Marty Goldstein recently wrote an article about his friendship with Kerry Brown.
In it he mentioned that Kerry’s first pro match was in Winnipeg, Manitoba in December of 1979. It was December 6th to be exact. How do I know? Because I was there.
Kerry wrestled Greg Gagne in the third match of the night — see the photo to the right. You wouldn’t expect the son of Verne Gagne (owner of the AWA) to wrestle any lower than that, would you? It was a standard match and I don’t recall any spectacular moves by either man. But Kerry was only a rookie at the time, and I wouldn’t have expected too much of him yet.
This match was preceded by Sandor Szabo (local wrestler, not The Sandor Szabo of earlier days) vs. Buck “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Zumhofe, and Ron Ritchie vs. Rick Hunter.
Following Gagne vs. Brown was Steve Olsonoski & Angelo “King Kong” Mosca vs. The East-West Connection (Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis); Dino Bravo vs. Nick Bockwinkel; and finally Mad Dog Vachon vs. Super Destroyer II (Matthew Byrnes was the name he used when he finally was unmasked, but would later become Sgt. Slaughter).
Flash ahead a year and a half.
On July 28, 1981, I was in Regina, Saskatchewan visiting my wife’s relatives. There was a fair going on, and lo and behold, there was a wrestling card happening. I was unfamiliar with Stampede Wrestling at the time, so I introduced myself and asked if they would mind me taking a few photos. There were no objections.
A young man came up to me and said, “Do you remember me? I’m Kerry Brown, Bob Brown’s nephew. You took photos of my first match.” I didn’t really remember him at the time, but said I did anyway. He was very friendly and said that he would be wrestling later on the card and would I mind taking a few photos of him. Then he left to get ready for his match.
He later came out for his match and posed for me on the ring apron with a championship belt. Hey, I thought, this kid’s getting up in the wrestling world.
He was a somewhat better wrestler than the last time I saw him.
The next night was another Stampede Wrestling card, so I decided to go to that one too. He was teaming with Duke Myers against Bruce Hart and his partner.
Kerry was beginning to show his style and was able to generate heat from the crowd.
By the way, on these two Stampede cards there were a couple of young skinny British wrestlers facing off. Ah, you probably never heard of them — they were Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid. Smith was the babyface and Dynamite was the heel.
Flash ahead again, this time to March 1, 1983.
This time he did some moves that really impressed me. As has been said before, he was a heavyweight who moved like a cruiserweight. After this match, I had no problem remembering Kerry Brown. And whenever he was on a local card where I was, I took lots of photos of him.
I will always remember Kerry Brown as a very friendly young man who always gave his best for the fans, even when wrestling in a small community centre with only a handful in attendance.
Kerry, you are now among the best wrestlers who I have known who died way too young — Owen Hart, Adrian Adonis, and Davey Boy Smith …
- Nov. 11, 2009: Kerry Brown tribute show touches family, peers
- Sep. 11, 2009: Column: My friend, Kerry Brown
- Sep. 10, 2009: Kerry Brown dead at 51
- Apr. 2, 2004: Kerry Brown shoot worth a shot
Terrance R. Machalek Sr. is a long-time Winnipeg photographer, contributor to countless wrestling magazines, and was the publisher of the Canadian Championship Wrestling newsletter.