REAL NAME: Robert Harold Brown
6’1″, 227 pounds
BORN: October 16, 1938 in Shoal Lake, Manitoba
DIED: February 5, 1997 in Kansas City, Mo.
The Bulldog nickname was tagged to Bob Brown in grade school, and it stuck with him his entire life. In the squared circle he was a snarling, vicious heel most of his career, with a brush-cut and black tights. After growing up in Winnipeg’s tough Brooklands area, Brown became a police officer until he given the chance to get in the ring. Soon, he was a top star across Canada.
In his 33-year career, he had successful stints from the Maritimes to Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling to the west coast, where he was a star during the heyday of Vancouver’s All-Star Wrestling from 1969-74. His greatest success seemed to come in the American mid-west, the Kansas City promotion in particular. Brown was also involved in promoting wrestling in the Winnipeg area. For a while in Stampede Wrestling, he wrestled alongside nephew Kerry Brown (aka Rick Valentine in Puerto Rico & Maritimes). Wrestling fans will also remember Brown’s son David, who refereed as David Puttnam in Calgary and Winnipeg. Bulldog’s brother, Doug Brown, is a partner and co-promoter of the International Wrestling Alliance in Winnipeg with Tony Condello.
Bulldog only retired from the ring in 1996 after a massive heart attack, where he was pronounced dead twice before being revived. At the time of his death at age 57 in February 1997, he was working as a security officer on the Flamingo floating casino in Kansas City, Mo.
Growing up as a pro wrestling fan in the early 80s, many stars of the ring were flamboyant figures, with gimmicky names or exaggerated physiques. But one of my first wrestling favorites was strictly known as the Bulldog.
Although he was never a national figure in wrestling, Bulldog Bob Brown was nothing short of a legend in Kansas City and the surrounding Midwest areas that All Star Wrestling promoted shows. Growing up in Iowa I received my first taste of the short, stocky brawler from Winnipeg on t.v. and was instantly hooked. Shortly thereafter I made my father take me up to Des Moines once a month to catch the Bulldog in the ring, battling other legends such as Harley Race, Ric Flair, and future stars like Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels.
Brown didn’t wear shiny robes or accessories. His blue trunks and tight flat-top haircut were his trademarks. And although his “wrestling” skills might not of been the greatest, he was one of the best brawlers I’d ever seen. He could take on the worst of them, including old ladies and drunk spectators.
When Bob Brown died this year, it was all over the KC media. Brown was still popular that the Flamingo Casino had pictures of him that he could autograph for fans. Bob Brown was an important figure in because he was an example of regional wrestling and what it unfortunately used to be. Fifteen years ago one could find a good local promotion almost anywhere. Today you’ll be lucky to catch a house show once a month if you don’t live in the east coast. Despite all the modernization of pro wrestling today, the simple greatness of Bulldog Bob Brown will never be forgotten.
I grew up in Iowa and watched All Star Wrestling every Sunday. Bob was one of my favorites with Rufus R. Jones. Boy those were the good old days. I last saw Bob Brown in person in Vets Auditorium in 1982. Thank God for T.V.
I remember Bulldog Bob Brown spit on an old lady and got into a fistfight at the Dartmouth Sportsplex here in Halifax. He could pack them in and it was worth every penny!!
Rob MacNeil, Halifax, N.S.
I have fond memories of watching Bulldog Bob Brown, on Sunday morning all-star wrestling, channel 41 in Kansas City, and saw him on more than one occasion here in Salina Kansas at the old Memorial Hall, along with Rufus R. Jones, the “freight train”, Tony Atlas, Ted DiBiase, Harley Race, and many others!
I watched a match on Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling where Bob Brown was beating on Buddy Lane and a woman hit bob with her purse. He spit on her, then she hit him again. He kicked her in the face. Vintage Bulldog Bob Brown.
mike cross, bedford, ns
Sometime around ’94-’95 Bob was in Winnipeg for Tony Condello. At a local bar show he was being harrassed by Gracie a fat old lady who is a fixture at all Winnipeg shows. Bob took great pleasure in goading old Gracie into showing off her voluminous butt (ie. “hang a moon”)at each show, which she never hesitated to do. This time, when she exposed herself Bob yelled, “Well, I guess your gonna show your tits next!!!”. She did, flaunting them in all their wrinkled, mountainous glory. I remember myself, as referee, immediately wretching and acting like I was going to vomit. Then I realized that the only way to survive was to try and scratch out my own eyes (unsuccessful). The Natural (aka: Jackyl) screamed like a man who had been gut-shot and actually took a bump onto the canvas. We sure = had fun in those days.
Now THAT, was vintage Bob Brown!!!
Dave Levinsky, Wpg., Manitoba
Two memories about Bob. God rest his soul. Winnipeg MB, 1992: After a match Bob got into it with a physically challenged fan. As they argued and as Bob’s spit flew I recall the quote “C’mon ya f**kin’ cripple!! Get up! Get up if you’re a man!!!” Nice.
Stienbach MB: During a tag match Bob was into it with an overwieght young lady. Among other comments the Bulldog hollered racial slurs which enraged the entire crowd. The high point of this day was when Mr. Brown exposed his genitals for all(in particular the said young lady) to see. This of course prompted the woman to flash herself in return. Glasses were thrown tables were knocked over and, well wrestling never returned to that venue.
I will never forget the Saturday night that I was at a Grand Prix show in Amherst, NS, with my family when Bob Brown spit in my grandmother’s face. We knew alot of the wrestlers and often got involved in the show but on this night I took thinks one step further. I grabbed the chair I was sitting on a ran up behind Bob. I said, “Mr. Brown, chair?” As he turned he saw I was holding the steel chair over my head. He smiled and I brought it down on him. He hit the floor as two security men grabbed me and walked me to the exit. There was a huge fan pop.
F. Norman Robitza
I recall fondly the many Saturday afternoons in the 70’s watching Bulldog wrestle with and against the likes of Leo Burke, The Beast, The Cuban Assassin and others in the old Atlantic Grand Prix. He was the typical arrogant wrestling bully and smart-mouth.
I remeber as a young man seeing Bob Wrestle in a church gym in St Boniface, Man. I was greatly impressed with his abilities then, and felt he would be one of the greats, he was. even though he was always booked as a baddie.
I grew up near Wichita, Kansas, and watched Bulldog every Saturday on tv. I even saw him several times live. He helped build some of todays stars as well past stars. I watched some great matches between him and Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, Scott Hall (American Eagles), the Von Erich Family, Bruiser Brody not to mention Flair and Harley Race. Bob will truly be missed.
The Bulldog will never be forgotten. At least not in our family! We watched the Bullldog most every Sunday on Wrestling At The Chase, a Sam Munchnik promotion out of St. Louis. Bob’s marginal physique and skills always endeared him to us. His mastery of the small package hold and ability to work the fans made him a true champion of the squared circle. He will truly be missed.
I can remember watching Bob Brown in the early 80’s at the Antigonish Arena N.S. He always had a way of pissing off all of the local scum-bags. One incident that particularly sticks out to me is when an old lady was shooting off to him all night and he finally grabbed a drink from a spectator and drenched her. A voice hollered, “kick him in the balls!”, and that she did sending him into a fit of rage. Other wrestlers had to forcefully contain Bob as he desperately tried to get at her. The episode lasted over a span of 20 minutes until he finally settled down. He was one wrestler that showed true emotions and I’ll never forget that.
Jason Christie–Antigonish Nova Scotia
My greatest memory of Bob Brown was when I saw him put a back-breaker on a midget! 25 years later that memory still leaves me helpless with laughter.
I have so many fond memories of the Bulldog. He may have been a heel in St. Louis at Wrestling at the Chase. But Bob Brown had a heart of gold. I had known Bob Brown for many, many years and he was one of the truly nicest people I had ever met in the business.
He was a bear in the ring, but outside he was a good guy.
D. Taylor, St. Louis
During my training I was getting beat up pretty good sometimes, one time in particular after training I was sitting there with my elbows all bloody from bumping for what seemed like the millionth time. All the other guys had left and it was just me and Bob, he took a look to make sure that everyone was gone, and then he helped me clean up my elbows and told me to get some polysporn so they wouldn’t get infected. This was the first time that Bob had ever showed a soft side to me, and as time went on I grew to find out what a true gentleman Bob realy was..
Tod Bullet…..local Winnipeg wrestler
Do you remember Coach from Cheers? The first time I met Bulldog I instantly made the connection. The only differance was that Coach was a scholer compared to Bulldog.
I think it was either 1985 or 86 I took my kids to watch Bulldog wrestle. We had front row seats. Bulldog was a bad guy at that time, but it didn’t stop me from cheering him on. When he entered the arena, I started cheering, but a young man of about twelve sitting next to me started booing. The young man then leaned over to me and said “Bulldog’s a bad guy. Why are you cheering for him?” Just then, Bulldog came around to our side of the ring and hopped up on the apron. The young man stood up, gave Bulldog the finger and yelled “Bulldog Bob Brown, you suck!” Bulldog pulled up a loogie from the deepest part of his lungs and spit it right between the eyes of that young man. I leaned back over to this obviously stunned and embarrassed young man and said “Now you know why I cheer for the bad guy.”
Keith Renner, Topeka, Kansas
I would like every one to know that I think Bob Brown was one of the nicest men on earth. I met him when I was 17yrs old in Canada he was the friend of my boyfriend Mr.Pogo. I pretty much hung out with him every day for six months. He took care of me like I was part of his family . Although he scared me on several occasions. First he flipped a car on the way to catch the ferry to Prince Edward Island and then 2 weeks later he hit a moose on the way back from Halifax. He had 9 lives. Also after leaving Canada I lived in Kansas City, MO. for a year he brought my boyfriend Mr.Pogo there. He was the greatest I am deeply saddened by his death and I will forever remember him.
I’m sad to hear of the Bulldog’s passing, he was my favorite wrestler growing up watching all-star wrestling in Iowa. Attended a lot of the house shows at Vets auditorium. Well anyway, my favorite memory of the Bulldog is at Vets auditorium. I was sitting in the balcony front row. Bulldog and Bruiser Bob Sweetan were partnered up against two jabronis I can’t remember. But anyway Sweetan stabbed Bulldog in the back and lost the match for them. Soon as Bulldog realized what happened he went chasing after him behind the curtain, I got up walked over toward the end of curtain. When I took a peek, Bulldog was chasing Sweetan around a stack of chairs and shouting profanities and explaining what he was going to do to him when he caught him. By a minute or so a security guard told me to go sit in my eat, so I did. I will always cherish my Bulldog autograph in one of my three house programs books. Thanks Bulldog for the memories you will be missed.
I never got to say good-bye to “The Bulldog”. When I first heard of his passing, I was in an six-man tag match in Louisville,KY. for the USWA. Superstar Bill Dundee asked me if I knew Bob Brown, realize now this is in the middle of the match, Of course I said “YES”. He asked me if the Bulldog was really dead. We were both standing on the apron basically ignoring Brian Christopher getting beaten up. I said “No, that’s a bad rumor from a couple years ago”. I didn’t realize it was true, I refused to believe it as I had talked to Bob only 2 -3 days before. He had booked me to work for GPW starting in May ’97. I told Bill Dundee he must be mistaken.
His brother Doug phoned me from Bob’s place in Kansas because he and Brian Jewel had seen my pictures on Bob’s kitchen table when they went to get his stuff after the funeral. My phone number in Memphis was on the back of one of the pics. They realized that I probably never knew that Bob had died.
I believe the last time I saw Bob was at his place, in the basement, having a few beers, and having a good laugh. We had many matches together, I learned a vast amount of psychology from him. I think of him as one of my mentors, a grizzled veteran with a heart of gold who helped me see that this sport isn’t just physical, it’s mental, a story has to be told.
I could go on about funny things that he did and said, but I’d rather keep those smiles to myself. He helped to make me the man I am today and I hope he somehow knows of his influence on me.
I will never forget the knowledge, inspiration, wisdom, beer, laughs, long road-trips, whiskey, advice, attitude, confidence, stories, and great matches you have granted me with. I will always remain in debt.
I wish that I had a chance to say good-bye properly, but this will have to do.
I miss you and I wish you were still here,
Chi Chi Cruz
WOW! What a guy. Very personable on the one hand and mean as a wildcat on the other. I have MANY memories of Bulldog, the last being in 1981 when he tagged up with Andre The Giant at the National Guard Armory in Iowa Falls, Iowa. What an event!
The fact is that Bulldog Bob Brown is the best wrestler there has ever been. If it wasn’t for Bulldog Bob Brown guys like Terry Taylor and Marty Janetty would not be stars today!
I will never forget when Bob slammed the spike in Gypsy Joe’s head! Bulldog Bob Brown was hardcore before it became a fad to be hardcore!
David Lee Clay Pittsburg, Kansas.
ps. I never met Bob but I wish I had!
He was#1 ’nuff said!
I grew up on Bulldog Bob Brown. Watching wrestling in Iowa from 77 on Bulldog was as big to me as Hulk Hogan ever was. The wars he had with Bob Sweetan, Buck Robley, Harley Race, Buzz Tyler, and many others are great wrestling memories. One of my favorite memories of the Bulldog was in an interview and he started ranting how he was in the newest edition of “Swank.” It still makes me laugh thinking of it. Rest in peace Bulldog.
I grew up watching him on ALL STAR WRESTLING here in Kansas City. I lived for Thursday nights, where we would go to Memorial Hall and watch faithfully. I also counted down the hours to watch our studio wrestling at the old Channel 41 TV station. I remember watching Bulldog nearly beating Handsome Harley Race for the NWA Championship, and then the next week getting beat to a bloody pulp by Bruiser Brody. He was one of the best local guys ever. I truly miss him as well as what I knew as Professional Wrestling. This Crap today is horrible !!!!!!! I will never forget when he would sign autographs for people outside of the studio after the 2 hour taping and one Saturday morning around Halloween of 77 or 78 he handed out bubble gum and tootsie rolls to the kids. I was around 8 years old then and I will never forget that day.
Love Tony in Kansas City