Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1989 WWF as told by Brutus Beefcake

This interview runs for two hours and eleven minutes.

Your host is Sean Oliver

Before the interview begins, Sean runs down all of the non-wrestling things that were happening in 1989, with one of those things being the top song of the year, which was “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Poison. Brutus then mentions that he knows the lead singer (Brett Michaels) but could not remember his name. He said that they were both living life on the edge at the time and trying to clean themselves up. When asked about the life on the road, comparing it to Rock Stars, Brutus claims that the rock stars all wanted to be like them, not the other way around.

Before the interview begins, Sean brings up that Brutus mentioned to him when this idea was approached that he wasn’t sure how well his memory would hold up.




JANUARY

On January 7th, Beefcake defeated Ron Bass in a hair vs. hair match. Beefcake talks about how when he broke in the business in the Pensacola territory in the early 1970’s, he first matches were against Ron Bass and his partner, Pete Austin, who was also from Boston. Beefcake said that Bass was a good guy and a great worker. Beefcake said no one wants to get their head shaved in a match but Bass did what he had to do.
Next, is the Red Rooster. When Beefcake is asked about how the gimmick was created. Beefcake laughs and said he could never figure out how it came about. Beefcake brings up Pat Patterson and how he had a weird sense of humor. During this part, he brings up how Patterson and even Vince were big on being subtle. He then goes into how his “Barber” gimmick came about from his “sick sense of humor.” Brutus said that Pat’s boyfriend Louis, who was a hairdresser that actually ended up hanging himself. Beefcake then talks more about the Barber gimmick and how it was unheard of at that time, because a hair match was usually only done once a year. Sean goes with this and asks if that added to his popularity. Brutus said that he took it to another level and that it was never done before. He also said that he had no clue that it was going to happen. During the TV tapings in Rochester shortly after WrestleMania III, Brutus was handed a white coat with scissors and a comb then was told he was going to be “The Barber.” Brutus’s first response was “fuck you” when approached with the gimmick and he was freaked out because he believed that prior to that, he made himself  a “household name” and the crowd loved to hate him. Brutus then says that no one knows this but he went nuts backstage, kicking the lockers and breaking stuff, threatening to quit over the gimmick that he believed was going to kill his career. Brutus says that the gimmick was created by Patterson to fuck with him and since he was Hulk’s friend and he couldn’t fuck with the top guy, he was the target. Sean asks why and Brutus says that Patterson was jealous of them. Brutus then said in the midst of his tantrum, Hogan went over to him and said that when you go into the ring, you put them out with the sleeper then cut their hair. Brutus thought about it and said if he did that everytime he went out, it would help get the gimmick over.
Brutus is now asked about Steve Lombardi and his long tenure with the WWF. Brutus laughs a lot and said that he never physically witnessed anything but heard a lot of stuff and said that he was a good guy and always nice to him but did hear some stuff throughout the years that made him wonder what is really going on with him.
On January 21st, the Bushwhackers made their debut on “Superstars.” Brutus said that Butch’s ankles were messed up from rugby. Sean asks them about switching from the Sheepherders to the Bushwhackers. Brutus puts them over as the original hardcore wrestling team and said they were tougher than nails. He also said how the people loved them and it is all about finding your niche with the crowds
He is now asked about the Rougeau Brothers and if they were better as heels or faces. Brutus laughed and said that they were not good at anything. He did say that he liked them though. Sean asks Brutus about the French Canadian guys sticking together and Brutus confirms that but said that Rick Martel would branch off away from them at times. He talks about Dino Bravo and how he got up tied up in the mob. He then said that he was shot and killed in his home with his family present.
On January 26th, the Michigan sports commission barred him from wrestling. He was scheduled to wrestle against the Ultimate Warrior. Brutus laughed and said that the reason he was barred was due to the fact that he was supposed to win the match, strongly hinting that the reason for this happening was to prevent certain finishes from happening. Brutus then says he was supposed to get the belt off from Honky at SummerSlam but that didn’t happen and that was how he wound up feuding with Ron Bass. Brutus said that Warrior through a tantrum and said he was going to quit and because he was Vince’s boy, they had to switch all of their plans and give him the belt.
FEBRUARY
Brutus is asked if the jobbers got paid extra for getting their haircut. He confirms that and said those guys would usually get $50 but when they wrestled him and got their haircut, they would get about $300. He even said how some of them would face him every few months to get the extra money. When asked, Brutus said that the main roster guys did not get extra for their hair getting cut. Sean then asks him how you cut the hair of someone who you are feuding with for a month and cutting their hair nightly. Brutus takes a detour and said that this business is all about psychology and that a lot of guys now go to wrestling school, a notion that Brutus laughs at and says that you learn nightly by working with veterans and getting your ass-kicked, saying that moves are all bullshit. Back to the haircutting, Brutus is asked if he ever gave someone an extra cut. Brutus said that he would take care of guys that would work with him but some who didn’t would be crying in the barber chair backstage, as they all got their haircut by a professional after the match.
The Megapowers Explode angle begins on Saturday Night’s Main Event. Sean is asked if this was based off of Randy’s real-life jealousy. Brutus said that Randy was crazy and jealous and would legit lock her in the dressing room. He would even chase other wrestlers and agents around who looked at Elizabeth the wrong way. Brutus said that he worked with Randy a lot, replacing Hulk, at the time and he had Elizabeth in his corner. He then talks about he had to replace Hogan and was nervous about that but since his character was so hot, he was able to slide right into the role and the fans did not complain. Brutus tells a story of how one night in Indianapolis, a fan threw an egg and it hit Elizabeth in the head, splattering all over her hair. Sean brings up how George Steele said Randy was not jealous of him and Brutus said that it is bullshit because Randy was jealous every minute of every day.
Next, Brutus is asked about the athletic commission. He said that they would basically just take your blood pressure but at least they are monitoring you a little bit. He also puts over the brutality of the travel schedule and the fact that they did not have any health insurance of retirement fund.
MARCH
Brutus is asked about Jake Roberts snake, Damian. Brutus said that sometimes, Jake would let it loose in the shower and it would shit after it ate and it was the worst smell ever. He is asked who was the most afraid of the snake and he said it was Andre. He then says that Jake knew that and said if you told Jake he wasn’t supposed to do something, he had to do it and Jake would put the snake on Andre. After that, Andre would make it a point to rough up Jake in the ring. He said that Andre would step on his hair and legit rip the hair out of his head when he would lift him back up. Brutus questions as to why you would ever piss off Andre.
Tony Schiavone makes his WWF announcing debut at the March 18th show at Madison Square Garden. Brutus shits all over him, questioning what function he was supposed to have and said that he guessed everyone needs to have a job.
The next subject is Haku’s bar fights. Brutus said he was present for the one that happened in Baltimore. He was with Haku when a few marks started to mess with them. Haku grabbed one guy by his head and bit off his nose, spitting back into his face. From that, a brawl erupted and Brutus was able to sneak Haku out of a backdoor as the cops filled the scene. The cops approached them and Brutus said that he negotiated a surrender for him with the cops, who were about to shoot Haku. Brutus bailed out Haku and one of the bouncers at the bar testified that the other guys were the ones who instigated the brawl. Brutus says that Haku is a “killer” and his life long friend, joking that he is his protector.
APRIL
Brutus is now asked about WCW countering WrestleMania V by airing the “Clash of the Champions 6” on cable for free, specifically if the competition was talked about in the locker room. Brutus said it was not. Sean then asks Brutus about the venue being difficult, due to a non-wrestling crowd and bad acoustics. Brutus said that some of that happened but that he felt that it was electric for his match.  Brutus said that Donald Trump was a fan of wrestling.
Still on WrestleMania V, Brutus is asked about how celebrities fit in with the wrestlers. Brutus said that early on, the celebrities didn’t feel that wrestlers were on their level. He personally did not have any interaction with Morton Downey Jr. He talks about Bob Uecker and how he would walk around with a huge smile and kept on saying “fuck baseball, this is great” and would treat the wrestlers with respect.
They talk about Brutus’s match against Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania. Brutus said that Ted’s hair was protected from his scissors as he was a top guy. He puts over DiBiase for being good in the ring. When asked about him living the gimmick, he did say that they were a bit jealous of him getting to ride in first class. Sean asks if Virgil also got a first class ticket and Brutus said he did not.
When asked how Warrior agreed to lose to Rick Rude, Brutus doesn’t know how they got him to do that. Brutus talks about Rude being an arm wrestler and said that he was a dynamic individual. About Hogan winning back the title, Brutus said it was tough to follow the success of Hogan. He is asked if guys got along with Savage. He said to a degree but on several occasions, they almost came to blows and that was due to Randy’s jealousy.
On the April 8th episode of “Superstars,” Lanny Poffo debuts the Genius character. Brutus is asked about Lanny and he said that he is a decent guy then tells a story about WrestleMania VI, when he ended Mr. Perfect’s winning streak, the office never told Lanny that they were going to cut his hair and when he went to grab him during the match, Lanny was panicking and trying to scramble away so Brutus himself started to panic a bit and had to legitimately drag him into the ring and cut his hair. Backstage, Randy went to attack Brutus because Lanny was crying. Brutus said that this was all due to the sick mind of Pat Patterson and how he never told Lanny the finish.
Brutus refers to Sherri as “Scary Sherri” on the Brother Love show and gets slapped. Brutus said that he came up with that in the spur of the moment.  Brutus said that he and Hogan knew Sherri from the 70’s when she was in Memphis. He then starts laughing, implying that she was a worker, but not a wrestler.
Brutus talks about Bad News Brown. He said that he was a good guy but a lot of the others disliked him. Brutus said that he was a legit badass. He even recalls the story of Bad News calling out Andre on the bus in Japan, noting that was how crazy he was.
MAY
Brutus is asked about dealing with the crowds at this time. He recalls a story out in California when the Hell’s Angels surrounded the ring, with one of them being Hogan’s brother, Alan. He said that even the cops were scared and that they had to fight their way out of the ring and that Hogan was laughing the whole time as he was dragging him to the back.
Next, they talk about Piper and how he had his first match in two years subbing for Jake Roberts at a house show in Los Angeles. Brutus said that he was always a big party animal before going off to Hollywood. He didn’t notice a bigger ego but stated that he deserved to have one after leaving the WWF and going to make movies. When asked about his work as a babyface, Brutus said that he couldn’t recapture what he did as a heel.
Danny Davis returns to being a referee. Brutus said that he was trained but not a great wrestler, or even a good referee for that matter. He chalks it up to another Pat Patterson crazy idea. Sean then asks about how much credit Patterson deserves for the 1980’s. Brutus said that he also had some very good ideas too and was in position to make them happen.
Brutus is asked about Zeus and if the plan was always for him to come in and wrestle Hulk. Brutus said that Zeus was a great guy and that he looked like a monster and had a great presence. He did say that he wanted to be involved and had a good attitude. He also said that Zeus had a one-day rehearsal before SummerSlam to prepare for the match and that he and Hogan were the ones who basically trained him.
Sean asks Brutus about the spot in which Hogan superplexed the Big Boss Man off the top of the steel cage. Brutus said that it probably was not Hogan’s idea and thinks that it was Pat Patterson’s call. He then recalls that one time, Patterson asked Dynamite Kid to superplex him off of the top rope in a match in Toronto. Patterson told him the move was easy to take and Brutus then said that he should do the spot instead.
JUNE
Sean asks how Hogan dealt with the schedules of wrestling and filming “No Holds Barred.” Brutus said he did sub for Hogan at times. Sean asks if Vince was around the house shows at the time and Brutus said that he rarely ever attended house shows.
The first Dusty Rhodes vignette debuts on June 6th, with Dusty portraying a pizza delivery man. Sean asks if there is heat with Dusty from guys that he dealt with when he was booking. Brutus said that in wrestling, it comes down to being able to do business and separate your emotions and be a business man. Sean asks if Dusty was humble and Brutus laughs at that, saying he is never humble but was somewhat respectful. Sean then asks if the polka dots were the idea of Patterson and Brutus laughs at that, not really answering the question and talks about Pat Patterson flags.
Kevin Kelly (Nailz) defeated Tim Horner in a dark match at the June 6th TV tapings. Kelly testified at trial that he overheard Vince McMahon tell Rick Rude “I suggest you go on the gas.” Sean asks if this was something that Vince would say in public and Brutus said probably not. Sean then goes back to the subtleties and if Vince would do that in order to get you to get bigger and Brutus talks about how the FBI called him on the grand jury, thinking that Hogan was their star witness. He said that he was Hogan’s best friend and that he knew everything that Hulk knew. Hogan called his attorney, who met Brutus in New York at the FBI office. They pulled out the 3-D scan of his head with 32 screws, 100 feet of titanium wire, along with documented concussions, memory loss, and brain damage. The lawyer asked the prosecutor what they wanted to ask him and the prosecutor didn’t say a word and left. Since Hogan did not testify, they thought Brutus would work. Brutus said he protected the business, Hogan, Vince, and himself and if they don’t stick together, they all done. Brutus said that steroids were legal at a time and that he did take them as prescribed by a doctor, while being monitored, for medical reasons. When they were illegal, Brutus said that people took it upon themselves to do what they had to do and Vince did not publically encourage anyone.
JULY
The “Bobby Heenan Show” debuted. Brutus talks about Heenan and how sad it is today to see him in poor health but he still maintains a great attitude. He said there was no one better on the stick than him. Brutus said there was no reason not to like him.
The Brainbusters won the Tag Team Titles. Sean is asked if they had an attitude when they came into the WWF. He said that he never got along with Tully (then again, most people don’t) and remembers some stuff said about him by Arn when he was in WCW. He then said he never saw anything special in them, jokingly refer to the Horsemen as the “Horses Asses.” He tells a story about wrestling Tully Blanchard in the early 80’s in Louisiana and how Tully and his partner, Gino Hernandez, beat the living shit out of him. He gets off topic a bit and says that Ivan Koloff was nice to him and would by him dinner.
AUGUST
Brutus is asked about the matches between Andre and the Ultimate Warrior that lasted ten seconds. He said that Andre hated the Warrior and did not want to be in the ring with him at all and thinks it was his idea. Brutus said that he got along with him but he absolutely hated Jake and the Warrior. He also said that Andre liked Hogan too and that was why he passed the torch to him.
They now talk about the main event at SummerSlam, which featured Brutus & Hulk vs. Savage & Zeus. Sean asks him how they prepared for this match. Brutus said that on a live PPV, there are not multiple takes like they have in movies so they kept him calm. Brutus said that there key word to calm him down when he was in the ring was “free James Brown.” That was used because it got him to chuckle a bit. Brutus recalls using that as Zeus was choking him out during the match and he could barely breathe. Brutus said the match was as close as perfect as you could get, considering the situation.
In regards to the ‘Macho King” gimmick, Brutus said that it was another Pat Patterson creation. He also said that Savage did not want the gimmick but went along with it anyway.
SEPTEMBER
The eight-inch rubber LJN figures came to an end. Sean is asked how much he received from the merchandise, citing the Iron Sheik told him he got a check for $90,000 when the dolls came out. Brutus said that he hasn’t received a dime since he left the WWF. He tried to get a lawyer to get some of his money. He said that he didn’t receive anywhere close the amount of the money they should have back then for their merchandise. He also said that your check would also depend how the office felt about you, if you were in the dog house, you barely got anything. He said at his peak, he had around one hundred merchandise items but in comparison to Hogan, it was nothing as he probably had close to a thousand. Brutus then tells a story about Hogan having him hold his WrestleMania check backstage as he had to do something quickly. When he looked, he saw the check was for $1.2 million dollars. Brutus also said that Hogan had his own merchandise deal.
OCTOBER
Koko B. Ware was fired for fighting WWF executive Jim Troy then rehired shortly after that. Brutus was not there but from what he heard, Jim made a racial remark and Koko beat the shit out of him. Koko was hired back when an investigation was conducted and from that, Troy had to resign.
Brutus talks about the Rockers, who were fired on October 13th during the European tour but re-hired the next day. Brutus laughs about that a bit then recalls at that time, the Rockers would put Halcyons in girls drinks, bring them up to their room passed out, “take their laundry off” then finish it off by tossing them out of their room naked. Brutus said that the hotels got sick of this and that is why they got fired. He also said that sometimes they would shave off their eyebrows or write on them with markers before tossing them in the hallway.
Sean references how on October 29th in Toronto, Bret Hart broke some ribs and his sternum in a match with Dino Bravo and asks how you deal with an injury like that. Brutus said that never happened with him in a match but in the Georgia Dome, DDP hit him in the head with a chair that required twelve stitches and preventing him from bring involved in the angle with Karl Malone. He said that he told DDP not to hit him in the head and to hit on the back, you swing it from the side. In the locker room, Brutus said he had a problem because DDP was making excuses instead of taking responsibility and that Paul Orndorff had to hold him down on the table as he was about to go after him.
NOVEMBER
He is asked about Rick Martel as the Model. Predictably, Brutus “waves the Pat Patterson flag” as the reason for this idea. Brutus puts over Rick as a person and for being able to take things in stride.
Sapphire makes her debut on the November 19th episode of “Challenge.” Brutus said that she was a mark who was thrown into the business.
Sean asks Brutus about working on Thanksgiving and being away from your family. He says it is tough but for fans, holidays were big shows for most companies. He said every year, they used to go a big show at the Cap Centre in Washington, D.C. that was a major draw.
Brutus is asked if there is a lot of confusion during the Survivor Series matches due to all of the pinfalls. He said it wasn’t because you had to deal with stuff like battle royals all the time. He said that you have to know where everyone is at all times to prevent injuries. Sean then asks Brutus about the Survivor Series payoffs and if they are greatly reduced due to the multi-man matches. He said that he probably got $10,000 at SummerSlam and about $5,000 at Survivor Series.
Sean asks Brutus if Hogan was upset with Vince when he had the Ultimate Warrior wrestle in the main event at Survivor Series. He said that Hogan knew that Vince was trying to replace him and that at the end, it didn’t work. When asked if it caused friction between Hogan and Vince, he said it probably did a little bit and that Vince loves to hold power over people but Hogan broke out and was above Vince’s power. When asked about the Warrior, Brutus calls him a “piece of shit” and that he couldn’t tie their boots. He also said that he did not respect anyone and Vince pumped up his ego to the point that he thought he was invisible.
DECEMBER

On December 1st, Linda McMahon issued an interoffice memo to Pat Patterson asking that Dr. George Zahorian no longer attend WWF events. Sean reads from the memo (that is also displayed on the screen), which Linda writes about the state of Pennsylvania was most likely going to launch an investigation into the use of illegal steroids. An officer from the state department mentioned this to WWF attorney Jack Krill at a fundraiser, knowing that Krill’s firm represented the WWF, and also said that he knew about the relationship that Zahorian had with the WWF. The memo also mentioned that Vince thought it was a good idea to keep Zahorian away and tell him about the possible action that the Justice Department would be taking. It also ended with Linda telling Patterson that the talent would be having a meet and greet with State Athletic Commission on December 26th and they definitely would not want Zahorian to be there. Brutus is asked if he remembers Zahorian and he said yes, while laughing. Brutus said that he took care of them and that the wrestlers would line up to get stuff from him. Brutus then talks about how a man has to know his limits and mentions that Rick McGraw probably died due to all of the access to pills he had from Dr. Zahorian. He also points out how Dr. Zahorian didn’t force the drugs upon anyone and also says that Vince wasn’t responsible for what the doctor was prescribing.

On December 26th, the WWF promoted 6 shows, three matinees and three evening shows, in six different cities.  Sean asks about how much talent they had on the roster and how much money they were making. Brutus said that Vince was a genius because he could make superstars out of just about everyone on the roster, through vignettes and interviews, along with other features. Brutus also adds that Vince probably wishes he could do that now. Brutus said that there were probably 25 people in the office that coordinated all of the travel and plane tickets.

On December 30th, Beefcake won a nine-man battle royal at a house show in Wisconsin. Sean calls it the worst battle royal ever then lists of the other eight competitors: Jake Milliman, Tom “Rocky” Stone, Brooklyn Brawler, The Genius, Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, and Rick Martel. Brutus said that it was probably the only battle royal he had ever won in his life but does not recall the match.

Final Thoughts: A highly entertaining timeline. Brutus kept it fun, no matter what you think of him. He also coined the term “waving the Pat Patterson flag.” Sure, it might not be the most insightful timeline and he went off topic at times, but when he did, it was entertaining. Sean also asked some follow up questions that led him to go off-topic as well. For all I know Brutus was on drugs during this, after all he has quite the history of using, but the guy also survived an accident that caused a traumatic head injury and admitted that he has some memory problems (like not remembering Brett Michaels name after saying that they were friends). Brutus certainly had a problem with the Ultimate Warrior and the Four Horsemen and it showed here but did not have an agenda with this timeline. Sure, he might have thought of himself a bit too highly but most people do in these interviews anyway. He certainly came off as likable in this and he ended up being more insightful than I would have imagined. Brutus was a good choice for 1989 because he was huge that year, which was probably the best of his entire career when I look back. I give this a very high recommendation.