Leroy Brown (wrestler)
|Birth name||Roland C. Daniels|
November 30, 1950|
Savannah, Georgia, United States
September 6, 1988 (aged 37)|
|Cause of death||Stroke/Heart attack|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||310 Ib (141 kg)|
Roland C. Daniels (November 30, 1950 – September 6, 1988) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Leroy Brown. He took his ring name from the Jim Croce song about "Bad Bad" Leroy Brown, which also became his theme song for a lot of his in ring appearances. He later used the ringname Elijah Akeem as he adopted a more militaristic black Muslim character, teaming with Kareem Muhammad as the Muslim Connection and later the Zambuie Express.
Brown started out his career working as a face in the south, portraying a simple, honest man who always backed up his friends. He later portrayed a heel, acting like an arrogant, rich, self-obsessed character. During his career he won a number of singles championships such as NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship and the NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship as well as a number of tag team championships, teaming with Muhammad to win the NWA Florida Global Tag Team Championship, NWA United States Tag Team Championship and AWA Southern Tag Team Championships.
Professional wrestling career
Daniels made his professional wrestling debut in 1977, adopting the ring name "Bad Bad" Leroy Brown, based on the Jim Croce song of the same name. In September, 1977 he took part in a tournament for the vacant NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship, his first major title opportunity, but he was eliminated in the early rounds. Next he traveled to Texas to work for Fritz Von Erich's NWA Big Time Wrestling. On March 31, 1978 Brown and Killer Tim Brooks teamed up to defeat José Lothario and Al Madril to win the NWA Texas Tag Team Championship, Brown's first championship. The reign only lasted a week before Brown and Lothario lost the championship to David and Kevin Von Erich.
By 1979 Leroy Brown began working in San Francisco for NWA Hollywood. Brown teamed up with Allen Coage and together they defeated Los Guerreros (Héctor and Mando Guerrero) to win the NWA Americas Tag Team Championship. They would later lose the belts to Mando Guerrero and Carlos Mata. Working for NWA Hollywood also allowed Brown to travel to Japan, touring with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). During the tour he challenged Seiji Sakaguchi for the NWF North American Heavyweight Championship in July 1979 but Sakaguchi retained the title by disqualification. In his book Animal, George Steele describes Brown's problems in Japan, including how during a match a Japanese wrestler was trying to break a bottle over Brown's head but had not prepared it properly and it took several hard blows to break the bottle. The following day several Japanese wrestlers would watch the tape of the match over and over again, laughing at Brown's misfortune and pain. Back in San Francisco Brown defeated Chavo Guerrero to win the WWA Americas Heavyweight Championship, holding it for 50 days before losing it to Al Madril. In late 1979 Brown returned to the eastern coast, competing for Championship Wrestling from Florida. Initially he became involved in a feud with then NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion, Manny Fernandez facing him on several occasions during January. After that he moved on to facing Sweet Brown Sugar, whom he defeated to win the NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship. He would later lose it to Dusty Rhodes on February 16, 1980 Jacksonville, Florida. By late 1980 Brown ended up working for Bill Watts' Mid-South Wrestling, teaming with Ernie Ladd for most of his time in Mid-South. The two defeated Junkyard Dog and Terry Orndorff to win the Mid-South Tag Team Championship. They later trade the championship with Junkyard Dog and other partners such as Killer Karl Kox and Dick Murdoch.
In 1981 Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (MACW) based in the Carolinas brought Leroy Brown on as a regular worker. They presented him as a blue collar hero, wearing coveralls and a hard hat to the ring. He showed up to help the good guys take on Sgt. Slaughter and his army, backing them up whenever Slaughter's army tried to use the numbers to their advantage. Brown and various partners such as Ricky Steamboat and Sweet Ebony Diamond would challenge The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Gene and Ole Anderson) for the Mid-Atlantic version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship. In 1982 Leroy Brown became involved in a storyline feud with then NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair. The storyline started with an arm wrestling challenge laid out by Flair. Brown won the challenge, leading to Flair demand a rematch that Brown also won. During a third arm wrestling challenge Brown was attacked by Big John Studd, beating Brown up prior to a Brown wrestling Flair for the championship at the Omni Coliseum, Georgia Championship Wrestling's venue for major shows. Despite the attack Brown would go on to win the match, but the victory was by disqualification as Flair intentionally got himself disqualified to keep the championship. Subsequently, Flair would frustrate Brown at every turn, using underhanded tactics and placing a bounty of Brown to keep him away from the championship. During the feud Flair would try to tempt Brown with fancy suits and the "jet set" lifestyle, hoping to tempt Brown to side with him. After losing to Flair in June, 1982 Brown shocked his fans when he accepted the offer, turning heel as he became enamored with fine clothes, jewelry and fast cars. Brown took Oliver Humperdink as his manager, becoming part of the heel group "House of Humperdink". On November 27, 1982 Brown won a 20-man battle royal to win the vacant NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship. His reign as the TV champion lasted only 28 days, losing the championship on December 25 to Mike Rotunda. Following the loss of the championship Brown left JCP and traveled to Florida.
Zambuie Express/Muslim Connection
In 1983 the Florida bookers came up with a storyline where Daniels announced that he had changed his name to "Eljiah Akeem", referring to it as his Muslim name. He became the bodyguard for the hated heel "Exotic" Adrian Street. A couple of months later he was teamed up with Ray Candy to form the "Zambuie Express", which was at times billed as "The Muslim Connection" in some promotions. Candy took the name "Kareem Muhammad". The duo began to wear camouflage pants and shirts to the ring, adopting militaristic Muslim in ring characters, based to some extent on the Black Panther Party. The two toured mainly in the southern parts of the United States where their racially charged characters made them very hated. The team was often managed by Humperdink and was part of the "House of Humperdink". In Florida the duo defeated Mike Graham and Scott McGhee to win the NWA Florida Global Tag Team Championship on July 31, 1983. The duo held the championship until September of that year, when it was replaced by the Florida version of the NWA United States Tag Team Championship. The Zambuie Express were declared the United States Championship, with the storyline being that they won a tournament. Two months later the Zambuie Express lost the championship to the team of Dusty Rhodes and Blackjack Mulligan on November 5, 1983
From Florida the team traveled to Memphis to compete for the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) where they were immediately pitted against the top face team of the territory The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane and Steve Keirn). On January 24, 1984, the Zambuie Express were awarded the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship when the Fabulous Ones failed to show up for a match, but the titles were declared vacant instead of giving them to Akeem and Muhammad. The CWA held a tournament for the vacant championship, a tournament won by the Zambuie Express as they defeated the Pretty Young Things (Koko B. Ware and Norvell Austin) in the final match. The Pretty Young Things won the championship only a week later, defeating the Zambuie Express on CWA's weekly show at the Mid-South Coliseum. Eight days later the Zambuie Express regained the championship. The duo held on to the belts until March 12, 1984 when they lost to Jerry Lawler and Jos LeDuc. The team toured with New Japan Pro Wrestling in the spring of 1984 and then ended up working for Jim Crockett Promotions based in the Carolinas by the summer of 1984. The team sided with Paul Jones and became part of Paul Jones' Army as they fought against Jimmy Valiant and Valiant's friends. The Express competed on the 1984 version of Starrcade, where they lost to the team of Buzz Tyler and The Masked Assassin #1. The loss to Tyler and the Assassin was one of the last matches the Zambuie Express worked together, splitting up a short time later.
Return to Leroy Brown
In 1985 Daniels resumed working as Leroy Brown, travelling to Japan to work a tour for NJPW, often teaming with "Bad News" Allen Coage. By 1986 Brown began working for the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF), formerly Mid-South Wrestling. In the UWF teamed up with "Wild" Bill Irwin and won the UWF Tag Team Championship from the team of John Tatum and Jack Victory on November 9, 1986. The team successfully defended the championship against Gary Young and Joe Savoldi as part of the UWF Superdome Extravaganza, held at the New Orleans' Superdome on November 27. The team held the title for 48 days in total, until they were defeated by Terry Taylor and Jim Duggan on December 27, 1986.
Other Leroy Browns
Daniels was not the only wrestler to use the ring name "Leroy Brown", Polynesian wrestler Leroy Tuifao also used the name "Leroy Brown" as he wrestled primarily in Hawaii. British wrestler Oliver Biney, better known as Rampage Brown, also used the name "Leroy Brown" for a period of time. The Junkyard Dog originally wrestled under the name "Leroy Rochester", which has led some sources to mistakenly list Roland Daniels' birth name as "Leroy Rochester".
Championships and accomplishments
- Lewis III, Harris M. (2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling (2nd ed.). McFarlane. p. 52. ISBN 9781476605050.
- Will, Gary; Royal Duncan (1994). "(Memphis, Nashville) Tennessee: NWA Southern Heavyweight Title [Nick Gulas & Roy Welsch]". Wrestling Title Histories (4 ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-1-1.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Texas) Dallas, Fort Worth: NWA Texas Tag Team Title [Fritz Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(California) Los Angeles: NWA Americas Tag Team Title [Mike LeBell]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Steele, George; Evans, Jim (June 1, 2013). Animal. Triump Books. ISBN 9781623682088.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(California) Los Angeles: NWA Americas Heavyweight Title [Mike LeBell]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(Florida) Tampa: NWA Southern Heavyweight Title [Graham]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 115–116. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Meltzer, Dave (June 22, 2015). "June 22, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Part 1 of giant Dusty Rhodes obituary, GFW's 1st shows, and much more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California: 20–23. ISSN 1083-9593.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Oklahoma) Oklahoma City: Mid-South Tag Team Title [Bill Watts]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Morton, Gerald W.; O'Brien, George M. (1985). Wrestling to Rasslin: Ancient Sport to American Spectacle (Illustrated ed.). Popular Press. pp. 152–154. ISBN 9780879723248.
- Morton, Gerald W.; O'Brien, George M. (1985). Wrestling to Rasslin: Ancient Sport to American Spectacle (Illustrated ed.). Popular Press. pp. 133–135. ISBN 9780879723248.
- Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(Carolinas) Charlotte: NWA Mid-Atlantic TV Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 115–116. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Lewis III, Harris M. (2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling (2nd ed.). McFarlane. pp. 59–60. ISBN 9781476605050.
- Matt Mackinder (January 17, 2008). "Sir Oliver Humperdink recalls career of yesteryear". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(Florida) Tampa: NWA Florida Global Tag Team Title [Graham]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 117. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Gary Will and Royal Duncan (2006). "(Florida) Tampa: NWA United States Tag Team Title [Graham]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 116. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Memphis, Nashville) Tennessee: Southern Tag Team Title [Roy Welsch & Nick Gulas, Jerry Jarrett from 1977]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 185–189. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Cawthon, Graham (2013). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 3:Jim Crockett and the NWA World Title 1983–1989. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 149480347X.
- "Starrcade 1984". Pro Wrestling History. November 22, 1984. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Oklahoma) Oklahoma City: Universal Wrestling Federation Tag Team Title [Bill Watts]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "Superdome Extravaganza 11/86". Pro Wrestling History. November 27, 1986. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- "Leroy Brown". Wrestling data. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- "Leroy Brown". Wrestling data. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- Klein, Greg (June 1, 2012). The King of New Orleans: How the Junkyard Dog Became Professional Wrestling's First Black Superhero. ECW Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 9781770902244.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 of the PWI Years: 484 Leroy Brown". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States: Sports and Entertainment publications LLC. May 21, 2003. p. 53. June 2003.