By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
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 for the camera in a low guttural voice. "God hates us all."
The camera zooms out. The shaggy one is not alone. Saint, sans beard, skull mask, and belt, is there too. "This guy right here is known as a firestarter," Saint declares, "a riot maker, moonstricken with his animal need! A bad seed! The Beast! Brian Brody! And it is not only because he is covered in this fine fur coat! It's because he maims people!"
The camera cuts back to Brody, his disheveled hair covering his furry mug. Brody growls, "I will, I will, I will unleash the Beast!"
Saint yanks Brody by his mane, and the pair walk out of the frame.
Three weeks before the Holiday Hardcore mashup, Marquez observes his 20-year-old student Felipe Rodriguez administer "the chop" on a nonwrestling visitor. The move requires a wrestler to slap his opponent's chest with the back of the hand. Rodriguez – a 20-year-old Kendall resident who wrestles under the name Ruffio Lionhawk and dons a bird-decorated Mexican wrestler mask over his face — viciously smacks the guest's pecs. "That slap wasn't loud enough," Rodriguez says. "Let's try that again." Rodriguez rears his massive, olive-skinned flesh mitt once again. The visitor exhales. Whap!
The wrestler's victim yelps. Marquez nods approvingly.
Soon, the instructor has Rodriguez and the other trainees run several drills. They practice their leapfrogs, flipping on to their backs from a kneeling position, timing the clothesline without crushing an opponent's sternum, and drop-kicking them across the mat. He also instructs them how to hold the audience's attention.
Marquez pulls Rodriguez's head into his body while cocking his own noggin toward an imaginary crowd. The Ecuadorian contorts his face into a scowl. "You want to fixate on your fans," Marquez says. "You want to meet their gaze. Let them know you are putting on a show for them. Let them feel your energy."
Marquez, whose family had immigrated to Queens, New York, first felt that energy when he was 4 years old. "I remember my dad taking me to Madison Square Garden to see Bob Macklin versus 'The Russian Bear' Ivan Koloff," the pugnacious Ecuadorian recollects. "I've been into wrestling since the 1970s."
But his dad was not happy when Marquez announced he would pursue a wrestling career shortly after his high school graduation in 1991. "He thought I was crazy," Marquez says. "He was dead-set against it." In 1992, when he was 18 years old, Marquez was accepted into the ECW House of Hardcore training camp. Three years later, he made his debut under the ring name El Puerto Riqueño, changing his native identity for career advancement. He challenged for the ECW Television Championship on several occasions but never won the belt.
In 1998, Marquez signed with the World Wrestling Federation, the predecessor to the WWE, and took on the mantle of Babu, man servant to the wrestling persona known as Tiger Ali Singh, heir to an extravagant fortune from India. A YouTube clip of WWF's Sunday Night Heat shows Marquez wearing a linen kurta, baggy pants, Aladdin slippers, and a red turban, stuffing sardines into his mouth with his bare hands.
Marquez embraced the demeaning role. "One time, Tiger told me I had to bow in front of him," he says. "I did one better. I got on my knees and kissed his feet. I had fun with the character." It was the zenith of Marquez's career. He made three to four grand a week, he claims. "My money was small potatoes to what the big names pulled in," Marquez says. "But it was the most money I ever made in wrestling."
Four months after his debut, the WWF released him from his contract, and Marquez returned to the ECW, where he stayed until 2003. He left to wrestle for the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, where he won that organization's junior heavyweight championship three times. After working for another Puerto Rican promotions company in 2005 and 2006, Marquez spent a year in Japan before returning to the United States. "I'm pretty much nearing the end of my career," he concedes. "But I don't have any regrets. I'm hoping I can pass on my experience to these younger guys here."
It's about an hour after Marquez's match against Young during the Holiday Hardcore match ended. After weathering a furious onslaught, Marquez had turned the bout in his favor with a series of moves. His drop kick had put Young on his back, but it had inadvertently knocked out the referee, allowing Young and his manager, Scott Hall, to take turns beating the crap out of the little Ecuadorian until the referee snapped out of his daze and disqualified the bullies.