By Paul Stratoti, Contributing Writer
It is with great honor and pride that I have undertaken this assignment regarding a Legend with whose career I always tried to keep up with and there are many, many KILLER memories to recollect if you take into account the many matches that I saw him at live and on TV. After he first wrestled under his real name, I don’t think that he ever did NOT know how to produce heat and once he captured the moniker Killer he was never able to shake it. Why would he want to? Even his CB handle was simply “the Killer”.
This future reporter was on hand during most or all of his matches at Cleveland Arena, a few at Canton Civic Center and during a promo segment or two at WUAB-TV when the studio was located at 8443 Day Drive in Parma, Ohio and taping the NWF matches.
Although I hadn’t yet started attending live shows, on July 30, 1970 at Cleveland Arena Tim Brooks (as himself) wrestled Babyface Nelson to a draw. Nelson was Greg Valentine in training.
Somewhere during the first half of 1972 he got his Killer persona and on August 12th he wrestled in the Cleveland Stadium Wrestling Superbowl (see his comments on this card below in our interview) where Bobo Brazil beat him.
Beginning on October 28, 1972 he began feuding with Tony Marino at Cleveland Arena.
In 1973, our Killer teamed up with Ben Justice where they defeated the Stomper and Bobo Brazil for the NWA World Tag Team Titles.
By October 6, 1973 he began teaming up with his original trainer the Sheik where at Cleveland Arena they got disqualified in their match against Bearcat Wright and Bobo Brazil.
This reporter was at the Cleveland Arena on April 25, 1974 where the Killer had what I considered his toughest match of the year. He tried so hard to defeat Wild Bull Curry but the wily veteran hardcore icon was too, too much for him and Brooks got himself disqualified instead of getting defeated.
July 28, 1974 at the Akron Armory the Killer vs Fred Curry went to a DRAW when both men pinned each other at the same time!
By September 1, 1974 Brooks was ordered by the National Wrestling Alliance to remove his elbow pad during his matches. The reason for this is also covered in our interview below. On that date Bull Curry defeated him by count out.
December 18, 1977 at Cobo Arena – NWA
Crusher Verdue & Luis Martinez vs Killer Brooks & Bulldog Brower went to a DRAW
May 4, 1983 at the Akron Breakaway Dick Murdoch defeated Killer Brooks!
May 31, 1983 at the Akron Breakaway Theater – NWA Tommy Rich & Paul Orndorff defeated Larry Zybyzsco & Brooks
June 30, 1983 at Cleveland Convention Center – NWA – Bob Roop defeated Killer Brooks
June 8, 2006 at the Gold Coast, Las Vegas, NV – Cauliflower Alley Club Training Seminar “1: Co Trainer Brooks speaks to the class as Trainer Les Thatcher looks on:
Brooks has just spotted me after 29 years as Hailey Hatred and others listen to Les.
Killer Brooks interview conducted June 9, 2006 by Paul Stratoti
Killer Brooks, welcome to the 41st Annual Cauliflower Alley Club Training Seminar, Banquet and Celebration. It’s been about 23 years since I last saw you in Cleveland where you were wrestling for Georgia Championship Wrestling which was the 1st time I had seen you in about 10 years. I’m interested to know about your whereabouts since the Johnny Powers days. Can you give me a run down on your training center, when you started that, and some of the major battles that you’ve had now and then?
KB: “Let’s see, was it the mid – late 70s when I left that area? 76 or 77.”
Strat: Well I joined the Air Force in 76…
KB: “When I left that area in ’75 I think I went out and worked for the Funks in Amarillo for about 6 months. I think I took off from there and went up and worked for Stu Hart for about 6 months. When I left Stu Hart I left Calgary and went down to the West coast and ended up working for Mike LeBell in LA and stood there for about a year. Then I believe I moved to Dallas where I worked for a couple of years. When I moved out of Dallas I went to Portland, Oregon. I stood out in Portland for about 6 months. Then I went to the Carolinas for a short period of time. Then I ended up back in Dallas . I guess the last 10 years I stood around the World Class Von Erich promotion and I opened up a wrestling school and eventually I had my own promotion in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and I got off the road and just worked around Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. I ran my wrestling school and eventually ended up getting another job.”
Strat: Yes, sir. It’s my 1st time being here… and I do intend to come back possibly in April at the Riviera .
I’m going to run down a lot of the matches that you had for Johnny Powers starting on July 30, 1970 when you faces Babyface Nelson who later became Greg “the Hammer” Valentine. Your match was a draw. I’ll probably be seeing him next weekend when “WrestleReunion” comes to Cleveland Convention Center . Do you have any comments for Greg or would you like to reminisce on matches that you’ve had with him?
KB: “You know, he was a lot like Johnny. He was very slow moving, very methodical. He didn’t waste anything in the ring. When he would make a move or a counter, when he would hit you with that big Valentine “Hammer”, you would know that you were hit. There were times when Greg would catch me on the apron on the outside of the ring, and he would bend me over back toward him on the inside and he would give me that patented “Axe” that he learned from his father. They were actually times that took my breath and stunned me and I would have to gasp for air. He had a good forearm. His hammer was good.
“You know, Johnny taught Greg a lot and Johnny was always for giving 100%. Johnny Valentine was always teaching the young boys when you grab a “Front face lock” you’re turning a man’s neck and head, turn it! Make him feel it. If he doesn’t feel it and you don’t feel it and you don’t know if you’re hurting him you’re wasting your time. You know, to me Johnny Valentine was probably the greatest and the best that I’ve wrestled. I give credit to Johnny for making Greg such a great wrestler. Greg was a student of pro wrestling. He wanted to learn everything about pro wrestling and he had a good instructor and teacher in his father; one of the very best.”
Strat: Moving on to August 13, 1970 , you had a match where you lost to Dr. Bill Miller. The following month you wrestled him again. Then on December 3, 1970 Tex McKenzie defeated the Bounty Hunter. Was or was not Tim Brooks training to be Killer Brooks during this time and wearing a mask as the Bounty Hunter?
KB: “That’s none of your damn business! Why do you come and get back and ask me something like that?”
[At this time I reached for the tape recorder, but the Killer stopped me from turning it off]
“Wait a minute. Don’t touch that! I’m not through. Yes, hell yes, that was me. I just wanted to go under the hood and I thought that I could go into that mask and give some of these guys a damn-good ass-kickin’, some good beatings in the ring and get away with it. They soon figured out it was me. Back in those early days I was known for the size of my legs. I probably had the biggest, strongest legs in all of pro wrestling. I would drop that “Guillotine” on you off that top rope. Let me tell you something; 265 pounds off the top rope coming down with that leg-drop across your throat would always get the job done. Anytime I could get a guy to lay down in the middle of the ring and I can make him lay there long enough you would know that there was going to be a 1, 2, 3 right after that.”
Strat: 3 weeks later Sonny King defeated Tim Brooks… A month after that at St. Joseph High School you had a draw with Bruce Swayze while wrestling as Tim Brooks…. A week later at Cleveland Arena Sweet Daddy Siki defeated Tim Brooks… February 4, 1971 at Cleveland Arena the Mighty Igor defeats the Bounty Hunter. It didn’t sound like you were getting very much training at that time.
KB: “You know what it was? I had about a year there that I had the flu. It had weakened me. I couldn’t shake it and I was wrestling these guys. I was running a high temperature, probably 112 degrees and I was weak and this is why that all these guys defeated me.”
Strat: In April of 1971 Vic Rossitani defeated Tim Brooks… Your last match at Cleveland Arena as Tim Brooks on July 8, 1971 was a 6 Man Tag Team Match where Mitsu Arakawa, Yoshino Sato, and Java Ruuk (aka WWE’s Johnny Rodz) defeated Baron Scicluna, Mike Loren, and Tim Brooks… Then on February 10, 1972 at Cleveland Arena you returned as Killer Brooks where Tony Parisi and Chief White Owl defeated your tag partner ‘Iron’ Mike Loren… On March 17, 1972 Tex McKenzie defeated you in what I recall was a very bloody match.
KB: “You know, that tall, lanky cowboy, I’m going to tell you something. Tex McKenzie was worthless. Yeah, he did defeat me, but then again, I was just shaking that flu off that I had. I think after that you’ll see nothing but wins on my tally sheet.”
Strat: What is your interpretation of a “Wrestling Super bowl”?
KB: “Well, it damn sure wasn’t that thing that the Cleveland office put on at the baseball stadium! Do you remember that? Duke Beer; they had a ring on first base, a ring on home plate, and a ring on 3rd. They took us to the ring in chariots. They had people from all over the damn world. I mean there was Japan , Canada , Australia , New Zealand , Africa . They had people from everywhere. Evidently they didn’t promote it because there weren’t 500 people (fans) in that sonuvabich. What happened to that? Do you know what I’m talking about?”
Strat: You’re talking about the “Wrestling Super bowl” of August 12, 1972 at Cleveland Stadium.
KB: “Did you help promote that?”
Strat: Sir, I was taking pictures for Johnny Powers but nothing was happening with my shots so I had to fly that day. You were to wrestle George “the Animal” Steele.
KB: “…and he didn’t show up, did he?”
KB: “He’s lucky.”
Strat: I followed him to the Boston Garden where he wrestled Pedro Morales that night in a very bloody match. Yes, I wanted to attend the stadium super-card. Yes, I wanted to see Killer Brooks defeat George Steele, something I didn’t believe you could do at the time. Yet, I found out that” the Animal” had to stay in New England due to Vince McMahon Sr.’s “double booking” standards.
KB: “Lucky for him!”
Strat: I covered the Boston Garden show. A couple of other photographers covered the Super bowl where Bobo Brazil defeated you.
KB: “I remember it well and as I said before I’m going to say it again: I had just begun to get over the flu that I had for a year and a half.”
Strat: October 28, 1972 – the grudge begins: Tony Marino defeats Killer Brooks… The following month on November 18th at Cleveland Arena Tony Marino wrestled you to a bloody double count out. Man, that was wild!… January 4, 1973 Tony Marino & JB Psycho defeated you, your manager Eddie Creachman and Dr. Jerry Graham when the ‘Palestinian Brain’ got defeated… January 27, 1973 at Cleveland Arena you lost a “Stretcher death Match” to Tony Marino.
KB: “Well, I was over the flu when Tony defeated me in that match but I want everybody that reads this to know what happened. I had Marino pretty well beat down. He was bleeding heavily from the head. He had a big knee pad and he pulled out from it a pair of brass knucks or something. I remember it was metal. He turned to a position where the referee couldn’t see and he gave me 2 shots to the head with these knucks. That’s what Tony Marino had to resort to to get the fall over Killer Brooks at that time.”
Strat: You had a match with Bobo Brazil the following month, another legendary superstar whom we lost over the last 20 years… The following month, he teamed with the late Bearcat Wright where you teamed up with the Sheik in an awesome, brutal tag team match… You got your start with the Sheik in ’69, did you not?
KB: “Correct. The Sheik truly was my father in pro wrestling. I always respected the Sheik for that. I tag teamed with the Sheik many a time and had a lot of really big matches. I never let the Sheik down. I probably have more respect for the Sheik than any other wrestler in pro wrestling. A lot of people talk bad about him but I know. I was there. I was his tag team partner and I’m going to tell you dead straight and now: Ed Farhat the Sheik could get more heat than any other pro wrestler. He could get more heat just coming from the dressing room. When he would leave the dressing room and enter the arena just his approach to the ring would get more heat than most wrestlers can get in a 20 minute match. This man was a tremendous ring general. When it came to pissing the people off and getting that heat that you’ve got to have in a match to make money the Sheik was the master. He’s the one that I watched very close and I tried to do everything the way he did it. I’m going to tell you something: That carried me a long way down the road and made me a lot of money.”
Strat: Speaking of pissing people off, what’s that?
[Pointing to an elbow pad on Brooks’ elbow during a mid 70s bloodbath]
KB: “That, er, is a big elbow pad. I don’t know if you know it or not but I had written doctor’s permission certified that I could wear that in the ring to protect my elbow because my elbow had some bone spurs and chips in the joints. I had to wear that. It was kind of like a big hockey pad. I don’t know how but some way the fans got off on this trip saying that I had a metal object or hinge that fit in the elbow pad and that I would take it out and use it on the likes of Tony Marino but I never did. You saw some of my matches. You never saw me use anything out of that elbow pad, did you? … Be careful what you say!”
Strat: Killer, today is June 10th…”
KB: “Wait a minute, I asked you a question. Did you ever see me use any foreign object from out of my elbow pad? No!”
Strat: Killer, we represent the Cauliflower Alley Club during its 41st anniversary. We are professionals. Would you like to provide me with copy since you’re here of the doctor’s report that says that you needed that elbow pad?
KB: “Well, damn man, that was 30 years ago. Do you think that I carry the doctor’s excuse around in my wallet?”
Strat: There’s still a lot of fans today that don’t buy that story.
KB: “Well, you know what?”
Strat: What was your doctor’s name, Sigmund Ziff? Papuffnik?
KB: “Hey, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Waaaait a minute! You’re being disrespectful. I’ve never disrespected nobody but those knot-headed wrestling fan. What the hell do they know about my business or about my elbow or about my elbow pad? They’re just a bunch of knot-heads!”
Strat: Today is the 23rd anniversary of Harley Race defeating Ric Flair for the NWA World heavyweight Championship and is also the day that he’ll receive the Iron Mike Mazurki Award.
KB: “I don’t care if he’s here or not. I don’t care how many times he was champion. I’m not scared of Ric Flair. I’m not scared of Harley Race. I’m not scared of anybody in pro wrestling. Ric Flair was a great champion. He worked hard. He has my respect. But I’m going to tell you something: Harley Race was Killer Brooks’ pick of all the NWA wrestling champions. When he went into that ring that was Harley Race’s match. The promoter didn’t control that match. The referee didn’t control that match. The opponent didn’t control that match, and most of all the knot-headed wrestling fans didn’t control that match. Harley Race was a wrestler’s wrestler. He was THE man. If you wanted to get a name in wrestling, if you wanted to get somewhere, then get in that damn ring and beat Harley Race! … Are you looking in that book for more trick photography of my elbow pad?”
Strat: No, sir, I was just looking for…”
KB: “Photoshop? Does this thing have a tape in it? Is it working?”
[Pointing to the tape recorder]
Strat: Yes, sir.
KB: “Then I want to ask you a question.”
Strat: I thought I was doing the interviewing?
KB: “You are doing the interview but I want to ask you a question. Before you bring up more of these doctored up pictures of my elbow pad, this trick photography crap that you got. Do you know anything about the vicious part of pro wrestling, the pain that’s in pro wrestling? Do you know where I guy has to go to be devious, mean, and vicious? You have to reach way down in the bottom of your mind. You have to go to the back alley of your mind? You have to get down on your hands and knees and your mind is the gutter. These are places in your mind where the average person doesn’t go. I go there. I go to parts of my mind where the average man is scared to go. Down there is where the evil is in one’s head.
“Do you know what it sounds like to bust a man’s rib and hear it crack? Do you know? No, you don’t know! You’ve never busted a man’s rib and I know you haven’t. Do you know what it’s like to take a man’s arm and twist his arm and bend it back the other way until his elbow joint pops and his arm dangles? I’m asking you these questions because I’m trying to tell you where the hell we have to go to get vicious. You have to get down in the gutter, man, of the mind. So, you’ve never busted a man’s rib and heard it pop. You never broke his arm. Well, have you ever just taken a guy while he’s down and taken your boot and just stomp him in the mouth. There’s just no sound like somebody’s teeth just breaking off then when they swallow their teeth, gag. Average guys can’t do this. They won’t do it. Have you ever ripped a guy’s ear off? I have. I bit a guy’s bottom lip completely off his face.”
Strat: Who was that, Killer?
KB: “Brian Blair. He got too close to me. He wrapped his arms around me and he was going to give me a belly-to-belly Suplex. He saw his lip being swallowed whole but when he saw his bottom lip being swallowed by me , when I swallowed his whole bottom lip and the blood was dripping out of my mouth, he let go. He didn’t Suplex me. He went to the dressing room. He didn’t have what it took to stay there. Now, if a man bit my bottom lip off and swallowed it, I would do something. Would you? Wouldn’t you get even with him right there?”
Strat: I wouldn’t have any other choice.
KB: “Aw, man, I’d get him one way or another. The great Brian Blair ran back to the dressing room and cried to Bill Watts. I didn’t care. If Bill Watts didn’t like it I would kick his butt too.”
Strat: I brought Abdullah into Cleveland 2 months ago and when I told him that I was going to be seeing you he told me to say “Hi” to you.
KB: “I’vve been tag team partners with the Sheik. I’ve been tag team partners with Abdullah. I’ve been tag team partners with Stan Hansen. I’ve been tag team partners with bruiser Brody, I’ve been tag team partners with Larry Zbyzco, and I’ve been tag team partners with Roddy Piper. You can take me and Abdullah today put whoever the hell you want in there with us and they’ll have the fight of their life. It’ll be a bloodbath. It’ll be chaos. I guarantee those knot-headed wrestling fans will love it because that’s what they want to see. They want to see the blood, the guts, and the bizarre. They want to see guys with the good looks like Killer Brooks and Abdullah.”
Strat: I’ve spoken to a lot of Cleveland wrestling fans that have said that they want to see Abdullah bust open Killer Brooks.
KB: “I was talking about Brooks and Abdullah tag teaming. Wait a minute. If the fans in Cleveland want to see Killer Brooks beat the hell out of Abdullah , and they want to see brooks and Abdullah bite on each others heads, and they want to see blood gush from Abdullah’s arms, chest, and back put us together. I dare you to put us together. I don’t think those knot-headed wrestling fans in Cleveland have enough guts to see something like that.”
Strat: What would it take to bring Killer Brooks to Cleveland All Pro Wrestling?
KB: “Cut a deal with me first of all. Give me a good opponent. Give me the date and time. I’ll tell you what. I haven’t been to Cleveland in a long time. I’ve got a lot of friends there. I would love to come to Cleveland and wrestle one more time. That area was very good to me.”
Strat: A couple of more questions before we close.
KB: “Keep in mind that you can’t just say anything to Killer Brooks. Make me mad and I might just go back into those gutters, those back alleys of my mind and pull something real nasty and you don’t want that. Be careful now, what you say to me, huh?”
Strat: OK. You own a Big Time Pro Wrestling School down in Texas.
KB: “Yes, I own Big Time Pro Wrestling School and promotion. I certainly do.”
Strat: Your most painful in-ring memory.
KB: “Probably when I broke a collar bone, dislocated my shoulder and fractured my neck in 2 places. It was the most painful experience and I was off work for about a year.”
Strat: In closing, is there anything else that you would like to say before we close this interview?
KB: “I’d like to say something to all these young wrestlers. I said it at the training seminar yesterday but I’ll say it again here in this interview because you’re going to get this out to a lot more of these young guys. The way of a pro wrestler is to learn and to teach. If we don’t do that our business is not going to survive. You have to learn this business first and then you have to teach this business to the young guys. You young guys that are in the process of learning right now, shut your mouth. We don’t want to hear where you’ve been, who you’ve wrestled, and what you’ve done because you ain’t done shit and you ain’t been nowhere and you’re not going to go nowhere as long as you talk shit. When you enter the ring and the bell rings we old pros know what you know and exactly what you’ve done. So don’t be a mouth. Be a student of pro wrestling. Learn pro wrestling, learn it well, and learn it right so when you get older you can teach young guys the proper way. Learn it well, so you can pass it on.”
Strat: Thank you, Killer!
Brian Wescott: “The only time I met him was at the CAC reunion in 2006 when he got his award. One of a kind.”
Robert Pearlman: “The one opponent that can’t be beaten is time. My thoughts and prayers go out to Tim and his family. When I was a kid I was a giant mark for the heels, and none more than Killer Brooks. He radiated dread every time he stepped in the ring. That was what he was supposed to do. A real tough hombre was what he was. A Real Genuine Bad Ass! He is great at what has done. His legion of fans who pine for the old days know that. A Pro. Thank you Killer Tim for memories not soon forgotten. You were and are the elite of your profession!”
Thomas Varney: “1st time I saw him at Cobo was the Chain Match with Marino.”
Robert Morris: “I saw a fan lay hands on brooks in the early 70’s at the Yack Arena in Wyandotte Michigan. Killer pick the fan up over his head and body slammed him.”
Strat: …and my friend Dan owes him an apology for spitting at him at WUAB-TV when we went their once for the free TV tapings. My eyes immediately rolled to where Jack Reynolds and Ron Martinez were sitting and they both saw it too. I understood that as a rib on a fan and didn’t really see how close the spit got to him. . Dan will say, “But he spat at me first!”
That reminded me of the time in 1972 where I was ringside and Fabulous Moolah spat at a fan near me. I didn’t feel the spray but it was still close. Unlike the time in the 70s or 80s when the Sheik (Farhat) spat toward me and part of it hit my jacket. I was just pleased to be able to shoot ringside.
Jeff Neal: “Killer Brooks was a staple at Hara Arena in Dayton in the early 70s. He had great matches with Tony Marino, the Mighty Igor, Bobo Brazil and Tex McKenzie.”
Mike Soma: “ In 1979 I was working in the pacific nw, as Ravishing Race Brannon. All the heels lived in Aloha OR. In the same complex. Roddy piper was scared of snakes, I had just finished talking with Jonny Eagles about our match that night, and he sees a garden snake near the tire of his car. I pick it up and walk over to pipers car and put it in. We do the show in Salem that night then head home. I go over to the apartment where Brooks and Piper live, Piper opens the door and starts asking if I know about the snake in his car, I ask why, he shows me his legs. He is black and blue , Brooks was trying to kill the snake that was crawling on pipers pants by hitting it with a beer bottle. Yes he killed the snake, but Piper wasn’t happy.”
Roger Kistler: “He wrestled here in Ottawa, Ohio in 1975, 4 months in a row from May to August against Tony Marino in the main event I sat ringside at every show, first time I saw killer I was walking into the armory and he was outside eating popcorn he had his back to walking the other way he then turned around and scared me when I saw who I was, he was bigger then I thought he was and he smelled like beer and cigars, I said hi and he said hey, that night he threw a tray of sodas at Tony during the match and soaked all of us in the front row with soda I will always remember those times, I hope and pray for the best for Killer Brooks.”
To my knowledge, our Killer is still the owner and head trainer of the North American Wrestling Allegiance Pro Wrestling School, a training facility for his promotion N.A.W.A Pro Wrestling which runs televised shows in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
The Cauliflower Alley Club is more than happy to have him in our family!
Article and photos by Paul Stratoti unless otherwise Noted