Who Was That Bad News Brown, Anyway?

Written under duress by Critical Bill (@williamrenken83)

Two men in black trunks throw their weight around with the president of the WWE. Irrepressible gents, creating their own maelstrom in the vortex of bland that creeps into the present pro wrestling picture in the northeast. Bulls in a china shop. Counter culture. An understatement to call them “against the grain.” Pro wrestling is funny that way. It breeds the prayers, the milk and the vitamins, but in doing so needs an opposite, an other, that can be raw in language, beer swilling, but even sans alcohol is angry, full of piss and vinegar and exactly what most of the world needs at that time.

One of these men is in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Bad News Brown stares at President Jack Tunney with the look of angered indifference. Angry because, well, he’s angry at pretty much everyone and everything. Indifferent because the title of president of the WWE doesn’t concern him in the least, nor has any bearing on his actions in terms of deterring them. It’s funny watching this from 30 years ago because its most famous rendition would occur when Steve Austin would clash with Vince McMahon in 1998.

 

 

Brown (or Allen Coagle as he was born) is a fascinating character from the era of distinct faces and heels born out of the Stamford character factory. Black trunks, black boots, black fighting gloves, and an attitude that no one, including fellow heels, could be trusted.

 

 

Throughout the 80’s, Brown battled mega faces Jake Roberts and Roddy Piper but there was never the big payoff title match where Brown could give Hogan a run for his World Title in the midst of Hulkamania running wild. Although Brown does have the WrestleMania IV moment of winning a battle royal for a giant trophy, it was sadly a career that didn’t go anywhere.

 

WrestleMania_06_-_Roddy_Piper_Vs_Bad_News_Brown_01
At WrestleMania VI, in what is likely his most remembered match of his WWF run.

 

Even WrestleMania VI, with the weird black-face blow off match with Piper. You just get the feeling this is a career that should have gone somewhere. Let’s face it, Brown was both Austin and Brock Lesnar rolled into one. After all, he’d won the bronze medal in the Olympics for Judo. If anyone could work snug and ride the shoot/work line, this was the man who could.

But you poll the average fan of 80’s wrestling and go through the top faces and heels they can name off the top of their head, Brown might only make the cut after the first breath of names gets thrown out and that’s being generous.

You read quotes like the following, and it’s make you sick. Via Slam! magazine: “They never kept their word to me. It wasn’t a fun time for me. You see, when I left there I was really happy. I was brought there under false pretenses. They never kept their word to me. I was just sick of the lying all the time… That was two and a half years of my life I really didn’t enjoy.”

Everyone has reasons and theories in the IWC about why wrestler don’t get pushes or get de-pushed when they are pushed. Mostly it lends to the “buried” theory. Some, it’s the “injury prone” theory, but the one that always gets left in the distant third running is a wrestler’s attitude. Honestly, Brown wasn’t much so much a wrestler playing a character, but a character birthed as an extension of a wrestler. There isn’t much doubt that Brown was a man who carried himself as a BMF in the airports, between towns, and even backstage. Not likely the kind of guy willing to make many compromises.

That’s as far as my devil’s advocate defense will go because I’m an admitted fan of Brown. I feel he was a character well ahead of his time, and a wrestler that came around sadly at the wrong place at the wrong time. Ten years later, this man would have been a

A character that was ahead of its time for a mainstream audience.
A character that was ahead of its time for a mainstream audience.

headlining force in WWE. But in the late 80’s, early 90’s, shades of gray didn’t draw money and didn’t get the fans worked up into a frenzy. Sadly, Brown fell out of favor with WWF, worked the indies in the 90’s and tragically passed away in 2007 due to a heart attack. Just another file in the list of dead wrestlers. Only this wasn’t the British Bulldog, Ravishing Rick Rude, or even Mr. Perfect. This was just the black guy that Bret Hart broke a trophy over. When I asked people if they had heard of Bad News Brown, that’s the overwhelming response that I got. Good stuff…

Two men in black trunks throw their weight around with the president of the WWE. Irrepressible gents, creating their own maelstrom in the vortex of bland that creeps into the present pro wrestling picture in the northeast. Bulls in a china shop. Counter culture. An understatement to call them “against the grain.” Pro wrestling is funny that way. It breeds the prayers, the milk and the vitamins, but in doing so needs an opposite, an other, that can be raw in language, beer swilling, but even sans alcohol is angry, full of piss and vinegar and exactly what most of the world needs at that time.

Stone Cold Steve Austin is in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Bad News Brown is not.

There’s nothing wrong with petitioning for guys like Owen Hart and Brian Pillman to get into the Hall of Fame, but if you want to get behind a person who really laid some ground work, don’t wait until February when WWE.com finds it convenient to celebrate black atheletes. Bad News Brown deserves celebration year round. And that’s yet another great reason to love the WWE Network. Because it gives us a flashlight to look deeper between those cracks that hide the likes of Bad News Brown and discover the jewel of his career and many others. #BNBHOF15

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s