August 25, 2013
Beefcake's look back at 1989 goes off in interesting directions
By MATTHEW BYER - SLAM! Wrestling
Of late Kayfabe Commentaries has been releasing some very interesting video interviews and their Timeline: The History of the WWE 1989: As Told By Brutus Beefcake is no exception. For those not familiar with Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline series basically the concept of the interview is to go through the major events that happened within a calendar year. Given that 1989 was a pretty significant year in wrestling history, this results in some fascinating stories.
The interview starts off with a discussion with Beefcake about his transition from a heel character to his barber persona and its absorbing finding out that Beefcake's initial reaction was that of vitriol. Beefcake recounts that he was furious over the idea, particularly due to the fact that he felt he had worked incredibly hard getting over with the audience as a villain that they loved to hate. However, Beefcake states that it was Hulk Hogan who suggested that he should always cut the hair of his opponent after the match because it was likely the only way the audience would buy into the gimmick -- which for Beefcake's sake thankfully worked.
As to who came up with the idea of changing his wrestling character, Beefcake believes it was Pat Patterson; and throughout the interview when questions come up about questionable gimmicks assigned to the wrestlers, Beefcake gleefully states that it was likely Patterson who was responsible for them.
Also, Beefcake recounts how Randy Savage's jealousy over Miss Elizabeth, who was his wife at the time, would get out of hand so much so, that if another wrestler glanced at her, Savage would chase them all around the arena. Beefcake brings up as well how Savage would sometimes lock Miss Elizabeth in the locker room and take the key with him to keep the other wrestlers away until he came back from the ring. As for Beefcake's encounters with Savage's jealousy, during the interview he described how there were occasions during 1989 where he had to fill in for Hogan in the main event and at the end the match would have to place Miss Elizabeth on his shoulders, which didn't go over all that well with Savage.
The steroid trial that would engulf the WWE in 1994 was also an issue in 1989, and Beefcake veers a bit off the timeline to tell a tale about how initially the prosecutor thought he would be a star witness for them. However, when the prosecutor was presented with Beefcake's medical issues due to a boating accident that resulted in steel plates, screws, and wires being put in his head and the documented issues he has with his memory, the prosecutor quickly dropped him from the witness list.
Additionally, this leads Beefcake to talk about the worst blow he ever received in his wrestling career, during his time in WCW, when Diamond Dallas Page hit him in the head with a chair, which he was warned not to do. Beefcake becomes very understandably emotional at this point of the interview as such a blow could have killed him.
The SummerSlam 1989 match involving Beefcake, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Zeus is fully detailed in the interview; and Beefcake explains how he and Hogan had only one day prior to the match to prepare Zeus who had never even wrestled beforehand. What is readily apparent is how much concern there was that Zeus not being used to the environment of the squared circle might panic when he couldn't remember what he was to do next; and Beefcake explains the method that he and Hulk Hogan used to calm him down during the match.
From there the decision by Vince McMahon to push the Ultimate Warrior is discussed and Beefcake lets it be known how he and others in the locker room felt about it. As proof that it was the wrong decision, Beefcake points to the reaction of the crowd at WrestleMania 6 after the Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan.
Beefcake also tells tales about how he got his start in the late 1970s with Hulk Hogan and some of his experiences in the early 1980s. Beefcake's feelings about how professional wrestling is a form of art are detailed as well, as are his feelings that it was a better system when young wrestlers would learn in the various wrestling territories instead of the wrestling schools today.
All-in-all, Kayfabe Commentaries' Timeline The History of the WWE 1989 As Told By Brutus Beefcake is a solid interview that is of great merit to fans of wrestling in the 1980s. The interview, on occasion, ventures into areas outside of the year 1989, but most of these are pretty interesting and add a lot of value. One thing that should be mentioned is at times you can see Beefcake struggling to remember, or find the right words, during the interview, which is likely due to the injuries he suffered years ago due to the aforementioned boating accident. This does not, though, detract from the overall quality of the interview itself.
Matthew hopes this review came out okay as it was finished after having had a couple of pints of Guinness while watching the preliminary bouts for UFC 162. Check out Matthew's advice column The Male Perspective.