Just call him “The German Superman!” Hailing from Munster, Germany in the 1960s where he excelled in rowing and weight lifting as a young adult, Achim Albrecht already had plenty of endurance and strength when he made the switch to bodybuilding in 1985. Little did he realize at the time was that he would go on to become one of the biggest names in the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) as well as a star professional wrestler with promotions like World Wrestling Entertainment, the United States Wrestling Association and Extreme Championship Wrestling. Of course, his biggest claim to fame wasn’t in the ring as Brakkus but on the stage as the German Superman after he won the 1990 IFBB Mr. Universe.
With Albrecht getting somewhat of a late start in bodybuilding at 23 years old, he only momentarily wavered in his decision to entirely change his career path before seeing four years of hard work and training pay off in 1989 when he won the International German Bodybuilding Championships in Nuremberg, Bavaria. Standing at 5’11” tall with 277 pounds of pure muscle, he won the IFBB Mr. Universe competition in the over 90-kilogram category in 1990 before moving to the United States where IFBB co-founder Joe Weider offered him the contract of a lifetime.
Albrecht’s move to America was truly life-changing as his bodybuilding career and popularity skyrocketed with competitions around the world in addition to dozens of endorsement deals, feature stories and covers on high profile publications like Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazine. Continuing to aim high amid his growing success, he competed in the 1991 Mr. Olympia contest and finished in ninth place. Although he saw his ranking improve with a fourth-place finish at the 1992 Arnold Classic, another victory would have to wait after a torn bicep muscle from barbell preacher curls temporarily forced him out of a training. Luckily, he only missed the 1992 Mr. Olympia contest before he was back on the stage vying for another shot at the title.
Landing in the top 10 at the 1993 Arnold Classic, Albrecht came in eighth place at the event in 1994 and saw a disappointing finish in 17th place at the Mr. Olympia contest. Two years later and after a decade of competing, he placed 10th at the 1996 IFBB Night of Champions just as reality sunk in that an illustrious title like the Mr. Olympia was no longer in reach. That’s when, despite being ranked by Flex magazine as one of the top 10 bodybuilders with the best quadriceps, he decided to shift gears once more and set his sights on the ring.
Unofficially retiring from bodybuilding at 34 years old, Albrecht signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation in September 1996 and immediately started training with Tom Prichard and Bret Hart alongside future wrestling legends Mark Henry and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Only a month later, he made his professional debut as “Argo” at a house show in Massachusetts where a sweet victory over Dr. X sealed his fate in the ring. In December, he had already rebranded himself as Brakkus, a character from the 1993 martial arts flick Best of the Best 2, and spent the next year competing in house shows and dark matches where his massive physique worked in his favor.
“My name is Brakkus and I come from Germany,” Albrecht said during his ads on WWF television promoting matches with Vader and Triple H. “I weigh 300 pounds. And when I come to America, to the World Wrestling Federation, I will get Vader in the ring and destroy him.”
Building his fame in the ring thanks to numerous matches between 1997 and 1998 with the United States Wrestling Association and Extreme Championship Wrestling, Albrecht was frequently involved in stints and storylines with Bill Dundee, Doug Furnas and Phil Laflon. He returned to the WWF in 1998 and made his television debut on the WWF Shotgun Saturday Night and WWF Mayhem before writing his own ticket on the Canadian independent circuit in 1999.
Much like Albrecht’s brief bodybuilding career, his wrestling career was cut even shorter when knee and shoulder injuries after years of signature moves like the “Bear Hug,” “Clothesline” and the “Power Bomb” threatened his well-being and kept him out of the ring. Bruised and broken (both physically and emotionally) in late 1999, Albrecht announced his official retirement from the ring but promised he had no intentions of disappearing just yet. Instead, he had something else up his sleeve as he went on to pursue yet another dream—becoming a certified personal trainer.
Earning his personal training and sports nutritionist certifications from the International Sports Sciences Association in the new millennium, Albrecht eventually settled down in San Francisco, California where he quickly discovered personal training was far more profitable than bodybuilding or even wrestling. After all, the one-time Mr. Universe and muscle-clad Brakkus in the ring was accustomed to only getting paid after a big win and even those were few and far between. And, while he may not be a bodybuilding or wrestling legend, the 54-year-old Albrecht certainly makes up for his professional losses with an outstanding reputation in his childhood hometown of Munster where he’s lovingly known as their favorite German Superman.