AWA #24 Page #2

In late July of 1981, Crusher sustained nerve damage in his right arm during a match with Jerry Blackwell. As a result of the right arm injury, Crusher unofficially retired from ring action. It appeared the long, illustrious career of Reggie The Crusher Lisowski was finished. 

Over the next two years, Crusher worked out with weights rehabbing his injured arm. When Hulk Hogan left the AWA for the WWF in December of 1983, Verne Gagne called The Crusher to fill the large void in the AWA created by the departure of Hulk Hogan. 

Crusher picked up right where he left off teaming with Mad Dog Vachon, Baron Von Raschke and Dick the Bruiser against The Far East West Connection of Mr. Saito and Jesse The Body Ventura and the reigning AWA tag team champions Sheik Ayatollah (Jerry) Blackwell and Sheik Ken Patera. On May 6th, 1984 at the Brown County Arena in Green Bay, Wisconsin, The Crusher and Baron Von Raschke defeated The Sheiks, Blackwell and Patera, to capture the AWA tag team titles. Crusher and Baron were way past their primes by this point and were used as a stopgap measure by the AWA until they could find another team worthy of holding the AWA tag team titles. In the interim Crusher and Von Raschke had some wild encounters with the team of Bruiser Brody and Abdullah the Butcher. Crusher and Abdullah had several violent singles encounters as well.

In July of 1984, the AWA signed the hottest young tag team in the United States The Road Warriors Hawk and Animal. Hawk and Animal were very imposing and quite muscular bikers who wore face paint. They were patterned after the Mad Max character from the movie the Road Warrior. 

The Road Warriors worked at a very fast pace in the ring and usually squashed their opponents in short order. On August 25th, 1984 at the Showboat Sports Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, The Road Warriors defeated the Crusher and Baron Von Raschke to win the AWA tag team titles.

The Crusher did team with Dick the Bruiser, Baron Von Raschke and Tony Atlas in attempts to regain the AWA tag team titles from the Road Warriors but was unsuccessful sometimes due to interference by the manager of Hawk and Animal, Precious Paul Ellering. For the rest of 1984, Crusher's role in the AWA became one of combatting Paul Ellering.

Crusher would often team with the Fabulous Ones, Steve Keirn and Stan Lane, against the Road Warriors and Ellering. Other times Crusher would manage the Fabs in bouts against Hawk and Animal.

By 1985 it became apparent to almost everyone the Crusher while still in terrific shape for his age was no longer taken serious as a threat to wrestlers like the Road Warriors, the Freebirds, Masked Superstar, Butch Reed or King Tonga. Even so Crusher continued to wrestle mostly in tag team or six man tag team bouts to hide his ever increasing deficiencies. When Verne Gagne inked a deal with the national cable channel ESPN to air AWA telecasts in September of 1985, the Crusher and many other veterans like Larry Hennig and Baron Von Raschke were told their services were no longer needed. The AWA was going with a youth  movement and longtime stars such as the Crusher weren't going to be along for the ride.

The Crusher continued to make infrequent appearances for the WWF in Midwestern cities during 1986, 1987 and 1988. The best known of these occasional appearances for the WWF was as the Crusher Machine. By 1989 the Crusher had finally called it quits. He truly had a tremendous 40 year career and is one of the all time greats to ever compete in professional wrestling.

This concludes the series of columns on the career of Reggie The Crusher Lisowski. These columns on the Crusher would not have been possible without the help of George Lentz, the publisher of the Crusher Lisowski record book, Jim Melby, publisher of many AWA themed record books and the duo of Royal Duncan and Gary Will, publishers of Wrestling Title Histories.

One final note. After next month's column, I'm open to suggestions on what direction this column should take. I'm leaning towards doing a series of columns on the career of Nick Bockwinkel. Larry Hennig would be another possibility. Would you like me to keep doing historical profiles on AWA legends like Bockwinkel and Hennig? Or would you like to me to go in another direction? Let me know by dropping me an email at here.


A special column on the enhancement performers of the AWA.

Back to AWA Main