Territories legend and WWE Hall of Famer “Bullet” Bob Armstrong died recently at age 80. His eldest son, WWE referee Scott, publicly shared the news in a tweet.
It is with a very heavy heart we announce the passing of our Father and @WWE Hall of Famer “Bullet” Bob Armstrong. Information regarding funeral arrangements will come at a later date.— Scott Armstrong (@WWEArmstrong) August 28, 2020
In March, the Armstrongs - with four sons who went into the professional wrestling business, including another Hall of Famer, Brian “Road Dogg” James (Bullet Bob’s real name was Joseph James) - revealed their patriarch had been diagnosed with bone cancer in March of this year. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran opted not to pursue treatment for the disease.
Bullet Bob started wrestling in Georgia in 1960, and was a staple of the NWA territories in the Southeastern United States throughout the first three decades of his career. Some of the titles “The Georgia Jawbreaker” held during that span were the NWA Mid-America Heavyweight, NWA Southeastern Tag Team, and the NWA Southern Heavyweight championships. He retired for a few years, but in 1992 returned and would wrestle for Smokey Mountain, WCW, and TNA/Impact over the next three decades. His last match was just last year, at 2019’s Continental Championship Wrestling Fan Fest.
Armstrong was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
WWE’s eulogy does a great job representing a life well lived and a career that spanned decades:
WWE is saddened to learn that “Bullet” Bob Armstrong, a WWE Hall of Famer and patriarch of the legendary Armstrong wrestling family, has passed away at age 80.
Equal parts strongman and showman, Armstrong, who was born Joseph James in Marietta, Ga., on Oct. 3, 1939, proved himself as one of the most tenacious grapplers on the planet during the territorial days of sports-entertainment. He secured his toughman reputation long before he ever set foot in the ring, thanks to his tour of duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and his seven-year tenure as a member of the Fair Oaks (later Cobb County) Fire Department.
Armstrong, however, didn’t rest on his laurels when he was between the ropes. He handled himself well in the rough-and-tumble southeastern territories by employing an assortment of holds and moves, including his feared sleeper and Georgia Jawbreaker. He also possessed the gift of grappling gab, giving him the uncanny ability to wear down a rival with his words as well as with his strength.
His chosen trade later became a family business, as Armstrong’s four sons — Joseph, aka Scott Armstrong, Brad, Steve and Brian, aka WWE Hall of Famer “Road Dogg” Jesse James — followed in their father’s footsteps. The Armstrong boys often found themselves in their dad’s corner, as “Bullet” Bob partnered with each of his sons at various points in a competitive career which spanned over six decades.
For his part, Armstrong often credited his beloved wife, Gail, as the secret to his success. Upon being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, the self-proclaimed “ol’ war horse” also made the case that his many triumphs likely benefited from divine intervention, too.
“I think somebody up there likes me,” Armstrong said during his 2011 WWE Hall of Fame induction speech. “I got to live my dream.”
WWE extends its condolences to Armstrong’s family, friends and fans.
On behalf of the entire Cageside Seats community, we echo WWE’s sentiment. Everyone missing Bullet Bob is in our hearts today.