Rusty Brooks who attended our 1995 ancillary CAC reunion near his home at the time in Tampa, Florida passed away yesterday at the too-young age of 63. He was trained by incredible legend and hooker/shooter athlete Larry "Great Malenko" Simon like many of our top sister and brother athletes in wrestling. Real name Kurt Koski, Rusty was well-liked by all who had the good fortune to meet him and was one of those gentle ribsters in the back.
He had a colorful history "that was never boring" working for CAC longtime attendee Mario Savoldi's IWCCW NEast promotion helping finesse young talent there like CAC attendees Tommy Dreamer, TPE, 911 and of course a young Taz. Rusty may be best known for his WWE work, seemingly forever as enhancement in then WWF in the 80's and early 90's plus "Florida Championship Wrestling which I really loved since I grew up an Eddie Graham, Sammy Steamboat and Prof. Malenko mark," he told me in 2001. "Did we have the greatest talent coming in and out or staying there from the Briscos to Matsuda to the Funks, David Von Erich doing his only heel stint teaming with Dory Jr for us, Ernie Ladd, Billy Graham, Muraco, Buddy Colt, Bobby Shane, the list was endless." Rusty also wrestled in Herb Abram's UWF in 1991, taking on Ken Patera, Ivan Koloff and yes, current CAC President Brian Blair. Amongst the many strong indies he worked for, he was Future Of Wrestling(FOW)'s heavyweight and even hardcore champion in the early 2000's. "In FOW, I got to spend more time with close old WWF friends like Barry Horowitz and some of the other diehards. They were as good as any wrestler out there, Barry in particular. What fun we had on the road! When I finally got to that CAC you helped Ella Waldeck put on in Tampa, I just had the best time in my life seeing old friends and making new ones. Had never seen so many greats all in one place at one time in my life." Rusty continued working on and off, finally having his last match seven years ago where he deservedly went over.
Rusty(who just celebrated his birthday on the 7th) also attended our 1999 last CAC at the Los Angeles Sportsman's Lodge Resort where instead of our usual awards banquet, it was a one-time-only roast night for our then CAC President Lou Thesz. He told me at the time, he saw many of his idols at the 1995 one including Danny Miller(brother of Dr Big Bill Miller and longtime pal of Larry Simon as a fellow shoot-artist), Hiro Matsuda, Gordon Solie, Don Curtis, Wahoo, Rocky Johnson, Pat Patterson, Red Bastien, Nick Bockwinkel and so many others. Rusty said John "Johnny Ace" Laurenitis "gave me a lift here since he was also coming, and didn't even charge me for the ride like he usually does!" I think Rusty was joking.
We miss and salute Rusty Brooks, who loved and treasured this business with his entire being. And CAC attendee Matt Cardona is still jealous of Rusty's WWF action figure collection he prided himself on including two $400 Dusty and Andre figures