Bob Bruggers

Bob Bruggers
Date of birth (1944-04-20) April 20, 1944
Place of birth Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Career information
Position(s) Linebacker
College Minnesota
Career history
As player
1966–1968 Miami Dolphins

San Diego Chargers

Birth name Robert Eugene Bruggers[1]
Alma mater University of Minnesota[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Bob Bruggers
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Billed weight 242 lb (110 kg)
Trained by Verne Gagne
Billy Robinson
Debut 1972[3][4]
Retired October 1975[5][4]

Robert "Bob" Eugene Bruggers (born April 20, 1944) is an American retired American football player and professional wrestler. Bruggers played as a linebacker for five seasons for the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL).[6][1]

Early life

Bruggers was born on April 20, 1944 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was a highly-decorated basketball player in high school. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Minnesota, where he was a collegiate basketball player before refocusing on American football.[2]

Professional wrestling career

After his football career ended, Brugger was introduced to professional wrestling by Wahoo McDaniel, a fellow former Miami Dolphin.[7] Bruggers was trained as a professional wrestler by Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson, making his debut in 1972 for the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based American Wrestling Association.[3][8] In 1973, he began wrestling for Championship Wrestling from Florida. In September 1973, he made a brief tour of Japan with International Wrestling Enterprise.[3]

In late 1973, Bruggers began wrestling for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. In March 1974, he began teaming with Paul Jones, and on April 8, 1974, they defeated The Andersons to win the NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship. Bruggers and Jones held the championship until July 4, 1974, when they were defeated by Rick Flair and Rip Hawk.[9]

Bruggers' career came to abrupt end on October 10, 1975. With Bruggers needing to drive from his home in Kingstree, South Carolina to Wilmington, North Carolina for an event, promoter Jim Crockett Jr., who was ill with influenza, invited him to instead take his place on a Cessna 310 that he had chartered. Bruggers took a seat on the plane along with Crockett's brother David and fellow wrestlers Ric Flair, Johnny Valentine, and Tim Woods. Shortly before reaching its destination, the plane ran out of fuel and crashed. The pilot, Mike Fargas, suffering ultimately fatal injuries and all five passengers were injured, with Bruggers suffering spinal fractures and a broken ankle. After having steel rods inserted into his spinal column, Bruggers was able to walk out of hospital three weeks after the crash, but decided not to return to wrestling.[10][11][4][5]


Following the end of his professional wrestling career, Bruggers relocated to West Palm Beach, Florida, where in 1978 he opened a bar using an insurance settlement he had received after the crash.[4][5][12][4]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments


  1. 1 2 John Grasso (6 March 2014). Historical Dictionary of Wrestling. Scarecrow Press. p. 366. ISBN 978-0-8108-7926-3.
  2. 1 2 Marc Hugunin; Stew Thornley (2006). Minnesota Hoops: Basketball in the North Star State. Minnesota Historical Society. pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-0-87351-574-0.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Bob Bruggers". Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Marvez, Alex (September 13, 2006). "Dolphin in anonymity". Sun-Sentinel. tronc. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 Ric Flair (11 May 2010). Ric Flair: To Be the Man. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-2174-0.
  7. Steven Johnson; Greg Oliver; Mike Mooneyham; J.J. Dillon (11 January 2013). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes and Icons. ECW Press. p. 354. ISBN 978-1-77090-269-5.
  8. George Schire (2010). Minnesota's Golden Age of Wrestling: From Verne Gagne to the Road Warriors. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-87351-620-4.
  9. Baker, David (2011). ""No. 1" Paul Jones". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  10. Bourne, Dick (May 2003). "Part Two - Big Events, Big History, Big Champions". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  11. Mooneyham, Mike (July 8, 1997). "Plane crash changed Valentine's life". Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  12. Dave Meltzer; Bret Hart (January 2004). Tributes II: Remembering More of the World's Greatest Professional Wrestlers. Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 188–. ISBN 978-1-58261-817-3.
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