One of wrestling's most believable in-ring athletes and best promo stars for many decades, Bullet Bob Armstrong passed away last week far too young at only 80.
Bob had fought prostate, rib and shoulder cancer for some time and had stopped receiving treatment. He began his in-ring career in 1960 wrestling mainly near the Southest NWA territories that he loved so much. Bob received some of his greatest fame and praise for his years of work in Georgia and much later inspiring everyone in Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling 1990's promotion. And he attended our 1995 CAC Tampa reunion along with his friends Gordon Solie, Don Curtis, Wahoo McDaniel, John "Johnny Ace" Laurenitis, Danny Miller and Coach Heath.
Many will recall his verbal wars in the early 80's with CAC double honoree Roddy Piper on CAC honoree Ole Anderson's Georgia Championship Wrestling weekly WTBS show. But he was involved in consistently drawing singles and tag feuds there for years prior. He held various straps all over the SouthEast and of course in Atlanta for years dating back to the early seventies including a long face run teamed with Robert Fuller as well as with CAC longtimers Les Thatcher and Johnny "Mr Wrestling 2" Walker, Big Bill Dromo and Ron Fuller. In the dressing room, he was motivated to try to verbally outpace on the mike fellow greats there like his boss Ole, Assassin Jody Hamilton, Superstar Bill Eadie and even a visiting Fred Blassie every few years in town usually during the holidays with family living there. "When Bobby Heenan came through here which was really special in Georgia, he gave me the complement of saying he loved my interviews. That was something coming from a star like him and we certainly had some talkers here to begin with," Bob said in 2009. Bob also told me how proud he was of his early seventies All Japan tours too for CAC Honoree Giant Shohei Baba.
The legit former fireman and total tough guy from Marietta, GA helped train and always showed concern and aide for others. And the wrestling world was there for him when he had a freak bench-pressing accident that broke many facial and other bones with months of substantial pain he "powered through."
Conflicting stories have either Atlanta promoter Paul(not the wrestler)Jones or his and Eddie Graham's FCW tv announcer Gordon Solie claiming they came up with Bob's "bullet" nickname but it actually came from earlier in Bob's life, pre-wrestling. Professionally(a few times after losing "loser leave town" stips, etc) Bob would use his Bullet nickname when he worked with a "bullet" hood on at various points in his career. Like the Harts, Sharpes, Von Erichs, Smiths and many other legendary grappling families; Bob was very proud to break in and later team with his equally great wrestling sons in Robert Bradly(Brad), Scott, Steve and Brian. Bob was inducted into WWE's HOF in 2011 with them present. CAC's Mick Foley, Bruno Lauer, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Sean Waltman and more posted online tributes to him.
123/XPac/Waltman just wrote: "Bob really crushed his HOF speech when he was inducted. Never seen a father more proud of his sons & sons more proud of their father...ever!" A real heart and souler of the classic NWA may be gone and up there with his old pal Rubberman Walker, but our overall global industry truly lost someone much more than a mere wrestling star. Bob(real name Joseph James) will never forgotten for all his many accomplishments in and out of the biz.
Photo credit: Dr. Mike Lano