The industry of professional wrestling has seen many controversies—real life controversies. A world that is based on the make-believe, pro wrestling involves a livelihood and a mode of operation that’s tremendously difficult to accomplish. Many do not understand the complexities of this industry.
The travel involved, the maintenance of its stars and basically putting up with life on the road, wrestling isn’t easy. It’s certainly a grind. And although it is slightly easier on today’s stars, it’s still archaic in terms of the work and travel involved.
It is often because of these ancient ways of doing things that lead to controversies in the business, but every now and again, something happens that is even more shocking than the usual shocker. The murder of Bruiser Brody is one such occasion.
For many out there these days—younger fans—the killing of Bruiser Brody is a story that is perhaps lost in the annals of time, many remembering mostly anything that’s transpired only in the last ten years, but to dig deeper to the eighties and the incidents that occurred then is an eye opener for sure, and I encourage younger fans to do such a deep dive into the past; you’d be very surprised to see what kind of incredible stories you’d uncover.
Today we’ll be looking specifically at the killing of Bruiser Brody and answering the question…Who was the man responsible for the death of the beloved wrestler?
Who was Bruiser Brody?
Bruiser Brody was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1946. He attended West Texas State University and played football (he was also a great basketball player—he was All-State at Warren high school for both sports in Michigan), eventually signing on with the Washington Redskins of the NFL in 1968.
He then worked as a sports writer, his training in professional wrestling would begin. He was trained by the patriarch of the Von Erich family, Fritz Von Erich.
He was a natural born wrestler. At 6 feet 8 and at over 300 pounds, Brody posed a menacing figure, but in interviews later in life, he proved to be very soft spoken, although the character of Bruiser Brody…the man he showed the audience in the ring, was one that drew a crowd. Larger than life doesn’t even begin to cut it…he was certainly something special and he knew how to tell a wrestling story. In my eyes, he was the epitome of what a pro wrestler should be.
He clocked in matches wrestling for Central States Wrestling, World Wide Wrestling Federation (now WWE), Southwest Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Council, World Class Championship Wrestling, Championship Wrestling From Florida, NJPW and that list only goes on and on, dear readers.
It was quite the career and by the mid to late eighties, he was indeed a household name…he was a feared wrestler too, and all for his very stiff and physical style—many wrestlers who wrestled him stating in stories that he could really send the shots that he threw in a match home—but he was a good man, a family man, father to a son and husband to his loving wife.
He wrestled extensively in the Puerto Rico territory of the era, the WWC, as mentioned above, it—the territory—was owned by Carlos Colón and Victor Jovica…and it would be there in 1988 that Bruiser Brody would meet with a most tragic and horrifying end.
Who Killed Bruiser Brody?
Brody, at the time, indeed had cards to play in the industry. He had built up quite the reputation, considerable savings and a following from fans and the North-American media. He hated to lose because he believed that if you lost, a wrestler would lose all the stigma attached to his/her character. This created issues with bookers, as well as other pro wrestlers (some not all), and this would not at all be an exception in 1988.
Regardless, it looked as though Brody was prepared to buy into the promotion in Puerto Rico on the week of his death, he telling that specifically to Tony Atlas, the legendary wrestler, who also wrestled for the promotion.
Brody told this to Atlas as they shared a meal after their daily workout that morning on the day of the incident. This testimonial of Tony’s is based on an interview he did with Vice TV’s Dark Side of the Ring.
Atlas claims that José Huertas González, who was a booker with the company at the time, and Brody didn’t see eye to eye…Dirty Dutch Mantel, who wrestled extensively in that territory (as well as so many others) also claimed this in the same interview with the Vice team.
Brody and Atlas were in the locker room before the show that day and José Huertas González called Brody into the showers.
Atlas claims that González had a towel in his hand, seemingly wrapped around something. The two men went into the showers, closed the doors and the next thing Atlas knew, Brody was screaming in pain. He went in there and stopped González—known in the industry as Invader #1, as he was also a pro wrestler—from administering yet another blow…what Atlas felt would have been a fatal one.
Because of Atlas, Brody got to the hospital that day, but sadly over the course of the night, would pass away from the wounds suffered to his chest and abdomen. He was 42 years old.
José Huertas González was acquitted of all charges…claiming self-defense. Atlas agreed with authorities to testify—he wanted to very badly—but was never called to do so. José Huertas González is a free man to this day. The reasons behind the killing still remain a mystery to this day.