#WF051 – Brutus The Barber Beefcake

Arnold Furious: Beefcake is one of wrestling’s great political stories. Whatever line of work you’re in, it’s often not what you know but who you know. Beefcake was buddies with Hulk Hogan way before he was the Hulkster. In fact, they used to have a “brother” team as Terry & Ed Boulder. After Hogan adopted his new surname, Beefcake switched to Dizzy Hogan. Again, he was there in Hogan’s shadow. The WWF signed him in 1984 with Hogan having some considerable stroke in the company, as its world champion, at the time. Beefcake was a lousy worker though and rarely ever impressed in singles. Host is Gene Okerlund who gives us a bit of history too, mainly about his tag team with Greg Valentine, before claiming Brutus was deeply unhappy as a heel.

 

We start with the Johnny V promo from TNT where he forgets what he’s saying, from The Amazing Managers. So that’s not a good beginning.

 

WWF Championship
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Brutus Beefcake
This is also on Hulkamania 2. We go back in time to August 1985 and Hogan defending the title against his chum Ed Leslie. Beefcake was frankly shit at the time but Hogan is so over it doesn’t really matter who he’s wrestling against. It’s hard to see why Beefcake has a shot at the title though, other than Hogan friendship outside the ring, as he’s smaller, weaker and a worse wrestler. He can’t even out-strut the champ. The only positive aspect being their friendship, which means Hogan is more open to suggestion. It makes this a rather unique title match in an era where many were copy and paste. Again, this would be a major plus if Beefcake wasn’t shit. The brawling is passable but only when Hogan is doing all the work. Beefcake’s strikes are a crime against humanity. Although given the emergence of MMA, his “hammerfists” were ahead of their time, but they’re still shit. Beefcake even goes for a bearhug. James has a theory about that particular hold, which is probably true. Basically, bearhug = poor worker. Hogan is so popular that the crowd even buy into his comeback from a BEARHUG. Brutus gets a shoeing for the rest of the match, but for some bizarre reason he kicks out of the legdrop. Presumably because it wasn’t the finish. Luscious Johnny V jumps on the apron but Beefcake knees him off on a miscue and Hogan wins with a cheeky roll up. It’s weird seeing a Hogan match where he goes completely out of his way to put someone else over. Even in defeat, Beefcake’s stock must have risen tremendously in this conflict. Compare that to later Hogan where even his buddies got buried. A similar clash between Hogan and Beefcake in WCW saw the barber get humiliated. Both in the match and in the angle. Although, most of Beefcake’s humiliation is generally his own fault.
Final Rating:

 

WWF Tag Team Championship
The Dream Team (c) vs. The British Bulldogs
This is also a double dip as it opened the Tag Team Champions tape. It’s bad enough having to sit through a Beefcake tape, but they can’t even find anything new! As with the first time this appeared on tape, Dynamite Kid dominates the match but Johnny V shoves him off the top for the DQ to save the belts.

 

WWF Tag Team Championship
The Dream Team (c) vs. The British Bulldogs
This is from WrestleMania II, so for a third time, we double dip. The full match is ***½. The clipping leaves it at about five minutes, but it’s the best part of the bout.

 

Adrian Adonis vs. Roddy Piper
This is from WrestleMania III. Also clipped heavily. This time its just the finish. Beefcake hops in post match to solidify his babyface status by removing half of Adrian’s hairdo. We go from that right into a horrid promo from Beefcake.

 

Brutus Beefcake vs. Johnny Valiant
This also appears on Best of the WWF Vol. 12. Have they got any original footage on this tape? So far, nothing, and we’re a third of the way through. Brutus found his niche as a face and it makes you wonder why they let him be heel for as long as they did. Traditionally heels control the pace of the match and do all the hard work. Beefcake didn’t really know what he was doing. The mat looks filthy here as Hogan bled all over it two matches beforehand. It must have been an absolute gusher. This match is a non-event. Beefcake punches V around the ring for a while and beats him with a sleeper. Brutus gives him a trim.
Final Rating: ¼*.

 

Brutus Beefcake vs. Greg Valentine
Having beaten his former manager, Beefcake now squares off against his former partner. If there’s one wrestler who knows how limited Beefcake is; its Valentine. Because of that it’s a good scrap to begin with. Beefcake is even aware of Hammer’s timbeeeeerrrrrrr selling and lets him get on with it. They even have the common sense to have Jimmy Hart go after Beefcake’s scissors. Take them out of the game and if it doesn’t work then Beefcake is distracted anyway. It’s good psychology. The ref gets in the way of the fight and Beefcake looks to finish with a sleeper. Jimmy briefly teases stabbing Beefcake in the back, literally, which opens up Beefcake for the figure four. Beefcake grabs the scissors to protect himself and the ref finally comes round for the DQ. Their familiarity helped matters and this is one of the best Beefcake singles matches that I’ve ever seen. To make it extra special Bruti can’t even stand afterwards, selling the figure four.
Final Rating: **¾

 

Brutus Beefcake vs. The Honky Tonk Man
This is non-title and about halfway though Honky’s run as IC champion. Beefcake was one of the guys considered to end that record title run. HTM bumps around all over the place, as he tended to for everyone during his IC run. Beefcake gets a sleeper about 2 minutes in, but Jimmy Hart jumps in the ring for the DQ. It was only a 2-minute match. Beefcake attacks Jimmy and starts trimming his hair, but Danny Davis runs down for the save. Which sets up a series against the former referee.
Final Rating: ½*

 

Brutus Beefcake vs. Danny Davis
This is a throwaway match. The majority of both guys singles matches felt like nothing special. This one is ahead of Survivor Series ’87, where they were on opposing teams. Davis combines stalling with half-assed selling. Beefcake gets the sleeper only for Jimmy Hart to jump into the ring, as he did in the last match, but Beefcake sees him coming and throws Hart onto Davis for the bizarre pin. Somebody should have been disqualified there, surely? Sleeper on Hart, but Davis carries him to the back to prevent another haircut. Beefcake has developed a psychotic urge to cut hair and an inability to do so seems to drive him insane. It’s an intriguing little character tick that they never really explored. I’m sure Beefcake would have gotten even more over as a legitimately crazy person. He had those crazy eyes.
Final Rating: ½*

 

Brutus Beefcake vs. Ted DiBiase
DiBiase offers $500 for Beefcake to take a hike. Brutus punches Ted and distributes the $500 around Boston Garden for the cheap pop. Yeah, he’s paying the fans to cheer him. If you need someone to make your midcarder look legitimate; Ted DiBiase is your man. He bumps around and makes the sleeper look like death. I have a minor gripe with the ref in this match. He doesn’t clear up in the ring when the fans throw a load of screwed up pieces of paper in. So the match takes place in the midst of the mess. It’s very distracting. Ted’s heat section isn’t much fun, with Beefcake’s attempted comebacks not drawing much interest. They have a few awkward miscommunications leading to the actual comeback. Obviously the contest improves when DiBiase is bouncing around the ring for his second ‘getting beaten up’ section of the match. Virgil trips Beefcake up and DiBiase scores a roll-up victory. A dogged adherence to formula made this less than thrilling. Beefcake doesn’t really have the imagination or innovation to do anything else, so I understand their reluctance to deviate.
Final Rating: **

 

Sal Fedora’s Hairstyling Classes
Beefcake’s cut n’ strut approach to hairstyling was a bit raw, so the WWF send him off to school. Beefcake ignores all the advice and comes off as a complete tool. Sal gets sick of the sight of him and gives him a diploma to make him go away. You could see Beefcake’s brain trying to process some of the information that was coming in. There’s no way he can learn a new skill that quickly. He didn’t learn to speak until he was 9. True story.

 

Brutus Beefcake vs. Dino Bravo
Why is it that almost everyone had to feud with Bravo at some point during their WWF run? Was it an initiation from Vince McMahon? Have a passable match with Bravo and you’ll be fine with anyone? This is the third and final of the Beefcake vs. New Dream Team matches. They should have finished with Hammer. Bravo walks through his offence and even hits his finisher, but doesn’t pin. Beefcake mounts a comeback immediately after that and gets the sleeper, but Valentine runs in for the DQ. A triple-team beatdown ensues, but the Rougeaus run in to save. Another short match. At least they realised Beefcake’s limitations and kept most of his bouts brisk.
Final Rating: ½*

 

Brutus Beefcake & The Rougeau Brothers vs. Jimmy Jack Funk, Johnny K-9 & Iron Mike Sharpe
Logically we’d close the tape with this trio against the New Dream Team, but instead its against a trio of scrubs. Mike Sharpe; the world’s loudest jobber among them. Johnny K-9 is one of the few Romanian superstars in the world of wrestling. You might know him from Smoky Mountain Wrestling where he worked as Bruiser Bedlam. The Rougeaus double teaming makes the match watchable. At one point they sandwich K-9 with dropkicks. Beefcake seems keen to show off his strength and presses K-9 before the Rougeaus double team him into defeat. Beefcake decides to give Sharpe a trim after the match. AARRRRGH, NO, NOT MY HAIR, AAAAAAAAARRRRGH. A suitably loud conclusion to the tape.
Final Rating: *

 

Summary: There’s nothing particularly offensive on the tape and Beefcake certainly found his way as a babyface. His best singles match as a heel was probably the title shot at Hogan, and that’s on here. There’s not much Dream Team, which is a pity as that was his best work, but I can understand why as they wanted to focus on his face run. Babyface antics sell videotapes. On the whole; this is a surprisingly good tape. A lot of the low-rated matches were 2 and 3 minutes long and weren’t bad, just short. Colour me surprised.
Verdict: 26

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