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Where Are They Now? Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake
With his imposing steel shears, colorful outfits, wide eyes and contagious smile, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake became one of the most beloved Superstars in WWE history. Brutus' career tells a story of courage and commitment. The popular Superstar overcame numerous obstacles and a near fatal accident in 1990 to compete at WrestleMania, and carve out his spot as one of sports-entertainment's most memorable characters.
The name "Brutus Beefcake" is one of the most unique to ever grace a sold-out arena's flashing marquee. Looking back over a long and successful career, the legend told WWE.com that he has fond memories of his time as Brutus Beefcake, but also remembers a time when even he wasn't ready to get behind the unusual moniker.
"I was just excited to be there," remembered Brutus. "We were sitting in a meeting when somebody suggested I use the name 'Baron Beefcake,' wear a top hat, carry a cane, and have long tuxedo tails. My excitement quickly dissipated, and in my mind, it quickly became one of the worst days of my life. I kept asking myself, ‘What's a Beefcake?'"
Sitting across the table from Beefcake was his long- time friend and road partner, Hulk Hogan. The WWE Hall of Famer was able to calm his disappointed friend, and convince him to accept his new role.
"The whole time, Hulk is kicking me under the table," said Brutus. "He basically told me to trust him, and that it was going to be ok. He said we would make it work."
As history states, the Hulkster knew what he was talking about, because Beefcake was about to embark on one of the most successful periods of his career. After years of hard work and long road trips, Brutus Beefcake was rewarded when he competed in front of a jam-packed Madison Square Garden as part of the first-ever WrestleMania.
"It was such an exciting time," said Brutus. "I knew that if I kept working hard and paid my dues, the reward would come. I fought for my life, and had the hell beat out of me literally night after night all over the country. I fought and survived, and learned a lot about respecting the business in the process. I was proud when I was told I would be a part of WrestleMania."
Following WrestleMania, Beefcake's career continued to thrive. Under the guidance of the legendary Johnny Valiant, Beefcake became a World Tag Team Champion while teaming with the legendary Greg "The Hammer" Valentine as the universally hated "Dream Team."
"It was a great time," said Beefcake. "We were on top of the world. We were a tag team that was selling out 25,000 seat arenas all over the world. Before us, they never had a tag team that could do that. We were fortunate to be there at the time we were because wrestling was so popular. We had a great run."
Following the breakup of the Dream Team, Brutus Beefcake became "The Barber" and embarked on a lengthy reign as one of the most popular Superstars in the WWE. On one day in 1990 though, The Barber's career, and life nearly came to a sudden and tragic end when the legend was nearly killed in a parasailing accident.
"Imagine walking down the street, and getting hit in the face by a 2x4 sticking out of a truck's window that's going 35 mph," said Brutus. "My face was crushed, and it nearly took my head off."
An emotional Beefcake continued, describing in detail the horrific surgery that led to his unlikely survival from an accident that would have killed most.
"I wasn't supposed to live, it should've ended my life," said The Barber. "A team of doctors performed an operation that had never been done before on a living person, much less one that would later get up and walk away. I had gone blind because of damage to my optic nerve, and it took them seven hours to restore my eyesight alone."
Eight titanium plates, 32 screws, 100 feet of steel wire and a reconstructed skull later, Brutus Beefcake laid in his hospital bed as a modern day miracle. As the legend told WWE.com, the long road to recovery still remained, and was one that he may not have conquered if not for the help of his best friend, Hulk Hogan.
"Hulk got on a plane, and flew in to be there when I got out of surgery," recalled Beefcake. "He was there for me when I was down. He picked me up, convinced me I was going to live, and refused to let me give up hope. He took me to his home, fed me, took me to the gym everyday and stayed with me until I was back to 100 percent."
After a long and tedious period of rehabilitation, Beefcake finally returned to full strength, and wrote a fairy-tale ending to a near tragic tale when he competed alongside his friend and partner Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania IX in Las Vegas.
"I was told I would never walk again," said Beefcake. "But then, here I was again, with Hulk Hogan as part of the main event of WrestleMania. They said it couldn't be done, but God gave me the strength to keep going, and I did. I haven't stopped since."
Following several more years of prominence, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake retired from wrestling and returned to his home outside of Boston. There, he spends the bulk of his time with his wife Barbie, and 10-year-old daughter Alana, who happens to be an equestrian in training.
When he's not with his family, Brutus can be spotted at Planet Fitness, one of the largest gyms in New England. Here, he serves as General Manager and supervisor of more than 30 employees. Beefcake told WWE.com it was a natural transition.
"At first it was difficult, because I was on the road for 30 years," said Brutus. "But, at the same time, it was an easy adjustment for me. I've been in the gym my whole life. It's like a second home to me, and I really enjoy it."