Date: 1985/1986 (exact date unknown) and January 6, 1988 in Nashville, TN (may have also been February 17 in Topeka, KS, March 7 in Nashville, or March 8 in Bristol)
Location: Denny’s in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and either Topeka, KS or Nashville/Bristol, TN)
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Pain and Passion
Bad News Allen, known to most modern fans as Bad News Brown in the WWF, was a very colorful wrestling personality and unique individual in the wrestling business. He was honest, outspoken, intelligent, well spoken, had a tremendous amount of pride and dignity, and was very real outside the ring as a tough guy. He participated in what was among the bloodiest, most brutal street fights in wrestling history, one that could’ve easily ended in the death and/or dismemberment of him and his wife.
In fact, Allen was an Olympian, having won a Bronze medal in judo in the 1976 Summer Olympics. After his judo career, he became a star in pro wrestling in Japan, where he famously challenged Andre the Giant to a fight on a bus, and later, a hotel room (nothing physical ever happened). He then became a regular in Calgary’s Stampede promotion for most of the 1980s.
Along the way, Allen became best friends with Angel Acevedo. Acevedo was known as the Cuban Assassin, a veteran heel in Eastern and Western Canada. He was a bigger star in the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick area, but they only ran shows in the summer. During the winters, he worked in Calgary for Stampede as well.
When Allen wrestled for New Japan, he lived in Australia with his girlfriend. But while wrestling for Stampede, he met a woman from Alberta named Helen in the early ‘80s, and they ended up getting married in 1985. Acevedo was his best man, and Allen moved to Calgary to live with her.
Acevedo and his wife Pat became friends with Allen and Helen. But while the men got along, the women had problems. Things got worse when, at a Stampede spot show, Allen changed the finish of a match. The office found out, and they were none too pleased. Allen was furious with Acevedo, as he believed he’s the one who told the office. That may not have necessarily been true, but it’s what Allen believed.
And the way Allen lived his life, there was no gray area. He thought people were either good or untrustworthy, with nowhere in between. So when Allen felt Acevedo crossed him, he went from his best friend to his sworn enemy.
Around this time, problems grew worse between the wives, Helen and Pat. Helen believed Pat was talking behind her back, which led to her slapping Pat. Where or how isn’t known (one story is the two had problems at a show in Edmonton), but Acevedo was very upset and stuck up for his wife. He ended up leaving a voicemail for Allen, threatening to kill his wife Helen.
The Confrontation – Part 1
It should be noted that Acevedo has denied threatening Helen’s life. Regardless, the war of words escalated. It’s unknown how it got to the point it did, but somehow both couples ended up in the parking lot of Denny’s in Calgary. Most likely the men called each other and had words, and agreed to meet at Denny’s to duke it out, but that’s purely speculation.
Stories vary regarding what actually happened in the parking lot, but there are a few key things that everyone agrees on. What may have been the first blow was a backhand slap by Allen, which split Acevedo’s lip. At another point, Allen threw a punch that broke his nose as well.
What Allen may not have known is that Acevedo always carried a knife, and surely if he knew he was going to meet up with Allen, he would’ve brought it and had it handy. Sure enough, he did stab Helen, and Allen’s hand got slashed as well. Pat freaked out, running into Denny’s to call the police.
With his bloodied hand, Allen ran to his Lincoln Town Car and grabbed a baseball bat and chased Acevedo with it. He ran to his car, and as he drove away, Allen was smashing his windows with the bat to get to Acevedo. When the police arrived, they saw Allen swinging his bat at Acevedo’s car.
No other details are known beyond that, including if Pat was able to leave with her husband. Neither man was charged anything by the police. Acevedo left Stampede after this, and only returned for shows in which he knew Allen wouldn’t be there. The bad blood had definitely not boiled over.
The Confrontation – Part 2
A couple of years had passed, and in early 1988, Allen had just started with the WWF as Bad News Brown. Allen was a bit older by this point in his career, in his late 40s. He had a bit of a pot belly, but wasn’t necessarily out of shape. He looked nothing like the ripped steroid bodies in the WWF at the time, but was almost surely tougher than almost all of them. He did have heat with Jacques Rougeau, but nothing ever happened, likely because Allen was close with the Bulldogs (from their Stampede days), and the Bulldogs hated the Rougeaus.
Allen had gotten the job with WWF on the recommendation of Bret Hart, who also knew Allen from Stampede. Around this time, Acevedo was offered a tryout with the WWF, and it was supposed to be his big career break. There are two versions of Vince’s plans for Acevedo. One is that he was going to team him with Nikolai Volkoff as some sort of Communist Alliance tag team, and the other is that he was going to be part of a tag team called the Sandinistas.
On the day Acevedo was to get a tryout, he showed up to the building for the TV tapings. Bret remembers it as the same day Allen started with the company, on February 17 in Topeka. That very well may have been the date, but Allen actually started with the WWF six weeks prior to that. The Wrestling Observer reported it was in Tennessee, meaning it was likely January 6 in Nashville. The reason we believe it’s that date is that it was just one day after Allen started, which is what Bret remembers, but probably had the city wrong and that it was actually Tennessee, not Topeka. It also may have been March 7 in Nashville, or March 8 in Bristol, as those were dates of TV tapings in that time frame as well.
When Allen found out Acevedo was there, he picked up either a lead pipe or camera tripod and shouted, “If that mother*cker’s here, I’ll kill him!” The heat between the two was so intense that each had threatened to kill each other if they ever met again. It’s not clear why Vince would’ve hired Acevedo if he knew this, but perhaps he didn’t know.
Sure enough, Allen went after him. He either ran looking for him, or saw him and went after him. One version is that Acevedo immediately pulled his knife, and then Allen then grabbed the tripod. If that’s true, perhaps Allen did originally have a lead pipe as Bret remembers, and then set it down before later seeing Acevedo and charging him.
Allen chased him out of the building, where Allen swung the tripod (or lead pipe) and Acevedo slashed his knife in the air towards Allen. It’s believed a prelim wrestler and ring crew member named Jack Kruger called for help, and Chief Jay Strongbow and others came to separate the two. Kruger had teamed in the past with Acevedo, both in Central States and Calgary, as the Cuban Assassins. Some believe Kruger was slated to team with Acevedo again in the WWF in whatever gimmick Vince had planned for him.
Vince called both men into his office, but it’s not known what was said. Acevedo was fired before he even had a match. Allen was retained, as Vince had plans for him and there was more invested in him, and as noted, he came in on a recommendation from Bret. He also had more potential with his gimmick, and was more respected as a longtime star of Stu Hart’s Stampede territory.
Vince sent both of them home, and unfortunately both were on the same flight. Allen had promised Vince he wouldn’t do anything, and Allen’s word was always gold. True to his word, he didn’t do anything to Acevedo on the plane. Just to be sure, Vince sent the Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) on the plane with them to make sure nothing happened. It was described as a very tense flight. The Bulldogs were tight with Allen from their days in Calgary, and Acevedo was surely not going to start anything with them there, as both were noted tough guys.
The two would not meet up again until 2000, when Stampede had started up again. Maura Ranallo was the announcer, and Allen was the heel commentator. Ross Hart, who helped run the group, wanted to bring Acevedo back. He first got the two of them in a room and made them promise not to cause any problems. Allen gave his word, and by this point was almost 60 years old. And again, Allen’s word was gold and nothing ever happened between the two again.