Friday, November 2, 2012
Brad Armstrong tribute
By Rick Morris
We at FDH are very saddened to hear of the passing – of a sudden and as yet, unnamed severe health condition – of one of the greatest pro wrestling workers of all time, Brad Armstrong, at the young age of 51. We have been privileged on our all-topics webcast to have on many of the greats of that industry, but Brad was unfortunately not among them. We have had a number of folks who were lucky enough to count Brad as a co-worker and friend – JJ Dillon, Jim Cornette, Tully Blanchard, Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton, Road Warrior Animal Joe Laurinaitis, Jerry Lawler and Harley Race are probably the main ones off of our wrestling roster of guests – and we’ll certainly be asking these performers and others who crossed paths with Brad to talk about their impressions of him in the weeks, months and years to come.
Brad was a second-generation star, son of “Bullet” Bob Armstrong, a longtime legend in the Alabama and Tennessee territories. He was the most talented of all of the Armstrongs, which says something since Bob was such a huge territorial star, brothers Scott and Steve were very technically proficient and brother Brian became a huge superstar in the Attitude Era as one half of the New Age Outlaws, “Road Dogg Jesse James.”
Brad was an absolutely amazing worker, one of the truly great babyfaces of all time. The fact that he did not rise to the level of superstardom seems attributable in equal parts to the perception that his charisma/interviews were not at that level and that bookers in the big companies probably didn’t give him the chance to challenge those perceptions accordingly. Nevertheless, he left a tremendous body of work from an artistic standpoint in the industry and we are proud to spotlight it here.
For thoughts and insights on the man, who was apparently as great personally as he was professionally, check out the announcer who got to know him so well, Jim Ross. Below, we have chosen a representation of his career’s work so that we may aid in the appreciation of his tremendous and varied in-ring work. We send our thoughts and prayers to his grieving family and his legions of personal friends. God Bless Brad Armstrong. RIP.
Here’s one of the greatest pro wrestling angles of all time, “Mr. R” from 1984. Tommy “Wildfire” Rich had lost a loser-leaves-town match against Ted Dibiase, returned under a mask and obtained a National Title match against him. At the critical moment in the match, when Dibiase was close to unmasking Mr. R, Rich strolled out to ringside – leaving Armstrong, the man revealed under the mask, to roll up Dibiase for the shocking win.
Here’s Brad against another underutilized worker, Arn Anderson.
Here’s some sweet action from one of wrestling’s all-time great territories, the Mid-South area. Brad teams up with Brickhouse Brown against Dibiase and Steve “Dr. Death” Williams.
Shades of the Anderson match above, Brad takes on another great under-the-radar worker, Al Perez.
Another Armstrong-Dibiase epic … these two workers together were magical.
How about this? Blanchard taking on Brad for the NWA World TV Title!
Another TV Champion and excellent wrestler, Mike Rotunda, squares off with Brad here.
Here, Brad takes on one of the great villains of the 1980s, “Purple Haze” Mark Lewin.
Brad Armstrong. Barry Windham. ‘Nuff said.
Brad vs. a young Raven, then known as pretty boy Scotty Flamingo.
Here’s Brad against another of the great workers of his generation, Rick Martel.
These guys could have had a heck of a series headlining cards: Brad vs. Finlay.
Here’s Brad doing some rare, but very effective, heel work with Goldberg.