|Birth name||James Brunzell|
|Born||August 13, 1949|
|Resides||White Bear Lake, Minnesota|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Jim Brunzell|
|Billed height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Billed weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|Trained by||Verne Gagne|
The son of a navy pilot, Brunzell lived in Memphis for a time as a child. Brunzell attended high school in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, where he participated in multiple sports including American football, scholastic wrestling, and athletics. He was a state champion in the high jump while in high school. He attended the University of Minnesota, where he continued to play football and high jump. During college, he had a tryout with the Washington Redskins as a tightend. He then returned to college to finish his degree.
Professional wrestling career
Following his unsuccessful tryout with the Redskins, Brunzell was approached by former college football teammate Greg Gagne, who convinced him to train as a professional wrestler. He trained with Gagne's father Verne, alongside wrestlers including Ric Flair, Ken Patera, and the Iron Sheik.
He began wrestling in various territories in the early 1970s, most notably in the NWA Central States promotion. There, he teamed with Mike George to win the NWA Central States Tag Team Championship on October 25, 1973. Following this, he returned to Minnesota and joined Gagne's promotion, the American Wrestling Association (AWA). He formed a tag team with Greg Gagne known as The High Flyers. The duo won the AWA World Tag Team Championship on July 7, 1977, by defeating Blackjack Lanza and Bobby Duncum. They held the championship for more than a year, until September 23, 1978, when they were stripped of the championship as Brunzell had suffered an injury. In 1979, Brunzell transferred to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling promotion, where he twice won the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. He returned to the AWA in 1981, and on June 14, The High Flyers regained the championship by defeating The East-West Connection (Jesse Ventura and Adrian Adonis). In the mid-1980s, Brunzell wrestled in Montreal for International Wrestling.
Brunzell signed to wrestle with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as they continued their national expansion. He was paired with another WWF newcomer, Brian Blair, as The Killer Bees. The Killer Bees were faces (good guys), but were original as the first faces to wear masks and switch places behind the referee's back, known as "Masked Confusion". This was rare though as they would normally only don the masks midway through their matches, and wrestled most of their matches without the masks. The Bees wore yellow and black striped trunks to the ring, as well as similar colored socks. Brunzell and Blair had moderate success in the WWF. They feuded with such teams as The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), as well as the Funks, Jimmy Jack Funk and Hoss Funk, whom they faced in front of over 74,000 fans at The Big Event in Toronto. Their stay was also highlighted with a match against Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik as part of WrestleMania III in front of a reported 93,173 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit (their match was immediately before the main event which saw Hulk Hogan defend his WWF Heavyweight Championship against Andre the Giant), and a win at the inaugural Survivor Series on Thanksgiving Day 1987. The Killer Bees teamed together until the team split up without a reason in mid-1988. Brunzell then competed in singles competition for a time, also teaming with a variety of tag-team partners. Despite hoping to work for WWF as a road agent, until his final WWF match in April 1993, episode of WWF Monday Night Raw.
Brunzell left WWF in 1993 and competed on the independent circuit, primarily in the Chicago area. He also wrestled for Herb Abrams' Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) in 1991. While there, he reunited with B. Brian Blair under the name Masked Confusion because of the WWF trademarking the name "The Killer Bees" , winning the tag team title twice. After UWF closed, Brunzell returned to the independent circuit and continued to wrestle until 1999, when Brunzell faced fellow wrestler The Hater. On May 23, 1993, Brunzell wrestled at World Championship Wrestling's inaugural Slamboree pay-per-view in a six-man tag match alongside fellow "legends" Wahoo McDaniel and Blackjack Mulligan against Dick Murdoch, Don Muraco, and "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. In 1994, Paul Alperstein signed Brunzell as the AWF commissioner. Brunzell appeared in an AWF event as a guest referee in a bout for the AWF Heavyweight Championship, in which Tito Santana defeated Bob Orton, Jr. to win the title.
Championships and accomplishments
- Central States Wrestling
- George Tragos / Lou Thesz International Wrestling Institute
- Frank Gotch Award (2013)
- Nu-Age Wrestling
- NAW Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him # 180 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- PWI ranked him # 49 of the 100 best tag teams during the "PWI Years" with Greg Gagne.
- PWI Tag Team of the Year award with Greg Gagne in 1982.
- World Wrestling Federation
- Frank Tunney Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament (1987) – with B. Brian Blair
- Accelerator3359. "Jim Brunzell Profile". Retrieved December 12, 2012.
- Online World of Wrestling. "Jim Brunzell Profile". Retrieved December 12, 2010.
- Hoops, Brian (June 21, 2013). "Jim Brunzell made his mark inside and outside the ring". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- Laprade, Pat (July 9, 2013). "Jim Brunzell a positive through and through". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- Kamchen, Richard (September 10, 2007). ""Jumpin'" Jim Brunzell still a class act". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- Caldwell, Adam (2012-01-22). "News: Edge to join second Hall of Fame". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.