Whatever happened to Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake? You remember him, right? The 1980’s wrestling super hero who would strut and cut his way across large 20 foot canvas. For several years, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake entertained millions of fans worldwide. He was a fixture on Saturday mornings. And it seems, as quick as he came into the then – World Wrestling Federation, he was gone. What happened to Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake? Having been part of such events as Wrestlemania, the premiere wrestling event of its time, and fighting in front of 93,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome, Brutus Beefcake must be retired on a tropical island somewhere. Or so, that is what we’d like to believe.
Truth is, after a para-sailing accident in 1990, Beefcake’s wrestling career came to a screeching halt. The man who was slated to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship at one of their pay-per-views events, was now out of a job. Although in hindsight, considering he could have died, I guess being out of a job wasn’t that bad. His injuries were extensive. He had to have total reconstructive surgery. Subsequently, Beefcake spent years in physical therapy, rehabbing from his injuries. And despite a half hearted attempt at a wrestling comeback in 1993 with his best friend Hulk Hogan, the wrestler known as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake had run it’s course. The man was a shell of his former self. On top of that, Beefcake didn’t even look himself. The para-sailing accident caused his face to be swelled and more round, whereas the former facial features of “The Barber” were chiseled and more akin to a man named Beefcake. His time to shine in the late 80’s was stolen from him. And in 1993, the world of wrestling had changed. The fans no longer wanted a scantily dressed, effeminate man parading around their rings. After several months, Beefcake was once again discarded.
In 1994, Beefcake, whose real name is Ed Leslie, landed a wrestling gig with Atlanta based World Championship Wrestling. Unfortunately for Ed, Vince McMahon owned the rights to the name Brutus Beefcake. Mr. Leslie entered World Championship Wrestling under the name “The Booty Man.” The gimmick was a poor rip off of the former popular 80’s wrestler. The man was the same, but without the name, the magic was gone. Luckily for “The Booty Man,” Ed was best friends with Hulk Hogan. Throughout the 90’s, Ed never went without a pay check from World Championship Wrestling. In fact, “The Booty Man,” who transformed into several different characters from 1994-1999, was paid very handsomely for his services. In 2001, World Championship Wrestling was sold to Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation. Once again, Ed Leslie found himself without a job.
Professional wrestlers are not known for their smart financial decisions. All the wrestlers who have reached some level of fame have said that the money they made was squandered on drugs, alcohol, partying, pills and traveling. In the movie “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke, a former high profile pro wrestler makes the rounds on local indy wrestling shows for a couple hundred dollars an appearance. The life portrayed by Mickey Rourke isn’t far fetched. In fact, most wrestler say it’s all too real.
In February 2004, the wrestler formerly known as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake made headlines again. This time, it wasn’t because he was wrestling for the heavyweight championship. Brutus was working at Downtown Crossing, one of Boston’s MBTA stations. According to the MBTA website, the annual salary for an MBTA toll taker is a little over $30,000.00 a year. After one of Beefcake’s shift, an employee noticed a small bag of white powder inside the booth. Scared that the substance could be anthrax, the police were called. The powder was quickly discovered as cocaine, and Beefcake immediately admitted it was his.
Despite the embarrassment of this public situation, Ed Leslie continued to get work on the independent wrestling scene. He was a mainstay in several New England wrestling companies, since he makes his home in Massachusetts. In 2009, he got a job with Hulk Hogan’s reality celebrity wrestling show. The show ran one season.
Today, Brutus Beefcake continues to work wrestling shows all around the states and even recently competed in a tour of Australia, with headliner Hulk Hogan of course. During the week, the 54 year old husband and father work selling windows for a local window installation company. Though Ed Leslie went from wrestling in front of 93,000 people, to wrestling in front of 50 people at a local VFW, he still puts on one hell of a show. Although it’s 1989 anymore, it’s kind of cool to know that on any given night, at some wrestling match in the United States, someone is reliving the 80’s. And Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake is the reason for it.