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 - Jim Zordani

The next few installments of this column will be devoted to the wrestling career of Reggie "The Crusher" Lisowski. Little is known about the childhood of Reggie Lisowski. Historians even argue over what year he was born. Some say Reggie was born in 1925 while others think Lisowski was born in 1926. Everyone does agree Reggie was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to an article published by the Milwaukee Journal on August 21st, 1952, Reggie attended South Milwaukee High School and played fullback on the football team. After finishing high school in 1944, Lisowski joined the Army and was shipped to Germany with the 106th infantry. While stationed in Heidelburg, Germany, Reggie was taught how to wrestle by an army instructor. Lisowski also found time to lift weights with his buddies which helped him develop an impressive physique.  After leaving the army and deciding he wanted to be a professional wrestler, Reggie Lisowski was trained for his grappling debut by Ivan Racy and Buck Tassie at the local Eagle's Club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Reggie Lisowski made his professional wrestling debut against Marcel Bucet on November 30th, 1949 at the Paris Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Reggie wrestled a few times each month in Milwaukee before being booked in Chicago, Illinois at the Rainbo Arena during October of 1950. According to stories passed down through the years, Lisowski had daytime jobs as a brick layer and a factory worker to supplement his wrestling income. Reggie continued to work out regularly with weights as he had done so during his stay in the Army and developed a bodybuilder's physique. While competing at the Rainbo Arena, Reggie Lisowski was spotted by Chicago wrestling promoter Fred Kohler. Kohler was impressed by what he saw in the dark haired, muscular Lisowski and signed Reggie to a contract. Fred gave Lisowski television exposure on the Dumont Network and eventually sent Reggie on the road to other wrestling cities to gain some seasoning.

During February and March of 1952, Reggie Lisowski worked in upstate New York against the likes of Tarzan Hewitt, Angelo Martinelli and Chris Tolos. After finishing his stint in New York, Reggie returned to the midwest for several bouts including the biggest match of his career until that point falling victim to Verne Gagne in Chicago, Illinois on April 19th, 1952. In May and June of 1952, Lisowski toured Texas for promoter Morris Siegel.  More...

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