Terry Bollea and Ed Leslie achieved stardom with the WWF in the 1980’s as the Immortal Hulk Hogan and Brutus the Barber Beefcake, which was a Chippendales barber gimmick which Leslie somehow got over. Hulk Hogan and Brutus the Barber Beefcake were friends in the kayfabe world of the WWF at the time but were also good friends who grew up and entered the business together in South Tampa, Florida. During one of the last great times in the Territorial Era in the 1970’s, Hulk traveled around the territories with his kayfabe little brother, Dizzy Hogan. Dizzy was Leslie and it was his first real gimmick out of the many he has had alongside Brother Bruti, The Butcher, The Man with No Name, Zodiac, Bootyman, the Disciple, and of course, #BTFBB.
To travel from one territory to another, Hulk Hogan and Brutus the Barber Beefcake traveled in a van that was, according to Brutus in his recently released autobiography Brutus the Barber Beefcake: Struttin’ & Cuttin’, “a big brown Winnebago with custom airbrushing. It had a pimpin’ ocean scene of a seashore, a boat, some seagulls overhead and a giant anchor in its sky.”
In the late 1970’s, these ‘two brothers’ traveled to Pensacola for a run in the often overlooked but very influential promotion called Southeastern Championship Wrestling or simply the Pensacola Territory.
They had quite the time in this territory located in a beautiful city with wild beach bars and an ample supply of beautiful women.
Ed Leslie describes a time when Hulk Hogan and Brutus the Barber Beefcake (then known as Dizzy Hogan) were first getting their start in the business:
“We got to be real good friends with the Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika. They were not the crazy monsters like they were depicted on TV. They were two big teddy bears and they were in the same boat as us, new and broke. None of us had any money back then. We couldn’t afford motel rooms like the other guys. We didn’t need one. We had that no-tell motel on wheels with us, everywhere we went. Every night Terry and I would sleep in his finally airbrushed van on the beach in Pensacola and the Samoans slept in their van too right next to us.
“The Samoans quite often would pull out a little grill and would be cooking out in front of their van on the sidewalk. Man oh man, they fed Terry and I a bunch. They were really generous and great. To pay them back, we would go to this buffet place called Moms. It was a little buffet style joint off the main strip and they had the best fried chicken in the world. The moment we all walked in, we would transform into savages. The people at Moms just hated us.
The people at the local buffet ‘Moms’ hated Hulk Hogan and Brutus the Barber Beefcake as they would turn into savages the moment they walked into the door!
“The nights were relatively peaceful sleeping on the beach but I do remember one night I had checked in early into the van. I was already asleep when all of a sudden it felt like I was on a boat. I was out of it. I shook myself awake and looked out the window to see if the van had been hit by the tide, or something. Then I realized that the motion was coming from within the van. Someone had snuck in the back.
“Terry had just come back from drinking and had a girl with him. Now I don’t think he was necessarily trying to get it on with her but either way I didn’t want to cock block or be their first hand to see what was going to happen. That is breaking the bro code, so I decided to take off. Before I shut the door I saw Terry out of the corner of my eye. He just barely gave me the thumbs up. I walked to the Samoan’s van for shelter. A light drizzle was hitting my face so I hit the van loudly until finally, a dazed Afa slid the side door open. A stale cloud of dank Samoan Tobacco smacked me in the face. I grimaced and pulled my blanket up over my shoulder and nose as I crawled into the passenger side seat to sleep.
“About 20 minutes later, I awoke again, this time however my makeshift bed was not moving around. The thing that woke me from the dead this time was the curious sound of wood being sawed. Afa was snoring loudly and after about 10 minutes, I heard Sika tell his brother to roll over and finally the snoring subsided. I closed my eyes again and just as I started to drift, I heard the gentle blast of an earth-rattling fried chicken fart. Then the sawing started up again in all of its entire splendor. Then to make matters worse, out of nowhere it became a duet. Yes, another saw chimed in, in perfect harmony, it was magical. A full on wood-sawing Samoan symphony was being performed just for me right there in that shitty smoked filled Dodge Ram.
“It wasn’t worth it. Some wet socks and a couple of sand flea bites are far better than hearing [the Samoans farting all night], so I rolled out of van number two, wrapped up in a blanket and fell asleep on the beach.”
This is a perfect example of what life was like on the road for two up-and-coming wrestlers in the business. Sleeping in a passenger seat of a stale ‘Samoan Tobacco’ smelling van with two loudly snoring Samoans who had a bad case of the fried chicken farts is just part of the experience, brother!
If you liked these stories, be sure not to miss:
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- The Road Warriors: The Back Story Behind Their Formation and TV Debut
- On the Road with ‘Captain’ Lou Albano
- Pro Wrestling Stories from the Road: The Good, the Bad and the Bizarre!
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