James Brunzell (born August 13, 1949) is a retired professional wrestler better known by his ring name of "Jumping" Jim Brunzell. Known for his successful tag teams, Brunzell performed for various wrestling promotions over the course of approximately two decades.
American Wrestling Association
Jim Brunzell wrestled for American Wrestling Association
(AWA) throughout the 1970s, primarily as a mid-card
talent. In 1973, he made a cameo appearance
sparring with Billy Robinson
in the film, The Wrestler
. On July 7th, 1977, Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell defeated 'Black Jack' Lanza & 'Big Bad' Bobby Duncum, managed by Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, to win their 1st AWA World Tag Team Championship. They held the titles until September of 1978, when they were stripped of the belts due to an injury that Jim Brunzell incurred while playing in a charity softball game. (The titles were awarded to Pat Patterson & Ray 'The Crippler' Stevens.)
National Wrestling Alliance
During the later half of the 1970s, he signed to wrestle for the Mid-Atlantic region and won the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
twice, a significant singles title at the time.
Return to AWA
Upon returning to AWA, Brunzell reformed his tag team
with Greg Gagne
, known as the "High Flyers", and was elevated to main event status. The tandem of Brunzell and Gagne held the AWA World Tag Team Championship
on two separate occasions, feuding
with teams like Jesse Ventura
& Adrian Adonis
and Jerry Blackwell
& Ken Patera
. Brunzell remained with the AWA in both tag team and singles competition until 1985.
World Wrestling Federation
Brunzell then signed to wrestle with World Wrestling Federation
(WWF) as they continued their national expansion. Here, he formed the popular tag team, The Killer Bees
, with another WWF newcomer, Brian Blair
. Apparently, Verne and Greg Gagne felt somewhat betrayed by the move. Gagne even expressed his displeasure during an AWA broadcast, making subtle references to Brunzell's departure and his new gimmick
Brunzell and Blair experienced moderate success while with the WWF. The two feuded with the likes of The Hart Foundation as well as the Funks, Jimmy Jack Funk & Hoss Funk, who they faced in front of over 64,000 fans at The Big Event. Their stay was also highlighted by a match against Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik as part of WrestleMania III and a win at the inaugural Survivor Series on Thanksgiving Day 1987. The Killer Bees teamed together until Blair left the promotion in 1988. Brunzell continued in singles competition for a time, being used to put over newer talent like Curt Hennig.
He left WWF in 1989 and competed on the independent circuit, primarily in the Chicago
area. Brunzell also wrestled for Herb Abrams
' Universal Wrestling Federation
(UWF) in 1991. While there, he reunited with B. Brian Blair under the name Masked Confusion, winning the tag team title twice. After UWF closed, Brunzell returned to the independent circuit and continued to wrestle until the mid 1990s, even making occasional appearances in the WWF as a jobber
On May 23, 1993, Brunzell wrestled at World Championship Wrestling's inaugural Slamboree pay-per-view. He wrestled in a six-man tag match alongside fellow "legends" Wahoo McDaniel and Blackjack Mulligan against Dick Murdoch, Don Muraco, and "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. Ironically enough, Brunzell appeared on the WWF's RAW telecast in a jobber role, the same month as his WCW PPV appearance as a "legend".
In 1994, he made an appearance in the American Wrestling Federation as a guest referee in a bout for the AWF Heavyweight Championship, in which Tito Santana beat Bob Orton, Jr., to win the title.
In 2006, Brunzell became involved in a highly-publicized "interview feud" after his former tag team partner, Brian Blair, was insulted by the Iron Sheik in a series of shoot interviews that received heavy circulation on the internet. Brunzell received high praise from the Sheik for his athletic and high-jumping prowess.
Currently, Brunzell works as a financial planner for Focus Financial in the Minneapolis area.
- Finishing and signature moves
- * Figure Four Leglock
Championships and accomplishments
- *AWA World Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Greg Gagne
- *NWA World Tag Team Championship (Central States version) (2 times) - with Mike George
- *NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- *UWF World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Brian Blair
- West Four Wrestling Alliance
- *WFWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship (1 time)