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 - Jim Zordani

Even though Crusher and Bruiser held both the AWA and WWA tag team titles in the Fall of 1975, they were no longer the team they once were.

Each man had slowed down a few steps. The dropoff in their abilities didn't discourage promoters from putting Crusher and Bruiser in main events because they still drew loads of people to the arenas across the Midwest. Their drawing ability and legendary icon status was the reason for Crusher and Bruiser being tag team champions not only in the AWA but the WWA as well.

Because they were getting older, Crusher and Bruiser defended the AWA and WWA tag team titles far less frequently than they had in the past. 

In fact Bruiser so rarely appeared on AWA cards that the Crusher teamed quite a bit with The Wild Bull of The Pampas Pampero Firpo. The two teams which challenged Crusher and Bruiser the most for the AWA tag team titles in late 1975 and early 1976 were the former champions Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens and the flamboyant duo of Handsome Jimmy and Luscious Johnny Valiant. By June of 1976, Bobby Heenan's new duo of Blackjack Lanza and Big Bad Bobby Duncum had emerged as the top challengers to Crusher and Bruiser. In what was considered a huge upset at the time, Blackjack Lanza and Bobby Duncum defeated Crusher and Bruiser on July 23rd, 1976 at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois to capture the AWA tag team titles. Crusher and Bruiser received a few rematches against Lanza and Duncum including one bout held at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois on August 27th, 1976 but would not regain the tag belts usually due to Lanza and Duncum getting disqualified.

After winning the WWA tag team titles from the Legionaires (Sgt.Jacques Goulet and Soldier LeBoeuf) on September 20th, 1975 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Crusher and Bruiser defeated the Legionaires in several rematches before Goulet and LeBoeuf left the territory. In February of 1976, former WWA heavyweight champion Ox Baker and his partner Chuck The Monster O'Connor (Big John Studd) became the number one contenders to Crusher and Bruiser. The WWA tag team titles were held up on February 21st, 1976 in Indianapolis after a match between the teams of Crusher and Bruiser and Baker and O'Connor.   More...

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