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Bradley "Brad" James (June 15, 1961 - November 1, 2012) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Brad Armstrong. He was the son of Bob Armstrong and has three brothers that also wrestle, Steve, Scott and Brian.
Brad started out in Southeast Championship Wrestling in July 1980. He was a face, or good guy, due to his good looks and superb wrestling ability. He feuded with Jerry Stubbs and Tom Prichard during his stay there and won the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) United States Junior Heavyweight title there.
National Wrestling Alliance
Later he moved to the Georgia part of the NWA and feuded with Ted DiBiase and with father Bob, The Fabulous Freebirds of Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts. He also became friends with Tim Horner. He and Horner formed a team called the Lightning Express, due to Horner's nickname of "White Lightning" and Armstrong's quickness.
Brad wrestled in Mid-South Wrestling (later known as the Universal Wrestling Federation) with Horner and they feuded with the "Sheepherders", later known as The Bushwhackers, Butch Miller and Luke Williams. They also had some matches with future superstars Sting and Rick Steiner. The Lightning Express then went to World Championship Wrestling.
World Championship Wrestling
In May 1991, Brad was put in a mask as "Badstreet", the masked member of The Fabulous Freebirds along with Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin. They won the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship, while Hayes and Garvin also held the WCW United States Tag Team Championship. Brad never revealed his Badstreet identity on television.
Later that year he was given another masked gimmick, Arachnaman, who looked so much like Spider-Man that Marvel Comics sued WCW, who soon dropped the gimmick. On July 5, 1992, Brad won the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship (also known as the first incarnation of the WCW Cruiserweight Title), defeating Scotty Flamingo. He soon injured his knee during a tour of Japan and he was stripped of the title two months later at the Clash of the Champions. He returned in November 1992 and remained with the company until early 1995.
United States Wrestling Association and Smokey Mountain Wrestling
Armstrong worked for Smoky Mountain Wrestling for the rest of 1995, capturing their title in the process, but eventually returned to WCW in 1996.
Return to World Championship Wrestling
Between 1997 and 1998, Brad had developed a heel turn, where his string of losses was blamed by the "Armstrong Curse".
In 1999, he was repackaged as "B.A.", a member of the No Limit Soldiers stable. After the group disbanded, he embarked on a feud against Berlyn, who attacked Armstrong's brother Scott. The feud ran through Halloween Havoc, where Armstrong defeated Berlyn.
He was later given the gimmick of "Buzzkill", a takeoff of his brother Brian's gimmick Road Dogg, which was a Vince Russo creation. In fact, the theme song he used for the character was very similar to the New Age Outlaws theme song in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The gimmick was less successful due to fans feeling it an imitation of the Road Dogg persona, as well as a lack of awareness that the two were brothers.
He injured his knee early in 2000 in an accident backstage at a WCW Saturday Night taping, where Armstrong got run over, severely injuring his knee. After going through knee surgery, his WCW contract expired in 2001, and he left the business for a few years, until returning to the independent circuit in 2004.
World Wrestling Entertainment
On September 12, 2006, Armstrong signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment and began wrestling at ECW brand house shows and acting as a trainer to the younger members of the roster. In December, around the time rumors of ECW color commentator Tazz leaving the company began to circulate, Armstrong began to make sporadic appearances as a "guest commentator" on the brand. The three-man booth, originally for a single match on the December 19 episode before expanding to a full show on January 9, did not last and Armstrong resumed his role as a producer.
On November 1, 2012, Armstrong was found dead in his home in Marietta, Georgia, after seeing his physician the previous week for an undisclosed medical issue. The news of his death was broken via WWE.com.
Championships and accomplishments
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- Exodus Wrestling
- Exodus Wrestling Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- Mid-South Wrestling Association
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Southeastern Championship Wrestling
- NWA Southeastern Continental Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with Bob Armstrong (3), Scott Armstrong (1), and The Shadow (Norvell Austin) (1)
- NWA Southeastern United States Junior Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- Tennessee Mountain Wrestling
- TMW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Scott Armstrong
- World Championship Wrestling
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Most Underrated Wrestler (1987)
- Rookie of the Year (1981) tied with Brad Rheingans