Like countless other sons who follow in their fathers’ footsteps, be it as lawyer, doctor, politician or pro athlete, another Indianapolis native has taken up his father’s profession — and he has the scars to prove it.
Dick the Bruiser Jr. is the son of one of professional wrestling’s — and Indianapolis’ — most legendary figures. Bruiser Jr. grew up around the business and for the past 20 years has been a professional wrestler. But his first choice for a career was baseball.
“I played college baseball,” the second-generation wrestler admitted. “I could hit, field and throw the ball. But they were looking for speed, with AstroTurf being used at that time. And I didn’t have it. So I turned to pro wrestling.”
Bruiser Jr. earned a bachelor of science degree in education at Indiana University. After college, he worked as a schoolteacher and as a high school wrestling coach before starting to train to become a pro wrestler.
“Since I had done the other things before I got into pro wrestling, I felt that I was mature enough to handle it,” Bruiser Jr. said. “My dad trained me. Repetition was how he taught me about wrestling. ‘Do it again. Do it again.’ Once wasn’t good enough for him. There was always something wrong with what I was doing.”
After months of training, Bruiser Jr. had his first professional match, and it proved to be a painful learning experience.
“Dick put me in a match one night because another wrestler didn’t show up. I stepped into that ring thinking that I knew everything. Well, after two minutes, I couldn’t breathe! There was nothing in my training that was exactly like being in a real match.
“I threw the guy’s head into a turnbuckle, and he snapped back so fast that the back of his head hit my nose and broke it. Then I was thrown out of the ring, and didn’t grab onto the top rope like I was supposed to. I hit the cement so hard that I thought I was never going to get back up!”
It was then that Bruiser Jr. swore that he would never get beaten up like that again. “And I haven’t.”
These days, in addition to wrestling twice a week, Bruiser Jr. runs a wrestling school in Ft. Wayne, to teach “the different aspects of the business: how to walk and talk in the ring, how to referee, be a manager, things like that.
“It doesn’t mean that after 20 weeks these guys will go right out and have great matches. A lot of my students come back after they graduate, to learn more about being a wrestler.”
Over the years, Bruiser Jr. has heard from a lot of his father’s fans and received their recollections about “The World’s Most Dangerous Wrestler.”
“I’ve heard more stories than I can count,” Bruiser Jr. admitted with a laugh, “and they usually take place in a wrestling ring, a bar or a gas station.”
WHAT: WrestleRace 7.0
WHEN: Wednesday, June 13, racing starts at 7 p.m.; AWA-sanctioned wrestling matches to follow
WHERE: Blood Hound Underground Indianapolis Speedrome, located near the intersection of Brookville Road and Kitley Avenue
TICKETS: Available at the Speedrome Pit Office, call the Speedrome Hotline, 317-353-8206, or visit www.speedrome.com