Jim Brunzell made his name in the 70s and 80s with AWA before moving onto WWE where he was part of The Killer Bees tag team. He talked about those early AWA days including going through a brutal wrestling camp when he was interviewed by Andy Malnoske of Wrestling Inc.
"The hardest thing was when Billy Robinson used to come and stretch us," revealed Brunzell. "He was the greatest heavyweight champion and knew all of the submission holds. He was a little bit of a sadist and he had fun with that at our expense."
When someone mentions the AWA, the first name most people think of is Verne Gagne who was the owner and promoter. Brunzell shared his thoughts on Gagne and his legacy.
"He was a great amateur wrestler, a four-time Big Ten champion and a couple of times national champion. He was an alternate at the Olympics and he was a heck of a torch bearer for pro wrestling for 30 years. He trained a lot of guys and set an excellent example in the ring for what he wanted to show as pro wrestling and that was the athleticism, background and athletic ability of the guys," stated Brunzell.
Brunzell and B. Brian Blair made up The Killer Bees in WWE during the late 1980s. Brunzell reflected on that tag team
"When you go to New York – he came from Florida and I came from Minnesota – it was a great opportunity. It was 60 guys in the territory at that time and there were three towns they ran every night. The Killer Bees were part of an effort to do what Vince McMahon did," said Brunzell.
"The reality of the WWF was that Hulk Hogan was the golden goose and without him it couldn't have happened. We owe a lot to him and we just filled in when we needed to. There was a lot of talent there and it was a great opportunity, great experience and great exposure. I guess you could say it was the end of a great career to me."
Brunzell won tag team championships in both the AWA and the NWA. Tag team wrestling back then looks very differently than how it does today and he was asked what needs to change in tag wrestling.
"Tag team wrestling tells a story. The bad guys are the heels who take advantage but the problem is now is that nobody will succumb to a weakness. Everybody is tough so everybody is a heel," said Brunzell. "So, you don't get any sympathy from the crowd and you can't build that crescendo in the match when there's a hot tag; it doesn't happen. So, that's the problem and I don't there's that much emphasis on tag team wrestling now."
Jim's full interview with Wrestling Inc was included as part of Thursday's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded player at the bottom of this post, or viewed via the video player at the top.