What If is a column by Walter Yeates that ponders how much success a wrestler from the past would have if they were in their prime in today’s wrestling industry. The previous column on The Rock can be found here.
Bad News Allen (known better in the United States as Bad News Brown) is a 1st tier (received first professional wrestling training) New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) Noge Dojo graduate and may have been the first United States citizen and non-Japanese individual to have that honor.
What If: Bad News Brown
Despite his 1988-1990 run within the World Wrestling Federation (now known as World Wrestling Entertainment), Allen spent most of his career in NJPW, wrestling approximately 900 matches with the promotion between his 1977 debut and 1992.
While Bad News Allen stated multiple times during ‘shoot’ interviews that he didn’t care much about professional wrestling championships after coming to the business after competing in Judo, he was able to capture several titles during his career. He was a 3x National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Americas Tag Team Champion early in his career and a 4x Stampede North American Heavyweight Champion.
Allen worked for Stampede Wrestling in Canada when he received time off from NJPW tours. He would also do a favor for NWA Florida while working for NJPW and work for the promotion in 1987 for several months before returning home to NJPW.
If Bad News cared more about championships, he could have likely become an early IWGP Heavyweight Champion after the title was established in 1987 as a traditional championship.
Which brings us to imaging Bad News Brown in his prime during modern-day wrestling. What if he was in today’s NJPW? Without a doubt, Allen would have been able to equal his star power within NJPW in the 1980s if he was on the modern NJPW roster.
According to Allen, he made the most money during his career with NJPW and spoke about how well Inoki treated talent. His interview with Title Match Wrestling goes into detail about his time in NJPW, and why he didn’t enjoy working for Vince McMahon.
In fact, due to the changes in the business and how the company is in the midst of a successful international expansion, he would likely be an even larger draw today.
Along with his tough in-ring person, Bad News Allen had a refreshing charisma and was believable as a ‘Pure Heel’ who wanted to do things his way. It’s easy to imagine his as IWGP Intercontinental Champion and especially IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. Due to his flexibility in the ring, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship wouldn’t be out of reach for Bad News Allen.
Matches against NJPW talent like current IWGP United States Heavyweight and All Elite Wrestling (AEW) World Champion Jon Moxley, Juice Robinson, Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay White, and Tetsuya Naito would have drawn good money for the promotion.
A program with the likes of Minoru Suzuki could result in a featured Wrestle Kingdom match due to the possible chemistry between the two. However, Bad News Allen would have been a natural fit for the Suzuki-Gun unit, and him spending years as a ‘Pure Heel’ would be enticing to watch.
Outside of NJPW, Bad News may not have found the same success in modern WWE. However, it’s not impossible would have become a solid midcard talent for the company.
Seeing Bad News Allen in AEW would be interesting, and due to the youth of the company, it’s unsure how well he would be used.
In Lucha Libre AAA, it’s easy to imagine him being at the top of the card and becoming the AAA Mega Champion (the companies top singles prize). Allen in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) isn’t as clear due to the promotions issues with vanilla booking and often missed opportunities.
In a promotion like Ring of Honor (ROH), Bad News Allen would have easily been able to be the possible face of the promotion, especially at a time when they need a key draw to bring fans back to the product. The same could be said for a rebuilding Impact Wrestling.
Bad News Allen was a draw for NJPW during his prime and would likely be even a bigger draw for them today, it’s difficult to not wonder ‘What If?’