For the record, Hornswoggle wasn’t the first. I just want to get that out of the way before we get going here.
That said, like many of you, what I generally think of when I hear the word “leprechaun” is a smiling red headed dwarf, bedecked in green and heading over the rainbow in search of his pot of gold. Well, that or a big ass bowl of cornmeal doused with sugar and rock hard white pellets that someone on the planet actually believes to be marshmallows.
Of course, that’s just me, and I tend to be a “glass half full” kind of guy. There’s the flip side of the whole leprechaun deal as well. In 1993, the fine folks at Trimark Pictures decided that there could be no greater horror villain than a vile, smelly, nasty, and decidedly evil Irish Imp, and thus Leprechaun: The Movie was born.
This idiotic fartfest started a franchise that has spawned no less than five sequels, including Leprechaun in Da Hood and Leprechaun In Space. You know, when you have to send the Leprechaun to OUTER SPACE to generate interest, it may be time to pack things up and call it a day.
While you could argue all day along about the quality of these films, you kinda have to think that there is at least somewhat of an audience for films starring murderous pixies in order for SIX of the damn things to be made. I have no clue where such an audience might reside, but it seems obvious they’re out there somewhere. Utilizing this logic, the mystery doesn’t appear to be why there was a Leprechaun wrestler, but rather why it took so long for there to be one in the first place.
Yes, shockingly it wasn’t until 1996 when the long hoped for Leprechaun wrestler made his arrival. He showed up in the form of Braun the Leprechaun in WCW, as part of Kevin Sullivan’s original Island of Misfit Wrestlers, the Dungeon of Doom.
During an eight man Nitro tag match, Braun made his appearance known. It only made sense. You see, while Sullivan may have had Hugh Morris and the “Face of Fear” Meng on his side, victory over superstars on the level of Jim Powers and Joe Gomez could only be ensured by having a living, breathing Leprechaun in the corner.
Braun was quite the intimidating presence at ringside, with fiery red hair and traditional Irish garb. And just in case anyone was confused that he was, in fact, an EVIL Leprechaun, his yellow teeth were rotting right out of his head. Hey, it worked for Isaac Yankem, right?
For years it has been rumored that Braun was played by Crash Holly, who was also known as Mad Mikey in NWA-TNA before he sadly passed away in 2003. This is completely false. The Leprechaun was actually Dewayne “Sarge” Bruce, whom long time WCW loyalists will remember as one half of the State Patrol as Buddy Lee Parker. Bruce actually went on to greater fame outside the ring as a trainer, as he was the man responsible for putting a young Bill Goldberg through his paces at the WCW Power Plant. He even teamed up with his student at one of WCW’s final PPVs, Sin, in January of 2001, a show that was most notable for Sid Vicious’ leg snapping like a twig.
Sadly, Bruce’s stint as the Leprechaun didn’t last long. He was on one of the very first Nitros following the creation of the nWo, and his debut was more or less background noise to the ongoing saga of Hall, Nash, and Hogan causing chaos backstage. He appeared only once or twice following his debut, then headed back under the rainbow, never to be seen again.