RIP BRAD ARMSTRONG…
June 15, 1961 – November 1, 2012
Brad Armstrong was someone everyone liked. In the business he always rolled with the tide, doing what was asked of him. He always wanted to ensure that he and whoever he was against looked really good and “got over” as well. Brad understood it took both persons in the ring to give the fans the highest quality match possible. Every opponent enjoyed being his opponent. Brad was so versatile he was able to easily adjust to the style of anyone. No matter if it was a scientific Ted DiBiase or a maniacal Abduallah The Butcher, Brad was ready, willing, and very able.
In his outside-the-ring life Brad Armstrong was also someone everyone liked. He was easy to be around. There was a boyish country charm about him. Even “hard-ass” promoters who didn’t like many of the wrestlers who worked for them liked Brad. It’s just the persona he exuded. It wasn’t put on. It was in-born, natural.
My professional and personal relationships with Brad started in the late 70’s when he would accompany his father “Bullet” Bob Armstrong on many road trips. I travelled in the same car as them back then and into the early 80’s when Brad become a full-time-wrestler. I listened in as the Senior Armstrong gave many a critique and many a pat on the back to the young upstart.
In 1982 I was proud to present Brad with the “Rookie Of The Year” award on behalf of Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine. He was thrilled as fans nationwide witnessed the presentation on Ted Turner’s WTBS network. “This means the world to me,” he spoke as he exchanged glances from the award and the TV camera. “ I am so proud that this award, voted by the fans, is mine. I won’t disappoint any one of you. Thank you so much!”
He never did disappoint the fans. He also never disappointed his father who was so proud of his son as he matured into one of the finest technical wrestlers in the world.
One of my favorite times with Brad repeated so often throughout the years. From the time we met until the last time I saw him sometime last year, we shared some “stchick.”
Immediately upon seeing each other, in unison we would lower our glasses just below the ridge of our noses and begin imitating the original “Nutty Professor,” Jerry Lewis. Then we would go into a battle of celebrity and wrestling imitations. He was really good!
Earlier today I spoke with one of his brothers “Road Dogg” Jesse James (Brian Armstrong). I told him the “Nutty Professor” story and he said he remembered it. He told me that when I write my memory of Brad that should be part of it.
Goodbye young friend. You will be sorely missed!
Bill Apter—November 1, 2012