The Killer Bees (professional wrestling)
|The Killer Bees|
B. Brian Blair
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
|465 lb (211 kg)|
The Killer Bees was a tag team composed of "Jumpin" Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair in the World Wrestling Federation from 1985 to 1988 and later on in the independent circuit. The team name is a play on the name of the Miami Dolphins' defensive unit known as the Killer Bs, which was dominant and popular in the NFL at that time, as both team members' last name started with a "B", as did the last names of several Dolphin players.
Before the Bees
Jim Brunzell made his debut in 1972, achieving most of his fame along with Greg Gagne as “The High Flyers" in the Minneapolis-based American Wrestling Association, where the two won the AWA World Tag Team Championship on two occasions.
B. Brian Blair was trained by Hiro Matsuda and made his debut in 1977 in the area of Florida, specifically in Florida-based promotion Championship Wrestling From Florida, competing in various territories (including the WWF) before 1985.
Both Blair and Brunzell were considered stand-up wrestlers with lot of potential during their Florida/AWA days, respectively.
World Wrestling Federation
The two men were signed by the WWF as it continued its national expansion through 1985, debuting under the "Killer Bees" name. Blair was already a part of the company wrestling as a singles competitor in 1984, mostly as "enhancement talent" but previously being a mid-card wrestler with lot of potential during 1980 and 1983. The teaming of Blair and Brunzell was suggested by Hulk Hogan. Because Blair and Brunzell were similar in build, the team had a special gimmick referred to as Masked Confusion where both wrestlers would put on identical masks during the match to confuse the opponents and referee and usually win that way—despite this normally being a tactic used by the heels. The “Masked Confusion" idea was given to Blair by Billy Red Lyons, who had used it in Maple Leaf Wrestling (albeit as a singles wrestler).
One of the most amusing highlights of the team's career came in 1987 at a house show at California University of Pennsylvania. With Blair unable to appear for the team's match against Demolition, he was replaced by S.D. Jones, an African-American journeyman who wore the Bees' black and yellow tights for the day. During the match, the two used the "Masked Confusion" tactic and the referee, as usual, pretended to be unable to tell the two apart, despite Brunzell being very light-skinned. The inverse would occur later, as S.D. Jones would later replace Brunzell and team up with Blair in a "Prime Time Wrestling" TV Taping, against Demolition as well.
The team debuted on June 17, 1985, defeating the team of Steve Lombardi and Dave Barbie. Coincidentally, this was also Brunzell's first match in the WWF. After facing several makeshift teams, the Killer Bees started a long-running feud with The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart). The Bees also had a running feud with the Funks (Hoss, Terry and Jimmy Jack). In August 1986, they faced Hoss and Jimmy Jack Funk in front of 70,000 people at The Big Event in Toronto, a card headlined by Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff. The team also received a couple of unsuccessful shots at then-WWF tag team champions The Dream Team.
The Killer Bees were a part of a battle royal involving wrestlers and NFL players at WrestleMania 2  and next got the spotlight at WrestleMania III, where they faced The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, losing by disqualification  because of the interference of Jim Duggan. After WrestleMania III, the Killer Bees moved on to a feud with WWF newcomers Demolition. By this point, the Bees' stock was clearly slipping in terms of their card placement, though they were one of two teams (with The Young Stallions) to "survive" the 10-team elimination match at the inaugural Survivor Series on Thanksgiving Day 1987. The Bees' last Wrestlemania appearance would be at Wrestlemania IV, where they once again competed in a battle royal.
The Killer Bees’ last prominent appearance was at "WrestleFest" in summer 1988, where they lost to The Fabulous Rougeaus. In the summer 1988 the Bees split up off-screen without any break up or announcement, and Brunzell and Blair returned being used as "preliminary wrestlers" thus (at least temporarily) ending the yellow and black days of the Bees. The duo's last WWF match as a team came on August 24, 1988, against The Young Stallions.
Brunzell remained with the WWF into the 1990s, achieving many victories in the house show-circuit but failing to do so at TV.
Blair would remain with the WWF up until early November 1988, usually scoring victories over preliminary wrestlers at both, TV-Tapings and untelevised events, but failing to beat more established wrestlers.
Blair and Brunzell would later complain (and sue) about the WWF still merchandising product of them, without their permission or financial compensation.
Although they wrestled as faces throughout their WWF run, it didn't stop rival heels from impersonating the Bees. During a televised WWF at The Philadelphia Spectrum, two wrestlers dressed in Killer Bee masks and T-shirts appeared as lumberjacks during a lumberjack match between Hulk Hogan and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, frequently attacking Hogan until Hogan got the upper hand and unmasked one of the Bees ... only to reveal another mask beneath and the unidentified wrestler to escape.
Strangely enough, after splitting up, Blair would continue using his "Killer Bee" outfit and gimmick, and Brunzell would use Killer Bee-like outfits, though, both wouldn't be announced anymore as "a half of the Killer Bees tag-team" as they used to when teaming up, indicating they were indeed separated.
After the WWF
In the early 1900s, the Bees reformed in Herb Abrams' Universal Wrestling Federation, winning that promotion's tag team titles before the federation folded. While there, they were unable to use the WWF-trademarked name "Killer Bees" and were instead known as Masked Confusion. Though, Blair was introduced as "Killer Bee" B. Brian Blair when he wrestled singles matches.
As of November 2017, Blair and Brunzell are still in high Demand now working many Comic-Cons and Independent Autograph Sessions. Both Blair and Brunzell have a new Comic Book Series called the "Killer Bee's" a true life story (animated) about Blair and Brunzell's journey to become Pro-wrestlers available at Inversepress.com.
Championships and accomplishments
- Universal Wrestling Federation
- World Wrestling Federation
- Brian Shields (2006). Main event – WWE in the raging 80s (4th ed.). Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Brianblair.com Webmaster. "B. Brian Blair Biography". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Canoe Slam Wrestling (May 2001). "B.Brian Blair Chat". Retrieved 12 March 2007.
- Graham Cawthon (2007-01-22). "WWF Ring Results 1985". Retrieved 12 February 2007.
- Graham Cawthon (2007-01-22). "WWF Ring Results 1986". Retrieved 12 February 2007.
- Graham Cawthon (2007-02-05). "WWF Ring Results 1987". Retrieved 12 February 2007.
- Kreikenbohm, Philip. "Killer Bees « Tag Teams Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
- Kreikenbohm, Philip. "Frank Tunney Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament « Tournaments Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved 2017-11-28.