Starring: Mick Foley (Narrator), Abdullah the Butcher, Tony Atlas, Barbara Goodish, Geoff Goodish, Dutch Mantell
Producer: Ed Hatton
If you have been following my reviews of Dark Side of the Ring, then you know that overall I have been enjoying the series after the first two episodes. As much as I have enjoyed those episodes, they were definitely presented in a way that was much more interesting for fans of wrestling versus those that are looking for the seedy underbelly of the sport. Finally in The Killing of Bruiser Brody, we get the true crime documentary that will appeal to those that are not wrestling fans.
The Bruiser Brody story attracts a wide variety of viewers for a couple of reasons. The mystery that still exists around the events is one of the biggest reasons. Even if you know that he was stabbed in the shower in Puerto Rico, the details are still questionable at best. For people that are fans of true crime, the events leading up to the stabbing — and the fact that no one has ever been found guilty — allow viewers to make their own conclusion. Of course, just jumping into the incident would leave out a big chunk of the story that helps to explain what may have happened that night.
Dark Side of the Ring takes the time to do two important things. The first is to try to explain what territories were around back before the WWE ate most of them. They do not delve so deep, as it becomes confusing and convoluted for the non-wrestling fan. But they do make two things obvious. One, that the goal of many wrestlers is to become part owners of the area, which means less work and more money. The other thing that they make brutally honest, which is important to Brody’s story, is just how dangerous some territories are. The use of footage of wrestlers left in bloody heaps, carried out on stretchers, and even being stabbed with forks made it obvious that Puerto Rico was one such territory.
The other focus in The Killing of Bruiser Brody was how real wrestling was to many fans in the ’70s and ’80s. Several times, it is brought up how rough and violent Brody would be with people and even more so if he didn’t like you. While the narrator never directly states that Jose Gonzalez stabbed Brody, it is made obvious that he had reason to. Without giving away too much of The Killing of Bruiser Brody, it becomes evident that his refusal to break kayfabe helped lead to the inability to bring anyone to justice. People were generally scared of Bruiser … who would often charge into the crowd swinging a metal chain, causing people to scatter. However, the viewer hears about the other side of Brody here: the one that was the family man who would rather spend time with his family when home rather than partying with the boys. He was also one that was deeply loyal to his friends in an industry where many of those do not exist. And finally, he was a man who spent his final moments clutching the photo of his only son.
When you have a true crime drama that does not have justice, you want to make sure that the story is compelling. The Killing of Bruiser Brody does exactly that. For anyone who has been waiting for the true dark stories behind the scenes, then this is the episode for you.