Allen Coage

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"Bad News Brown" redirects here. For the musician, see Bad News Brown (musician).
Allen Coage
Bad News Brown.jpg
Coage as "Bad News Brown" in the late 1980s.
Birth name Allen James Coage
Born (1943-10-22)October 22, 1943[1][2]
New York City, New York, United States[2]
Died March 6, 2007(2007-03-06) (aged 63)[3]
Calgary, Alberta, Canada[3]
Cause of death Heart attack
Alma mater Nihon University[4]
Spouse(s) Helen Coage (1983-2007; his death) [5][6]
Children 9[5][6]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Allen Coage[1]
Bad News [1]
Bad News Allen[3]
Bad News Brown[3]
B.L. Brown
Buffalo Allen[5]
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[7]
Billed weight 271 lb (123 kg; 19.4 st)[7]
Billed from Harlem, New York[7]
Tokyo, Japan (WWWF 1978-79)
Trained by Antonio Inoki[5]
Debut October 23, 1977
Retired May 20, 1999
Allen Coage
Medal record
Men's Judo
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place Montreal 1976 Heavyweight
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place Winnipeg 1967 Heavyweight
Gold medal – first place Mexico City 1975 Heavyweight

Allen James Coage (October 22, 1943 - March 6, 2007) was an American/Canadian[5] judoka and professional wrestler. Coage is best known for winning a bronze medal for judo in the heavyweight class at the 1976 Summer Olympics and for his appearances with professional wrestling promotions such as the World Wrestling Federation, New Japan Pro Wrestling and Stampede Wrestling under the ring names Bad News Brown, Buffalo Allen and Bad News Allen.[5][7][8]

Early life[edit]

Coage was born in New York City and raised in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Queens, attending Thomas A. Edison High School.[4][2] After graduating in 1962, Coage began working in a bakery, eventually becoming a foreman.[4]

Judo career[edit]

Coage trained in judo under Jerome Mackey after seeing a poster for Mackey's dojo on the New York City Subway. He began his career in 1964 at the relatively late age of 22. After seven months as a white belt, he placed first in the Chicago Invitational tournament. Coage achieved a black belt in two and a half years and after five years was named a sandan.[4] Coage wrestled in a "classical" style,[8] with his favored throws being the Ōuchi gari and the Tai otoshi.[4]

Coage won the Amateur Athletic Union judo championship (heavyweight class) in 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1975, as well as winning the open division in 1970. He also competed in the Pan American Games, winning gold medals in the heavyweight class in 1967 and 1975.

In 1970, Coage relocated to Japan for two years, where he studied at Nihon University, majoring and minoring in judo.[4][9][10] In 1972, Coage suffered a severe knee injury during an Olympic Trials bout with Jimmy Wooley, rendering him unable to compete in the 1972 Summer Olympics.[8]

Upon recovering, Coage began training for the 1976 Summer Olympics. Coage was initially excluded from the United States judo team until a class action lawsuit was filed against the United States Olympic Committee by the United States Judo Association. Coage ultimately won a bronze medal.[8] His victory made him the first African American to win a solo Olympic Games medal in a sport other than boxing or track and field.

Coage retired from competitive judo following the 1976 Summer Olympics due to frustrations around internal politics.[6] He went on to hold a number of other jobs, including briefly working as a bodyguard for singer Aretha Franklin, before deciding to train as a professional wrestler.[11]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1977–1983)[edit]

Coage began training as a professional wrestler under Antonio Inoki in the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo in 1977.[5] He debuted in October 1977, briefly performing under his birth name before adopting the ring name "Buffalo Allen". Coage wrestled intermittently for NJPW over the next 15 years.[5]

World Wide Wrestling Federation (1978, 1979)[edit]

Coage made a one-off appearance in the World Wide Wrestling Federation in February 1978, defeating jobber Frank Williams at a live event under his birth name. He returned to the promotion in January 1979 and wrestled for the WWWF for the remainder of the year, appearing on several episodes of WWF Championship Wrestling.

Stampede Wrestling (1982-1988)[edit]

In 1982, Bad News Allen found a long-term home in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling, centered in Allen's adopted home city of Calgary. Allen remained with Stampede from 1982 until 1988, with some tours of Australia and Florida during that time, and had matches with wrestlers such as the Dynamite Kid and Bret Hart. He often referred to himself in interviews as "the Ultimate Warrior," a name that was later used more famously by wrestler Jim Hellwig.

World Wrestling Federation (1988-1990)[edit]

Coage approaching the ring as "Bad News Brown".

Allen returned to the World Wrestling Federation in early 1988 as Bad News Brown, and it was during this time that he achieved his greatest notoriety. While the roster was mostly filled with ultra-virtuous babyfaces and cowardly and monster heels, Bad News was something entirely different; a tough loner. While other heels were likely to form alliances with one another, Bad News was reclusive. He didn't respect anybody, and was just as likely to attack heels as faces (character traits that would later be employed to great fame by Stone Cold Steve Austin). His dislike for all fellow wrestlers was clear when he abandoned his teams at the Survivor Series of 1988 and 1989. Some memorable moments from his WWF tenure included winning the battle royal at WrestleMania IV by eliminating Bret Hart, who was then a heel, after a sneak attack, a brief feud with then-champion Randy Savage in early 1989 that led to main-event matches, feuding with Roddy Piper (starting before the 1990 Royal Rumble and culminating at WrestleMania VI) and with Jake "The Snake" Roberts (where Bad News had a sewer rat against Jake's snake) and attacking WWF President Jack Tunney on The Brother Love Show. Bad News also had a brief run challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship. On the March 11, 1989 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event Bad News memorably took a microphone towards the end of his match with Hogan and told him that it was time for the Ghetto Blaster (his finisher). As he was getting ready to execute it however, Hogan got out of the way, leading him to miss the move terribly and suffer an eventual loss.[12]

Bad News eventually left the WWF after SummerSlam 1990, claiming Vince McMahon failed to live up to his promise to make him the company's first black champion.

As written in the autobiography of the Dynamite Kid, Coage's legitimate toughness was displayed in a confrontation involving André the Giant, who allegedly made a racist comment on a tour bus for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Coage overheard it and made the driver stop the bus, walked off and demanded the Giant get off and fight him one on one. André did not move from his seat and later apologized for the remark.[13]

Later career (1990-1999)[edit]

Coage continued to work in independent promotions for several more years, including Japan's shoot wrestling UWFi promotion. Coage retired in 1999 due to knee damage. He continued occasionally working independent shows for friends while living in Calgary with his wife, and had considered starting a promotion himself. Additionally, he taught wrestling with Canadian wrestling coach Leo Jean, and worked as a mall security officer in Airdrie, Alberta.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Coage was married to Helen, with whom he had six daughters and three sons.[5][6]

Born in the United States, Coage later permanently relocated to Canada, ultimately securing Canadian citizenship.[5]

Death[edit]

Coage died of a heart attack on the morning of March 6, 2007, at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, minutes after being rushed there due to chest pain.[3]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Judo[edit]

Professional wrestling[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Bad News Allen Profile". Online World Of Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  2. ^ a b c Greg Oliver; Steven Johnson (2007). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. ECW Press. p. 319. ISBN 978-1-55490-284-2. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Oliver, Greg. "Bad News Allen dies suddenly". Canoe.ca. Quebecor Media. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Active Interest Media, Inc. (January 1969). Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. pp. 50–53. ISSN 0277-3066. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Bad News Allen". Canoe.ca. Quebecor Media. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Russo, Ric (August 25, 2000). "What ever happened to...Bad News Allen?". Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Bad News Brown". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d Active Interest Media, Inc. (January 1978). Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. pp. 21–22. ISSN 0277-3066. 
  9. ^ Active Interest Media, Inc. (September 1970). Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. p. 53. ISSN 0277-3066. 
  10. ^ Active Interest Media, Inc. (November 1970). Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. p. 12. ISSN 0277-3066. 
  11. ^ Ralph Hickok (22 May 1995). A who's who of sports champions: their stories and records. Houghton Mifflin Co. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-395-68195-4. 
  12. ^ James Dixon; Arnold Furious; Lee Maughan (2013). Tagged Classics: Just The Reviews. Lulu.com. p. 210. ISBN 978-1-291-42878-0. 
  13. ^ Billington, Tom (August 2001). Pure Dynamite: The Price You Pay for Wrestling Stardom. Winding Stair Press. ISBN 1553660846. 
  14. ^ Scott Keith (1 November 2008). Dungeon of Death. Kensington Publishing Corp. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-8065-3562-3. 
  15. ^ a b c McCoy, Heath (2007). Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling (Rev. ed.). ECW Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-1-55022-787-1. 

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