Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Brother Love

Red faced, fat and looking like he was about to have a stroke at any minute, Brother Love became an iconic manager and commentator in the WWF in the 1980s, using the routine of a corrupt evangelist one might have expected to see on TBN rather than in the ring.

Perhaps as a spoof on Hulk Hogan, with the constant overuse of the phrase, "Brother" and perhaps as a jab at evangelists who forever "brothered" their flock, Brother Love took the term to ridiculous lengths intentionally. He called Bobby Heenan "Brother Brain" and "Brother Billion" was his nickname for Ted Dibiase.

While he may not have been the greatest worker in the world, he was entertaining to some and offensive to others, but either way, vibrated a good deal of controversy.

He was, while the WWF would have wanted you to think otherwise, not all that original.

Some years prior, Memphis tried a run with a manager calling himself Rev. Ernest Angel as a spinoff on Ohio-based faith healer, Ernest Angely. The routine made too much heat, including tv studios switchboards being swarmed with angry calls form offended Tennessee Christians. The routine did not last long.

There were two Reverend Mr. Black characters before Brother Love, most likely derived from the Johnny Cash song. One was part of Kevin Sullivan's parade of freaks in Florida. the other was an Arizona based band director by the name of Billy King. The former was around in the 80s and the latter in the 1970s.

Brother Love would be the best known wicked evangelist of all, due mainly to his being presented by the WWF.

Being part of the WWF circuit, he of course traveled around and did make some Arizona appearances, which vibrated sufficient heat.

There was talk Billy King had considered a lawsuit against the promotion or supposedly stealing his routine, but such never went anyplace. After all, he took the character himself off the previously noted Johnny Cash ballad. 

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