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This Day in Wrestling History (July 16): Bruiser Brody Passes Away

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28 years ago today, Frank Goodish, best known to wrestling fans as Bruiser Brody, is fatally stabbed in a shower stall in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He was 42.

Born June 18, 1946 in Detroit, Michigan, Goodish was an all-state football and basketball player at Warren High School in Warren, Michigan. He played football at West Texas A&M and for the NFL's Washington Redskins before transitioning to wrestling.

Though he's wrestled all over the world, his biggest successes came in Japan where he won the NWA International Heavyweight Championship three times and was a PWF tag team champion with Stan Hansen for All Japan Pro Wrestling. His brawling style made him a pioneer and sought after competitor, winning the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Best Brawler award seven times in the 1980s (including five years in a row from 1980 to 1984; the Best Brawler Award is now named for him). His legitimately uncooperative demeanor also made him a potential poison to any locker room.

On July 16, 1988, Goodish was stabbed twice in the stomach in a locker room confrontation in Bayamon, Puerto Rico prior to a match. Tony Atlas and Dutch Mantel were among the first on the scene of the stabbing. He had to be physically carried to a waiting ambulance as paramedics could not move him. Goodish died the next morning in a local hospital due to excessive blood loss.

Jose Gonzalez, aka Invader I, a part owner of World Wrestling Council at the time, was initially charged with first degree murder, but the charge was later reduced to involuntary homicide. There was also some speculation that WWC principal owner Carlos Colon may have had a hand in the murder. With virtually no witness testimony at the trial (Dutch Mantel recalled that he did not receive his summons after the trial had ended), Gonzalez was ultimately acquitted of all charges in January 1989. Goodish at the time of his death left behind a wife, Barbara Smith, and son, Geoffrey Dean.

26 years ago today, WWF taped the 27th edition of Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Omaha Civic Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Airing on NBC twelve days later, the show is noted for setting up the two main event bouts for Summerslam: Hulk Hogan returned to the WWF after being "injured" at the hands of Earthquake, and the announcement of a steel cage match for the WWF Championship due to the inconclusive finish that opened the show's opening match.

  • The Ultimate Warrior defeated Rick Rude by disqualification to retain the WWF Championship.
  • Demolition (Smash and Crush) defeated The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • Mr. Perfect defeated Tito Santana to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • The Texas Tornado defeated Buddy Rose.

21 years ago today, WCW presented Bash at the Beach (WWE Network link) from Huntington Beach, California.

This event actually took place on a beach. Like a real beach. They set up a ring there and everything. Fans and beachgoers could stop right on by and watch the event for free, meaning WCW got exactly $0 in gate receipts for this event, something WCW would repeat in each of the next four summers with Hog Wild (later renamed Road Wild).

Though WCW claimed over 100,000 fans were there, actual attendance is only around 9,500, with 170,000 homes watching on PPV. Of note, some of the footage for the show would be used for a February 1996 episode of Baywatch appropriately titled "Bash at the Beach".

  • In a WCW Main Event preshow match, Johnny B. Badd defeated Chris Kanyon.
  • In a WCW Main Event preshow match, Road Warrior Hawk defeated Mark Starr.
  • Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck defeated Marcus Bagwell and Alex Wright.
  • Sting defeated Meng to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • The Renegade defeated Paul Orndorff to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Kamala defeated Jim Duggan.
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeated Dave Sullivan.
  • Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) defeated The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) and The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal and Earl Robert Eaton) in a triangle match to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Randy Savage defeated Ric Flair in a lifeguard lumberjack match. Serving as the lumberjacks were extras for Baywatch.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated Vader in a steel cage match to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. An interesting side note: this was the first time WCW used the "escape the cage" rule for a steel cage bout in their company's history, as all their steel cage matches were contested by pinfall or submission. The reason for the rule change: Vader would not do a pinfall or submission job for Hogan after Hogan said he wouldn't do the same for Vader when the feud began. This would be the final WCW PPV appearance for Vader. A few days before Fall Brawl, Vader got into a fight with Paul Orndorff and was fired as a result.

16 years ago today, ECW presented Heatwave 2000 (WWE Network link) from the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.

The event is noted for a confrontation between ECW wrestlers and a few wrestlers from LA-based Xtreme Pro Wrestling (who actually bought ringside tickets for the event). The confrontation began when XPW valet Kristi Myst grabbed Francine. It quickly escalated as the ECW locker room emptied. Security removed the XPW talent from the building, but the issue did not subside.

The brawl continued after the show, with the XPW talent taking a major beating before escaping in their limo. There was speculation that it was nothing more than a work, but witnesses at the scene say that it was very much a shoot.

  • Sal E. Graziano defeated Balls Mahoney.
  • Kid Kash, Danny Doring, and Amish Roadkill defeated Simon Diamond, C.W. Anderson, and Swinger.
  • Jerry Lynn defeated Steve Corino.
  • Chris Chetti and Super Nova defeated Da Baldies (Tony DeVito and Angel).
  • Yoshihiro Tajiri defeated Mikey Whipwreck, Little Guido, and Psicosis in a four-way dance.
  • Rhino defeated The Sandman to retain the ECW World Television Championship.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Scotty Anton.
  • Justin Credible defeated Tommy Dreamer in a "Stairway to Hell" ladder match to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

15 years ago today, Terry Ray Gordy, Sr. died of a heart attack caused by a blood clot. He was just 40 years old.

Born April 23, 1961 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Gordy started wrestling as Terry Mecca for the International Wrestling Association at just age 14. In 1979, he began wrestling under his real name, and along with Michael Hayes (and later Buddy Roberts), Gordy formed the Fabulous Freebirds. They would have a long-standing feud with the Von Erich family at World Class Championship Wrestling.

In 1986, Gordy won the Universal Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship. He held it for six months before having to vacate it due to injury at the hands of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams.

The Freebirds reformed in 1989 for Jim Crockett Promotions, later WCW, but broke up again when Gordy left for All Japan Wrestling. He teamed with Steve Williams to form the Miracle Violence Connection. The duo would win the All Japan Pro Wrestling tag titles five times from 1990 to 1993. Singles success also found Gordy, as he won the All Japan Triple Crown Championship twice. Neither run lasted long; his first lasted all three days, his second ended in the hospital less than a month later. The Connection also unified the WCW and NWA world tag team titles in 1992. New Japan Pro Wrestling tried to get the Connection vs. Steiner Brothers feud going, but it never came to pass. Their loyalty to All Japan led to both Gordy and Williams leaving WCW.

Tragedy befell Gordy the next year. While travelling to Japan, Gordy overdosed on pain medication and slipped into a coma. He eventually recovered, but suffered permanent brain damage.

In 1996, Gordy had brief runs in ECW and the WWF. His most notable ECW bout came against Bam Bam Bigelow in the "Battle of the Bam Bams". Bigelow won with help from the Eliminators. He had a two-month run in the WWF as the masked Executioner. He cost Undertaker the Buried Alive match against Mankind at In Your House 11: Buried Alive, but Undertaker got his revenge on the Executioner in an Armageddon Rules match at In Your House 12: It's Time. Gordy left the WWF shortly thereafter.

Gordy was found in his home in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. At the time of his death, he was survived by a son, two daughters, one nephew, and one niece. His son, Terry Jr., wrestled for WWE as Jesse and later Slam Master J before retiring in 2010. His nephew, Richard Slinger, wrestled for All Japan and Pro Wrestling Noah before retiring in 2005.

14 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (WWE Network link), Stephanie McMahon returns to WWE programming after a three and a half month absence as the new Smackdown General Manager. The announcement comes just a day after Eric Bischoff debuts at the same post for RAW.

Stephanie was last seen on WWE programming on the March 25 episode of RAW when she was defeated by Triple H in a then-WWF Championship triple threat match that included Chris Jericho. The loss banished her from the company.

Stephanie's tenure as general manager doesn't last nearly as long as Eric's, lasting just under 15 months before she is ousted by her father in an I Quit match at No Mercy in October 2003.

10 years ago today, TNA presented Victory Road from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

  • In a preshow dark match, Johnny Devine defeated Shark Boy.
  • The Naturals (Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas) defeated The Diamonds in the Rough (Elix Skipper and David Young).
  • Monty Brown fought Rhino to a no contest.
  • The Latin American Exchange (Homicide and Hernandez) defeated Sonjay Dutt and Ron Killings.
  • Senshi defeated Kazarian to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Raven defeated Larry Zbyszko in a hair versus hair match.
  • Chris Sabin and Jay Lethal defeated The Paparazzi (Kevin Nash and Alex Shelley).
  • The James Gang (B.G. James and Kip James) and Abyss (with James Mitchell) defeated Team 3D (Brother Ray, Brother Devon and Brother Runt).
  • Sirelda, A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels defeated Gail Kim and America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) in a mixed tag team match to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Sting defeated Scott Steiner, Samoa Joe, and Christian Cage in a Road to Victory Match to earn a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match at Hard Justice.

3 years ago today, Lisa Marie Varon, best known to wrestling fans as Victoria but more recently known as TNA Knockout Tara, is released by the company.

In her four years with TNA, she won the Knockouts championship five times and the Knockouts tag titles once. In interviews following her release, Varon said she was on the verge of leaving the company prior to her release, and she has no intention of going back. She also said while her valued her time in TNA, it "made her appreciate WWE a lot".

Varon opened a restaurant in Chicago just before her release, but in February 2015, she moved back to southern California, where she resides today.

Happy 40th birthday to Franklin Roberto Lashley. But feel free to call him Bobby Lashley, you know, since everyone else does.

Most famous for his time in WWE, where he won the ECW world title twice and the United States Championship, these days, he's making his bones in TNA, where is their current world champion on his third run. He's a successful amateur wrestler as well; he's a two-time NAIA national wrestling champion and is a four-time NAIA All-American. He had plans to compete in the 2004 Olympics, but he suffered a knee injury when a robbery broke out a bank he was in. Lashley's also a pretty successful MMA fighter. Currently signed to Bellator MMA, Lashley has a career MMA record of 14-2.