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Wrestling / Dick the Bruiser

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William Afflis (1929-1991) was an American football player and Professional Wrestler from Indiana as Dick the Bruiser. He made his name competing primarily in the Midwest, for various National Wrestling Alliance territories, for the AWA and his own World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis from 1954 until he retired in 1985. He is particularly well known for his many years teaming with The Crusher (Reggie Lisowski). He also competed for All Japan Pro Wrestling and made some appearances for Capitol Wrestling, the precursor to WWE. The most infamous was on November 19, 1957, which saw a genuine wooden chair throwing riot break out due to Dr. Jerry Graham bloodying Antonino Rocca following Rocca and Edouard Carpentier's win over Bruiser and Graham. After he retired, he worked for WCW as a talent agent. Among his in-ring achievements, he was a 1x AWA World Heavyweight Champion, a 5x AWA World Tag Team Champion with the Crusher, and a 1x NWA International Tag Team Champion with the Crusher. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996, and the WWE Legacy wing in 2021.

"The World's Most Dangerous Tropes":

  • Arch-Enemy: Bobby "The Brain Heenan, the Sheik, Bruiser Brody, Harley Race.
    • Only semi-Kayfabe: The Sheik's Detroit promotion had a serious feud with Bruiser's World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis. Bruiser was a close friend of NWA boss Sam Muchnick and had some ownership points in Muchnick's St. Louis Wrestling Club and never really cared for Sheik. Muchnick actually stopped using DTB in St. Louis after 9/22/72 until 2/15/74. WWA invaded Detroit, which was an NWA member, while the WWA wasn't. Bruiser didn't like the Sheik's wrestling style. Muchnick brought Sheik into St. Louis twice and never used him again. A lot of guys felt that the Sheik shorted them on their payouts and didn't like how Sheik kept himself as the star attraction and would basically squash guys who were getting over.
  • As Himself: In the 1974 film The Wrestler.
  • Bash Brothers: With the Crusher, of course, Wilbur Snyder, and Bruno Sammartino.
  • Blood Knight: He and Crusher would beat on each other after the end of a match, just because they weren't done fighting yet. He was also at the center of more than one riot in his life.
  • Bouncer: Used to be a bouncer in a casino before wrestling. He rarely had to hit anyone, as ripping a large phone book was enough to calm all but the stupidest troublemakers.
  • Cigar Chomper: He would smoke them almost as often as he smoked his opponents.
  • Finishing Move: Top rope kneedrop and a stomach claw.
  • Improbable Weapon User: While wrestling in St. Louis, he Squashed a young Ray "Hercules" Hernandez in a match which started with Bruiser knocking him to the floor, against a table and hitting him with a pitcher of water that was on the table.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Appeared as a Heel in the Tiger Mask series.
  • Manly Man: He would drink beer, fight, raise hell, smoke cigars, and let you know about it. And not necessarily in that order.
  • The Nicknamer: Dick was the first to call Bobby Heenan "Weasel." The nickname stuck for the rest of Heenan's life.
  • No-Sell: One of the earliest examples of someone who regularly did this.
  • Popularity Power: Once he and Da Crusher got over, they never lost the crowd's support.
  • Red Baron: "The World's Most Dangerous Wrestler".
  • Ring Oldies: He was 56 when he retired.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Ran his own promotion, the World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis, and had ownership points with the St. Louis Wrestling Club.
  • Shout-Out: David Letterman's band, The World's Most Dangerous Band, got their name from the Bruiser.
  • Stout Strength: You look up barrel chested in a dictionary you will find his picture.
  • Tag Team::
    • with the Crusher.
    • Annihilation Inc., with Bruno Sammartino.
  • Unrelated Brothers: With the Crusher.
  • Wrestling Family:
    • Spike Huber was married to his daughter and when they divorced, Bruiser blacklisted the poor guy out of the business, though there was later a reconciliation.
    • His son Karl, who also wrestled as Leroy Redbone, passed away in 2009.