Brian Logan No Longer Wrestling with the Past
The YouTube footage looks bad, real bad. You see an enraged Brian Logan leap from the ring and clothesline a fan who appears to be walking away. A fight materializes and then the video cuts out.
Jump to April 18, 2008. Brian Logan, in his hometown of Fayetteville, W.Va., is hoisting the AWA World Heavyweight Championship belt high over his head. He has beaten the odds and there were many.
“You know, I had the whole town behind me and the crowd on my side,” said Logan. “I got inducted into the Hall of Fame that night. I had all my neighbors behind me, my heroes in wrestling behind me, and I ended up pinning Zbyszko in the ring with a small package in about 12 minutes.”
Larry “The Living Legend” Zbysko held the championship since 1990 and hadn’t been defeated until Logan placed his shoulders on the mat for the three count on April 18. The fans were as surprised as anyone when Logan came out to fight Zbysko in a three way title match for champion.
“I wasn’t officially scheduled to appear that night. The contract was signed but wasn’t publicized so the fans went crazy when I came out,” said Logan. “I had been the villain there for years and I came out and said to my hometown, ‘If you support me one last time, then I would guarantee that I would bring the championship home to Fayetteville.'”
Logan is now the Heavyweight Champion for the American Wrestling Affiliates Mountaineer Wrestling Association (AWA-MWA). The MWA is a territory of the AWA and a blend of two independent leagues: New Breed Wrestling out of Parkersburg and West Virginia Wrestling Alliance out of St. Marys.
“I’m the glad the AWA has a real Champion, a working wrestler,” said Mike Howerton, promotor for the AWA-MWA. “Brian travels all over, advancing his skills. It’s about time we had a true working champion.”
By “working” Howerton means that Logan travels from West Virginia to Ohio to Tennessee to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maine to wrestle.
But even out of the AWA label, Logan’s life has been dedicated to wrestling and the fans.
“I’ve been watching wrestling since I was five years old and I’ve been in the business for 16 years,” Brian told me. “I grew up watching the theatrics and watching the action on TV, and now I’m lucky enough to perform it.”
Specifically about the AWA, Brian had many good things to say about the way they approach this entertainment-driven sport.
“There are your entertainment world champions and action world champions but I am the wrestling world champion … meaning that AWA is traditionalist wrestling. At the local level, if fans are going to pay their money, their hard earned money to come and watch it … you wanna see wrestling. We give them our best.”
Brian’s character, a “loud mouth who says, ‘I’m gonna do this, this, and this’ and he does it'” is far from the person I sat down with. Understanding all the aspects of professionalism and fan involvement that goes into the sport, Logan has created a character that fans love to hate and hate to love. Actually, it’s the tenacity and uncontrollable nature of this character that landed Logan in prison for a year in a half.
“I got involved in an incident at the Oak Hill Armory years ago where I ended up smacking a fan,” said Logan.
The incident involving the fan is a viewer favorite on You Tube where it generates thousands of hits.
“In fact, when I went to Hawaii to wrestle in August, a Japanese fan recognized me from that video, and that’s when I realized how big it really was,” said Logan.
I asked Logan what he’s learned from that experience personally. He was almost shy in his delivery, knowing the repercussions of his actions landed him in the state penitentiary.
“The reason I did that was because at the time I thought she was a threat. I thought she was a threat to the wrestlers and to the audience, and being a traditionalist I felt that if the woman is going to come into the ring then something needs to happen. Now I felt terrible afterwards that the woman had to go through that.”
The match in question was a cage match where Logan’s manager was handcuffed to the outside of the ring. The unruly fan approached the cage from the audience, they attempted to throw her out but couldn’t. Then she hit Logan’s manager.
“At that point I thought she was going for the cashbox and that’s when I clocked her,” said Logan.
That was only the beginning of Logan’s trouble.
In 1986, Logan’s father hit his head and developed post-concussion syndrome, resulting in uncontrollable seizures. Then, in 2003, he had a stroke and the family didn’t know it.
“He went upstairs, got two pistols and came downstairs and started firing. I pushed mother out of the way and caught the bullets in my back,” said Logan.
Brian Logan was shot five times by his father. He remembers what the nurse said to him when he came into the hospital.
“She said to me, she said, ‘I’m not going to lie to you, but I’ve seen people come in here with much less and die.'”
Miraculously the bullets went through Logan’s body except for the one that is still lodged in his spinal column to this day. He’s tough when he talks about it, admitting it only hurts sometimes when he hits the mat wrong, but I can guess that the bullet wound runs a little deeper than the spinal column.
“I’m very very lucky that God spared my life that night.”
From that point on, Brian took a three year hiatus from wrestling. With his injuries combined with his prison sentence, Brian’s future in competitive wrestling looked dim if not pitch black. He was quick to point out how much the fans support meant to him.
“If it wasn’t for the fans then I wouldn’t eat,” said Logan. “This is the only job I’ve ever had. So when they come and they work very hard to pay for their ticket, I owe everything to them.”
As Logan rattled on, I understood that his championship was much more than a title and an accolade. It was something much more.
“And that’s why that night in April was so special to me,” said Logan. “The night that I won the title, I got on the mic and I said, ‘Don’t stop believing in anything, that dreams really do come true. I’m living proof. Here’s a guy who spent 14 years, went to WCW, went to the WWE, worked with a trainer and ended up in prison and ended up shot and almost dead and came back to wrestling because that’s all that I knew. I mean, that right there proves … you know … God’s in charge and if you’re meant to do something then don’t give up on yoursemf because if things are meant to happen they will.”
Contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org