The Killer Bees, B. Brian Blair and “Jumping” Jim Brunzell, formed one of the WWE’s most popular tag teams of the 1980s. Their synchronized costumes consisted of yellow and black striped trunks, yellow head bands, sequined black and yellow jackets with a bee on the back and their trademark yellow boots with black trim, let the fans know that they were a serious team.
While known for their high flying moves and quick tags in and out of the ring, the Bees were a scrappy tandem if cornered. At the Niagara Falls Comic Con last summer the dynamic duo took the time to reminisce about their favourite WrestleMania moments.
On April 7, 1986, WrestleMania II was broadcast live from three separate locations. The first part of the card took place at the Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, N.Y.), the second part was from the Rosemont Horizon (Rosemont, Ill.), and the final emanated from the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena (Los Angeles, Calif.) and featured the main event of Hulk Hogan defending his championship in a steel cage against King Kong Bundy.
B. Brian Blair was quick to remember the promotional lead up to WrestleMania II where the Killer Bees participated in a 20-man battle royal, at the Rosemont Horizon, which featured not only WWF superstars, but National Football League players as well. The match featured eventual winner Andre the Giant, future and former WWE champions Bret Hart, Bruno Samartino, Pedro Morales, and The Iron Sheik. The NFL countered with Jimbo Covert, Bill Fralic, Russ Francis (son of Hawaii wrestling promoter Ed Francis), Ernie Holmes, Harvey Martin and William Perry.
As WrestleMania II came near the NFL players were invited to come and train in a WWE ring. “Watching the Sheik stretch Fralic was a fun moment for me,” said Blair. “To watch the Bears (and other NFL players), who thought that wrestling wasn’t a very tough sport, and Bill Fralic was one of their tough guys. Sheik pretty much manhandled him. Even though I don’t really care for the Sheik, I enjoyed that moment.”
A year later, March 29, 1987, WrestleMania III was at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The spectacle was amazing as a reported 93,173 people filled the venue to witness the main event of champion Hulk Hogan defending his title against Andre the Giant.
Jim Brunzell was amazed by the event put on by the WWE. “WrestleMania III, being a part of the biggest WrestleMania really in terms of crowd and at that time it really was the initial breakthrough of wrestling, a worldwide effort by Vince McMahon,” said Brunzell. “There was everybody there and I mean they had all of the media from all over the world.”
The aisleway for the wrestlers to approach the ring too long to simply walk or jog down so the WWE came up with a plan. The WWE decided to transport their athletes on golf carts that had a platform on the top for the wrestlers to stand on thus ensuring a quick ring entrance and exit. “Going to the ring at WrestleMania II in the ring-designed cars they had for us was kind of a highlight spot. Just looking around at all of those people and waving. It was a rush. A big high spot for me,” said Blair.
That night the Killer Bees took on The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff in tag team action. Soon, WWE newcomer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan interjected himself in the proceedings. Duggan wouldn’t let Volkoff sing the Russian National Anthem because America is the land of the free and home of the brave. As the match progressed Duggan stood on the outside of the ring and when he got the chance he chased Volkoff around the ring with his 2 x 4. Following Volkoff into the ring Duggan whacked The Iron Sheik, signaling a disqualification. “It was an incredible event and we were very fortunate to be, even though I didn’t like the end of our match, it was an introduction for ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. He ran in and got us disqualified with his board. We were supposed to be happy. I don’t know why? That was the consequence of that,” said Brunzell.
B. Brian Blair and “Jumping” Jim Brunzell certainly had some fun experiences at two WrestleManias. Their names are forever etched in WWE history.
Caleb Smith was a big fan of the first four WrestleManias when he was a boy. He even had the Killer Bees LJN dolls. One thing he didn’t understand from WrestleMania II’s battle royal was this, why didn’t Jim Neidhart and Bret Hart just grab Andre the Giant’s legs and dump him out of the ring? At the very least they could have bribed him with a case of champagne.