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This mall cop is real Bad News
By JEFF HARRIS - Airdrie Echo


Bad News Allen Coage

The young people trooping around Airdrie, Alberta's Towerlane Mall most likely see Allen Coage as just another mall cop. But to their parents and grandparents, he is so much more than that.

Under the moniker Bad News Allen, Coage was the absolute quintessential villain of Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling. While his character once struck fear into professional wrestling fans across Western Canada, the former wrestler now patrols Towerlane Mall for Academy Protection Service.

"I like it (in Airdrie). The people are very friendly and they treat me well," Coage said. "The teenagers can be pretty ornery, though."

Coage lives in Calgary and commutes the 20 miles to Airdrie, but for a man who has been on the road his whole life, the 30-minute commute is like "driving to the grocery store."

Coage is not your typical wrestler. In fact he had to be convinced to step into the wrestling ring after his first career in a combat sport had ended.

Born in Harlem, N.Y., Coage grew up in the Big Apple. Riding the subway home as an 18-year-old, he noticed an advertisement for a judo school. The next day he enrolled at the school and his 14-year career in judo had begun.

Coage earned a fifth degree black belt and went on to be wildly successful in the sport. He won 107 titles in his career, which included being a five-time national champion; a two-time gold medal winner at the Pan Am Games; and U.S. judo team member at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where he won a bronze medal. In 1990, he was inducted into the Judo Hall of Fame, along with the likes of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.

The moniker 'Bad News' was actually given to Coage by a fellow judo competitor, because it was bad news for anyone who had to face him in a match.

Unfortunately, while his passion was judo, competing as an amateur athlete paid nothing. However, professional wrestling provided him with a paycheque.

"I was always broke," he said. "I came home from the Olympics with 60 cents in my pocket. (As a pro wrestler) I was getting paid. So I was happy."

Coage was trained to wrestle in Japan. Surprisingly, he actually started his career as a good guy, but that changed.

"I started out as a good guy," he said. "Then the president of the company, Antonio Inoki, said, 'There is just something about your face -- you would make a great bad guy' and I was like, 'Yeah, right on!' I was happy."

Coage wrestled in Japan until 1982, when he was asked by The Dynamite Kid if he would be interested in wrestling in Canada. After getting permission from New Japan Pro Wrestling, he headed back to North America.

Bad News Allen took Stampede Wrestling by storm and was justly rewarded by winning the North American heavyweight title. With his infamous snarl and calling the fans "beer-bellied sharecroppers," his demeanour was as nasty as they come.

"There were times when I would just walk out -- I didn't even have to say anything -- and the people would just go bananas. I loved it," Coage said.

"I enjoyed working for Stu. I got to work with Dynamite Kid a lot ... who was pound-for-pound the greatest wrestler ever."

When Hart sold the territorial rights to Stampede Wrestling to Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), he brokered a deal guaranteeing that Coage -- as well as a few other Stampede Wrestling stars -- be given a WWE contract.

Although he did have some in-ring success (winning the 20-man Battle Royal at Wrestlemania IV) Coage's time in the WWE was not what he had anticipated.

"When you work for Vince everything is done on a big scale," Coage said. "With Vince you have to put up with the aggravation, the BS and the stress. That's what makes it so difficult when you go to the WWE.

"(McMahon's) marketing is genius," he added. "He's not trustworthy, but he is a marketing genius."

After 22 years in the ring, Coage retired from professional wrestling and his wife decided that he needed to do something with his time.

"I was home for a year and my wife kicked me out of the house," he said. "She told me to get a job because I was driving her nuts."

Coage decided to work for Academy Protection Service and he also began teaching wrestling. He has been doing both jobs for four years now.

And the people at Towerlane Mall are a little safer now because Bad News Allen is on patrol ... and he is anything but another mall cop.

RELATED LINKS

  • More on Bad News Allen
  • September 20, 2000: Bad News on his judo bronze medal
  • July 13, 2000: Delivering the Bad News to Stampede
  • May 1, 1998: Bad News Allen Q & A


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  • Order WWE Greatest Wrestling Stars of the '80s Triple DVD Set