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BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #57 - Burnard the Business Bear

I wanted to write a small Hot Take to finally admit something I’ve held in my soul for over five years.

There have been goofy things in professional wrestling over the years. Some have clicked with the wrestling audience. Others have been classified, and rightfully so, as WrestleCrap. However, I absolutely loved one character that was nothing more than a ridiculous bit player so much that I finally decided to write a blog about it.

Here it is:


It’s true. It’s true.

Now, for many pro wrestling fans, I’m sure you don’t have a clue on what the Hell I’m talking about. But for fans of Ring of Honor in 2018, especially of “The Elite”, you’d know.


Prior to Burnard’s debut, the group of Cody Rhodes, Matt and Nick Jackson of the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Marty Scrull, and “Hangman” Adam Page were on top of the independent wrestling world. Thanks to the incredible hard work and popularity of their YouTube show “Being the Elite”, as well as their efforts in Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Guerilla, the Elite were unstoppable. In the eyes of wrestling fans, they could do no wrong.

In early 2018, Cody Rhodes attempted to prove that theory wrong.

For the first part of the year in ROH, Cody had a person in a bear costume start accompanying him down to the ring alongside his wife Brandi. His name was Bury the Drug Free Bear. A fun-loving animal, Bury would bring fun to the ring, attempting to get fans’ approval, while Cody was a vicious rulebreaker inside the squared circle. He would high-five everyone, with a big “smile” on his face.

However, Bury would not last long in ROH, as he would be unveiled to be Kenny Omega at the 16th Anniversary Show, who jumped Cody, while they were in the middle of their Civil War within the Bullet Club.

However, on the April 8 edition of ROH television, Cody would take no chances. During his entrance, another bear came out to the ring. Unlike Bury, this bear had a generic face, a white dress shirt, and black slacks. He was all business.

After instruction from “the American Nightmare” ROH ring announcer Bobby Cruise announced his name to the world: BURNARD THE BUSINESS BEAR. Colt Cabana and Ian Riccaboni were flabbergasted.

Over the next several months, Burnard would be at Cody’s side during several matches. Thanks to a website called Amino Apps, I got the bear’s story:

Burnard is all business, all the time. He doesn't sing, he doesn't dance, but he is also not afraid to roll up his sleeves, fix his tie and mix it up with whoever wrongs his friends. He keeps a professional attitude. Hands behind his back, chin up, tie well tied. He's a business bear and a professional one, at that.

Also, according to Cody, Burnard was the Rhodes family financial advisor, which by his attire, I could totally buy. The Business Bear was a jack-of-all-trades.

He also wasn’t afraid to be involved in the Elite’s matters. He once took an enzuigiri during a six-man tag, trying to save Cody. He was a fiercely protective bear.

Burnard also was involved in an intense rivalry with New Japan’s Tanahashi. No, not Hiromu, but his cat, Daryl. They even had a pull apart at War of the Worlds that was so intense, even security got involved.

Ultimately, Burnard was a major focus on getting attention to ALL IN, the Young Bucks and Cody’s massive independent wrestling event, and even had an autograph signing at STARRCAST prior to the show in Chicago.

However, once the Fall hit, Burnard was subsequently removed from ROH television shortly after ALL IN. Cody even gave a reason why through Twitter.

Hilarious. And wild. I have to go find that dude. I have a mission.

With the exception of one vlog with Sammy Guevara back in 2021 where Burnard and Bury made a surprise one-off, Burnard the Business Bear was never seen again.

Cody actually did an interview on the Dale Earnhardt, Jr podcast in September, discussing the reasoning behind the creation of Burnard, which I found intriguing.

“Whether right, wrong, or indifferent, I was doing it my way. There are a lot of incidents in that run that are not right. ‘This is what we’re doing here folks, this is it.’

“Sometimes I get in my own way when it comes to my own creative. There is a prime example. When I was in Ring of Honor, they just let me do whatever. ‘WWE guy, people are coming to see him, they were smaller crowds, big autograph line.’

“One of the things I did was, I had two mascots, they were people in bear suits. It didn’t make a lick of sense and they’d be at the signing, standing with me. One was a business bear, one was a drug-free bear. It was all this nonsensical, it stemmed off a YouTube series [Being The Elite], it had roots, but if I look at the photos and you see me with these two bears, that’s what creative freedom gone too far looks like.”

Burnard the Business Bear always made me laugh. Even if it was for a short time period, I can honestly say that Ring of Honor would be the LAST place you’d ever see a wrestling bear. The fact that the Elite were so hot as a unit and were able to get a mascot on television to this ludicrous degree is awe-inspiring.

Also, Burnard just has that vibe of previous wrestling “animals'' over the years that I’ve appreciated. I mean, I’m also a huge fan boy of the Gobbledy Gooker, Adam Rose’s Bunny, the aforementioned Wild Cat Willie, and probably half of the vintage Inter Species Wrestling roster on the independent circuit.

I think pro wrestling performers shouldn’t be afraid to take chances like Cody and the Elite did in 2018 with Burnard. It’s what makes wrestling fun. I loved it.

And plus, it’s good business. #BANKONIT 


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