As evidenced by the inexplicable greenlighting of the MTV show “Bromance,” there is an apparent recent public interest in the levels and degrees of heterosexual man-love. There’s that “bros” stage in which two men would gladly buy each other twelve-packs and watch the game together. There’s “best bros,” that one guy you turn to to get you drunk and take you to a strip club when your girlfriend dumps you. There’s “man-admiration,” where you generally feel inspired by and attempt to assume the ass-kicking traits of a public figure, such as oh, say, Tim Tebow. There’s “dude on dude stalking,” which has resulted in Matt Ryan taking out a restraining order against HZMLS. And finally, in the “bromance” relationship that blurs the line between “homo” and “no homo,” there’s the man-love that Ed “Brutus Beefcake” Leslie has for Hulk Hogan.
Essentially, Ed Leslie owes his entire adult life to his best friend Hulk Hogan. Hogan has been the reason for Leslie’s employment and inexplicably long tenure with two wrestling companies, Hogan told people Leslie was his brother even though there’s no blood relation between the two, and most recently, Hogan got Leslie a job on his smash hit reality show “Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling,” where he allowed Beefcake to train such notables as Dustin Diamond and 80s singer Tiffany in the fine art of professional wrestling. Recently, Leslie has had to resort to such jobs as “working at Planet Fitness in Tewksbury” after getting fired by the MBTA, which we’ll delve into later, but to recap: With Hogan = gainfully employed, adored by millions; Without Hogan = cleaning sweat off the elliptical machine and handing out T tokens.
Leslie grew up down the street from Hogan in Florida, and the two quickly became best friends, attending the same schools, playing on the same baseball teams, and, in their teenage years, taking up weightlifting as a hobby. When the bigger and more talented Hogan decided to enter the world of professional wrestling, Leslie went along with him, and the pair started as a tag team called the “Boulder Brothers.” Hogan would quickly move onto success in the AWA, but got "his brother" Leslie a job when he was signed by the WWF. Vince McMahon, looking to cater to the gay audience, gave the long-haired (but allegedly not gay) Leslie the name “Brutus Beefcake,” making him wear zebra-striped spandex tights with the ass cut out and rhinestones, a bowtie, and billing him from San Francisco. While Beefcake wasn’t overtly advertised as gay, the dude wore a fucking bowtie and zebra striped spandex with the ass cut out.
Beefcake, not very skilled in the ring, was teamed with second-generation wrestler Greg “The Hammer” Valentine to form “The Dream Team,” a tag team that would actually hold the WWF Tag Team Championship for eight months, losing the belts to the British Bulldogs at Wrestlemania 2. The Dream Team would break up soon therafter, and Beefcake would soon feud with fat tub of goo Adrian Adonis, who finished one victory over Beefcake by cutting his hair. Beefcake would get his revenge at Wrestlemania 3, cutting the hair of Adonis and earning a new nickname: “The Barber.”
Brutus the Barber soon became a fan favorite, despite his inability to wrestle a decent match and his ridiculous outfit. He would brandish a pair of comically large hedge clippers and “cut” (as much as you can cut someone’s hair with goddamned hedge clippers) the hair of his defeated opponents after each match, who had submitted to his deadly sleeper hold and were therefore unaware their hair was being cut (kinda like. Being the youngster that I was, I would repeatedly ask my barber where his striped pruning shears were, and he’d have absolutely no clue what I was talking about. I also wondered why my barber didn’t wear zebra-striped spandex and a bowtie, but I didn’t ask this out loud, lest he screw up my mushroom haircut with middle-parted bangs. In a related story, I did not sit at the cool kids lunch table.
Leslie would spend much of the ‘80s in the middle of the WWF’s card, feuding with the likes of Ron Bass and the Honky Tonk Man. Beefcake was scheduled to win the Intercontinental title at Summerslam 1990, but he suffered a near-fatal parasailing accident prior to the event. Leslie was helping a fellow parasailer get attatched to his boat when the other boat mistakedly took off, causing the parasailer’s knee to fly directly into Leslie’s face at rapid speeds, and causing Leslie’s entire face to be reconstructed with 8 steel plates 40 screws and over 100 staples in an eight-hour surgery session. Leslie would miss most of the next two years recovering from the injury, and would wear a protective mask for much of the rest of his career, making occasional run-ins at WWF house shows with a furry mask, earning the nickname “Furface.” Leslie would also be given a talk segment on WWF television in the early ‘90s while he recovered, called “The Barber Shop.” Below is the famous “Barber Shop” segment when Shawn Michaels put Marty Janetty through a glass window, breaking up the Rockers and scarring my childhood:
Hogan would soon leave the WWF and join WCW in 1994, and quickly got Leslie hired at WCW as well (are we seeing a pattern here?). Leslie started out as “Brother Bruti,” but would soon be given such forgettable gimmicks as “The Butcher” and “the Zodiac,” in which Leslie, wearing black-and-white facepaint, would repeatedly shoult “YES! NO! YES! NO!” for no apparent reason ad nauseam. Yeah, it was annoying as hell. Leslie was then given an even lamer gimmick as “The Booty Man,” in which he’d shake his ass for the crowd, to absolutely no one’s delight. He was even given a “Booty Babe,” the big-titted Kimberly Page, the real-life wife of Diamond Dallas Page. The pair can be seen here:
Leslie would soon join Hogan’s nWo stable as “The Disciple” before being “kidnapped” by the Ultimate Warrior in his forgettable month-long reign in WCW, being the only member of the “One Warrior Nation.” Leslie soon faded into WCW obscurity, remaining on their payroll but not appearing much on television. When WCW folded in 2001, we figured we’d seen the last of Leslie in the public spotlight.
Despite collecting a large wrestling paycheck for more than 15 years, Leslie, apparently down on his luck, took a job as a token collector for the MBTA after moving back to Boston. How do I know this fact? Because Leslie actually forced the T to be shut down on February 8, 2004, after MBTA officials discovered a white powder hanging out of Leslie’s bag that they believed to be anthrax, and sent in the HAZMAT units, shutting down the entire T system. Of course, the substance turned out to be cocaine, and Leslie was fired from his only non Hulk-created job. In retrospect, Leslie probably should have just hidden the coke in his booty, where only Hulk Hogan could find it.