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Welcome To The Vault! In This Edition, Harry Simon Goes Back To Yesteryear To Bring Us Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake!

Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake


“Oh, that?  Don’t worry about that, officers.  It’s not anthrax.  It’s just my stash of cocaine that I always keep close at –  Um, uh oh.”


--Former WWF World Tag Team champion and current fare collector, Ed “Brutus Beefcake” Leslie, February 2004 (Paraphrased)


Approx running time: 90 min

Approx time period covered: 1986-1988

Released: 1988

Host: Mean Gene Okerlund


Gene opens the tape with a montage of Bruti cutting the hair of various jobbers while music from “The Barber Of Seville” plays over the carnage.  Clever, but maybe they should have played a song by the rock band Anthrax.


True story: My big practical joke for Christmas 2001 was to buy a bunch of used Anthrax CDs, and mail them out to people with a post-it on it saying, “Happy holidays!  This is ANTHRAX!!  How ya like me now, bitch?!”  Then I saw news reports that the post office was randomly opening up packages and I chickened out.  So I was a pussy AND I was stuck with a bunch of old used Anthrax CDs.  Speaking of anthrax, on with the Brutus Beefcake video!


Brutus Beefcake & Johnny V appeared on TNT to establish their relationship.  Now now, that’s not what I meant, although they both did look like rejects from a Gwar video.  Vince put over that Johnny V was the high bidder in the managerial war for Beef’s services as a wrestler.  Ordinarily, I’d make some crack about Johnny V and an “eBay screwjob finish,” but angles like this were great for making a wrestler look like a hot commodity.  When discussing how much of Beefcake’s success was due to Beefcake and how much was due to Johnny V, Johnny attempted to be devious and cryptic by saying “It could be 50-50, then again, it could be 75-25, or it could be 25-50.”  Hey Bruti, your new manager can’t count.  A good, effective segment that established Beefcake and Johnny as cocky heels.

1) World champion Hulk Hogan b Brutus Beefcake (w/ Johnny V) to retain the title [Clipped; 8/17/85].  Typical 80s Hogan match.  Hogan humorously mocked Bruti’s strutting and took over early, but soon fell to Bruti’s offense.  Beef locked in a long (as in, “where’s the remote?”) bearhug, but Hogan made a Superman comeback, natch.  Hogan dropped the leg, but Johnny V distracted the champ from the pin.  Beefcake accidentally blasted Johnny with the high knee, allowing Hulk to schoolboy the challenger for the pin.  You can tell that Hogan and Beef were longtime friends because Bruti escaped the Hogan finish. 


Lord Alfred Hayes did a voice-over segue into the next two-match series…and gave away both finishes.  Sigh.  Anyway, the point made by these early matches was that Beefcake’s arrogance combined with Johnny V’s incompetence cost Bruti many a victory.


2) The British Bulldogs b Tag champions Beefcake & Greg Valentine (w/ Johnny) by DQ so the champs retained the title [JIP; 9/10/85].  Only the last minute-and-a-half aired, which was frustrating because this looked like a good match with all four workers in their prime (especially the ‘Dogs, who were one of the greatest teams ever).  Dynamite Kid got the hot tag and cleaned house.  Dyno climbed to the top rope for the diving headbutt, but Johnny shoved him off for the DQ.


3) The Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano & Ozzy Osbourne) b Beefcake & Valentine (w/ Johnny) to win the Tag title [Wrestlemania 2, JIP; 4/7/86].  Similarly, only the last 90 seconds aired, which was similarly aggravating because this was the best Tag title match in WM history that didn’t involve a ladder.


A clip was shown of the televised six-man tag with Beefcake & Valentine & Adrian Adonis vs. The Can-Am Connection & Lanny Poffo.  This was in the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania III, with Adonis doing a hair-cutting gimmick to build for his hair vs. hair match against Roddy Piper.  There was a spot when Rick Martel was muscled into the heel team’s corner and Adonis brandished his scissors.  Adonis tried to cut Martel’s hair, but cut Beefcake’s by mistake.  No, seriously.  Feuds had premises like this back in the 80s.  Don’t even get me started about Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez.  Anyway, they just showed the clip of Beefcake getting clipped, not the beginning of the match, nor the end.  Who the hell won this match, anyway?


Beefcake cut an angry promo on Adonis, going so far as to tell Adrian that he hoped that Piper would win the match at WM3 and shave Adonis bald.  Is there ever truly a reason to resort to such harsh words?  Lord Al again voice-over’ed us into the next two matches and AGAIN gave away both angles.  My new goal in life is to track down Lord Al ask for his autograph, and while he obliges me, I will give away the end of his own name while he signs and then yell “How ya like me now, bitch?!”  (That’s my catchphrase for this column, in case you haven’t guessed.)  Plan B is to find Lord Al and just punch him in the face very, very hard.


4) Beefcake & Valentine (w/ Johnny & Dino Bravo) b Jacques & Raymond Rougeau [Wrestlemania III, JIP; 3/29/87].  Again with the last 90 seconds of a match.  The Rougeaus were in control and hit Valentine with their finisher, dubbed “Le Bombe De Rougeau” by the WWF Magazine.  If you haven’t seen it, Raymond would bearhug the victim while Jacques jumped off the top rope and hit the victim with his penis.  That’s right, Jacques’ crotch would smack the guy in the face, dropping him to the mat where Raymond would execute a rolling cradle for the pin attempt.  As a young child, I was terrified by the concept of a French Canadian running around and attacking helpless victims with his flying groin.  Damn you for ruining my childhood, Jacques Rougeau!  Anyway, the Rogeaus hit LBDR, but the Dream Team won with a Nasty finish as Bravo dropped a forearm on Raymond to set up Valentine’s pin.  Beefcake then threw a tantrum and refused to ride back to the locker room with his team in the cute li’l ring-shaped Popemobile.  This was understandable, seeing as how Valentine’s face was touring Southern Canada mere minutes ago.  The other three ditched Beefcake, with Johnny raising the hands of Valentine and Bravo.  All joking aside, I didn’t understand this angle then and I don’t understand it now.  How exactly did the other guys “betray” Beefcake?  By winning the match?  By not wanting to wait all night for him to get in the cart and ride back with them?  Because Valentine wanted to get back to the locker room ASAP and empty a bottle of Lysol on his kisser?  I guess we’re just supposed to take the WWF’s word for it that Beef was “betrayed.”  Anyhoo, this angle set up Bruti’s split with the DT and his babyface turn as well as establishing Valentine and Bravo as “The New Dream Team.”  The NDT flopped, by the way.  Bravo and Valentine wrestling as singles again by Wrestlemania IV.  Also, they had different managers (Frenchy Martin and Jimmy Hart, respectively) and Johnny V was history altogether.


They showed the last 10 seconds of the Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis hair vs. hair match from WM3, as Piper beat Adonis with a sleeper.  Yet for some reason, they didn’t show the part of the match where Beefcake ran-in and revived Piper from Adonis’ sleeper to give “Hot Rod” the win.  Piper then let Bruti have the honor of shaving Adonis’ head.  This was the angle that made a “Barber” out of Brutus.


5) Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake b Johnny V [5/2/87].  This was an early match for Beefcake’s “Barber” gimmick, as he wore a white barber’s smock to the ring.  The smock was dropped about a month into the gimmick once his um, barberocity had been communicated to fans.  This match took place after the TV match that officially started the barber gimmick (Brutus beat Johnny with a sleeper and gave him a mullethawk).  Johnny started out quickly (and hilariously) by strangling Beefcake in the corner Homer Simpson style, snarling “You wanna be a barber, huh?  I’ll show you the barber!  I’ll show you what a barber is!  I’ll grab the hair right off your head, boy!”  Johnny really was great as an angry ranting heel.  For some reason, Johnny had the words “MOON SHINE” on the back of his tights, which Gorilla rightly mocked.  After Johnny’s quick start, Beefcake took over and basically squashed him right up until the déjà vu finish.  Beef again won with the sleeper, then cut off some more of Johnny’s hair and spray-painted him orange.  So that’s where the NWO stole that gimmick from.  In all seriousness, you should hear these 80s crowds pop for the sleeper.  Just goes to show you what you can do when you get heat on a finisher.  That said, Johnny oversold the sleeper to the point where it totally killed any cred as Johnny visibly SNORED all throughout his haircut.  But it was the 80s, so no one really minded.  Wrestling fans were a lot dumber back then.  (Mike)


Mean Gene interviewed Beefcake who essentially said that he was born again as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.  Beef’s feud with The NDT was discussed.


6) Beefcake DDQ Valentine (w/ Hart) [?/?/88].  This was a TV match from 1988.  Here’s an example of a WWF video going from Point A to Point C without bothering to drop by Point B.  By this time, The NDT was already history and Valentine was back to a single with new manager Jimmy Hart.  On commentary, the WM3 split was almost an afterthought, relegated to comments like “these two know each other very well.”  Decent enough back-and-forth action until the guys slugged it out and both shoved down the referee who tried to intervene.  Beefcake put the sleeper on Valentine, and Hart tried to break the hold with Beefcake’s own pruning shears, but Beef had eyes in the back of his head and intercepted Hart’s interception.  This, in turn, allowed Valentine to attack Bruti from behind and slap on the figure-four leglock.  Great “desert crawl” spot as Beefcake inched toward his shears while Hart tried to grab them himself.  Fans chanted “Beefcake” and were rewarded with an awesome visual as Bruti grabbed the shears just as Hart leapt for them.  Valentine let go of the hold and bailed as the wounded Brutus menacingly threatened to chop off Valentine’s head with his shears.  Ohhhhhhhhh, so that’s how you counter a figure-four!  All this time, that stupid Sting kept rolling onto his stomach when he just needed a big-ass pair of pruning shears.  That’s another thing they should teach on Tough Enough.  Great post-mach sell-job as Beefcake couldn’t even stand and had to be helped from the ring. (Mike)


7) Beefcake b IC champion The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Hart) by DQ in a non-title match [10/7/87].  HTM was one of the greatest heels ever, as his bumping and selling made Beefcake look like a million bucks in this match.  One of those “picture-in-picture” promos aired from Danny Davis, who vowed that he was keeping his eye on the referee, and said that Beefcake shouldn’t be allowed to bring scissors into a ring.  Actually, he’s right.  This was a 99% squash match, with HTM’s total offense consisting of one bodyslam.  Beef locked in the sleeper, prompting Jimmy Hart to run-in for the DQ.  Beefcake got the drop on Hart and cut off a little of his hair until Davis ran-in and saved his manager.  This was the best Bruti looked throughout the whole video. (David)


8) Beefcake b Danny Davis (w/ Hart) [10/28/87].  Not good, not entertaining, not worth a long write-up.  Finish saw Beefcake put the sleeper on Davis, but Jimmy Hart tried to break it up (for the third consecutive match).  However, Bruti caught him in the act (for the third consecutive match) and threw him from the top rope into Davis.  Davis was stunned by the Jimmy-missile, setting up Beef’s pin.  Next! (Chris)


9) Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil) b Beefcake [9/12/87].  DiBiase ruled.  I know I type that every time I review an old 80s DiBiase match, but dammit, it’s the truth.  DiBiase was legendary for carrying loads like Hogan and Ultimate Warrior.  “The Million-Dollar Man’s” magic forklift was working overtime for this match so much that Brutus actually looked a wrestler in this outing.  Anyway, the finish saw Virgil trip Bruti, allowing DiBiase to schoolboy him with a handful of tights for the pin.  Best full match on the tape, and much better than the disappointing Beefcake-DiBiase Wrestlemania V bout.  (I say “disappointing” because that was DiBiase in his prime.  Beefcake, however, entirely lived up to my low expectations for him.) (David)


Special Feature: Brutus Goes To Barber College.  A segment aired where Beefcake met Sal Fodera, who is the Yoda of hair-cutting.  Sal schooled young Brutus in the arts of hair-styling and speaking in an effeminate accent.  Hokey skit, but it got the “barber” thing over.  Oh, one last thing: Fodera is bald.  How the hell does a bald guy get to be a “World Champion Hair Stylist?”  Who would go to a bald barber?  Would you go to a fat personal trainer?  Why do I even ask such questions?


10) Beefcake b Dino Bravo (w/ Johnny) by DQ [5/13/87].  Another unspectacular TV match.  Long non-story short, Valentine ran-in and broke up Beefcake’s sleeper for the DQ.  This is why I kvetched about the placement of the earlier Beefcake-Valentine match.  Just like that, Valentine is now hanging with Johnny and Bravo again.  Anyway, Johnny and the NDT beat down Bruti until the Rougeaus made the save.  The heels ran off in terror, rightly afraid that they would be subjected to Jacques Rougeau and his flying willie had they stuck around. (Mike)


11) Beefcake & The Rougeaus b Jimmy Jack Funk & Iron Mike Sharpe & Johnny K-9 [6/2/87].  This was a TV squash to set up six-man matches with The NDT & Johnny V on house shows.  This was the last match on the tape, which made zero sense because the previous match and the commentary for this one centered around the prospect of a six-man tag with Beefcake & Rougeaus vs. Johnny & NDT, which they didn’t deliver on this tape.  They actually did do that this match on Best Of The WWF Vol. 14, but even so, it left you feeling ripped off at the end of the Bruti video.  During the course of this match, no jobbers were subjected to Jacques Rougeau’s flying crotch. (Waldo)


Overall over-analysis:  Weird pacing.  The first half of the tape told the story of Beefcake evolving from smarmy heel who teamed with Greg Valentine and Johnny V to smarmy babyface who feuded with Greg Valentine and Johnny V.  But for some reason, the middle of the tape detoured into a mini-feud with Jimmy Hart’s stable, then we were back to Beefcake vs. The NDT again.  The Fedora skit was lame, but the feeling at the time was that stuff like that did more to get gimmicks over than actual matches (which was true).  If I’m in a good mood, I’ll tell you that Brutus Beefcake was a mediocre worker at best, and while there’s enough watchable stuff on here, this video just isn’t worth the bother.  If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll tell you to rent it and see for yourself.


On the plus side, I was pleased to learn that even I make more money at my day job than The Man With No Common Sense, who was raking in a big $25,000 a year at the tollbooth.  This dope was right there sucking at the teet of the biz during both big boom periods (80s WWF and 90s WCW).  He was in the first six Wrestlemanias, plus WM9.  He headlined SummerSlam 89 with Hulk.  He headlined Starrcade 94 with Hulk.  Most tellingly of all, he was tight with Hogan until (according to the Torch), he dropped Hogan’s name so much, Hulk got sick of the guy and cut all ties with him.  For all the accurate jokes about Beefcake stinking up wrestling rings, there’s something to be said when a former superstar sinks this low.  But if there’s one silver lining to this cloud, I can now guaran-damn-tee you that Bruti will definitely make it to a future “Behind The Pyro.”


Grade: D




Match dates courtesy of www.prowrestlinghistory.com

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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).