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Brian Leslie Blair (born January 12, 1959) is an American politician and professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) under the ring name B. Brian Blair as one half of the tag team The Killer Bees in the 1980s.

B. Brian Blair
B Brian Blair 2014.jpg
Blair in August 2014
Birth nameBrian Leslie Blair
Born (1959-01-12) January 12, 1959 (age 60)
Gary, Indiana, United States
ResidenceTampa, Florida, United States
Spouse(s)Mike McGuirk (divorced)
Toni Sabella
Children2
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)B. Brian Blair
Brian Blair

The Killer Bee
Billed height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)[1]
Billed weight235 lb (107 kg)[1]
Trained byBuddy Colt
Eddie Graham
Hiro Matsuda
Jack Brisco
Bob Backlund
Debut1977
Retired2019

Contents

Career

Blair was born on January 12, 1959 in Gary, Indiana, United States.[2] Blair began competing in sports in junior high school and won city championships well as a regional junior high school heavyweight.[clarification needed] Blair won many accolades in high school other than sports; he was named "Mr. Titan" and was voted "Best all Around" his senior year. To this day he holds the record for most letters in Hillsborough County High School in Tampa Bay, Florida.[3] After graduating at the age of 17, Blair started training in the summer for Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF).[2] Blair had his heart set on playing football for the then NCAA division 2 Power-house, at the University of Tampa, where he sold sodas to the fans and watched his favorite players, Freddie Solomon and Paul Orndorff. The University of Tampa folded their football program, largely due to the new arrival of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Deeply saddened, Blair attended Saint Leo College near Dade City under coach Tillrow Morrison, then transferred to the University of Louisville on a football scholarship, although he never earned a varsity letter;[4] he majored in both business and political science.[5]

Early career (1977–1985)

In the summers months from 1975–1977 Blair started training to be a wrestler with Hiro Matsuda in Florida. Blair debuted in 1977 with Eddie Graham's CWF where he worked primarily as a face. Blair debuted in a tag team match facing Pat Patterson and Ivan Koloff.[6] One of Blair's early opponents was another Matsuda student later known as Hulk Hogan.[6]

After CWF, Blair moved on to Bob Geigel's NWA Central States promotion out of Kansas City, Missouri around 1978 where he feuded with Jesse Ventura.[5] Blair also teamed up with "Bulldog" Bob Brown and won the Central States Tag Team championships.[citation needed] He also appeared regularly for Leroy McGuirk's Tri-State promotion, here he met and married Leroy McGuirk's daughter Mike McGuirk in 1980.[7] He was even shot at by Leroy when he tried to talk to Mike before leaving town.[5] While in the Tri-State promotion Blair briefly won the Junior Heavyweight Title from Ron Starr.[8] The one-week reign was Blair's first professional wrestling title reign.[clarification needed]

After leaving the Tri-State promotion Blair joined up with Fritz Von Erich's World Class Championship Wrestling promotion in Texas, where he lived with David Von Erich for over a year. In WCCW he gained victories over Killer Tim Brooks and former WWWF World Champion Stan Stasiak.[5] During his time in Texas he was asked by Alberto Madril to be his partner in a tournament to crown new American tag-team Champions. Their run with the gold was cut short by Killer Tim Brooks and Armand Hussein in September, 1981.[8]

In 1981 Vince McMahon, Sr. booked Blair to wrestle for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) most notably on their tours of Japan through New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) where he faced Japanese wrestlers Antonio Inoki and Tatsumi Fujinami.[citation needed]

After gaining experience all over the world Blair returned to CWF. On July 11, 1982, Blair beat Jimmy Garvin for the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship and defended it successfully against Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody.[8]

In 1983 Blair joined the WWF once again as they began to expand to a national promotion. During his first stint with the WWF his self-proclaimed highlight was a match with Paul Orndorff in St. Louis.[9] After the short run with the WWF, Blair moved on to Georgia Championship Wrestling as well as a return to Florida Championship Wrestling. In Florida, Blair picked up another Florida title run as well as unseating "Ravishing" Rick Rude as the Florida Southern Champion.[8]

During his run with the WWF in 1984, Blair often teamed with fellow wrestler Tony Garea. The team of Blair and Garea would dominate jobbers, but were unable to move up the card against more established tag teams. They teamed up until Blair left later in that same year.

World Wrestling Federation (1985–1988)

When Blair signed with the WWF for a third time he was not just used as "enhancement talent" any more, instead he was teamed up with Jim Brunzell to form The Killer Bees. The teaming of Blair and Brunzell was suggested by Hulk Hogan.[10] The team had a special gimmick referred to as "Masked Confusion" where both wrestlers pulled out identical masks during the match to confuse their opponents and usually win their matches that way. The "Masked Confusion" idea was given to Blair by Billy Red Lyons who had used it in Maple Leaf Wrestling. They constantly challenged for the WWF World Tag Team Title but never won it, although the fans were thoroughly behind them. Their biggest feud in the WWF was against The Hart Foundation, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart whom they wrestled somewhere between "300 and 600" times according to Blair himself.[10] The Bees also had a running feud with the Funks (Hoss, Terry and Jimmy Jack). They faced Hoss and Jimmy Jack Funk in front of 70,000 people at The Big Event in Toronto[11] (a card headlined by Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff). Later in 1988, The team was split without any reason, and they ended up competing in the singles division. Brunzell remained with the WWF into the early 1990s.

In the fall of 1988, Blair left the WWF amid claims that the team had been promised the WWF Tag Team Championship three times by company owner Vince McMahon, but the promises were never kept. Blair also claims he was asked to help heel team The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) win matches. Not wanting to become a heel, Blair refused and quit instead.[12] Brunzell and Blair later complained about WWF owner Vince McMahon who continued merchandising products of The Killer Bees without their permission or financial compensation. Blair and Brunzell wrestled at Wrestlemania 2, 3 and 4 before Blair gave his notice in Salisbury, MD right before Wrestlemania 5. The Killer Bees also won the Frank Tunney Memorial Tag Team Tournament in Toronto, Canada, were winners at the first Survivor Series, performed at The Big Event in Toronto, Canada, and at the first Royal Rumble. The Killer Bees were also featured on many Saturday Night's Main Event cards. Bret Hart states in his book "My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling", that the best tag team match of his career was against Blair and Brunzell.[13][14]

American Wrestling Association (1990)

After leaving the WWF in 1988, Blair returned to wrestling in 1990 as Blair signed a short-term contract with Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association. Blair challenged Larry Zbyszko for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. Blair defeated Zbyszko by disqualification meaning the title couldn't change hands that way with Zbyszko retaining the title.

Universal Wrestling Federation (1990–1994)

Blair was one of the first "names" to work regularly for Herb Abrams Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) when it opened its doors in late 1990 quickly becoming a regular on the federations Fury Hour shows.

In the UWF, Blair reunited with Jim Brunzell but due to the WWF holding the trademark to the name "The Killer Bees" they were billed as "Masked Confusion". They competed on the UWF's first (and only) PPV, Beach Brawl, where they beat the Power Twins. The team was also the only UWF Tag Team champions. They won the title at UWF's last big show known as Blackjack Brawl where they beat the "New Powers of Pain" (The Warlord and Power Warrior).[8]

The Bees would also regularly wrestle as one of the top tag teams in the UWF's Fury Hour.

Blair was given was a big push in the UWF, usually defeating the UWF's preliminary talent, and even one of the top heels of the company who he also feuded with, Bob Orton, Jr..

Independent circuit (1994–2019)

After the UWF folded, Blair continued to compete on the independent circuit, especially around his home state of Florida.

Through the mid-1990s, Blair also travelled to Japan regularly and wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling usually as "Brian Blair" or "The Killer Bee".

In 1998, Blair won the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship with Steve Keirn[8] holding the title from November 13, 1998 to August 15, 2000 when the title was vacated following a match with the Bushwhackers. Blair and Keirn faced off in a singles match to determine who got to pick a new partner; Blair won and picked local star Cyborg The Wrestler (Kevin Donofrio) as his partner.[8] The two held the tag team titles until July 10, 2001 where they were forced to forfeit the title due to injuries.[8]

On March 31, 2012, Blair returned to the ring as he teamed up with Carlos Colon, Lanny Poffo, and Mike Graham as "Florida Team" to defeat the team of Gary Royal, Larry Zbyszko, Ron Bass, and The Masked Superstar (as "Georgia Team") in an eight-man tag team elimination match on an event held on his home-state of Florida. Blair and Graham were the sole survivors.

On April 14, 2013, Brian Blair faced Matt Riviera for the Vendetta Pro Wrestling annual event "Pro Casino Royale" edition of 2013.

On August 5, 2014, B. Brian Blair faced wrestler "The Tokyo Monster" Kahagas for American Pro Made Wrestling promotion in a winning effort for Blair.

On September 3, 2014, Blair faced former rival Matt Riviera for the annual National Wrestling Alliance event "Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest" edition of 2014. Riviera said some days before the match he would "humble" Blair. This was a reference to many of The Iron Sheik's remarks towards Blair. Blair was defeated.

On October 26, 2014, Blair faced The Cuban Assassin for the annual NWA "WrestleFest" in a winning effort for Blair.

On July 21, 2016 Blair competed on the Impact Pro Wrestling George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame show teaming with Wes Brisco & "Hot Fire" Myron Reid taking on AJ Smooth, Justin Decent, and Aaron Von Barron.

Blair had what was billed as his last match at the "Tragos-Thesz "Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame" on July 22, 2017, where he successfully tagged with Wes Brisco. Both Blair (2015 - Thesz) and Brunzell (2014 - "Mazurki" are Iowa HOF inductees.

As of November 2017, Blair and Brunzell are still in high Demand now working many Comic-Cons and Independent Autograph Sessions. Both Blair and Brunzell have a new Comic Book Series called the "Killer Bees" a true life story (animated) about Blair and Brunzell's journey to become Pro-wrestlers available at Inversepress.com.

In 2019, it was announced that Blair's retirement match would take place on July 26, 2019 against James Jeffries at the Impact Pro Wrestling show during the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Museum Hall Of Fame Induction Weekend in Waterloo,IA. In addition, James Beard was announced as the Special Guest Referee for the match. Blair emerged victorious after nailing Jefferies with the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship,which he brought with him to ringside.[15][better source needed]

Personal life

Blair is married to Toni Sabella and they have two sons, Brett (named after professional wrestler Bret Hart) and Bradley. Brian Blair owned and managed four Gold's Gym fitness centers in the Tampa Bay area with fellow wrestler, Steve Keirn.[11] They were sold in 1999 for 2.1 million.

Brian Blair's first attempt for a seat on the county commission was against Pat Frank but he lost in the 2002 race by a narrow margin.[16] In 2004, Blair ran again and was elected County Commissioner, District 6 (countywide) for Hillsborough County defeating former city councilman Bob Buckhorn. The race was one the closest county commission races in the history of Hillsborough County with Blair winning with 216,430 votes to Buckhorn's 214,062. In 2008 Blair ran for re-election winning the Republican primary against Don Kruse on August 26, 2008, then lost to Hillsborough County's first openly gay candidate Kevin Beckner in the November 4, 2008 general election.[17] One great concept that Brian had was of the senior zone. It was designed to warn other drivers and to be cautious of senior citizens exiting or entering their parking lots. "A senior zone slows down traffic without the need for a traffic light. We found that here in Florida, senior citizens prefer having traffic lights near certain entrances or exits of lots. The traffic lights we originally were looking at were too expensive. I worked with a traffic engineer and we came up with senior signs that are posted with flashing caution lights and 'reduce speed limit' written on the pavement. The cost of this whole project would have been the same cost of a traffic light. It reduced accidents a great deal and just like all citizens, the senior citizens safety is a high priority in our community" said Brian. The senior zone was voted number one and got picked for the most innovated project of the year in 2008.[3]

He is also a Christian and is active in his church, Idlewild Baptist.[5]

In the summer of 1990, Blair was present when Brutus Beefcake had a near fatal para-sailing accident. In fact, Blair was the person to pull Brutus out of the water after being struck in the face by the knees of a novice parasailer.[5]

On July 12, 2015 Blair received two major honors when the Thesz/Tragos arm of the Dan Gable Museum and Hall of Fame inducted Blair into their Hall of Fame while also awarding him with the highly coveted "Lou Thesz" Award. Blair is now the President and CEO of the 501c3 Cauliflower alley Club. The Cauliflower Alley Club (CAC) gives financial assistance to people from the wrestling Industry who have fallen on difficult times. In 2017 Brian Blair starred with fellow wrestler Ron Bass in the feature film Silent Times Directed by Christopher Annino.[citation needed]

In 2017 Brian Blair and tag team partner Jim Brunzell starred in an official comic book series with Inverse Press. [18]

Bibliography

  • Smarten Up! Say It Right (2001)

Championships and accomplishments

References

  1. ^ a b Online World of Wrestling. "Brian Blair Profile". Retrieved 2010-12-12.
  2. ^ a b https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/article3034860.html
  3. ^ a b http://getitwrighthere.com/pro-wrestling-legend-of-the-month-killer-bee-brian-blair-wrestlings-superman/
  4. ^ "All-Time Letterwinners" (PDF). 2013 Louisville Cardinals Football Media Guide. University of Louisville Athletics. pp. 185–88. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Chad Bonham (2001). Wrestling with God. RiverOak Publishing. ISBN 1-58919-935-9.
  6. ^ a b "Former WWE wrestler B. Brian Blair of the Killer Bees comments on Hulk Hogan, the Iron Sheik, and how they came up with their team name". prowrestling.net.
  7. ^ Williams, Kari (March 10, 2017). "Mike McGuirk was 'a woman in a men's tuxedos'". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  9. ^ Brianblair.com webmaster. "B. Brian Blair Biography". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
  10. ^ a b "B.Brian Blair Chat". May 2001. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
  11. ^ a b Shields, Brian (2006). Main event – WWE in the raging 80s (4th ed.). Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6.
  12. ^ "B.Brian Blair believed in his book". 2003-05-01. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
  13. ^ Hart, Bret. My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling.
  14. ^ Shields, Brian and Kevin Sullivan (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK/BradyGAMES. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
  15. ^ "The Official Website Of The Killer Bees". www.thekillerbees.net. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  16. ^ Oliver, Greg (2004-06-26). "B. Brian Blair runs again". Retrieved 2007-04-07.
  17. ^ Makropoulos, Georgiann (2004-11-03). "1Wrestling Newsline". Archived from the original on November 4, 2004. Retrieved 2007-04-07.[unreliable source?]
  18. ^ https://inversepress.com/collections/squared-circle/products/the-killer-bees-1
  19. ^ Johnson, Mike (2014-10-07). "Brian Blair to be awarded 2015 Lou Thesz Award". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
  20. ^ a b "Frank Tunney Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament « Tournaments Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
  21. ^ http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/tunneytourney.htm

External links