Not everybody is born to be a pro wrestler. For every Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, there are countless others wannabes that have to work their way up from the very bottom, often working other jobs on the side just to make ends meet as they pursue their dreams of turnbuckled glory. But these people are the true legends of wrestling, for they display unparalleled dedication, hard work, and a pure will to succeed.
The Big Bossman is one of these people. And this is his story.
The following scene takes place in Cobb County, Georgia circa 1987:
The sweltering summer heat pounded down on the meticulously coiffed Vince McMahon Jr., the top wrestling promoter in the United States, as he walked the streets of Marietta, Georgia.
A pretty nice place as far as the south goes, he thought. But it sure as hell ain’t no Stamford.
Granted, it had been a while since he had been to Georgia. After all, this was NWA territory, and the idiots down here appreciated a much different style of wrestling compared to the more sophisticated tastes of the New York audiences. But things were changing. Hulk Hogan had just pinned Andre the Giant in front of 93,000 screaming fans in the Silverdome. It was time to break out of the regional territories and truly take the WWF national.
And if that meant pissing on the shoes of Jim Crockett and the NWA by holding a show in Atlanta — their own backyard — so be it.
Make no mistake, last night was huge. The Omni was sold out, packed to the rafters with 16,000 paying customers. Hogan and Kamala performed to the best of their abilities in the main event, a shitload of T-shirts were sold, and a lot of kids went home happy. Yes, last night will go a long way to solidifying the WWF’s presence in the southern market.
But what took place after the show was over — the very reason why Vince McMahon Jr., the top wrestling promoter in the United States, was sweating buckets under the Georgia sun as he walked the streets of Marietta — well, this was gonna be a PR nightmare.
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s world was pitch black. His hands were bound, and he was pretty sure he was wearing some sort of hood or blindfold — but he doubted that the swelling of his eyes would allow him to see much of anything, anyway. His head was pounding. The taste of blood was still fresh on his lips.
He shook his head, trying desperately to clear the cobwebs. What the hell happened last night?
He remembers going out with Hogan and the boys after the show … but after that … nothing. A total blank.
The sound of echoing footsteps blasted through Beefcake’s cranium, each step penetrating his brain like a hot knife. Large, heavy footsteps. Probably the same monster that beat him senseless the night before. And the footsteps kept getting louder, closer …
For a moment, he had actually considered letting Brutus Beefcake rot in Cobb County, Georgia. After all, he’s damn near useless as a performer, and it was getting harder and harder to find somebody who was not only willing to lose to the bum, but to also get their hair chopped off in the middle of the ring. But it’s never that easy. Beefcake is Hogan’s best buddy, and if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s that you gotta keep Hulk Hogan happy — no matter what the cost.
McMahon shook his head in disbelief. According to Howard Finkel, Beefcake pumped himself full of drugs at some cheap dive bar, went a little bit crazy, and started running naked through the streets of Atlanta screaming about demons and demi-gods. And then he vanished into the night.
It was until this morning when Gorilla Monsoon got a phone call from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office that the company finally learned of Beefcake’s whereabouts. In his drug-fuelled insanity, he had somehow ended up in Marietta. And now here was Vince McMahon Jr., the top wrestling promoter in the United States, walking the sun-soaked streets about to post bail for one his drug-addled employees.
The jail cell door creaked open and the heavy footsteps got closer. Beefcake could feel the presence of the massive behemoth looming over him. He didn’t move. He was too terrified.
Crunch. Out of nowhere, a field of stars illuminated the darkness as he felt one his ribs explode. With the the blindfold on, there was no way he could see the kick coming.
The booming voice of his assailant echoed throughout the cell. “Git to yer feet, boy!”
Beefcake coughed and sputtered. More blood. Fresh blood.
“I said, git to yer feet!”
Crunch. Another kick. Beefcake groaned. “Stop … please … why …”
In one quick motion, the man removed Beefcake’s blindfold, and through the narrow slits he now called eyes, he could see the true form of his attacker. Not a demon like he had believed the night before. No, it was a large man, well over 300 pounds, wearing a cop’s uniform.
Crouching down, the cop violently grabbed Beefcake’s face. Although he was wearing sunglasses, Beefcake knew he was staring a hole through him.
“Why? Why? Because when you take a trip down to Cobb County, Georgia, you better read the signs and respect the law and order,” the cop barked. “Or else you’ll be servin’ hard time, boy.”
With that, he spat in Beefcake’s face, laughed, and rose to his feet. The cop then reached toward his belt, where he unsheathed a nightstick. It was caked in blood. He tapped the nightstick in the palm of his hand a few times before rattling it across the bars of the cell.
“Somebody’s here to take you home, boy,” the cop snarled.
“But I ain’t done with you yet.”
“You done disgraced my city, punk. The city where my momma’s lived her entire life! You think she wants to live in a place where junkies like you run the streets?”
The rage in the cop’s voice was reaching a crescendo, when suddenly … silence. Beefcake braced for the worst.
The cop was now calm, collected. “And for that, I’m gonna make you walk the line.”
In a flash, Beefcake could see the red-stained nightstick hurtling toward him. And then his world went black once more.
Vince McMahon Jr. was tired of waiting. He was told Beefcake would be out in a minute. It had been fifteen. Dammit, he was the top wrestling promoter in the United States! He had a company to run! He didn’t have time for the dog-and-pony show of some hillbilly redneck police department!
That’s when Beefcake emerged from the back room of the police station. But he wasn’t doing so on his volition — he was knocked unconscious, being carried like a sack of potatoes on the enormous shoulders of a massive cop.
The cop stopped in front of McMahon. “Is this yours?”
McMahon looked at the cop incredulously. “Excuse me?”
“I said, is this sack of crap yours?”
McMahon couldn’t believe his eyes. Yeah, it was Beefcake, no doubt about that. At least, it used to be.
“Jesus Christ,” uttered McMahon. “What the hell happened to him?”
The cop unceremoniously tossed Beefcake to the floor.
“The Big Bossman happened to him,” the cop replied. “Now pick up your trash and get out of my county, boy.”
The cop turned to leave when McMahon grabbed him by the shoulder.
“Now hold on just a damn second,” McMahon growled. “Who did this to him?”
The cop tore off his sunglasses. There was a crazed glint in his eyes.
“What are you, boy? Deaf? Dumb?” The cop pointed to his shirt, the name Big Bossman stitched above his breast pocket. “You break the law in Cobb County, you gotta answer to me — the Big Bossman.”
McMahon’s eyes lit up, a sly grin creeping across his face. “How much do you make here in Cobb County, Bossman?”
“Enough to help my momma get by,” he answered.
McMahon nodded, then circled around the Bossman, sizing him up. “You’re a big fella. You get into lots of scraps here in your line of work?”
“Ain’t a man alive that can beat me, boy,” boasted the Bossman. “I’m the biggest, meanest, nastiest cop in all of Georgia, and that’s the truth!”
McMahon nodded again. “I see. Tell you what, Bossman. How’d you like to be a professional wrestler with the WWF?”
The Bossman didn’t answer.
“Just imagine. Money … fame … and you get to beat up punks like this for a living,” McMahon said, gesturing toward the motionless body of Brutus Beefcake. “And best of all, it’s completely legal, which means no Internal Affairs checking into reports of inmates with fractured skulls, that sort of thing.”
The Big Bossman paused momentarily before raising an eyebrow and leaning closer to McMahon. “Just how much money are we talking about here?”
On that day, the Big Bossman became a professional wrestler, and he received all that Vince McMahon promised him — and more. Although he never really won any championships of note, his career will be celebrated for generations to come due to his ferocity, tenacity, and a really awesome theme song.
He continued to work part-time for the Cobb County Department of Corrections until Internal Affairs stripped him of his badge in 1993. His dedication to law enforcement never wavered, however, as he juggled his impressive new career in the squared circle with dabblings in vigilantism and private security.
The Big Bossman is a shining example of how blue collar fatsos can make a decent living in the world of professional wrestling with very little actual training. Indeed, his is a true inspirational story. And for that, we salute him.