Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement & Yay or Nay For The Hall Of Fame!
Several years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Brutus Beefcake, and thought he was a cool dude, but he is one of those guys whose name comes up when one asks ‘should he be in the WWE Hall of Fame’ the question is always missed with a mixed response from fans... and I hope to try and come up with an answer this week.
Getting his start in the late 70s, Beefcake basically was attached to the hip of Hulk Hogan from the start, even being billed as his brother early in their respective careers. With names like Eddie Boulder (to match Hulk’s Terry Boulder character) and Dizzy Hogan, Beefcake actually got around quite a bit, working for the Continental Wrestling in Memphis, a cup of coffee with the WWF, some time in the AWA. Pacific Northwest Wrestling, a couple of tours with New Japan, and an extended run with Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in the Carolinas… so he was very well traveled.
Arriving in the WWF in 1984, he was paired up with Johnny Valiant and got his most famous ring moniker of Brutus Beefcake… and… he basically had the character of a male stripper… but the only thing that really came out of this was the outlandish style of tights he’d wear… Beefcake would appear on the first WrestleMania facing David Sammartino, the son of Bruno Sammatino, and even having a brief feud with Hulk Hogan that had a series of matches in the spring of 1985 before Beefcake would see himself going into another direction in the Summer, forming a tag team with Greg Valentine and winning the Tag Team titles, which they would hold until WrestleMania 2.
However a number of circumstances saw a big break for Brother Bruti…. Between being Hogan’s buddy, the fading star of The Junkyard Dog and the retirement of Roddy Piper in early 1987, saw Brutus turn into a rather fun babyface… at WrestleMania 3, his tag team with Valentine dissolved and later that night, Beefcake would take part in cutting the hair of Adrian Adonis (who a hair vs hair match against Piper) and earning the nickname ‘The Barber’
With this twist of fate, Beefcake would start having a routine with his matches, defeating a guy with a sleeper and then cutting some of their hair after the match as part of a victory celebration. It got over and helped made him popular enough to challenge for the Intercontinental Championship held by The Honky Tonk Man in 1988, but he would never win the title, as he was transitioned away from the title for a lower feud with Outlaw Ron Bass and then moving back up the card feuding with Randy Savage and by proxy being Hogan’s partner in a program that also involved Tony Lister Jr playing his character ‘Zeus’ from the movie No Holds Barred through the majority of 1989. Beefcake would hit his peak in 1990 with a win over Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig at WrestleMania 6, being the first man to pin him under that character in the WWF.
This is where another twist of fate happened… in the summer of 1990, Brutus was involved in a para-sailing accident that saw saw his facial skeleton crushed and putting his career on hold for over two years, but he would never really be the same. He would return as a ‘run in character’, a guy with a mask randomly attacking heels which went no-where, then hosting the ‘Barber Shop’ that served as the place sight where The Rockers split up and Marty Jannetty trying to escape through a window to get away from Shawn Michaels and where Sid Justice cemented his pace as a heel by brutally attacking Beefcake.
It wouldn’t be until 1993 where he would return to the ring as a wrestler, with the para-sailing accident serving as the basis for the storyline that was featured in a big way in the early days of Monday Night RAW. He would be placed in a feud with Ted DiBiase and IRS, the WWF Tag Team Champions, a program that would later include Hulk Hogan and serve as a way to keep Hogan’s ‘in ring’ work load light when he became WWF Champion again at WrestleMania 9… so despite having a genuine comeback story that the people would obviously buy, Beefcake would basically be wasted in 1993.
The final phase of Beefcake’s main stream career would see him hitting New Japan and a few independent shows before being brought into WCW by Hogan, where because of trademark issues, had to take the name The Butcher and was Hogan’s first Starrcade opponent in 1994 and being apart of the Faces of Fear. He would tend up in the Dungeon of Doom to continue feuding with Hogan with he would have the name of Zodiac, where all he said was ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, which would inspire Daniel Bryan years later, had a decent run as The Booty Man with decent feud with Diamond Dallas Page … and eventually ended up in the nWo as The Disciple, a role where he was basically Hogan’s lackey (Notice a trend here?) and being a casualty of the ill-advised Hogan vs Warrior II feud of 1998.
In the years since he’s basically made occasional wrestling appearances, with his last high profile matches being apart of the Hulkamania Let The Battle Begin Tour in 2009… let me clarify that as far as I can tell, he has had matches as recently as November of 2015
So with all that said… is it a Yay or a Nay with Brutus? He had a huge break in 1987 with The Barber character, but the para-sailing accident in 1990 basically took away what would’ve been him on top. His comeback in 1993 being wasted and being so closely tied with Hogan (as a tag team partner, opponent and on-screen lackey) for the next several years certainly leaves a less than memorable impression. In fact, I would dare say the case of Brutus Beefcake really is the ‘what if’ factor… what if the para-sailing accident didn’t occur? What if he wasn’t saddled with Hulk Hogan in 1993 and allowed to have a comeback story for the ages… or at least the early 1990s
But we don’t have the answers to that, we got what we got as history laid it out… and maybe because I’m biased, I’ll say ‘yay’ in Brutus’s case, but it can very easily be a nay’
He was apart of the first 6 WrestleManias, he had a character that was loved by the fans and it’s a character that can be brought out on WWE TV today to be the ‘barber’ for a hair vs hair match and in theory would get a huge pop (the fact this hasn’t happened with any Hair vs Hair matches that took place since 2000 is odd)
So what do you think? Is Brutus Beefcake a worthy candidate for the WWE Hall of Fame? Let me know
With that said, later tonight, I’ll be doing the a post-show and blog in regards to NXT Takeover The End. So till then, have yourselves a great day!.