Russell Redmon (March 4, 1972 – September 27, 2020) was a special part of the Detroit wrestling scene for years, and, as you’ll read, he had an impact on his colleagues. Long-time jack-of-all-trades Brian Gorie starts off the tribute, and collected up thoughts from the others.
By BRIAN GORIE – For SlamWrestling.net
Many wrestlers don’t get to experience a boom period. Thanks to the Monday Night Wars and the trickle-down effect, those of us around in the late 1990s and early 2000s got to enjoy wrestling being ridiculously popular.
Because of that boom, Russell Redmon, a.k.a. Mr. Meaner, was able to land a role of a lifetime. He was seen by so many Metro Detroiters weekly in the late ’90s on UPN 50 Detroit’s post-WWE Smackdown show S-TV, alongside co-hosts Jerry Millen and The Brooklyn Brawler. Because of that role, he got signed to be in wrestling-themed commercials for car stereo company Mickey Shorr.
Mr. Meaner’s next big role would see him become one of the highlights of Juggalo Championship Wrestling Volume One.
Peaking at #2 on the Billboard Sports and Rec charts, Meaner press slamming Gavin Starr into the crowd during a battle royal was a huge highlight of one of the most popular wrestling videos of all time.
Russ always used to say that the year 2000 was the most fun he ever had in his life.
I’m so happy I introduced Russ to the Insane Clown Posse, who decided they wanted the 6-foot-6, 420-pound super cop to become their new bodyguard.
Having Russ by my side in Los Angeles helping me edit and produce JCW Volume One will always be such a fun and beautiful memory. I remember we arrived in L.A. and pulled up at a light to see Whoopi Goldberg staring at us. Later that week, we stood on a street corner at night to see someone getting mugged. On a separate corner, Mickey Rourke was making out with some dude.
Enter the JCW StrangleMania Live Tour.
In April of 2000, a motley crew of professional wrestlers emerged onto a fully loaded luxury tour bus to begin a month-long tour that stretched from Colorado to Connecticut. It was probably the most fun we’d ever have in our lives. “Chin Check” by NWA and “You Can Do It” by Ice Cube hit just as hard today as they did two decades ago.
Mr. Meaner became Big Flame, and every night of the tour (alongside tag partners Jaimy Coxxx and Chucky Dail) would lead The Rainbow Coalition against the beloved Insane Clown Posse and Evil Dead. Russ was incredible on the tour, making ICP look like a billion dollars (and then some) every night in front of their Juggalo fanbase.
We did 3,000 in Denver, 3,500 in Milwaukee. Imagine waking up every day, literally living your dream — Russ was 28, and I was only 17 — in front of a minimum 1,000+ fans, with the night and city yours to discover, to make memories that will last a lifetime.
In Chicago, Russ and Coxxx even filmed one of the greatest episodes in Jerry Springer history, “fighting over a girl.”
Russ can also be seen in the 2002 motion picture Spun, featuring Jason Schwartzman, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy and John Leguizamo and Mena Suvari. I’ll always remember watching one of the late-night shows with Russ one evening where Brittany Murphy was appearing. They showed a clip from Spun (which featured clips from JCW Volumes One and Two) and it was like, ‘Holy s***, we’re in a movie!’
He began his wrestling career in March of 1999 after finishing up training by “The Canadian Destroyer” Doug Chevalier.
His first major singles championship win was capturing the NWA Michigan Heavyweight title. He followed that up by winning the XICW Xtreme Championship from the DBA in 2001. He then formed The Fun Lovin’ Criminals with Jaimy Coxxx and defeated Truth Martini and N8 Mattson to become Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling tag team champions.
Thank you, Russ, for being one of the best friends I’ve ever had. You were truly one of a kind and I cherish the time we got to spend together on this journey.
Thank you so much for being my guru.
JOHN E. BRAVO: Russ was such a great guy. When I read the news, I was heartbroken. I know he had been sick on and off, but it doesn’t make it any easier. A few fond memories I have of him obviously are going to be wrestling related. I remember being so proud of him when I saw they did a news report about him on channel 50 news here in Detroit. He even co-hosted many segments on that news station with The Brooklyn Brawler. Russ was such a caring guy. It was my idea to sit on a chair at GLW and have him splash me through it and crush the chair underneath me. I wanted to make him look good. When it was over backstage, his main concern was whether or not I was okay. He always put the care of others before he did himself. I worked at Toys R Us, and he would come up there to look at wrestling toys and he was always in such a good mood. He always seemed happy, even if he was having a bad day or was in pain. Russ still made it a point to come across in a good mood. Russ was a great guy and he will be missed tremendously.
DBA (Malcolm Monroe II): THIS IS A F***** HARD POST FOR ME!! This morning, I found out Mr. Meaner passed away and it just now hitting me. For ppl that don’t know, Mr. Meaner and Jaimy Coxxx are the original members of The Fun Lovin’ Criminalz. They then brung myself, Truth Martini and Alex Shelley along for the ride that continues to this day as The Most Elite Group in Pro Wrestling.
Mr. Meaner and I travelled up and down the road together on a personal and business level. S*** … he threw me through a truck window before (I still have the big-ass scars on my chest to prove it) in a hardcore match & my sister took off her shoe and hit him in the head. The look on his face when he turned around was priceless. Great times.
People also don’t know that Mr. Meaner, Brian Gorie and myself opened up a female wrestling school in Detroit in 2002 and hated every minute of it. LMAO. We trained them to do an all-women wrestling show in Detroit and it turned out alright. Mr. Meaner and myself headlined that women show and we stole the f***** show.
Russ, Mr. Meaner, Big Daddy or Big Guy was his names but he will always be known to me as Mr. Fun Lovin Criminalz. Meaner, you will always have a place in my heart. Thanks for everything you did for myself and XICW.
RIP Mr Meaner
GAVIN STARR: Man, this is a f***** hard one. I really loved Russell Redmon a lot. I can’t even list the number of memories I have with this guy. In the ring. Especially in the locker room, smelling like a million dollars & about four years ago, we got back in contact and became close. He’s actually the one who finally convinced me to go to rehab four years ago, which saved my life. Russ also supported me in that delicate time after.
We also shared a strong faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who I know he is with now.
When the motley crew of guys like me, the brothers Scoville, etc. first spread out of Grand Rapids, Detroit guys f***** did NOT want us there. Russ was the very first Detroit guy, then Coxxx that genuinely befriended us. Once they did, it changed everyone else’s behavior that hated us. It’s why I trusted Russ to toss me out of that 19-feet high JCW Death Trap into the crowd. I don’t know if I ever thanked him for that or if anyone else did. But it’s always meant A LOT to me.
It’s why I trusted Russ to toss me out of that 19 feet high JCW deathtrap into the crowd. I don’t know if I ever thanked him for that or if anyone else did. But it’s always meant A LOT to me.
I love you Russ Redmon, and I’ll never forget you.
EDDIE VENOM: I first saw Russ like many others in the Detroit area did — on FOX 2 news segments as Mr. Meaner doing promotion for Smackdown, which was a brand new show on FOX. I was amazed. I didn’t even know indie wrestling existed in the Detroit area. I then met Russ at the box office of Joe Louis Arena where we both happened to be in the office. I introduced myself, and told him how I wanted to become a wrestler. He could’ve blown me off and “big timed” me. But he took the time to give me info on the Canadian Destroyer’s wrestling school.
It took a little longer, but I eventually trained and became a pro wrestler myself. And Russ was right there again. He invited me to WrestleMania parties at his house, and really accepted me as one of the boys. That’s big for a rookie just getting into the business to feel accepted.
I’ll never forget his kindness to me. I’ll never forget the times we joked and laughed together. It was impossible to be around him and not laugh.
We’re all gonna miss you, Russ. Keep on smiling.
There is a GoFundMe account to help the Redmon family with expenses.
I work for the Inkster police and Russ used to be one of our Aux. officers. He was a great guy to have in the car as a partner and as a friend. We were close for a very long time until he left the area. One day he reappeared and shared with me so things that had happened. Last time I saw him was was in Inkster which was fitting since that was where I meant this gentle giant. All the kids knew who he was (yo man! Your Mr. Meaner!) and he wrestled one night at the Inkster rec center and begged for me to come watch. It was great, I got to see him rip off his uniform and come out as the Big Flame!
I was saddened to hear he had passed and I am sadder I wasn’t around him when he did.
RIP brother…and Russ I still have the big flame shirt you gave me!