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WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: The Steve Austin Show (network friendly) w/ Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake on his new book, memories of working with Savage, Rude, and, Hennig, the surprising person who came up with “Beefcake”

The Steve Austin Show

Release Date: December 26, 2017

Recap By: Joe Aguinaldo

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

0:00 – Intro

Austin opens the show wishing everyone a Happy Holidays. He’s in Nevada visiting his in-laws. He talks about getting himself a birthday/Christmas present, a new Kawazaki Brute Force 750 four wheeler. Coming up on the show will be Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake. Austin says they crossed paths but never really spent any time in a territory together. Austin says Beefcake was a good worker, had a great body, could sell and loved his gimmick.

Austin mentions Beefcake was part of the first six WrestleManias, which they will get into during the course of the podcast. Austin says he was a big fan of Beefcake and felt he was one of the top guys during his time. Austin mentions Beefcake’s new book (Struttin’ and Cuttin’) which is available on Brutus’ website and plugs Brutus’ Twitter (@brutusbeefcake_).

7:57 – Ed Leslie aka Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake

Austin welcomes Beefcake to the show. Beefcake says he’s feeling great and is currently weighing 280lbs. They talk a little about life on the road, specifically about how challenging it can be to maintain weight and dieting.

Austin mentions Beefcake’s book called Struttin’ and Cuttin’ and asks him how the process of writing has been. Beefcake says it has been a long road. He started working on the book a few years ago with a person by the name of Scott Epstein who passed away. Scott’s wife would not give anyone access to Beefcake’s note so Beefcake had to start over. Austin asks how Beefcake’s recall was during the process since losing all the notes. Beefcake says it was brutal but said it helped talking to certain people like Greg Valentine, which helped him put things into order.

During his research, Austin found out that Brutus enjoyed hunting. Beefcake says he’s been into hunting since he was 10 or 11. He had a neighbour whose dad used to do bird hunting, who he had an impressive gun collection and would let Brutus shoot from time to time. Austin says he can’t see Brutus in the woods hunting. Brutus says when he was growing up in Florida back then, it wasn’t so developed so he and his friend would spend time in the woods with their guns hunting.

Austin read that Brutus played baseball and asks if Brutus was into any sort of contact sports. Brutus says he went to Catholic school, which had no football, so it was only baseball and basketball. When he got to highschool, he tried football but screwed up his knees during summer practice and eventually lost interest. Beefcake says that he loved baseball and used to play catcher.

They switch gears and Austin asks about getting into wrestling living in Florida. Beefcake mentions his oldest sister was a tomboy who convinced him to go to the wrestling matches at the Armoury in Tampa. They also went to the TV Tapings in Tampa where they would watch The Great Malenko, Dusty Rhodes, Johnny Valentine, and Wahoo McDaniel.

Beefcake says he fell in love with the business when he was 8 or 9 years old and at 19 got into the business. Austin asks how long Beefcake trained for before getting in the ring. Beefcake says he never got formal training. He started working in the ring with the boys before shows and taking bumps then got thrown into a tag match. Beefcake says he learned mainly from making mistakes in the ring. He says it was a brutal but a great way to learn. Austin asks who smartened him up to the business. Beefcake mentions the old Portland territory and names Buddy Rose, Rick Oliver, Stan Stasiak and even Curt Henning. It was a good crew of wrestlers which helped prepare him for later territories. Austin asks who would call a match between a young Henning and Beefcake. Brutus says he would call the match as he was the heel.

Austin asks how Beefcake was in front of a crowd and how the crowd affected him. Beefcake said the crowd had him pretty nervous early on until he figured out how to ‘forget the crowd’ and was able to relax.

Austin asks how long it took before getting the call to the WWF. Brutus said he went through the New York territory in 1979 for a short while and got to know a bunch of the people there. After that he wrestled in a number of other territories to get more seasoning. He talks about some of the older veterans who were willing to still help younger guys such as Bobby Duncam and Ivan Koloff. In 1983 after Hogan had won the WWF belt, he stopped in the territory and Hogan suggested he go overseas to work with Otto Wanz. Initially Otto wasn’t happy with this ,however, things went well and they had a good match. When Brutus got back, he got the call to come back to New York to talk business with Vince Jr. Hogan was there as well and they both brainstormed the Brutus Beefcake gimmick.

Austin asks about how he came up with the name Brutus Beefcake which Vince wasn’t initially fond of. The Beefcake part, came from Linda McMahon who had the idea for a Baron Beefcake character who would wear a top had and have a butler. Hogan came up with the name Brutus. Beefcake had some initial reservations about the name and thought people were going to laugh at him however, it turned out to be one of the greatest names ever. Beefcake just had to learn to step up into the name. Austin asks how far the Brutus Beefcake character was from Ed Leslie. Brutus says not that far off.

Brutus tells the story of when he first started. They didn’t have a gameplan with his character and he says it was him just going out there and ‘winging it.’ Vince got hooked on the character when he saw the reaction from the people and the crowd.

Austin talks about Brutus’ work and says he liked his fire as a babyface and asks when Brutus became aware of how to fire up. Brutus says he worked hard on this over his career and learned how to show emotion in order draw the people in.

Austin asks how competitive the locker room was back in the day in the WWF. Brutus says it was different than today. He says it was light and fun and nobody was worried about losing their spot. Everyone was glad to be there and happy to be working.

Austin talks about Wrestlemania I and asks how Vince described the magnitude of this event to the talent. Beefcake said that all the wrestlers knew they had to knock this out of the park and make it the greatest day in the business. Austin asks about Beefcake’s match with David Sammartino. Beefcake says he was honored and proud to be part of that match. Austin says that Bruno Sammartino had taken a liking to Brutus which Beefcake confirms. He also talks about working with Bruno and how over Sammartino was with the crowd.

Austin asks how the boys felt about the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection. Beefcake says a few hardcore guys thought it wasn’t worth it but most of the younger generation embraced it and saw where it was going. Austin asks if Brutus got a chance to meet Mr. T. Beefcake says a few of the guys had problems with Mr. T. but he did not.

Austin brings up Brutus’ tag team with Greg Valentine and asks if they WWF put him in a team with Valentine to learn or did they feel both would have good chemistry as the Dream Team and work well together. Beefcake says they put him together with Valentine by chance just to see what would happen and even though they had different styles, they meshed. Steve asks how he enjoyed being in a tag team. Brutus said that he had wanted to concentrate on being a singles wrestler but once they began to master tag team wrestling, he realized it was easier, which made it fun.

Austin brings up the hair vs hair match with Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis at Wrestlemania III. At the end of the match, Brutus was the one that cut Adonis’ hair. Austin asks about the crowd and Brutus says it was a crazy crowd. Beefcake was told they wanted him to go out during the Piper match but no one told him he was shaving Adrian’s head. Beefcake initially couldn’t get the shears to work and almost panicked, but thankfully, the shears started working and the crowd went bananas. Austin talks about how great this match was and talks about being an Adrian Adonis fan.

Beefcake talks about a mini storyline between he and Adonis that did not go anywhere until Wrestlemania 3. Brutus talks about the ending of the Piper vs. Adonis match and Piper tells Brutus that he should be the one to cut Adonis’ hair. Austin asks if Beefcake had any relationship with Adrian Adonis and what he thought of his work. Beefcake responds that he had met him and Jesse Ventura in the AWA. He compared Adonis’ style and confidence to that of Harley Race. Beefcake says Adonis had a great mean streak and could generate heat.

Austin asks Beefcake about the transition from being a heel to a face as well as becoming the Barber. Beefcake says they did not tell him about the Barber gimmick until the last minute. Someone from the office brought him to a barber shop for a photoshoot. Pat Patterson was there and said ‘you’re the barber.’ Brutus was initially hot as he was doing well with his current gimmick and did not want the new gimmick. The transition to the Barber character was a little rough and Brutus said he just had to jump into the new gimmick with both feet. He also talks about using hedge clippers which was a better visual than using scissors. The hedge clippers were a game changer as the crowds go crazy when they saw them.

Austin goes back to Wrestlemania 3 and asks what his thoughts were about the Savage vs. Steamboat match. Beefcake says that match was incredible and said they tore the house down. He felt that every match was better than the last and says that everyone on that card went above and beyond.

Austin asks how Brutus came up with his look and brings up that Beefcake went to a Rock and Roll clothing designer. Beefcake says he got the contact from Hulk Hogan and called them up. Brutus gave them a description of the character and they brainstormed clothing ideas. Beefcake says the clothes were expensive but worth it.

Austin asks how Randy Savage was and if Beefcake learned anything from him. Beefcake says Savage had a high intensity level, which is something Beefcake ‘stole’ from him. Austin asks Beefcake what it was like working with Rick Rude. Beefcake said they initially had friction but once they settled down with each other in the ring, they had a good time and had fun. Austin then asks how it was working with Curt Hennig. Beefcake says there was never a dull moment in the locker room with Curt and that he was easy to work with. He said there were times when he and Hennig would be put on early in a card and would steal the show. Beefcake and Austin put Hennig over as an amazing worker.  

Austin asks about life on the road during Brutus’ day. Brutus said he hung with Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis. He also hung out with Don Morocco and Bob Orton Jr. They would also try to get the gym together. Beefcake also said after being home for two days, he was ready to go back on the road.

Austin asks about locker room ribs. Beefcake says the Bulldogs would grab scissors and cut pant legs off or cutting shirts into ribbons. Beefcake says he didn’t get ribbed a lot and also said he would find out about ribs due to his relationship with Mr. Fuji.

Austin asks about Piper, Brutus, and JYD in a car. Brutus says during a road trip, Piper gave Brutus and JYD what appeared to be chewing tobacco. Fifteen minutes later, they were all laughing and joking and couldn’t stop even after they made it to the show.

Austin asks Brutus about his parasailing accident. The accident happened on the 4th of July during a big party. Brutus was setting up a girl for parasailing when the person driving the boat decided to take off. Brutus was trying to stop him and as he turned to see where the girl was, her knees hit him in the face. The impact was so hard, it flipped him over and the only reason he is alive today is that he wasn’t knocked out. His optic nerve was damaged so he couldn’t see and he had to use his finger to create an airway so he could breath. They called an ambulance and dropped him off at the closest hospital.

The people at the hospital initially thought he was having a heart attack but after an X-ray they realized the injuries to his face were really bad. Thankfully, even though they were in a small hospital, one of the best reconstructive doctors in the world lived in Tampa. They called this doctor in and had to transport all the equipment in as they were not able to transfer Brutus to a bigger hospital due to his injuries. A number of specialists were called to work on Brutus. Beefcake said he was in a low place when this surgery happened as his parents had died two years earlier and had just been served divorce papers. The doctors weren’t sure he was going to live and said there was no hope for him of ever getting back into wrestling. Brutus said it was a battle to just want to live.

Austin asks how long the recovery process was. Beefcake said it was about 18 months. While he was recovering, he had lost 55 lbs as his jaw had been wired shut for 3 months. Once the wires came out of his mouth he started eating and going to the gym. He talks about his return to the WWF and doing the Barber Shop which allowed him more time to heal.

Austin asks about Wrestlemania 9 being his last appearance in the WWF and what led to his departure. Brutus says he did not talk to the office before he left. He went with Hogan to Florida to work on a TV show called Thunder In Paradise to work as an actor and stuntman not necessarily to join WCW.

Austin asks Beefcake what his relationship with Vince McMahon was like. Beefcake says he had a good relationship with Vince but was initially scared of him. After awhile he got to know him and eventually felt Vince was one of the boys and was cool.

Austin asks if Brutus has any advice for anyone when it comes to dealing with Vince or any promoters. Beefcake says that you should be yourself, stand up for yourself, have confidence in yourself, believe in yourself and speak up for yourself because the ones that speak up for themselves are generally the ones that succeed. Austin adds not being afraid of going out on a limb which Beefcake agrees with. Brutus puts over Austin and says he was entertaining and had a great gimmick.

Austin asks Beefcake if he’ll come back in the next few weeks for another podcast and Beefcake agrees before signing off.

1:18:11 – Show close

Austin thanks Brutus again and plugs Beefcake’s book and twitter (@brutusbeefcake_). He wishes happy holidays to all his fans and signs off.

Show Rating 8/10

I was always a fan of the Brutus Beefcake and the era of wrestling he was in back in the early to mid ’80s. This podcast was all over the place, which was great as it made it more like a conversation as opposed to a formal interview which I tend to like. If you’re a fan of old school WWF, definitely give this one a listen.

Timestamps

0:00 – Intro
7:57 – Ed Leslie aka Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake
1:18:11 – Show close

Writer Bio

Joe lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and two boys. He’s been watching wrestling for about 40 years (give or take) but don’t consider himself any sort of expert, mark, smark or whatever term they use out there. He just likes wrestling.  Check him out on twitter and instagram @ja113.  

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