Part of what makes a great Superstar or stable is their entrance, and ‘The Brood’ had one of the most memorable entrances of all-time. Gangrel, Edge, and Christian usually rose from a ring of fire before drinking from a chalice of “blood” and making their way to the ring.
The music accompanying The Brood also fit in perfectly with the gimmick. Gangrel talked about The Brood’s entire ring entrance when he joined The Chris Van Vliet Show.
“Well I thought they stole it from The Toadies’ Possum Kingdom. Nobody hears it but me, but I have that music to listen to. So, the first time I heard it was a dry rehearsal under the ring on a Sunday, literally an hour before the show, and it kicked in. But I could hear the underlying from things like Possum Kingdom and the reverse masking, and all the stuff they did in it. They just jammed some things up, and slowed some things down again,” said Gangrel.
“But I heard that, but then, it kicked in– and the fire! I couldn’t just hear the music; it was the fire. It was a combination of everything, and then it was like, ‘Oh, that was pretty cool!’ But I was super nervous when it happened in front of a live crowd, so when the music would hit and you’re down on the elevator, you would already be sweating. And then you get up, the fire would go, and you’re like, ‘This is cool!’ And then you get up there and the people go, ‘Oh!’ And that rush – it was great.”
Gangrel infamously smiled and showed off his fangs as he made his way down to the ring, but it wasn’t always the plan for him to be a “smiling vampire.”
“For two months they kept telling me, ‘You can’t be smiling when you come down the ramp. You’re supposed to be a mean Vampire. You’re supposed to be the creature of the night’. I go, ‘I am!’ They go, ‘No, you come down the ramp and’– I would just try. I’d hold it to the elevator. I’d walk through the fire, make it halfway down the ramp, and then finally, I think it was Bruce Prichard came back, [saying], ‘All right, man. You’re like a vampire that’s happy. I don’t know. You’re like a menacing vampire – menacing smile’, because I couldn’t stop smiling because it was just such a rush,” stated Gangrel.
“It would all come together. Then when they put it together as The Brood, which was the original pitch, it wasn’t just me. I wanted The Brood like The Lost Boys because I was a big fan of The Lost Boys, and that’s what triggered me to be a vampire. I originally started as Lestat The Vampire in Puerto Rico and then became Vampire Warrior. Rest in peace Frenchy Martin, Pierre Martel – he changed it to Vampire Warrior, which evolved into Gangrel in WWE.”
With an elaborate entrance like Gangrel and The Brood had, there are bound to be mistakes and mishaps. The Undertaker infamously had a fire accident during his entrance once, and Gangrel revealed the same thing happened to him.
“Well the first night, Sunday Night Heat, if you watch it back, you’ll see they clip away and come back. So we did one dry rehearsal for the first time ever. They said, ‘The elevator has a shimmy in it and it’ll go up… Give it a second’. Well that dry rehearsal didn’t have all this fog, and the dark arena, and all this other stuff, and people there,” recalled Gangrel. “So I get in there and the music goes. I can see the fire start going. I’m like, ‘Ah’! I don’t know if it’s me, but I thought I felt the shimmy. I thought I felt the elevator do the thing. So I went to turn, and step, and go up; well, it wasn’t done. So my foot planted right there as I was turning in between the elevator and the stage, so it shut the sling. So I stepped over the flames going, ‘Ahhhh’! And I’m holding the goblin.
“There are flames burning up around my foot, and that’s why when I got it down, I just hobbled to the ring. My foot was black and blue for months. That’s where they all say, ‘Oh, that’s a great vampire! That’s a great swag you have when you walk’. I go, ‘No, that was just a hurt foot and a grizzled knee walk.’ So I ended up getting that – that’s how that started. It never changed. I’ve been walking like that since, yeah, because my foot was crushed and I didn’t tell them my knee was hurting already.”
While Gangrel was the leader of The Brood with Edge and Christian as his disciples, Edge ended up being the biggest star of the group. Gangrel was asked if that was the plan all along, as The Brood was originally created to establish Edge.
“Absolutely, 100 percent. They told me from day one it was to help bring Edge in and get around, because what people don’t realize is I’ve been wrestling for 33 years this September. In ’87, I started. I was trained by Boris Malenko, and then I went to Stampede and I trained in The Dungeon for a while with The Harts. And then, from there, I went to All Japan, and then Puerto Rico, and Memphis,” stated Gangrel. “But in between all of all that– because the first thing I was told when I was breaking in was to get a passport. I’ve been in a room, and they come in the room and look like this is a locker room, and they’re looking at everybody. ‘Whose got a passport to go? Good kid, do you want to go to Malaysia?’ It was like that back then. I had a passport. I did all the tours and with Rick Martel, all the different guys.
“So, I knew all the other guys. Plus, I was with Luna [Vachon] for 18 years. I met Luna when I was 18 – she knew everybody, so I kind of just knew everybody and kind of been around without being around. I was just always there; they knew I knew everybody. They just said, ‘Hey look, he’s [Edge], our future. We’re strapping a rocket through his back’. But they knew he was their future. That was the deal, and it was just helping get in with everybody and take care of him. Don’t get him hurt, and stuff like that.”
Christian was originally billed as Edge’s brother when he made his WWE debut, and Gangrel revealed his role was originally planned for someone else.
“Edge brought him in [through the] back door to go, that was supposed to be [Christopher] Daniels’ spot,” Gangrel said before discussing when he first met Edge.
“I think when I first met him, I chipped his tooth. Yeah, we worked on that. I think he was under contract, and I was on a show and they said, ‘Oh, this is Adam. Whatever he’s doing – Sex & Violence or something, but Christian went there and he did a singles. And I worked him in a singles and I gave him one of those whatever, and I chipped his tooth. That’s when I first met him. But he was a great guy, and he didn’t have a problem about it or anything. It was probably an accident. I don’t think I’ve ever hurt anybody on purpose or anything like that, but first time I met him– he just has a presence about him. Not that he’s from Orangeville, or Toronto, or Eastern Canada, or anything like that.
“He was just a great human being; there’s something special about him. There’s a lot of people. You’ll go through the world and meet a tremendous amount of people, and shake a lot of hands, and you’ll meet a handful of people that are just really good people, and he’s a really good person.”
The Brood may not have been the biggest thing in wrestling during their time, but they were a staple of the Attitude Era. For someone who has been in the business for over 30 years, Gangrel was asked if he appreciated the significance of the Attitude Era when it was around.
“No, I never realized. And Luna used to tell me – she goes, ‘One of the things I love about you is you don’t even realize you’re a star’. She goes, ‘You think you’re just still in Hollywood, Florida, just working an indie show. You don’t look at it like anything’, because I didn’t appreciate it. Now I do. Now I look back going, ‘Aw man, this is really cool’. Nothing against anything else on TV now. I put it back and forth and go, ‘Oh, it was different’. But we weren’t much different the way we ran matches, but we would shoot for no reason. There were a thousand reversals for no reason, so it wasn’t much different in that sense. But everybody had a storyline in a keg,” said Gangrel.
The most memorable storyline involving The Brood was when they feuded with The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness before ultimately joining The Ministry. They were then eventually kicked out of the faction. Gangrel discussed noticing the writing on the wall for his group’s future when they were a part of The Ministry.
“[Joining the Ministry] was the death of The Brood. It’s a touchy subject, but in a sense, ‘Okay, great. You’re here – The Ministry, right? The biggest evil faction there is and you’re the small group here, so you got the small group, The Brood. Three of you, right?’ So, I was against it but I never spoke up or fought for my rights away,” said Gangrel. “Edge was, ‘I thought it was cool.’ But I don’t think he comprehended where it was going, because when we went to The Ministry, we went in The Ministry and they’d bring us all out on stage, and they want that big heel reaction – that big boo. Well they would boo first, but then you start hearing chants, ‘Brood, Brood, Brood’! It takes over. ‘Brood!’ And I leaned over to Edge and said, ‘We won’t be in The Ministry long’. ‘What do you mean?’ I go, ‘Ah, we’re done’. He goes, ‘What do you mean?’ About three weeks later, they go, ‘Hey, we think we’re going to break you up and feud with The Ministry’. And I told him, ‘Next step, Brood’s done’.
“So it was cool in a sense, but deep down inside, with the knowledge? like I told you earlier, I mentioned that Luna showed me worlds, and angles, and things that I wish you could get back because it took away from me enjoying that moment that was there. Because it should’ve been a great moment. I was already foreseeing, I want to say, the butterfly effect. But I already knew where it was going and exactly what happened. But it was cool – but, I mean, I couldn’t get past seeing where I knew everything was actually going to end up.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.