Whatever happened to Brian Lee?

Brian LeeCraig Wilson

One wrestler that appeared to have the world at his feet in the early 1990s was Brian Lee Harris, better known to grapple fans as “Prime Time” Brian Lee, the fake Undertaker or as part of the DOA as Chainz. Yet his career didn’t scale the heights many expected and with rumours and innuendo galore. Today, Craig takes a look at that promotion’s very first champion.

Brian Lee made his wrestling debut in 1988 for Jerry Jarrett’s Continental Wrestling Association which would merge with Word Class Championship Wrestling in 1989 to form the United States Wrestling Association. He’d remain there until 1991.

In the year that he left the USWA he would also wrestle a dark match for the WWE at the ‘Tuesday in Texas’ PPV. He would lose that match to former Global Wrestling Federation star Chris Walker but would go on to bigger and better things the following year.

1992 saw Lee debut for the newly formed Smoky Mountain Wrestling as “Prime Time” Brian Lee. He would earn the distinction of being the promotions first Heavyweight Champion when he defeated Paul Orndorff in a tournament final. He would also become the first wrestler to be managed by Tammy Sytch, later known as Sunny.

In 1994, Lee briefly joined the WWF as the impostor Undertaker. After The Undertaker’s disappearance after the 1994 Royal Rumble, Ted Dibiase, who had originally introduced the wrestling world to the Undertaker, claimed he was going to do so again. This version of the Taker, however, was guided by Dibiase’s money rather than Paul Bearer’s urn. Bearer claimed it was an impostor and that he had been in contact with the real thing. This led to a match at SummerSlam ’94 between the two Undertakers that was won by Paul Bearer’s Undertaker. After the match, The Undertaker rolled the impostor into a casket that was taken away and never seen of again.

After this short stint with the WWF lee returned to SMW and also had a stint at the United States Wrestling association where he teamed with his real life cousins Ron and Don Harris, who he would find himself teaming with again in the future.

Lee at a wrestling convention in 2013

Lee at a wrestling convention in 2013

By early 1996, Lee had began appearing for the Philadelphia upstart promotion ‘Extreme Championship Wrestling’. He performed initially under the guise of “Prime Time” Brian Lee and was allied with Raven as a hired bodyguard for his stable.

Lee was heavily involved with Raven’s feud with Tommy Dreamer and during one match Lee chokeslammed Dreamer from the ECW balcony through 3 stacked tables, then pinned Dreamer for the victory. This footage was used during ECW’s opening video montage to their shows.

Many of the matches between Lee and Dreamer followed a similar pattern including Lee chokeslamming Dreamer off of a cage as well as off balconies. The pair also had several Falls Count Anywhere matches. The feud culminated at ECW’s High Incident event, in the match Lee is most remembered for from his ECW tenure. During his Scaffold Match with Dreamer, Lee took a major bump from the scaffolding high above the ring through a series of tables stacked up inside the ring.

From late 96 onwards Lee began feuding with Terry Funk. He also became a part of the latest incarnation of Triple Threat with Shane Douglas and Chris Candido. During this time a masked wrestler began stalking Douglas. The big reveal disclosed that it was Lee under the mask and he was attacked and kicked out of the group, with his place taken by Bam Bam Bigelow. Lee left the promotion soon after.

Lee then showed up in the WWF as Chainz, a member of the biker stable Disciples of Apocalypse, alongside the leader Crush and his cousins The Harris Brothers who were now wrestling under the guises of Skull and 8-Ball. They engaged in feuds with other stables such as Los Boricuas, The Nation of Domination and the Truth Commission during the ‘Gang Warz’ storyline that was prevalent at the time.

After the Montreal Screwjob, Crush left the WWF for the WCW and Chainz assumed leadership of the group. The trio continued their feud with the Nation of Domination and were regularly joined by either Ken Shamorck or Ahmed Johnson. By early 1998 Skull and 8-Ball were focussing regularly on tag action leaving Chainz to his own devices until the summer, when he was released.

Several years out of the spotlight followed before Lee emerged on TNA in 2002 teaming with Slash as the Disciples of the New Church under Father James Mitchell. The pair would win the NWA Tag Team titles when they bested America’s Most Wanted (“Cowboy” James Storm and “Wildcat” Chris Harris). They dropped the gold back to the pair in early 2003 and Lee left soon after. His displays in TNA were enough to get his 111th finish in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 in 2003.

A period working for smaller independent promotions followed before more years in the wilderness. Which takes us to where we are now.

Finding information on Lee’s activities in recent years is trickier. In fact, it was proving so difficult that I reached out to various wrestling personalities with no success. A question to the always excellent ‘Ask 411’ got me an answer, of sorts:

Well he did pop up last year to do a RF Shoot interview, so he’s not dead. Apparently he’s pretty messed up from drugs, the reviews say of his shoot, but he’s not dead. I don’t think the blackballing thing is legit, or at least for slipping Taker’s wife one. Getting released due to drugs, I can believe, but not that, since he was hired back again. He’s pretty much semi-retired, and possibly taking drugs a bit. Like a lot of people really…

It would seem, for all intents and purposes, that Brian Lee has fallen of the face of the wrestling world. I’ve searched wrestling forums and websites for any other information on Lee but it all returns to rumours of drug misuse and sleeping with The Undertaker’s wife – the superstar that played a huge part in bringing Lee into the WWF in 1994 and 1997.

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18 thoughts on “Whatever happened to Brian Lee?

  1. That’s too bad. The “Bulldozer” was a good talent and they seemed to push his size and long blond hair early on, he looked something like a bigger version of Stunning Steve Austin.

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  2. According to the Jim Cornette and Paul Bearer shoot, Brian Lee made a habit of claiming to be the undertaker whenever he found himself in trouble, which was often. They recounted a story about a situation in which the police were summoned to Lee’s residence due to a domestic disturbance call. Lee immediately started telling the cops that he was the the undertaker Mark Calaway. A local newspaper then ran a story about the incident as “wwf wrestler arrested for domestic violence”. The actual undertaker was completely unaware of any of this until someone asked him about the incident. Needless to say, Taker was none too pleased to hear that a person whom he had considered a friend was beating his old lady then claiming to be him! While I never want to wish ill upon anybody, and would much rather be reading a wrestling success story over the all too typical downward spiral. But I can’t help but think that this guy really earned his station in life. Sad to say. Keep up the good work boys and JUSTICE FOR CESARO!!!

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    • the funny is his story it’s Taker has take the carachter ABA to Brian Lee when he was chainz in DOA it’s not an surprise when this look has not makes an good evolution in taker’s carachter.

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  3. brian lee is doing great!! He is actually one of my best friends and currently resides in orange park Florida. Yes he had his demons but all is in the past with that and as his friend I am greatly proud of him. I do talk to him several times a week and he is living a good peaceful life

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    • who are you..? we must know each other….He is my oldest friend from back in the day…we grew up together in Orange Park,FL…I am in contact with him and he is in love with his high school sweetheart and living happily in Orange Park, FL.

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      • Hey, don’t kno u but would love for you to give Brian a message for me, I grew up around him as a kidd he use to take me wrestling every Sunday night Eddie Graham sports stadium, have a lot to catch up with him,4076078585,thanks

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    • Brian seems to be doing great I worked with him a few years back and I see him pretty regularly at my job he’s a great guy doing good for his self

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey ” Chainz “, its Clay from Tennessee. Just want ya too know I feel privileged to have gotten to know ya in the short time we worked together.
    I’m glad to hear your doing well.

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  5. Hey Brian, little Roger here, jus think of you daily, thought of dusty Rhodes and you and Sandy taking me to Eddie Graham sports stadium every Sunday night, hah not heard from u forever , please contact if you see this,luv ya man, Roger Evans

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  8. This is Martee, Brian and I have been together for three years and live in Fleming island, Florida. Sadly a lot of the article isn’t true but people tend to write what they have heard which happens and is okay. The Harris brothers are not Brian’s cousins and in fact not even related. He never slept with Mark’s wife and though he and his first wife had problems, he is far from a wife abuser. He has been nothing but good to me and we have a loving, caring and committed relationship. He is a wonderful man and I love him more then life. He talks about possibility going to Japan and wrestle but it is just something we are talking about. I know he would love to get back in the ring and do something again. Thanks for the article and all the messages. Martee

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  9. I hope Brian is doing well. I got to know him about 9 or 10 years ago when he worked as my maintenance assistant at a nursing home in NE Florida. We were both battling our own demons sometimes unsuccessfully but hopefully what I read above that he is in a good place and is happy. I’ve wondered about him many times over the years. I’d love to get back in touch with him if he or anyone that knows him can pass on my contact info. Thanks in advance.

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