Art Barr: Secret Tale of a Complex Wrestling Legend

Art Barr was destined to follow in the wrestling footsteps laid down by his father, Sandy, an accomplished wrestler, and his older brother, Jesse. However, the wrestling world would be shaken by his sudden death in his home in Springfield, Oregon, at the young age of 28. Remarkable achievements and controversial moments marked Barr’s wrestling journey. Learn the secret tale of this complex wrestling legend.

Art Barr: Early Beginnings and Rise to Fame

Art Barr in the Ring.
Art Barr in the Ring. Photo Credit: WCW.

Born on October 8, 1966, in Portland, Oregon, Art Barr was destined for greatness.

His wrestling prowess was evident from an early age, securing four district and two state championships as an amateur wrestler. Though his tenure at Oregon State University was short-lived due to personal responsibilities, his passion for wrestling never waned.

Trained by his father, brother, and Matt Borne, Barr made his debut in Pacific Northwest Wrestling in April 1987. Under the guidance of Roddy Piper, he adopted the “Beetlejuice” persona, quickly becoming a fan favorite with his unique appearance and charisma.

We have hundreds of great Pro Wrestling Stories, but of course, you can’t read them all today. Sign up to unlock ten pro wrestling stories curated uniquely for YOU, plus subscriber-exclusive content. A special gift from us awaits after signing up!

Controversy and Redemption

Art Barr was destined to follow in the wrestling footsteps laid down by his father, Sandy, an accomplished wrestler, and his older brother, Jesse. However, the wrestling world would be shaken by his sudden death in his home in Springfield, Oregon, at the young age of 28. Remarkable achievements and controversial moments marked Barr's wrestling journey. Learn the secret tale of this complex wrestling legend.
Art Barr in the ring. Photo Credit: AAA.

On July 16, 1989, Barr had an inappropriate encounter with a 19-year-old girl after a PNW card in Pendelton, Oregon.  The female involved would subsequently file r*** charges. Barr continued to wrestle as Beetlejuice, despite the charges and local pressure from the media due to the allegations. A year later, Barr was polygraphed as part of the police investigation, during which he admitted the girl did not consent. Barr worked a plea bargain and was convicted of first-degree abuse.

He was fined $1,000, placed on two years probation, and sentenced to 180 hours of community service, but served no jail time.

Barr’s license to wrestle in Oregon was not renewed due to the conviction, but WCW President Jim Herd decided to hire Barr, thinking a Beetlejuice-type character would attract a younger demographic. Barr joined World Championship Wrestling in 1990 and was renamed “The Juicer” in order to avoid copyright conflicts. Much of the fallout from Portland followed him to WCW, and despite gaining a modest fan following, he was released from the company.

The World of Lucha Libre

Art Barr and Eddie Guerrero in Mexico
Art Barr and Eddie Guerrero in Mexico. Photo Credit: Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre.

After leaving WCW, Barr was brought into Mexico’s Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre promotion by the company’s superstar, Konnan. In Mexico, Barr found the greatest success of his career.

He initially wrestled under a mask as “The American Love Machine”, before losing it about a year later to Blue Panther, in a mask versus mask match. 18,000 fans sold out the 17,000-seat Arena México in Mexico City, and another 8,000 fans watched on big screen TV in the parking lot to see the card. The match ended when American Love Machine performed a piledriver on Blue Panther, an illegal move in Mexican wrestling that would cost him the match, thus losing his mask.

Barr left EMLL to follow Konnan to his newly formed Asistencia Asesoría y Administración promotion. As “The Love Machine” Art Barr, he debuted in AAA as a heel and formed the tag team “La Pareja del Terror” (The Pair of Terror) with Eddie Guerrero.

The team of Guerrero and Barr was highly successful, as they would go on to become arguably the most hated tag team in Lucha Libre history. Barr and Guerrero formed a faction after being joined by Konnan, Black Cat, Madonna’s Boyfriend, Jake Roberts, Misterioso, Chicano Power, and King Lion. Together, the faction became known as Los Gringos Locos (The Crazy Americans).

Legacy and Untimely Death

Legacy and Untimely Death of Art Barr
Legacy and Untimely Death of Art Barr. Photo Credit: WWE.

Despite his success and stardom in Mexico, Barr was reportedly homesick, missed his wife and child in Oregon, and eventually turned to a regular ritual of alcohol and drug use to deal with life on the road. Despite his personal struggles, Barr was reportedly well-liked by his peers and considered a rising star in the industry.

On November 23, 1994, Barr was found dead lying with his child at his home in Springfield, Oregon. Preliminary reports said that he died of heart failure, but later reports said that he died under unknown circumstances. Barr had not been previously diagnosed with any major medical problems.

After his passing, his tag team partner and friend, Eddie Guerrero, continued to perform the frog splash throughout his career in tribute to the late “Love Machine.” At Triplemania XXIV, Barr was posthumously inducted into the AAA Hall of Fame as the 2016 inductee.

Author: R. Boman.

These stories may also interest you:

Can’t get enough pro wrestling history in your life? Sign up to unlock ten pro wrestling stories curated uniquely for YOU, plus subscriber-exclusive content. A special gift from us awaits after signing up!

Want More? Choose another story!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, X/Twitter, Instagram, Threads, YouTube, TikTok, and Flipboard!
Pro Wrestling Stories is committed to accurate, unbiased wrestling content rigorously fact-checked and verified by our team of researchers and editors. Any inaccuracies are quickly corrected, with updates timestamped in the article's byline header.
Got a correction, tip, or story idea for Pro Wrestling Stories? Contact us! Learn about our editorial standards here.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us provide free content for you to enjoy!

Be sure to follow Pro Wrestling Stories on Twitter @pws_official and Facebook @prowrestlingstories to keep up with the latest!