Published on July 19th, 2015 | by Pro Wrestling Stories2
BRUISER BRODY: A Detailed Look at his Murder and Influence on Professional Wrestling
July 17, 1988, marks the day of the death of Frank Goodish, better known to fans as Bruiser Brody. For years, controversy surrounded his murder. With stories coming in from the likes of Dutch Mantel and Savio Vega, both who were present during the time of Brody’s stabbing, it’s hard not to ask yourself if the murder was a cover up.
This edition of Pro Wrestling Stories not only looks into Bruiser Brody’s death but also celebrates his influence on professional wrestling, with testaments from the people who knew and were inspired by him.
Was Bruiser Brody’s death a cover-up? Dutch Mantel, who was at the scene, writes what he saw that day
“It is already known that Jose Gonzalez was the man that stabbed and killed Bruiser Brody.
He pleaded self-defense, and partly due to a weak justice system in Puerto Rico, and partly due to the fact that nobody was at Gonzalez’ trial on behalf of Brody, Gonzalez was acquitted.
The controversy surrounds why the men that were subpoenaed never got to Puerto Rico to testify. Yes, it is true that certain wrestlers would not talk. But there were many who were very willing to talk.
Unfortunately, they never got their chance.
I arrived in Puerto Rico for a two-day run on a Saturday afternoon. After deplaning and collecting my bags, I made my way to the Lagoon el Canario, where I would be staying. The El Canario was a great hotel by Puerto Rican standards because they had cable with a remote and in-room air conditioning. That’s almost a luxury.
I met Bruiser in the lobby of the hotel where we were also to meet [Tony] Atlas. Bruiser told me that Tony had arranged a ride for the three of us with a guy who operated a local gym and who was a big wrestling fan.
After a few minutes, Atlas arrived and we departed for Bayamon Loubriel Stadium around 6:00 PM. The trip takes about 20 minutes so we were very early for the show.
Everything was fine; just small talk made in the car on the way over. We collected our bags from the trunk upon arrival and entered the stadium, headed for the dressing room. But, as we entered the dressing area, I felt tension in the air. I always felt tension in the air there, as it’s an extremely dangerous place to work. But that night it was really heavy. Don’t ask me why. I don’t even know. I just felt it.
As I entered, I was following Bruiser and I noticed Carlos [Colon] and Invader [Jose Gonzalez] sitting on a bench to my right. Invader was trying on his leather strap – that he wears on his arm – with his teeth. Neither spoke.
Thinking back on it now, I don’t believe any acknowledgment was made to Brody either. I followed Brody to the rear of the room, directly in front of the shower door.
There were other guys who were already there. The Youngbloods, TNT, Roberto Soto, and Castillo Jr. were in various stages of unpacking and getting ready.
I have always hated dressing rooms, so I sat down briefly and, still feeling uneasy about the tension that I felt, decided to go check the crowd. The is a ritual with me; I always check out the crowd or arena when I get there just to familiarize myself with it.
Bayamon Stadium is a baseball stadium so I arose from my chair and headed through a tunnel to get to the field. It’s only about 100 feet through the tunnel, and I stood, watching the crowd file in for no more than three minutes, and I had not been gone from the dressing room longer than 5 or 6 minutes, at the most.
But when I returned, my eyes met horror.”