Art Barr

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Art Barr
Art Barr.jpg
Barr as "Beetlejuice" (or The Juicer) in World Championship Wrestling during 1990.
Birth name Arthur Leon Barr
Born (1966-10-08)October 8, 1966[1]
Portland, Oregon[1]
Died November 23, 1994(1994-11-23) (aged 28)[1]
Springfield, Oregon
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Art Barr[1]
Beetlejuice[2]
The Intruder[1]
Love Machine[1]
The Juicer[2]
The Witcher[1]
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[1]
Billed weight 240 lb (110 kg)[1]
Trained by Sandy Barr[1][2]
Roddy Piper[1][2]
Debut April 2, 1987[1][2]

Arthur Leon "Art" Barr[3] (October 8, 1966 – November 23, 1994) was an American professional wrestler.[1][2] While he wrestled briefly for World Championship Wrestling, he found his greatest success in Mexico's Asistencia Asesoría y Administración promotion.[2]

Early life[edit]

While growing up, Barr became friends with Roddy Piper during Piper's stint in the Oregonian independent circuit.[1] While attending Oregon State University, Barr became an accomplished amateur wrestler, having become a four-time district champion and a two-time state champion.[1] However, he later dropped out of college to tend to his first wife when she became pregnant.[1]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Pacific Northwest Wrestling[edit]

After leaving college, Barr began working in a steel mill during the day while he began receiving training to become a wrestler from his father Sandy, his older brother Jesse Barr, and Matt Osborne.[4] at night.[1] On April 2, 1987, Barr debuted in the Pacific Northwest Wrestling territory.[2] About a year and a half later, at the suggestion of Roddy Piper, he began wrestling as "Beetlejuice", based on the title character of the 1988 movie.[1][2] The character, wearing face paint and flour in his hair, was a cartoonish fan favorite.[2]

On July 16, 1989, Barr had a sexual encounter with a 19-year old girl after a PNW card in Pendelton, Oregon; the girl later filed rape charges.[2] Barr continued to wrestle as Beetlejuice, despite the charges and the attention brought to him and PNW by the Portland Oregonian.[2] A year later, Barr was polygraphed as part of the police investigation, during which he admitted the girl did not consent, but he believed she would have been willing to have sex someplace else.[4] Barr worked a plea-bargain, and was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse.[2] He was fined $1,000, placed on two years probation, and sentenced to 180 hours of community service, but served no jail time.[2][5] Barr always maintained that he would have beaten the case in court, but was advised to take the plea since it involved no jail time. Also if he lost, the bad publicity would harm the local wrestling business, driving away customers.[4]

World Championship Wrestling[edit]

After the trial, Barr's license to wrestle in Oregon was not renewed, stemming from a previous conviction for possession of cocaine that he did not disclose on his license application.[4] About this time, a tape of Barr as Beetlejuice was sent to the offices of WCW president Jim Herd. WCW was even with WWF in adult demographics, but was losing badly among the child demographics. Herd decided to hire Barr, even though booker Ole Anderson thought Barr was too small to work in the company.[4] Barr joined World Championship Wrestling in 1990 and was renamed "The Juicer" in order to avoid copyright conflicts, but he retained his character.[2] Due to a faxing campaign, his rape conviction followed him, which along with his small stature in a wrestling world then dominated by large wrestlers, he lost support and was soon released.[2][6]

Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre[edit]

After leaving WCW, Barr was brought into Mexico's Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre promotion by Konnan.[2] He initially wrestled under a mask as "The American Love Machine", and was very successful.[2] A year after entering EMLL, the American Love Machine faced off against another masked wrestler, Blue Panther, in a mask versus mask match.[2] 18,000 fans sold out the 17,000 seat Arena México in Mexico City and another 8,000 fans watched on big screen TV in the parking lot to see the card.[2] The match ended when American Love Machine performed a piledriver (Martinete in Spanish) against Blue Panther, an illegal move in Mexican wrestling, thus losing his mask.

Asistencia Asesoría y Administración[edit]

Soon afterward, Barr left EMLL to join Konnan's newly formed Asistencia Asesoría y Administración promotion. As "The Love Machine" Art Barr, he debuted in AAA as a villain, and formed the tag team "La Pareja del Terror" (The Pair of Terror) with Eddie Guerrero.[2] The pair were highly successful, as they would go on to win the World Tag Team Championship and become arguably the most hated tag team in lucha libre history.[2] Barr and Guerrero expanded their tag team into a faction after being joined by Konnan, Black Cat, Madonna's Boyfriend, Jake Roberts, Misterioso, Chicano Power and King Lion. Together, the faction became known as Los Gringos Locos (The Crazy Americans).[2]

Despite both the acclaim and the financial success he received, Barr's time in Mexico took a toll on him, as he was reportedly homesick (his wife and son remained in Oregon while he was working in Mexico).[2] Eventually, he turned to alcohol and drugs for solace, despite the concern of his friends in the business.

On November 6, 1994, AAA held the When Worlds Collide pay-per-view card (with some help from WCW) at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. La Pareja del Terror faced off against El Hijo del Santo and Octagón in a double hair versus mask match, which was acclaimed as one of the greatest pay-per-view matches ever and would receive a 5 star rating from Dave Meltzer.[2] Around this time, Barr and Guerrero were also in talks with Extreme Championship Wrestling.[1]

Extreme Championship Wrestling was very interested in Barr and Guerrero coming into the company to feud with their top tag team, The Public Enemy.[6] At the same time, the World Wrestling Federation, World Championship Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling also showed interest in the tag team of Guerrero and Barr.[1]

Death[edit]

On November 23, 1994, Barr was found dead lying with his child at his home in Springfield, Oregon. Preliminary reports said that he died of an aneurysm, but later reports said that he died under unknown circumstances. Barr did not have heart problems, no aneurysm or internal bleeding, and no ring injuries. He had a mixture of alcohol and drugs in his blood stream.[2] Eddie Guerrero was his best friend around this time period. Although Eddie Guerrero's book claims that the cause of Barr's death is still unknown to this day, Hardcore History by Scott E. Williams, criminal-justice reporter and wrestling columnist for The Galveston County Daily News, states that "Barr died in his sleep from a drug-related heart attack."[6] Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer recounted a discussion with Barr's coroner who remarked that Barr's oversized organs implied steroid use but ruled that to be unlikely because of Barr's size.

Personal life[edit]

Barr has three brothers: Jesse, who was also a wrestler, JR and Sean. His father, Sandy, was also involved in wrestling as a wrestler, referee and promoter. Sandy died on June 2, 2007. According to Guerrero, when they began tagging he first used the frog splash as the "Jackknife Splash". Barr took a liking to the move, began using it regularly and adopted it as his finisher. 2 Cold Scorpio commented to Barr that he "looked like a frog", thus leading Barr to name his move the frog splash. As a tribute to his friend, Eddie Guerrero adopted Barr's trademark frog splash as his finishing maneuver.[7] It has since become a trademark move of several wrestlers in Mexico and the United States.[8] Chris Jericho, who was also close to Barr at the time of his death, would, when performing in WCW in the late nineties, occasionally accuse performer Lenny Lane of stealing Jericho's Loverboy tapes in reference to a personal joke between himself and Barr.

In wrestling[edit]

  • Nicknames
    • "The Innovator of The Frog Splash"
    • "Love Machine" Art Barr[1][2]
    • "American Love Machine"[1]
    • "American Machine"[11]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "Art Barr profile". Online World of Wrestling. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Molinaro, John. "Art Barr: What could have been; Looking back at Love Machine's career". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  3. ^ "Arthur Leon Barr". Find A Grave Memorial. 2004-02-24. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter, December 5, 1994
  5. ^ Pacific Northwest
  6. ^ a b c Williams, Scott: Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW, page 45-46. SportsPublishingLLC, 2006.
  7. ^ Milner, J. (2005). "Eddie Guerrero". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved May 19, 2007. "Eddie added the frog splash to his vast repertoire, made famous first by Barr, paying tribute to his fallen partner." 
  8. ^ Cheating Death, Stealing Life - The Eddie Guerrero Story (DVD, 2004)
  9. ^ http://www.wwe.com/classics/sports-entertainment-maneuver-innovators-26099954/page-9 Who invented the Frog Splash?
  10. ^ "Other arena's finishing movelist". 
  11. ^ "Cagematch profile". 
  12. ^ Royal Duncan and Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 401. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  13. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  14. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary. "NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship history". Solie's Title Histories. Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  15. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary. "NWA Pacific Northwest Television Championship history". Solie's Title Histories. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  16. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 - 1994". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  17. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 100 Tag Teams of the PWI Years". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  18. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  19. ^ a b "Los Gringos Locos OWOW profile". 

External links[edit]