This edition of the WWE Hall of Famers Blog we take a look at the man who changed professional wrestling for many people forever: Bobo Brazil!
Real Name: Houston Harris
Birthday: July 10,1924
Death: January 20,1998
From: Benton Harbor,Michigan,USA
Weight: 270 lbs
Trained by: Joe Savoldi
Inducted by: Ernie Ladd
Notable Titles Held:
NWA World Heavyweight Championship (unrecognized)
NWA International Heavyweight Championship (2x)
NWA US Heavyweight Championship (9x)
NWA World Tag-Team Championship (8x)
WWA World Heavyweight Championship (2x)
WWWWF US Heavyweight Championship (7x)
World Negro Heavyweight Championship
Notable Promotions Wrestled:
WWE (fka: WWF)
Big Time Wrestling
Maple Leaf Wrestling
Houston Harris was born in Little Rock,Arkansas but later on moved in Benton Harbor,Michigan which he was always billed from in his entire career. He played baseball during his youth.
Harris was trained by "Jumping" Joe Savoldi and got the name Bobo Brazil. In his early years promoters would book him against other African-American wrestlers who are heels such as Ernie Ladd and Abdullah the Butcher. He would also later on have many battles with the likes of Killer Kowalski,Dick the Bruiser,and Johnny Valentine.
But perhaps Bobo's greatest rival in his entire career was The Original Sheik. The two were the hottest feud in the Detroit territory and always sold out shows that they're usually main eventing! Sheik and Bobo's rivalry lasted for decades and they never disappointed in delivering classic bouts!
Bobo wasn't just a popular babyface but was able to hold championships as well! He challenged Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship in a high profile match between two babyfaces, which was a rarity at the time. He was never able to gain the belt but the two had a great match.
October 18,1962 Bobo Brazil made history by becoming the first ever African-American World Champion in history by beating "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship! He held the title for 63 days but the officials at the NWA never recognized the reign so the official honor of first African-American World Champion goes to Ron Simmons.
Around the 70's Bobo continued competing for multiple territories, in October 9,1970 he made history again by being involved in the first racially mixed match in Atlanta history when he teamed up with El Mongol against the team of Mr. Ito and The Great Ota. In the latter parts of his career, Brazil acted as a mentor to some wrestlers most notably to Ernie Ladd and "Soulman" Rocky Johnson. He would also have James Dudley as a manager around this time too.
After a long four decade career in professional wrestling he finally decided to retire in 1993. His last match was against Kelly Kiniski, son of his other well known rival: Gene Kiniski. A year later he was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame by Ernie Ladd, and the following year inducted Ladd himself in the HOF.
He ran a restaurant after retiring from wrestling. Sadly on January 20,1998 the world loss a hero in Bobo Brazil. He had been admitted to the hospital days prio after suffering a series of strokes. He may be gone but his legacy lives on in professional wrestling forever.
While he may not be known to a lot of younger fans these days, Bobo Brazil's legacy is still being felt to this day as he changed professional wrestling forever!
He is sometimes referred to as the "Jackie Robinson of wrestling" because he broke down racial barriers in wrestling and became a top star when African-Americans were extremely suffering from racism.
Due to his likeable personality, Bobo Brazil did not only become a hero and role model to the African-American fans but to everybody else, they just can't help but cheer the guy for how great he is in the ring.
His signature move the "Coco Butt" is one of the most iconic moves in wrestling. Truly a great man who should be celebrated by all wrestling fans for his efforts!
During his final years in wrestling Bobo also put over many of the young talents who would become legends on their own in the future like Hulk Hogan,Greg Valentine,Bob Orton,among many others. So good on him for not being a selfish legend.
*He was originally supposed to be called "BuBu Brazil" but a promoter misprinted his name to "Bobo Brazil" and stuck with that ever since.
*There is a veteran wrestler in the indies known as "Bobo Brazil Jr." who isn't actually related to Bobo, but one of his students.
*According to Sabu in an interview, even when at home Bobo & Sheik would maintain kayfabe by not talking with each other the whole time.
*He holds the record for most US Championship reigns in wrestling.