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SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Bad News Allen


REAL NAME: Allen Coage
BORN: October 22, 1943 in New York City
6'2", 255 pounds
AKA: Bad News Allen, Bad News Brown, Buffalo Allen

Bad News Allen
Bad News Allen.
Courtesy ICW

 Allen Coage has always been Bad News for opponents.

Wrestling fans know him best as Bad News Allen, but he had that nickname before entering the squared circle.

He got that nickname during his days in judo, where he took bronze at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the heavyweight division, and won two straight gold medals at the Pan-American Games. He's even in Black Belt Magazine's Hall of Fame.

His judo coach had a friend that worked for a sports paper in Japan, and was looking for new recruits for pro wrestling. Coage wavered, as he was never a wrestling fan, but eventually decided to do it, partly for the chance to go back to Japan, where he had trained in judo for a year.

Coage tutored under Antonio Inoki and the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo starting in 1977 and spent 15 years with NJPW.

"When I went there, I enjoyed it," Coage told SLAM! Wrestling in a April 1998 interview. "For me, training for wrestling was a lot easier than judo itself. Judo was a real hard, rugged sport. When I trained in Japan for a year, it was really, really tough. So when I went back, this time I was getting paid to do it. Before I was doing judo because I loved it, and I didn't get paid for it."

After learning the ropes with New Japan, Coage hit the road. "I don't think there's been a spot on this earth I haven't hit. I've been everywhere," he said.

His favorite place to wrestle continues to be Japan, where he still does occasional tours for New Tokyo Pro Sports. He also counts Australia as a favorite, and he even lived 'Down Under' for a while.

In 1982, he made his first tour with Stu Hart's Stampede promotion. Bret Hart and Dynamite Kid had been on tour with Coage in Japan, and convinced Stu to bring him in.

After six months, Coage left and returned to Australia.

"Stu kept bugging me, he kept begging me to come back because he liked my style and I was making money for him," the four-time winner of Stampede's North American title explained. "So I came back in 1983, and hooked up with my wife and I've been here ever since."

Allen and Helen Coage now live in Calgary, and have nine children -- three boys and six girls -- and 13 grandkids, with another on the way. The two met in Redwater, outside of Edmonton, after Coage missed both the babyface and heel bus. A friend of Helen's recognized Coage and offered him a ride into Edmonton. "To make a long story short, that was it. They invited me to a party and we got together. We've been together ever since." Coage is now has landed immigrant status in Canada.

Bad News Allen wrestled in Japan most of his career, and that's partly why he is not a bigger name for North American wrestling fans.

"I didn't want to work in the States, because you've always got to fight with the promoters for your money," he said.

Coage's first stint with the WWF came in 1978 when it was actually the WWWF, and run by Vince McMahon Sr. At the time, NJPW had a relationship with the WWWF, and sent Coage in for some American-style experience. It was in the WWWF that he started using Bad News Allen as his ring name, instead of the New Japan nickname of Buffalo Allen Coage.

Then when Stu Hart folded the Stampede promotion for the first time, he sold the rights to his area to the WWF. At the time, Stu "arranged for Dynamite, Davey [Boy Smith], Bret and myself to go into New York. I never went because my wife was pregnant, and that was going to be our last child. I wanted to be home for once, not always on the road. So I stayed until 1988."

Coage was in the WWF until 1990 as Bad News Brown, but it isn't an experience he cherishes.

He had a few matches against Hulk Hogan, feuded with Roddy Piper, Jake Roberts and Bret Hart but never held a title, nor headlined a pay-per-view. He did however win the Battle Royale at WrestleMania IV.

"They never kept their word to me," he said. "It wasn't a fun time for me. You see, when I left there I was really happy. I was brought there under false pretenses. They never kept their word to me. I was just sick of the lying all the time ... That was 2 1/2 years of my life that I really didn't enjoy."

Even the money wasn't the answer. "I was making a lot of money, but I had to pay two different sets of taxes and I had to fight with Vince [McMahon Jr.] all the time for my money ... In Japan, you made a deal before you even wrestled what you money was going to be. You signed the contract and that was it. It was money in the bank. You never had to worry. They never cheated you on anything. There were no problems. But with Vince there was always some kind of problem."

He considers his favorite matches to be against Inoki, and against Hulk Hogan. But two wrestlers really stand above all for him. "The two best wrestlers that I ever worked with, bar none, were Dynamite Kid and Ricky Steamboat. They were the best at that time, pound for pound, without a doubt."

Coage is proud of his career, that he "always worked hard" in ring before big or little crowds. "It was always business with me. There was never no playing ribs on people, making fun of people. I was there to work and do my job and get paid for it."

These days, Coage still travels to Japan, and works occasional spot shows for promoters like Tony Condello in Winnipeg and Tim Flowers in Vancouver.

"It's funny. A lot of people will see me on the street, and they actually think I'm retired," he said.

Eventually, he'd like to end up promoting, based out of Calgary.

But it won't be Bad News for other promoters -- he plans to work with friends like Condello and Flowers, not compete directly against them.
Bad News Allen Stories


Memories

 BAD NEWS is true to his word when he says he always works hard for the crowd whether it be a large one or a small one. Last year I attended a card put on by Grand Prix Wrestling at the local arena in a small town called Baddeck in Nova Scotia. There couldn't have been more than 75 people in total attendence. The main event was supposed to feature Bastian Booger vs Bad News on a card that also featured Glen Kulka, but the Boogerman was hurt. Regardless Bad News fought some jobber and the match was as good as any I've seen performed live. Of course Bad News has put on a few pounds since we knew him in his WWF days. I don't think I'm alone in thinking I'd like to see Bad News come back to one of the big two, (perhaps joining the Nation) so we can see the infamous "Ghetto Blaster" one more time.
  -the man they call james
  I am so glad to hear that Bad News Allen/Brown has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. My clearest memory of Bad News Allen is from the Stampede Wrestling days. Bad News was in a heated feud with Bret Hart and it had boiled over into a "Harlem Street Fight" which would eb a version of the classic street fight scenario. The match occurred in Regina at the Exhibition Auditorium which reaked of cow manure and still does. Most of the fans thought the action would stay in the ring and to the common oustide brawling spots, it didn't. Bret and Bad News chased each other all over the auditorium with a shovel and took turns as to who received the blows.
  The reason it is such a clear memory is I was eight or nine years old at the time and I was selling pictures for the promotion, which was very prestigious at the time. I was headed up a row of stairs and looked over my shoulder to see Bret Hart running up behind me followed by Bad News Allen with a shovel. I broke some land speed records scurrying down a row of seats, checked behind me and Bret Hart was still there along with Bad News. I was traumitized that A) my hero was about to be hit by a shovel and B) I would be next. I did escape the flight path of the furture Hitman but not before my heart skipped a few beats. As to who won the match I couldn't tell you but it was memorable.
  Having seen all of the diabolical villains of the Stampede Golden Age (77- Stu sold) I can vouch that Bad News Allen was the best heel in western Canada. When he first appeared on the WWF I was dissapointed in the way he was used because I knew how Bad, Bad News could be and I felt safe that with him on T.V. the next time he chased Bret Hart with a shovel I would be safe on my couch.
  Terry Massey
 I guess I have a few memories of Bad News. As a youngster, I watched him duke it out with Dynamite Kid, Bret, but especially the Stomper Archie Gouldie. I remember when Bad News beat up Archie's Kid on TV and Whalen was so angry that he quit on the spot (as a 7-8 year old, I thought he really quit) then the next week was his chain match with Stomper. What a match. My next memory is more enjoyable because I was with my brother. It was at the Civic Center in Merritt, and Bad News was on the Card against a real good friend of mine, Akam Singh, and my brother brought a sign with BAD NEWS 4 LIFE, and when Bad News saw it, I seen the smile. He looked older but he is still the same.
 Rino
 I live in saskatchewan and had the pleasure of watching you square off against Brett.
 I liked you as a wrestler and loved your toughness and style. In my opinion you are one of the all time greats, and one of my favorite all time wrestlers.
 I loved your saying "listen here you beer bellied share croppers".
 wayne reifferscheid.
 I saw Bad News fight in the main event card at Maple Leaf Gardens vs. Hulk Hogan - what a match. We were cheering for Bad News Brown all the way, and took a lot of flack for it from the Hulkamaniacs. Of course Hogan won with his legdrop (!) but that was expected, but we held out signs high "BAD NEWS FOR HOGAN". I always thought that he never was given a fair shake in the WWF - it is great to see that fans can still see him wrestle.
  Iron Will
 I remember watching Bad News Brown when I was a kid around 9 years ago. He was hands down my favorite wrestler. That ghetto blaster knocked a many out. In Hawaii were I live, he is shown on a local wrestling show, WLW. They show him whipping everyone, from Lars Anderson to Rocky Johnson. Bad News didn't need no friends. He kicked everyone's ass. If it were a real fight at Maple Leaf Gardens, Bad News would've killed him. He was the original toughest S.O.B. of the WWF. It's a shame that idiot McMahon didn't give him a chance.
 THE ROCK
 Vince McMahon doesn't like Canadians(he showed that with Bret Hart)or African-Americans(no black has ever been the WWF champion). He is a racist and should be publicly hung. Bad News was one of my favorites. The Ghetto Blaster a.k.a. enzuigiri kick was the best finisher at that time. I wish Bad News a.k.a. Allen Coage the best in the future.
 reinaldo luciano
 I run a indy promotion out of Vancouver Island and we booked Bad News to work for us . There were 3 things I remember most , 1 - the way the crowd reacted just by his presence in the arena , 2 - his great work ethic in and out of the ring , 3 - the great stories of his travels , I consider it a privilage to have meet Bad News and I have come to respect him , just from our very brief meeting . Thanks Bad News
  DIRTY MONEY / BCW PRO WRESTLING
 I have been watching wrestling since I was a kid and have seen allot of wrestlers. No wrestler I have seen on T.V. has scared me as much as "Bad News". The way he would tell the "Beer belly share croppers" to shut up on Stampede Wrestling would send shivers down my spine. Bad News is one guy you do not want to meet in an alley at night. He is one wrestler that could kick everyone's ass if wrestling was real and everyone knows it.
  Best wishes to Bad News
 Dan T
 Bad News Brown was one of my all-time favorite wrestlers... just a great heel. Calling his opponents "beer-bellied sharecroppers" and "spineless cockroaches"- you had to love it. I still remember his match vs. Hulk Hogan that was televised on Saturday Night's Main Event; Bad News had Hogan begging for mercy and I enjoyed every second of it. After Coage left I thought maybe he'd end up making a return after a few years, but I guess it just isn't going to happen. It's too bad that McMahon didn't give him a bigger push- he would have made a great Intercontinental champ.
 -SEAN FLUHARTY
  I'll always have good memories of watching Bad News wrestle during the stampede era. His matches with Dynamite Kid were the best going at the time...classics now (wish we had vcr's back then). Once every two weeks Stampede would make thier way to Red Deer so we'd always go down and watch either at the Creative Arts Center, Kinex Arena or in the later days at the Altaplex. Nobody could sell their persona as well as Bad News, his mic skills compared to anyone working in any promotion at the time. Many times at the Altaplex the fans would get on his case to the point where Bad News would come out of the ring and start chasing people everywhere! It was always pandemonium when Bad News was on the scene which just further made his character better. Nobody could work a crowd into a frenzy like him.
  john
  The best match I ever saw "Bad News" in was a tag team match with Duke Myres May 30,1984 in Medicine Hat. Their oppenents were the Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith in a cage match. People were so excited they litterly ripped the doors off the hinnges to get in. The bulldogs came out on top but not with out one h#ll of a fight from Duke and Bad news. That night was forever engrained in the minds of every one of the 1400 fans who were there bar none.
  Diamond Don
 I think Bad News was good for the sport. He was from the ghetto and he never showed the ghetto mantality. He proved to people in the ghetto that it was possible to succeed, and I think thats as good as it gets as far as educating our youth. There should be more people like Bad News. He was a great addition to the WWF.
 Anita Aplara
 I have two memories of "Bad News Brown" or also known as the greatest heel of all time.
 1. Winning the battle royal with the help of Bret Hart, and then throwing him over. Bret then hit over the head with the trophy.
 2. His feud with the Piper was also very memorable. The sewer rats and all.
 Allen Greenwood
 In my opinion Bad News was the greatest heel of all time. I remember the 1989 Survivor Series when I was only four when he walked out on all of his teammates I was so scared because he was yelling at all of the fans and I was afraid he would come get me. The next week we were driving downtown and I saw a homeless guy that looked like him and I yelled and screamed at my mom because I saw Bad News Brown and he was going to come get us.
 Maurnell Girman
 I think everyone remembers Bad News for either his Stampede or WWF days.The first time I saw him was when he interfered in a match between Abdulah the Butcher and Dino Bravo in NJPW,when he beat the $#!@ out of all the New Japan wrestlers who challenged him. Then onto the WWF,where as the ORIGINAL bald-tough guy,he won the WM4 Battle Royal,then beat Bret Hart in front of almost 40,000 at WrestleFest 88.
 Work this one out,how many times did Bad News get PINNED in WWF TV matches? Same as John Tenta, VERY FEW TIMES. Bad News could still come back and destroy all the punks in the WWF and WCW.
 Thanks for the memories Bad News!!
 hynesp@indigo.ie
 I remember when he went on "The Arsenio Hall Show" in 1990 and he asked Hall if they had sofas like Mr. Hall's in Harlem?
 -David Twiggs
 I remember when Bad News feuded with Jake Roberts just before leaving the WWF in August of 1990 when he had those SEWER RATS at ring side, they looked more like possums to me but, whatever. Its a shame that was the last angle Bad News was in on Major Tv...
 I also remember watching and MSG show from the early 80's and watching Bad News as Allen Coage and being announced as a Olympic Medalist. I thought then he had potential some 6 years later in 1988 he returned to feud with all the top stars...
 Cole... Cleveland,OH.
 Hello News. Where are you now News? My memories of you in the WWF are of you as a bad-ass. You ate other wrestlers for breakfast and there were never any left-overs. Your appetite for chaos was fierce, you always sought the apocalypse. One morning in Harlem, many years ago, a child was born. Those mean streets of Harlem moulded that infant into a fighter, a competitor, a crusader. That little cub was Bad News Brown. You will always be my little cubling News. Return to the WWF and kick some ass. You are the master of disaster, the lord of crunch. Keep on fightin News.
 Mungo, from Derry.
  Bad News I find you truly intriguing. What a brutal beast you were. You lived by your own savage regime and never had any time for ninkompoops such as Greg Valentine. You truly were a vicious brute, and this showed in your wrestling. Brought up in the mean streets of Harlem, you were always destined to be a mean son of a gun. Coming from Harlem I suppose you are a bit of a stoke, but does this really matter when you have such colossal ability? Anyway I must say I'm glad that you are no longer in the WWF as you were truly a nasty being. I must admitt no News is good news. Those mean streets of Harlem make people like you into brutal fighters. Although I have to admitt there was always a place in my heart for you News, even though you were a scum bag. The federation always needs somebody like you, as bad as ten heards of cattle and as mean as a few gorillas. Good luck in the future News you big nasty scally wag.
  Best wishes Pongo Banks.
 I remember when I first started watching wrestling as a little toddler in the late 80's (my father watched it a lot and somehow I got interested in the most stupid sport on the planet, yet still my favorite) and seeing Bad News Brown in the interview segment. Not the actual one where the wrestlers were interviewed by Mean Gene, but the one where they just left messages to whoever they happened to be feuding with at the time. I think Bad News was feuding with Brutus Beefcake at the time, but alas, I was just a toddler and may not boast accurate memories. I do, however, remember how much he scared the crap out of me. I mean, he really scared me. The only wrestlers who ever scared me more than him were John Tenta (In his "Earthquake" stunt) and The Undertaker when he first came in. I sometimes indulge in my old memories by borrowing old wrestling tapes from my cousin and friends. I just watched Bad News throw Bret Hart of the Battle Royal in Wrestlemania 4.
  Man, those were the days. Another cool wrestler I would like to see more information of is the late Dino Bravo. I am very curious as to how tall he was and how much he weighed in the WWF.
 If the real Allen Coage ever reads this, THANK YOU FOR THE MEMORIES!
 Chris Rezendes
 While I did enjoy seeing his stint in the WWF (limited as it was), I must say that I much prefer the memories that I had of Bad News from the Stampede days of the mid to late 80s. Reading the history of Mr. Allen on here is somewhat of a revelation, especially the "Gouldie Jr." incident, since what I remember most was seeing interviews from Calgary where Bad News would put commentator Ed Whalen over quite a lot. I seem to remember Ed asking Allen something along the lines of "What's a fine, tough gentleman like you doing with the likes of Karachi Vice?" to which Allen would talk about Ed being a fine gentleman, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and at one point, even taking to referring to WhaleN as "King Edward".
 To me, Bad News Allen is someone who I will consider to be as great an interview as he is tough in the ring.
 David Scott
 Bad News Allen is easily the greatest heel to ever wrestle. Growing up in Edmonton, my four brothers and I use to watch Stampede wrestling every Saturday. Whatever was being done at the time was dropped for the hour so we could watch wrestling. After the show, my brothers and I would be so pumped up that my dad would have to kick us out of the house to continue our own wrestling show in the back yard. I'll never forget, my oldest brother Joe was always Jim Niedhart, Steve-Bret Hart, Rob-Hercules Ayala, Jim-The Dynamite Kid, and me Bad News Allen. I always liked Bad News the best. I liked him even more when he would beat Bret Hart. Not that I hated Bret, but he was my brothers favorite and Bad News was the greatest. These are some of my greatest memories growing up. I'll never forget when Bad News made his WWF debut, I was so excited to see him back in action. Some time later he was wresling Hulk Hogan on Saturday Nights Main Event. He had Hogan cowering at his Knees, and I'll never forget his words "Look at your champion, Look at your hero!" Today years later, my brothers and I are grown adults with wives and children, but all of us still remember that line and use it whenever possible. It is just so appropriate to use as a rib. I don't think that line will ever go away, hopefully our kids will use it to rib each other, and if so I'll never let them forget that it came from the greatest wrestling heel the sport has ever seen. Thanks Bad News
 Rick
 When I was a kid, when darn near every show was a "house show", I saw Bad News at a show at the Philadelphia Spectrum. 1988 I believe. He was working with Bret Hart and I had a pro-Hart/anti-Brown sign. He walked up read it and punched it out of my hands, (pretty gently). That was pretty cool.
 SalezMan.
 Bad News is the best wrestler I've ever seen. I've been a fan for 20 years and he rates as number one in my books. I first saw him on Stampede Wrestling in 1982, he scared the s*#t out of me, I followed his career from there to the WWF where he should have been the Champ, Vince McMahon really blew it with him -- the WWF has not seen such a great bad guy since. His wrestling moves were superb and to date I haven't seen another wrestler who could kick, punch or chop half as good as Bad News. I wish him all the best and hope to see him again. If anyone knows where I could get of a video tape of all his matches please let me know.
 jaxal@home.com
 Mmmmmm....well BAD NEWS BROWN......as kids, we always thought you were a hoot(no offence) when you were in WWF. Glad to see you in better spirits and life since leaving the WWF (wrestlers with fatigue- refering to all bullcrap you guys were facing against McMahon.) Thanks for reading.....Good News Brown......is that your new name?
 Aaron, Toronto
 P.S. We couldn't help but laugh so hard, seeing you and Hogan argue, and you callin' him "beer belly sheer cropper". Haha! Or, slapping your fist into your glove, saying "Hogan's gonna pay". Ghetto-Blaster! OOOOOOF!
 I was just a kid at the time, but I remember Bad News Allen back in the Stampede Days and he was my hero! I remember that I actually showed up at school wearing a single black glove one day (just like he used to) and if I had a nickel for everytime I called one of the other kids a "beer belly share-cropper" I'd be a rich man today! Those were great days and your fans still think of you and hope that you are doing well Bad News.
 Kurando, from Victoria B.C.