Spotlighting the Indies: Brian Linder, Rest In Peace, My Friend

Matthew HesterSenior Writer ISeptember 1, 2009

  Hello everyone. As always, I would like to thank all of you for spending some time with me today.

Normally when I gear up for my spotlighting the Indies series it is done with enjoyment. That is not the case today, as I am here to report some rather sad news. Veteran Indy worker Brian “Prime Time” Linder has recently passed away.

Linder, who passed away at the tender age of 35, was more then a local wrestler; he was a community leader and an educator. He died on impact when the car he was traveling in jumped a guard rail and smashed into a highway sign.

Linder was born March 30, 1974, in Kinston, the son and step-son of Keith and Frances Linder of Chesnee, S.C., and J.P. and Marcelle Crocker Elm of Gaffney, S.C. He was a 1992 graduate of Spartanburg High School.

Brian also attended Gardner-Webb University, where he received his BA and MA degrees and was pursuing his Ph.D. degree from Walden University.

He started his wrestling career in the late 90s with his tag team partner Richie Scruggs. 

Through 1997 all the way to 2007 they would tear up the Indy scene as a tag team known as the U.S. Express. They held tag team gold in every federation where they competed.

He wrestled in many federations including the PWF, NMCW, APW, CCW, CCC, WASP, NBCW, and the NWA. He would also go onto have solo success wrestling in TNA against Shark Boy.


His death left his partner stunned and sad, as they would often traveled together from show to show. It will most likely leave his partner, Scruggs, scarred for life.

“I’m close to my family, but Brian was closer than a brother,” Scruggs said, at well over 6 feet tall and pushing 300 pounds, Linder appeared “larger than life” to many fans.

“Rippling muscles, the biggest smile in the world,” Scruggs, a coach at Burns Middle School, described. “My boys looked at Brian like he was a superhero.”


They would have a local show to commemorate his passing in Kings Mountain. It was an event that would be an emotional night for the wrestlers, the fans and most importantly his tag team partner.

“It was a difficult night, Kind of hard to think, ‘Let’s have fun and have a wrestling show.’ But we said, ‘In his spirit, we're going to carry on.’”

To his community, he was known as a friend and an educator. He would serve as a vice principal for his local school, where he would serve as mentor for his students. Linder was known to many as good guy with a heart of gold.

While many wrestlers’ deaths are usually filled with controversy over drugs and steroid use, Linder's death is a tragic tale of fate that would take the life of a good person in the prime of his life. His death is a sad reminder that on any given day, it could be our last.

I’m sorry if this isn’t one of my normal detailed spotlights, I just felt that his death should be honored. I hope I was able to give our fallen brother the proper respects he deserved.

Brian Linder left behind a wife, family and many friends after his passing.

I would like to thank all of you again for joining me today.

As always, have a safe and blessed day.

(Info and quotes from and