Joey Saint tears off his disguise. Blood streaks his chin, cheeks, and forehead. His golden hair is soaked in sweat. On his chest is a tattoo of the number 666. "War doesn't stop," Saint grunts. "War keeps on going, like the Portrait of American Horror will never end." Saint holds up his belt in front of the camera. The buckle is inscribed with the words Professional Wrestling International Brass Knuckles Champion. The 28-year-old mangler caresses the polished metal. "War will continue as long as this is on my shoulder," Saint vows. "As long as this belt is around my neck, as long as there are lungs in my body... "

He pauses for a second and leans closer. "As long as no one has carved them out of my chest!" he roars, then turns the volume down to a whisper. "As long as I can breathe, war is coming."

Saint steps off-camera and disappears.


Wrestling fan and student David Harvey helps backstage.
Michael McElroy
Wrestling fan and student David Harvey helps backstage.
Wrestlers including Felipe Rodriguez, AKA Rufio Lionhawk, (center) put their game faces on before Hardcore Holiday.
Michael McElroy
Wrestlers including Felipe Rodriguez, AKA Rufio Lionhawk, (center) put their game faces on before Hardcore Holiday.

On a recent evening, Saint and his mom are manning the cash register of their family-owned restaurant, Hot Stuff Grille, at 4300 W. Broward Blvd. in Plantation. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, the self-anointed "Portrait of American Horror" is the oldest of Francine Saint's four children and the only one pursuing a profession that involves bashing opponents with folding chairs and drop kicks. Although most moms and dads would scoff at a child's dream of becoming a wrestler, Francine never discouraged her boy, who is a polite, self-deprecating fellow when not wearing his leotard and skull mask.

"As a single parent, I raised my kids to be outgoing, optimistic people," she says. "Positive thinking yields positive results." When Saint was 17 years old, the family relocated to Fort Lauderdale from Las Vegas, where he had been a member of his high school's wrestling team and drama club. "My first play was Almost, Maine?" Saint notes. "I used to be able to sing."

A few weeks after the move, Saint attended his first wrestling event. "For seven bucks, I got to sit in the front row," he recalls. "I was blown away by the entire spectacle. Pretty soon, I was asking the promoters if I could help out any way I could."

While working menial day jobs most of his young adult life, Saint volunteered at local shows, working security, manning the soundboards, putting up the rings — anything the promoters asked him to do. "I just absorbed everything about the business," Saint says. "I finally started training and doing matches in 2008."

Working at Hot Stuff five days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. allows him to train four nights a week and take up gigs on weekends. "I only attend his PG-rated matches," Francine says. "Last year, he got hit with a chair. He had to get staples to close this big gap in the back of his head."

On a recent evening after one of his gigs, Brian "The Beast" Brody is in the parking lot of Saint's Hot Stuff Grille, where he works part-time as a delivery driver for his tag-team partner. When he's not stomping around, screaming at no one in particular, and scaring children, Brody is a soft-spoken chap with a pretty keen sense of humor. "If one kid isn't crying when I'm out there, then I'm not doing my job right," Brody attests. "If people are going to boo you, then give them a reason to. What better reason than scaring children?"

Brody emphasizes that even though he was raised in Hialeah by a Cuban father and Ecuadorian mother, he is an American. As a kid, his parents frowned on wrestling. "I wasn't allowed to watch it," he says. "My parents only let me watch shows like America's Funniest Home Videos." Brody had to get his wrestling fix at a friend's house, where wrestling wasn't banned.

At 16, when he was a sophomore at Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High, Brody's puberty kicked into overdrive, turning him into a teen wolf. "People made fun of me for sure," Brody admits. "My friends picked on me a lot, and I didn't have a sense of humor. Wrestling helped me realize you are not living if you are serious all the time."

After graduating high school in 2005, Brody signed up at Body Slam, but he wasn't fully committed to the wrestling gig until three years later, when he met Saint while doing a show with Fort Lauderdale-based Independent Championship Wrestling. "Joey was recruiting guys to do a wrestling show for an anime-comic book convention," Brody recollects. "We started talking and hit it off." At that time, Brody had not yet taken on his Cro-Magnon alter ego.

He remembers discussing with Saint possible gimmicks. "It came down to Blanka, the orange-haired savage with razor-sharp teeth from the arcade game Streetfighter; and the Geico caveman," Brody says. "Guess which one we picked."

As "The Beast," Brody's thick, black, shoulder-length hair flows into a bushy beard that touches the top of his furry chest. In fact, his entire body is covered in a fine human pelt. He looks like a cross between the Geico caveman and Animal from The Muppet Show.

"God hates us all," he mutters in front of the camera in a low guttural voice. "God hates us all."

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6 comments
Eric
Eric

Just watched the video. Can't believe News Times has actually posted it. What a disgrace to a once good newspaper.

IWF Forever
IWF Forever

I see this article mentions Bruno Sassi. The funny thing is that only ONCE in his career was Bruno any good, and that's when he was in the IWF and under the tutelage of Eddie Mansfield. Eddie has the greatest mind and most well respected training program for young wrestlers, and Bruno foolishly turned his back on him several years ago. Eddie is singularly responsible for training and helping a large number of current WWE and TNA superstars break into the business, and Bruno is a total idiot for screwing him. Bruno had a chance with Eddie, but he blew it, and will forever be languishing in the minor, minor leagues.

Anthony DeBlasi
Anthony DeBlasi

Interesting that Pablo Marquez wrestled for ECW until 2003 after he left WWE. Id love to see some of those matches. Theyre probably super rare. Also, this article is so lame that it didn't at least talk about the FL Indy feds that gives these guys work.

concor
concor

are these guys gay?

David Harvey
David Harvey

YO BRO, PABLO MARQUEZ STILL IS WRESTLING FOR CCW. I AM A STUDENT AT THE SHOW.

 
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