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 - Jim Zordani

Once his partnership with Stan Holek had run its course, Reggie Lisowski established himself as one of the top villains in the wrestling world.

In the early 1960s, Reggie was billed as Crusher Lisowski or simply Crusher. He used the full nelson as his finishing maneuver and was a top heel in every territory he worked. Reggie's list of opponents during 1960, 1961 and 1962 reads like a Who's who of professional wrestling. 

Crusher battled such luminaries as Haystacks Calhoun, Verne Gagne, Don Eagle, Bearcat Wright, Wilbur Snyder, Sandor Szabo, Edouard Carpentier, Sweet Daddy Siki, Pat O'Connor, Johnny Valentine, Antonino Rocca, Bruno Sammartino, Buddy Rogers and Ricki Starr. During this time period, Lisowski wrestled in many cities like Pittsburgh, Montreal, Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Omaha. Meeting all those big name wrestlers in several different major cities cemented Crusher's status as one of the top grapplers in the world.

In September of 1962, Crusher decided to compete primarily in the Minnesota based AWA territory headed by Verne Gagne. Lisowski would occasionally accept bookings in Pittsburgh PA, Omaha NE, Fargo ND and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada but mainly wrestled in Minnesota cities such as Minneapolis, St Paul, Rochester, Duluth, and Mankato. Crusher was very successful during his stay in Minnesota defeating the likes of Dr. Bill Miller, Larry Hennig, Tiny Mills, Doug Gilbert, Bob Geigel, Moose Evans, Stan Kowalski, Bobby Managoff, Rocky Hamilton aka The Missouri Mauler, Hercules Cortez, Dick Steinborn and Butch Levy. Lisowski specialized in violent gimmick bouts such as death matches and saloon matches which were designed to get over Crusher's tough guy and beer drinking persona.

After defeating every opponent matched against him in the AWA during late 1962 and the first half of 1963, Crusher was granted a few shots at AWA World Heavyweight champion Verne Gagne. Gagne's clean cut All American persona made him the perfect opponent for the burly, tough, beer guzzling Crusher Lisowski. Fans wanted to see their hero Gagne dismantle the villainous Lisowski. On July 9th, 1963 in Minneapolis, Minnesota Crusher Lisowski defeated Verne Gagne to capture the AWA World Heavyweight title. Lisowski's AWA title reign was short lived as Gagne regained the belt three weeks later in Minneapolis.  More...

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