A long time coming …
I’ve been toying with the idea of documenting my dad’s life for years. I’ve envisioned a book or a script for a movie, I’ve gone so far as writing stories of my dad into a notebook and even worked with a film maker on a proposal for a documentary film. None of those ideas have ever turned into anything though so time for me to do something, he deserves that. Hopefully this will become a series of articles.
Even though I am tall my father was a little person or ‘dwarf’ as he was called when I was young. And in the 60’s and 70’s he had the illustrious job title of Midget Wrestler.
His name was Little Bruiser. Back in the day most midget wrestlers’ were either ‘little’ this or ‘mini’ that as you can probably imagine. My dad was the mini version of Dick the Bruiser. And in fact, one of the only matches you can find around today of my dad includes him in a match with Dick the Bruiser, but I’ll get to that a bit later.
So ya …
It can be a bit weird when people hear for the first time that my dad was a midget wrestler. Some times people think I am making it up. I even once had a friend call me and say that a friend of his, had met me at a party, heard my story and didn’t believe me. He was retelling the story to this mutual friend who said, “yes, i actually know Mike and its 100% true even though it sounds totally made up.”
I’m the oldest child of three and was born in the 70’s, so I had the luxury of getting to see my dad wrestle and actually have some memories of those events.
I remember this one time when my dad was wrestling and I was in the audience with my mom, in the middle of the match my dad got busted wide open (he was bleeding). I immediately stood up and yelled to the ring that it was time to go home, the jig was up.
My dad …
Always liked being the heel or bad guy. He didn’t like when he was a face (good guy) because everyone would want to be his friend, be nice to him or pat him on the shoulders, he hated that. He said it was much easier to be a heel, “you just go out and call everyone pussies or say that their wives are fat, easy.”
When I walk around with a mean look on my face or when I am in a bad mood I often wonder if I am channeling a heel version of my dad.
Andre the Giant
The Kelly Twins
Sweet Daddy Siki
My dad wrestled for Whipper Billy Watson who ran the Maple Leaf wrestling promotion after he retired from in-ring performing. My dad traveled all over the world as a wrestler working for different promotions.
As a kid I remember spending time in arena’s and running errands for ‘the boys’, such as running to the The Original Sheik’s car to get him more headshots to sign for eager fans.
The most famous person I ever met was Andre the Giant whom I met a few times, the last of which was in our family home in southern Ontario. Andre had stopped by to visit with my dad and he was too big to fit through our doorway, we had to have a picnic in the backyard. #Goodtimes
Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of footage and/or pics left of my dad’s time as a wrestler. The pictures I have shown in this article are almost all that exist from my dad’s time in the squared circle.
There is however a video on Youtube that you can watch. It is a match with Dick the Bruiser and Da Crusher vs. The BlackJacks (Lanza and Mulligan) and their manager, a certain Bobby Heenan.
As the story went, Bobby kept interfering in matches and costing The Bruiser and Da Crusher the tag titles so someone had to be brought in to deal with Heenan, enter my dad …
-- Downs out.