September 10, 2009
Kerry Brown dead at 51
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
"Pitbull" Kerry Brown, the nephew of "Bulldog" Bob Brown, who worked out in Eastern Canada and Puerto Rico as Rick Valentine has died at the age of 51 in Winnipeg.
Yet for all his successes -- he was North American champion in Calgary, Atlantic Grand Prix U.S. Title in 1982, WFWA Canadian Heavyweight champ in 1993, as well as several tag team titles -- he never became the star that many thought he should be.
Including his uncle.
"I started Kerry in 1980 in Kansas City. He was trained by me," said Bob Brown in an interview with the Ring Around the Northwest newsletter. "He was a great worker. He would have made it great but wrestling wasn't for him. He wanted to do things his way. It didn't work that way, you do have a boss. He is in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He works for a security firm. It is too bad, he would have been a super star in wrestling."
Or, as Winnipeg promoter Tony Condello, one of Brown's closest friends once said: "He made it big but then he blew it too."
Born in February 1958, he got into wrestling in 1979 locally in Winnipeg before heading to Kansas City, which was the territory his uncle called home seemingly forever. At 6-foot, and weighing around 266 pounds, he had the size to succeed.
In Calgary, he quickly rose through the ranks of Stampede Wrestling. Brown held the Stampede Tag Team Titles four times from 1982 to 1993 -- three times with Duke Myers, and once with his uncle Bulldog Bob Brown.
In a 1998 interview, Mike Shaw (Makhan Singh, Norman the Lunatic), told the Whatever Happened To ...? newsletter that Brown had the chance to really make it big with a rising star, but balked.
"Owen Hart was supposed to start a big angle with Kerry Brown, who was Bulldog Bob Brown's nephew. Owen wasn't a very big guy at the time. In fact, I think he might still have been a senior in high school. Kerry Brown refused to put him over, so they switched the card on the spot and I ended up wrestling Owen," Shaw said. "[Brown] was a good heel and a good talker. They had a pretty good deal going where he and another guy the name of Duke Myers were a good tag team. I think Kerry bailed out shortly after that. He ended up getting a little break in Montreal and wrestled there as Rick Valentine for a couple of years. He was a good talent at one time. I don't know what possessed him to not want to deal with Owen. He might have thought he was too young, or whatever, but he just didn't want to do it. It probably cost him over the years in Calgary."
"He was a good guy to be around, funny, and joking all the time. He was a really good," Brown recalled in 2003 about Creatchman. "He would translate for us. He'd do most of the talking and ask us if we wanted to add anything. And then when we would talk, he would translate and put it into French."
In Puerto Rico as Valentine, Brown was a solid, mid-card worker. He held the WWC World tag titles with Lance Idol in 1990, the Caribbean Tag Titles with Idol in 1990, twice with Eric Embry in 1990, and Galan Mendoza in 1991.
Brown never got the wrestling out of his blood. In 2003, he talked about continuing to wrestle -- which he did until his last match in January 2009.
"I still wrestle once in a while. I was working with the government up until last year. Then my father became sick and he passed away a couple of months ago," he said in August 2003. "I basically haven't been doing that much, just working with my uncle's business and stayed home and looked after my dad for a while. Then he passed away, so I'm just in the process of getting back into the workforce. ... still doing the odd wrestling show. They're running shows around the city and stuff like that."
Greg Oliver shared a few laughs with Kerry Brown at a book signing in Winnipeg for The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians. R.I.P. Kerry. Greg can be emailed at email@example.com.