Weight: 300 lbs
Hometown: Somewhere in Germany
Glory Days: 1998
Fun Fact: Brakus was named after the baddie from the 1993 martial arts movie Best of The Best II.
The Icons of Wrestling series has occasionally deviated slightly from its original premise, but today we head back to basics with a quintessential ‘icon’ who was A. rubbish, B. never got over and C. had a blink and you’ll miss it run in WWE. Yes folks, it’s time to induct Brakus into the Icons of Wrestling Hall of Shame.
Usually I would attempt to cover a wrestler’s entire run in WWE (or in some cases WCW) but on this occasion that will probably take just a sentence or two. Therefore, I’ve had a little look at old Brakus’ career out-with WWE too.
Hailing from Germany, Achim Albrecht is probably most famous for being – you guessed it – a bodybuilder. He actually won the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness’ (IFBB) Mr Universe contest back in 1990. As a result, he relocated to the USA and competed in bodybuilding contests over there. He placed ninth at the 1991 Mr Olympia contest and fourth at the 1992 Arnold Classic. So long story short, dude was a pretty high level bodybuilder type chap. Having previously competed in weightlifting and rowing, this very large-framed and vascular human being naturally caught the eye of a certain Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
Achim signed with WWE in September of 1996 and was immediately handed to Dr Tom Prichard for training, because the dude had none and was signed purely based on his muscular appearance. This was around the time when Prichard was also helping to train Mark Henry and The Rock. Originally named Argo, Brakus (sometimes spelled Brakkus) made his debut against Dr X (aka Tom Prichard in a mask) at a house show in December. Brakus would continue to wrestle at house shows and dark matches throughout 1997 while receiving coaching from Dr Tom and Bret Hart. Yes, believe it or not Brakus has put in some time at the infamous Hart family ‘Dungeon’. If you have an eagle eye you may have even spotted our man in the documentary Wrestling with Shadows as, by coincidence, filming was taking place at the Hart family home while Brakus was there training with Bret and Bruce.
As Brakus had signed with WWE just prior to the advent of their developmental system, he found himself loaned out to other promotions to gain experience. He was first sent to work for the USWA in Memphis where he teamed with Elijah (aka Phantasio). Believe it or not, the guy with the magician gimmick and the jacked-up German were members of the USWA’s Nation of Domination stable. FYI, the NOD gimmick originated in USWA, WWE ‘borrowed it’, shall we say.
Our man then appeared in ECW, again placed in a stable to hide his shortcomings while accentuating his positives. He was booked as the bodyguard of Lance Wright, who led a stable of ‘WWE guys’. The group also included Philip Lafon, Doug Furnas and Darren ‘Droz’ Drozdov. Brakus’ most notable outing in ECW was probably his match with TV Champion Taz at Cyberslam 98. Brakus got some of his basic, power moves in before being thrown through a table and ultimately choked out by the Human Suplex Machine.
While Brakus was away ‘on excursion’ – to use the New Japan term – promos began airing hyping his impending debut on WWE TV. In them he spoke in German, introduced himself as Brakus, said he weighed 300lbs and even called out Vader. These promos began airing in late 1997 and as we all know, that big debut and feud with Vader never came.
Brakus’ actual debut on front of WWE cameras came during a European tour in April of 1998. He was quickly defeated by Jeff Jarrett in the opening match of the Mayhem in Manchester event. Not a great start to his WWE career, but at least most fans would not have seen it because the event was a UK only show and was only made available in the States on VHS. Heck, to this day it’s not even available on the WWE Network.
Brakus would go back to working dark matches until he finally made his Monday Night Raw debut, in the infamously bad Brawl For All tournament. According to Savio Vega, who was Brakus’ opponent in the tough man tournament, the big German had to ask him just before their fight if it was going to be a shoot or a work. As most of you will already be aware, the Brawl For All was a shoot and as such claimed many victims. Savio defeated Brakus on points in their first-round match before being knocked out of the tournament by Droz in the next round.
We would see Brakus on Raw just a couple of weeks later wrestling Jesus. No, not that one, Jesús Castillo Jr. from Los Boricuas. Our man won – at last – in a squash victory. That, however, was the last we saw of Brakus in WWE. When his contract expired in 1999 he spent a short time on the Canadian independent circuit teaming with The British Bulldog but was forced to retire later that year due to injuries stemming from his Brawl For All fight with Savio Vega. Incidentally, injuries suffered in that fight also brought an end to Savio’s WWE tenure too. These days Achim ‘Brakus’ Albrecht is a personal trainer and sports nutritionist based in San Francisco.
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All previous ‘Icons of Wrestling’ can be read here.