On This Day: July 16th, 1988 – Bruiser Brody is Fatally Stabbed

On This Day, Frank Goodish, best known to wrestling fans as Bruiser Brody, is fatally stabbed in a shower stall in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He was 42.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Goodish was an all-state football and basketball player at Warren High School in Warren, Michigan. He played football at West Texas A&M and for the NFL’s Washington Redskins before transitioning to wrestling. What a wrestling career it was. Brody would go on to become one of the toughest the business has ever seen. Many consider him to be the master of the brawling style. It made him a pioneer and sought-after competitor, winning the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Best Brawler award seven times in the 1980s.

He won the NWA International Heavyweight Championship three times. He also was a PWF tag team champion with Stan Hansen. But Brody had a reputation for refusing to job to other wrestlers. He was very protective of his tough-guy gimmick. Unfortunately, the dedication to his character might have been the reason for his untimely death. In 1976, Brody first wrestled Invader 1 (José Gonzalez), for whom he refused to sell.

Brody was in the locker room before his scheduled match on July 16th. Gonzalez allegedly asked for Brody to step into the shower stall to discuss business. There was an argument between the two wrestlers, and a scuffle ensued. Tony Atlas was a witness to the altercation. He recalls that he heard screams coming from the shower. He claims he ran over and saw Brody hunched over and a knife in the hand of Gonzalez.

With heavy traffic in Bayamon, emergency vehicles did not arrive on the scene until nearly an hour later. Additionally, Brody’s large size (6’8”, 280 pounds) made it difficult to transport him.  Brody died due to excessive blood loss the next day. Gonzalez claimed self-defense was the reason for the stabbing. But he was ultimately acquitted of all charges.

Dutch Mantel, who was another witness, infamously recalled that he was mailed a summons to appear, but it was not mailed until after the trial had ended. The real reason for the stabbing is unknown. But Atlas and Mantel believe it has to do with the matches the two had in the 1970s. Supposedly, Brody’s unwillingness to sell and roughness between the ropes got to Gonzalez. All we know is that a true tragedy happened On This Day, July 16, 1988.

At the time of his death, Bruiser Brody left behind a wife, Barbara Smith, and son, Geoffrey Dean. WWE inducted him into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

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