WWE.com reported early today that Brad Armstrong, 51, was found dead Thursday morning of still to be determined causes. I have nothing but fond memories of one of the more talented in ring performers I’ve ever worked with and a member of the famous, Armstrong, wrestling family.
I first met Brad when he came to work for Cowboy Bill Watts in the Mid South/UWF territory. Brad was a smooth as silk wrestler who was about as natural an in ring performer as one could ever hope to find.
Being the son of a wrestling star, especially a territorial, wrestling star, Brad knew the complexities of ‘getting over’ in a territory and what every promoter sought…reliability, consistency, in ring talent, and being low maintenance. Brad was all those things and more.
Behind the scenes, Brad Armstrong was one of the funniest, most personable men I’ve ever met in the business. He could light up any locker room and seemingly got a long with everyone. If someone had an issue with Brad Armstrong, they really needed to take a long look into a mirror.
One of the greatest things someone in our business can say of any wrestler is that said wrestler could have a good match with anyone, no matter who. Brad Armstrong certainly fits on a rather short list of wrestlers that could literally have a good match with anyone.
I’ve called 100’s of Brad Armstrong bouts, in singles and in tags, in main events and in prelims, and I never saw him have what would be perceived as a “bad match.” Not one time.
Brad was wrestling Dr. Death Steve Williams in Doc’s formative years for Watts on Mid South TV in Shreveport at the Irish McNeil Boys Club one Wednesday evening when Doc forgot to duck and Brad nailed Steve with an elbow. The point of Brad’s elbow caught Doc’s eye which required 107 stitches. No one felt worse about the miscue than did Brad Armstrong even though the accident wasn’t his fault.
I always thought that the duo of Brad Armstrong and Tim Horner were a vastly underrated tag team in the late 80’s thru the mid 90’s.
Steve Austin called me today to see if what he had heard of Brad’s passing was true and I unfortunately had to confirm that information. Steve was terribly saddened to hear of the news and confirmed what so many wrestlers would say if given the opportunity and that is every talent always wanted to work with Brad because they knew that their match would be excellent.
As Steve said, if Brad had been able to capture his personality in front of the camera as he did on a regular basis off camera, Brad would have been one of the biggest wrestling stars of his generation.
When describing Brad, Stone Cold used the term “smooth” on numerous occasions. Steve also pointed out that Brad could expertly work any style whether it be a high flying style, brawling style or the quintessential catch as catch can style.
Young wrestlers of today would be well served to watch as much of Brad Armstrong on You Tube, etc as they can consume. He had amazing timing, never rushed the story telling, knew how to hide any opponent’s weaknesses, and was as fundamentally sound as anyone that you will ever see.
I will miss Brad’s sense of humor and overall outlook on life notwithstanding that one of my all time favorite in ring performers that has left us much too soon.
The last time that I saw Brad was in Atlanta when he and his brothers inducted their Dad, the great ‘Bullet’ Bob Armstrong, into the WWE Hall of Fame. Brad was in great shape, was laughing, and making all around him smile.
Rest in peace to one of the most underrated, all time greats ever in the business and condolences to his wonderful family and to Brad’s many friends.
Brad Armstrong will be missed but never forgotten.