusty’s new manager, Sapphire, and Bad News & Slick go to Vince to complain about the name. Vince cheerfully agrees to change her name…to Sweet Sapphire. That, of course, solved everything and nobody was ever angry about it again.

-In Japan, the Yakuza shows up at a hotel one night looking for Bob Orton’s head on a stick after he got drunk and kicked their Godfather in the nuts.

-Tells a funny story about how Adrian Adonis got high one night, and the end result was that Budget Rent-a-Car wouldn’t rent to anybody who worked for the WWF.

-Already disliked Roddy Piper and considered him a racist by the time they were put together for their feud. Vince told him about Piper’s blackface schtick right before Bad News complained about Sapphire, so it got a little ugly.

-Bad News was actually supposed to go over at Wrestlemania VI, but Piper complained and Bad News declared that he wouldn’t job to anybody who wouldn’t job to him, so the feud and the match fell apart. Piper got paid $50,000 for the match and Bad News got $10,000, and Bad News gave his notice when he found out.

-Tells a story about Vince being a total chickenshit when Bad News confronted him about a long string of jobs he was doing on house shows, and Vince reacted with total shock and angrily said, “Nobody told me about this! I didn’t give my approval!” And Bad News immediately replies, “Vince, it’s your company, nobody here sneezes without getting your permission!”

-Bad News shows up six hours late for a TV taping so he can tell off “Mister God” face to face. Bad News confronts him with every lie he ever told, and Jay Strongbow told him later, “If you had opened the door during that tirade, 50 guys would have fallen over.”

-Antonio Inoki was perfectly happy to welcome him back to New Japan after he gave notice to Vince.

-Years down the road, Chris Benoit treated him to lunch one day when he was finally working for WCW and told him he was miserable and looking to jump ship. Bad News’ advice: “If you get a meeting with the WWF, don’t tell them you know me.”

-Vader: Total asshole who believed his own bullshit.

-Worked with Edge early in his career when he was “Sexton Hardcastle” and had a lot of fun with him.

-Worked with Christian Cage, a.k.a. “Fifi,” a weird gimmick he had early in his career. When he began to take off, Bad News dredged it up for a rib on him in an airport.

-Opinions on the Montreal Screwjob: Bret should have known better.

-Thinks that Bret is a bit of a mark for himself, and as evidence, sites the fact that Bret had a replica title belt made every time he won a title and hung them up around his house.

-Thinks Vince’s dominance of the business is doing more harm than good. Duh.

-Followed shoot fighting for a while, but not closely.

-Mixed opinions of the new generation of wrestlers coming out of Calgary.

-Jason the Terrible used to annoy the other workers with boasting about how tough he was, so they come up with an elaborate rib that went on for three days and reduced the guy to tears, and after that, they never had any problems with him.

-Doesn’t like the changes in the business. His biggest problems include seeing a title change on Sunday and another one on Monday; having the champion wrestle on free TV; watching a match between two guys he’s never seen and not knowing right away which one is a heel; and too many damn pay-per-view shows.

-Favorite opponents: Dynamite Kid & Jake Roberts.

-Says thanks to the fans for all the booing and all the stuff they threw, and that’s it.

-There’s nothing but good news at Game Show Utopia!

The 411: This really has nothing to do with the interview itself, but Bad News was one snazzy dresser. Having said that, it's fun to hear stories from a legitimate badass with low BS-tolerance levels. No career advice or insight to be found here, but if you like stories that involve the phrase "and that's when I got ready to kill the guy," this is your interview!
Final Score:  7.2   [ Good ]  legend

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Adam Nedeff

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