Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Bruiser Brody

Go To

Frank Donald Goodish (June 18, 1946 – July 17, 1988) hailing from Uniontown, PA was a former American football player for the Washington Redskins from 1969 to 1971 in the so-called "Taxi-squad" who winded-up as one of the most famed professional wrestlers of all time known under the ring name of Bruiser Brody. Paving his way as maybe one of the most feared and revered performers who ever step into the ring due his displays of complete and utter brutallity. Some of his feuds were the matter legends are made of as those against Abdullah the Butcher, The Fabulous Freebirds and the likes.

He competed throughout the world, having several succesful stints working for The American Wrestling Association, some National Wrestling Alliance territories such as The St. Louis Wrestling Club, The WWE (Then known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation), Paul Boesch's "Houston Wrestling" but particularly All Japan Pro Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling (Dallas, TX) and the World Wrestling Council (Puerto Rico).

Among his achievements were holding the NWA International Heavyweight Title, which later became part of All Japan's Triple Crown Heavyweight Title, holding the All Japan PWF Tag Team Title with his good friend Stan Hansen, holding the NWA American (World Class) Heavyweight Title four times and holding the NWA Central States (Kansas City) Heavyweight Title.

While working for the WWC, wrestler Jose Huertas Gonzales, aka Invader #1, murdered him by stabbing him to death in the shower before a match. He was tried in a Puerto Rican court and was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense in a very controversial trial (such as the prosecution witnesses not being told in time to actually show up.)


  • Alliterative Name Bruiser Brody
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: A big, gruff southern loudmouth, stiff as hell with no regards on his fellow wrestlers' health or safety as long as he was heftily paid for it? Well... that sounds very much like "Dr. D" David Schultz to us, for sure!
  • Arch-Enemy:
  • Badass Boast: When asked what it felt like to lose, as quoted in The Pictorial History of Wrestling: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Bert Randolph Sugar and George Napolitano.
    "I'll never find out!"
  • Barbarian Longhair: Of the curly, messy kind. Tied into a "Samurai ponytail" at times. Completing his "dangerous" look with a quite bushy Mustache/ Beard combo.
  • Bash Brothers: Stan "The Man" Hansen, Jimmy Snuka, several of the Von Erich Boys.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: As Brody was made Persona Non Grata and banned from all promotions in the US after a shouting match with Vince McMahon Sr., Fritz eventually gave him an opportunity in WCCW, which is why he has Undying Loyalty to the Von Erich family. To the point where he may have covered up David's possible drug use in Japan when he died.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Brody passed away while grasping his son's photograph because he was about to ask Tony Atlas to draw the boy's portrait. Once the news arrived to Japan, his myriad of dueling peers and fans within the country celebrated his life and career in a very emotive ceremony.
  • Blood Knight: If an Ax-Crazy variant of this exists, that was his gimmick in a nut.
    • His long standing rivalry with Abdullah stood up high on a promotion already infamous for being that violently graphic and brutal.
    • To put things into perspective, the WWC's fandom was second to none in rowdiness and bloodthirst. They tended to throw everything at the performers, ranging from trash to feces, even stones, and weren't satisfied if at least one wrestler wasn't rolled out of the ring on a stretcher.
  • Boisterous Bruiser and Meaningful Name: Once again, it's one of those cases.
  • Captain Ersatz:
  • Catchphrase: "HUSS! HUSS! HUSS!" It actually sounded more like a loud bark than a chant.
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town: "Red River Jack." After losing a "Loser Leaves Town" match in Texas, Brody would appear as himself with a second RRJ when one was needed to "prove" he and Jack weren't the same person. The second "RRJ" was played by the late Rick Davidson (Of the Los Angeles-based "Davidson Brothers") and not by "Texas Red" as it was rumored. Percy Pringle (Who worked with both, Brody and Red) confirmed it.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: He could kick ass with ANYTHING he could lay his hands on, but favoring chairs (and Chain Pain) for that matter. And he was quite versatile with its using!
  • Combat Pragmatist: His style was pretty damn hellish: Biting, weapons, working stiff. Not just if he was outnumbered or the stakes were too high for him, that was his regular set.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Tony Atlas, the one wrestler who was willing to come forward and accuse Invader #1, was never contacted to appear in the trial.
    • "Dirty" Dutch Mantell's subpoena to appear in court arrived to him after the verdict had reached the news stands.
  • The Dragon: In the Sheik's (Adnan Al-Kaissie) Army in the AWA. More bluntly, after Hansen won the Mid-South Wrestling North American Heavyweight Title on May 2, 1977, Brody cut a promo on "Cowboy" Bill Watts, the promoter and top star of Mid-South, about how it was his job to beat up Watts so that Hansen wouldn't have to worry about associating with "filth" like Watts.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: He, Hansen and The Funks all attended The West Texas State University around the same time.
  • Expy: A fountain of them.
  • Extremity Extremist: Given he had long, powerful legs, most of the time he'd simply spend the whole match kicking and stomping his poor rivals around.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: He tended to tape only his right hand knuckles, later on he would be sporting elbow and knee pads but only at his left side.
  • Finishing Move: A Boring, but Practical Jumping Double Knee Drop, sometimes from the second rope.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: In Japan. Also worked with one, Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie from Iraq in the AWA.
  • Foreshadowing: Tony Atlas mentioned, as they were taking José Huertas González to the hospital after receiving a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Brody in their match, to the point his head ended up looking like a Halloween pumpkin, he turned to SD Jones and said:
    "One day I'm gonna kill that man."
  • Garbage Wrestler:
    • Played straight: He is considered the greatest brawler in wrestling history, so much so that after his death, Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter renamed the "Best Brawler" Award, which Brody had won seven times, The Bruiser Brody Memorial Award. Brody's death predated the debuts of Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling in Japan (1989) and of ECW in the U.S. (1992), however the wrestlers and fans of those promotions all point to Brody as being, along with Abdullah the Butcher and the Original Sheik, as one of the founding fathers of hardcore wrestling.
    • Subverted: Brody was also great with Wrestling Psychology and had a strong grounding in technical wrestling, which enabled him to have great matches with Terry Funk and Ric Flair in the old territory days.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Downplayed since he wasn't avert to form teams, but one of his most distinguishable traits was, no matter the odds or who he would be pitted against, friend or foe, Brody never backed down from a "Good, Ol' fashion butt-kickin'".
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Depending on the Writer and where he was working at the time. This said, he was maybe the best example of a Wild Card in pro wrestling.
    • Larry Matysik notes it didn't really matter if Brody was Face or Heel - he ended up being cheered anyway. Brody was rarely simply "aligned", and could even switch during a match due to crowd reaction.
  • Hidden Depths: Frank Goodish was a completely different character than the man we knew as Bruiser Brody, a responsible Family Man and aspiring entrepreneur. To the point his own son recalled how uncomfortable he used to feel when his dad's fans recounted his matches and career to him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: It's how he lost his match against then-WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino on December 4, 1976. Brody had ripped the cover off of one of the turnbuckles. He grabbed Bruno in a headlock with the intention of sending Bruno headfirst into the buckle, but Bruno pushed Brody into it instead, with Bruno rolling up Brody for the pin.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Brody would come out swinging a chain, but he would also pick up a chair from the crowd and use that... or the ring bell... or a trash can... or a pointy stick...
    • In Japan, fans would line up to be beaten with cowbells on bull ropes by Brody and Hansen.
  • Intended Audience Reaction: With Brody, you had to expect the unexpected... and not just in his wrestling style. Hell, just ask to Paul Heyman!
  • Irony:
    • He played the "Southern Reb/Frotiersman" kinda feller quite well... for a guy born in Pennsylvania.
    • Possibly the most famous (or infamous, depending on your take) Garbage Wrestler ever, he was nevertheless overprotective with his spot in AJPW, a promotion known for defending adamantly its trademark elegant "King's Row" style.
    • Another "Rough 'N Tumble" bunkhouse brawlers like himself pointed out that amongst them all, it was HIM the most gifted as a wrestler.
    • It was Abdullah the Butcher, The Rival of Bruiser Brody on numerous matches the one receiving, informing his now widow the situation and comforting her upon her arrival to Puerto Rico.
  • Jerkass: He had this reputation at times among promoters and some of his peers in the States. See Base Breaker under the YMMV tab for more details.
  • Kayfabe: This would end up working in José Huertas González's favor. His lawyer was able to use Brody's in-ring persona to convince the jury in court that Brody was a violent, dangerous man and that Invader #1 killed him in self-defense.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: This was said almost verbatim by Carlos Colon referring to Brody's case on a podcast interview, since he found the whole matter too sad. He and Invader #1 were actually contacted by Dark Side of the Ring's production crew so they could convey their point of view, but both declined.
  • Lightning Bruiser: 6'6", 300 lbs. of muscle and could perform leap frogs and throw dropkicks. It's worth to mention that his working rate was incredibly fast for a man of his frame and age.
  • Mad Eye: Sometimes one would appear to be darker than the other.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Wouldn't you be afraid of being pitted against someone named Bruiser who was also called King Kong?
  • No Indoor Voice: You be the judge.
  • No-Sell: Brody was notoriously selective with who he would sell for, but it added greatly to his tough guy character. In the book Brody: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Wrestling's Rebel it's said it took a huge effort just to make Brody go to one knee, but anyone who managed it would instantly get over. When Brody did sell though, it was an amazing sight.
    • The most infamous example of this was a cage match in the mid 80s Florida. His opponent —Lex Luger— apparently did something to annoy Brody, who's response was to stop selling completely and stare a hole through Lex, who threw punch after punch to no effect, before deciding simply to leave the cage.
    • Brody faced Danny Hodge early in his career, and wondered why he should sell for "such a little guy". As Jim Ross notes, it only took a few painful holds from Hodge to teach the Bruiser a little respect.
  • Nothing Personal: The fact he faced so many friends and foes alike with utter conviction and savagery it wasn't out of spite, as much as for enjoying himself and doing business.
  • One-Steve Limit: Worked as "King Kong" Brody in St. Louis, Dick the Bruiser's World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis and other territories where Dick the Bruiser was established.
  • Only in It for the Money: His Kayfabe explanation for working with heel managers as Sheik Adnan.
    • Generally understood to be a motivating force for him in Real Life.
  • Pet the Dog: Al Snow tells a story of when he was a rookie, he and another Jobber worked a handicap match against Brody. Brody beat Al's partner bloody in the ring, but when Al tagged in Brody worked stiff but safe against him, and when he hit Al with his knee drop, he made sure that he barely made contact while still looking devastating. Why? Because Al had brain damage and had very respectfully asked Brody to do anything he wanted to him except punch him in the back of the head, because he would go blind if his injury got worse.
  • Popularity Power: In a broader sense, seeing as he might walk out if the booking wasn't going his way, he effectively forced the rules he wanted with his reputation.
  • Power Stable:
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: He used to finish each and every one of his promos this way after telling you the clearest way possible he was in the business to stomp rivals and collect his money.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: According to "Superstar" Billy Graham, he never missed a church worship service on Sunday and the first thing he would do if he had to be in another town or country on a Sunday was look for a suitable church.
  • Red Baron: "King Kong" in St. Louis and Indianapolis as stated above, "Choujuu" (鳥獣 "The Wild Animal") in Japan, and "The Hammer" when he was simply known by his own name.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Worked as a booker for WCCW and WWC, although apparently he wasn't very good at this.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Had a notorious reputation among promoters for being hard to work with and refusing to job, and would in fact walk out if he didn't like a situation. Part of this was due to his secure spot in All Japan Pro Wrestling and not wanting word of a job he had done to get back to AJPW's boss, Giant Baba.
    • On the flip side of that, as Larry Matysik noted, the word of most promoters was pretty trash, and Brody simply knew he was a valuable commodity. The proof? Even if he walked out on them, they'd all still try to bring him back when they needed to sell out a building. Granted, Matysik was one of his friends and paints Brody as a true independent rebel; perhaps a romantic view, compared to other wrestlers complaining he cost them a payday.
  • The Scrooge: Jim Ross has a story about going out for dinner with a few friends on Brody's invitation. JR then says the only way it would be a REAL story is if Brody had actually paid for the dinners!
  • Signature Move: A few Forearm Club, Headlock, Toe and Sole Kick variants, prominently The Big Boot.
    • He actually performed maneuvers like Piledrivers, Dropkicks and Body Slams, but in few rare cases.
  • Spell My Name With An S: In several NWA territories such as Georgia, his last name was written as "Brodie."
  • Squash Match: Regularly for an unfortunate Jobber every time Brody debuted/went back to a territory.
  • Tag Team: "The Miracle Power Combination" with Stan Hansen
  • Tag Team Twins: Once faced the Mexican Twin Devils (#1 and #2) in what was unofficially a handicap match as they would pull the inevitable Twin Switch routine. This went on until Don Diamond ran down to the ring and threw flour in the hair of one of them, with Brody pinning that one to win.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: He died by at least three stabs, one lacerating his liver.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: If after a fashion, Brody decided not to play along with you, there was nothing that could make him change his mind. He was trying to purchase Gorilla Monsoon's WWC shares, effectively, getting over Colon-Jovica-Huertas Gonzalez's power and influence in the promotion (he was already part of the booking team and he went to collect $25,000 they owed him from a previous tour). As he trusted to Tony Atlas:
    " are going to see a lot of changes around here."
    • Huertas Gonzalez on the other hand saw his ever-lovin' crap beaten out of him by Brody on a previous tour, had the possibility of losing his job if Brody purchased Monsoon's shares, and suffered the loss of his 3 year old daughter around the same time. This in absolutely no way justifies his acts, but they could have been the detonating factors of the tragic events that unfolded themselves later.
  • Wrestling Monster: Brody was, simply put, one of the most feared men in the ring and backstage back in the day, he was perfectly capable of wrecking your health. In fact, many say that he was killed for it.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Sometimes, rather than walk out if he didn't like a situation, he would do what he could to wreck it instead. As to refusing to cooperate with a young Lex Luger in 1987. Fans thought Brody was teaching a disrespectful rookie a lesson, that you don't tell a veteran how to work a match, taped razor blades onto his fists, and then forced a terrified Luger to leap out of the cage for his life. Bill Alfonso, the referee for the match, has said so.
    • When the video of the match was finally shown the truth was revealed though. Brody simply stopped selling and Luger was more confused than scared. He grew more frustrated and simply left when Brody refused to work with him at all. After the match, Lex asked Brody if he did something that offended him, but Brody told to Lex he did nothing wrong, Brody simply didn't like two babyfaces pitted against each other, the reaction the match was getting, and that he was having an issue with the promoter, not with Luger.