10 Things I Learned Watching Dark Side of the Ring: The Killing of Bruiser Brody

Image Credit (eWrestlingNews.com)

On July 17, 1988 professional wrestler Bruiser Brody tragically died at the age of 42. Brody died after being stabbed in a locker room in Puerto Rico by fellow professional wrestler Jose Gonzalez. While I was never alive to see Bruiser Brody perform live on TV or in person, there have been a lot of stories about his career and his tragic death. So, I thought I would do a review on Dark Side of The Rings’s documentary on Bruiser Brody and give 10 things I learned watching the documentary.

10. Bruiser Brody’s immediate transformation on the road

In this interview we actually got to hear from Brody’s wife and son. The one thing I learned was that Brody was a renegade and had the ability to do an immediate transformation when on and off the road. Off of the road he was a sweetheart and a great family man. He had a great relationship with his wife Barbra and with his kid Geoffrey. The one thing hat fascinated me was how the transition from Frank Goodish (Brody real name) to Bruiser Brody was just immediate. When Barbra dropped him off to the airport and he got out of the car, Brody would immediately let his hair down, have a different facial look, and became the Bruiser Brody character.

9. Bruiser Brody’s arrival killed Jose Gonzalez’s planned push

It is pretty clear that both Bruiser Brody and Jose Gonzalez did not like each other. There were a lot of potential reasons why Jose Gonzalez hated Bruiser Brody. Jose Gonzalez as planned to be the next big star of WWC (World Wrestling Council). Well that all went to shambles in a match with Brody. Brody was known to beat people up and go to business for himself.

Getting beaten up so bad made him look weak and his push was pulled from him immediately. The reason why was due to fans not believing in him anymore. So, Gonzalez was brought to the hospital and was so upset that he threatened to kill Bruiser Brody.

8. Bruiser Brody was planning to buy a minority ownership share of World Wrestling Council (Carlos Colon’s promotion)

Bruiser Brody at the time had a ton of money due to how well he performed in Japan. I believe it was Dutch Mantel who stated “he wanted to invest in a wrestling company and he had Puerto Rico in mind”. Victor Quinones was a part owner of the company and he had around 10% ownership that he was looking to sell his shares along with his father Gorilla Monsoon to Brody. The interesting part was that Brody was bragging about this potential deal in the locker room. If Brody officially bought in the company, then Jose Gonzalez would be out of a job. Gonzalez at the time was Colon’s right hand man and booker of the promotion. Dutch Mantell believes that this was one of the reasons why Gonzalez did what he did.

7. Jose Gonzalez’s 3 year old daughter passed away 3 months before he killed Brody.

This was briefly mentioned in the documentary, but I never new this at all. Jose Gonzalez had a daughter and it was clear that he loved her very much. But a few months before Brody’s death he found out that his daughter passed away in a swimming pool incident where she drowned. The worst part was that Gonzalez’s daughter was only 3 years old which is very tragic. I never knew that Jose Gonzalez’s kid died in that kind of way. Like I said in my Gino Hernandez article, no parent should ever have to bury there child. I can’t even imagine how painful it is to loose a child.

6. What Bruiser Brody said to Tony Atlas seconds after getting stabbed

As it has become common knowledge Tony Atlas witnessed the incident. He quickly came to the aid of Brody by pulling him back as apparently Gonzalez was going to stab his neck. That gave Brody time as Gonzalez cut Bruiser’s ponytail off. So this got Carlos Colon to pin Gonzalez to the wall trying to get him to stop. While Colon was doing that Bruiser Brody said to Atlas “Brother, do not let them hurt me no more”. Which of course is telling and it got Atlas pissed that he would not even let Carlos Colon near Brody, along with threatening to punch Colon if he got close.

Which I don’t blame him for, as like I mentioned earlier Gonzalez was Colon’s right hand man. Colon only got close to help him because Brody allowed him too. But those words were telling and when Brody was being taken to the hospital, Atlas went with him to keep him company.

5. Bruiser Brody was holding a picture of his son while he was bleeding out.

This part of the documentary really made me cry. As he lay bleeding on the floor of the shower, Brody was clutching and holding a photograph of 7-year-old son while he was bleeding out in the locker room,brought to the ambulance, and in the hospital. Brody never let that photo of his son go. That goes to show despite how much of a villan and crazy man his character was, he loved his son. Even when dying in the ground he kept telling Tony Atlas to tell his wife and son that he loved him, along with to take care of them. It was clear that he loved them so much and holding that photo was clearly motivation for him to keep fighting to staying alive.

4. The Poor Medical Treatment Brody Received

Brody arrived at the hospital and he was in critical condition. Now apparently he was on a waiting list where nobody took a look at Brody for around 20 minutes. So Atlas got a hold of a doctor and he was asking complaining why nobody was even taking a look at him. According to the doctor he stated “A stab in here is like a cold in the USA and it is no big deal”. You don’t want to know the angry look I had when I heard that statement watching this documentary.

So Tony Atlas lifted the doctor up and he carried him too Brody. While the doctor was examining him, Atlas removed Brody’s wrestling boots and his feet were blue. Which is never a good sign as that shows that there is not enough oxygen or blood flow going on. Once seeing that then the doctors went straight to work on him. Even though the finally treated him, Brody unfortunately died due to the injuries he suffered from the attack. His injuries were so severe that Brody had 2 eight inch cuts.

3. The Police thought that the incident was a storyline

In Puerto Rico at the time almost everybody believed that pro wrestling was real. The product with Colon’s company was also very violent and often included wild brawls. It was so believable that the police in Puerto Rico thought it was a storyline.

When Atlas returned to the dressing room, he got angry that wrestlers, including the police were just laughing about the incident. Keep in mind that Brody’s blood was still in the showers and they just kept laughing about the incident, just think about that for a second.

Not only that, but everybody was enjoying that there matches and could care less about what happened to Brody. So, the police finally went up to calm him down and asked if he got a look at the fan that stabbed Brody. Yes, they actually believed that a fan was the one that stabbed Brody, including the locker room. So he basically told the police that they need to arrest Jose Gonzalez, who returned to the arena as he was the main witness to Brody’s attack. They ignored him thinking it was all a storyline.

2. Neither Tony Atlas or Dutch Mantell received there subpoena to appear in court

So with this now being a murder, the police finally decided to interview Tony Atlas and Dutch Mantell. Both made statements to the police and both said different stories from what others in the lockeroom were saying. The Police then informed them that they would later get a subpoena to testify and appear in court. Well apparently that subpoena was late. Mantell did not get his until 10 days after the verdict was given. Neither Atlas or Mantell were ever contacted in the investigation or to come to court.

1. Jose Gonzalez attorney’s convinced the judge that it was self defense using Brody’s wrestling character

At the end of the documentary they briefly talked about the court case. Now Gonzalez did get arrested for Brody’s, however he was immediately bailed out. His attorney put out a statement where it stated that Gonzalez acted in self defense, due to how crazy of a character Bruiser Brody was. Now we all know Brody was playing a character, but in Puerto Rico like I said they believed that pro wrestling was 100% real. So the Judge decided to acquit Gonzalez as they believed that Bruiser Brody was like that in reality. In the end there was no justice for Bruiser Brody and that is the biggest shame out of all of this.

My Thoughts On the Documentary

This was a was a very depressing, but well made documentary regarding Bruiser Brody. Let’s get one thing out of the way, Jose Gonzalez clearly got away with murder and Carlos Colon was absolutely involved with Gonzalez not getting charged. What I don’t understand is that Colon’s company even still kept him employed after the incident, which makes zero sense at all. I find it insane too that Gonzalez was still being hired/used in pro wrestling, knowing what he did to Brody. The fact that he still is getting booked today, just boggles my mind.

The producers of the show tried to get Gonzalez and Colon to interview for this documentary, but both decline. Of course they would, because they knew that they were not going to come across well in this documentary.

The MVP of this documentary is clearly Tony Atlas. He was the man that helped Brody and stood up for him in the locker room. I love the quote that the narrator Mick Foley used “There is an old saying in pro wrestling. Consider yourself lucky if you make it out with one true friend. On the night of Brody’s incident, he had that friend in Tony Atlas.”

One other thing too after watch the documentary, I watched previous interviews on YouTube where Atlas talks about Brody’s murder. Not one time has he changed his story and has said everything exactly as he has stated for many years.

Professional wrestling lost a legend on July 17th, 1988. Bruiser Brody is often known as one of the most violent wrestlers of all time. He is so influential to the wrestling business, especially to Mick Foley who was the narrator of this documentary. In the beginning Foley wished that he had an opportunity to face him. What happen to Bruiser Brody will forever go down as one of the darkest moments in professional wrestling. Rest in Peace Frank Goodish aka Bruiser Brody.

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