impact crusher lisowski

crusher in pittsburgh | steel belt wrestling

Reggie Lisowski started wrestling after World War IIhe said in newspaper accounts that he started wrestling when stationed in Germany, following weightlifting as a youngster. He debuted around 1947, even as he worked as a bricklayer, according to the most reliable information. In a 1956 article in the Chicago Tribune, he claimed to have an expanded chest of 59 inches, and 19-1/2-inch biceps.

Lisowski was well-known in the Great Lakes area well before promoter and wrestling impresario Toots Mondt started to breathe new life into Pittsburgh wrestling in 1960. His first appearances in the area were in Buffalo in 1952, against Wild Bill Zimm, Dirty Don Evans, and Frederich Von Schacht.

With brother Stan, Reggie formed a solid, rough-and-tough tag team that wrestled often in the Buffalo-Cleveland area in the late 1950s. Perhaps the highlight of that run was a heel versus heel tag team clash with Mike and Doc Gallagher in Cleveland in April 1959 that drew nearly 10,000 to the old Public Auditorium. The Lisowskis won, under the watchful eye of referees Ilio DiPaolo and Lord Athol Layton.

In 1960, he entered Pittsburgh as a singles wrestler, playing the role of Crusher, and not just Reggie Lisowski, and took the town by storm, thanks to his gruff manner, his powerhouse style, and a series of interviews that have fans talking to this day. No insult to Pittsburgh, its citizens, its sports teams and the surrounding regions in Ohio and West Virginia, was beneath him. While it was probably just promotional publicity, he was said to have won his first 43 matches in the area until he lost by disqualification to Zivko Kovacic in McKeesport, Pa., in late April 1961. True or not, it only added to his mystique.

Writer Evelyn Lesh: The Crusher arrived in town like a Sherman tank run wild and proceeded to bowl over each and every opponent tossed into the ring with him. The fans hated him but at the same time they felt a kinship with him because of his Slavic ancestry.

Crusher wrestled every name in the territory during his two-plus-year run, and a few that fans might not expect, such as former boxing great Primo Carnera, Swede Hanson, and The Mongol. While much is rightfully made of the incredible drawing power of former NWA champion Buddy Rogers, Crusher also had an impact on the areas box offices in 1961 and 1962. Lisowski and Johnny Valentine headlined Forbes Field twice in 1961 Valentine was the good guy. The two shows drew a combined 22,500. Two subsequent cards that showcased Rogers and Lisowski drew a combined 26,000. Rogers and Valentine then drew about 8,500 to the Civic Arena.

The [Connellsville, Pa.] Daily Courier (August 1961): The Crusher, signed after quite a bit of dickering by promoter Eugene Dargan, is much in demand and Fayette County fans are anxious to see him in this wrestling show. Of Polish descent, he is anxious to renew acquaintances with friends here. The Crusher, who weighs in at 242 pounds, is the hottest thing in wrestling today.

His appearances on Pittsburgh Studio Wrestling became must-see TV. While tapes of the eras have long since settled into dust, Lesh fortuitously chronicled some of his public showings for the occasionally accurate, and always entertaining, Wrestling World in 1962. Oh, and please note, star athletes from Mike Tyson to Terrell OwensCrusher was speaking in the third person before you were born.

On his upcoming match with Giant Baba in April 1962: Im going to get an axe and go around Pittsburgh to find the biggest tree, so I can chop it down and whittle a box out of it to send that guy back to Japan. So what if he knows judo and karate? That doesnt worry the Crusher.

After a draw with Rogers in 1962, Crusher appeared on Studio Wrestling wearing a championship belt with his picture on it: I beat Rogers, so Im the champion. This belt is recognized as the official belt in this country as well as in Canada, England, France, and Spain That bum didnt beat me, so hes not champion. All hes got is a homemade belt from old beer caps.

One night, a snowstorm forced him to walk up a hill to the TV studio, and he was in full, mad character as he proclaimed: No wonder the women of Pittsburgh have such good legs, with all the hills they have to climb I coulda broken a leg walking up that lousy hill. Its a good thing the Crushers in condition to climb a hill like that and still wrestle when I get here. You know, this is the only town in the country where people can commit suicide by jumping out the basement window.

During a 1961 feud with Argentina Rocca, Crusher raced in front of the TV cameras to destroy a bouquet of flowers fans had given to the high-flyer: I dont like the stink of flowers. I dont want any flowers cluttering up any place I rassle. When announcer Bill Cardille, who dubbed him The Incomparable Crusher, presented Lisowski with a bouquet from 23 female admirers a few weeks later: I dont know. I can handle four women at once but 23 is too many even for the Crusher. Besides, I hate flowers.

And on and on it went. When Crusher lost on a count out to Rogers at Forbes Field in September 1961, he announced the stadiums infield was too hard, and that smog pollution contributed to his woes. Asked if he had seen the new Civic Arena in 1961, he retorted: No, I dont go slumming. He was allegedly suspended by state athletic commission head Paul Sullivan in July 1961 for acts detrimental to wrestling. He choked out promoter Rudy Miller on the air, which long-time fans said added to his shock value.

Dennis Black: Ill never forget him choking out Rudy Miller on TV and Bill Cardille screaming, Crusher, hes an eighty year old man When he appeared in our hometown of New Castle, Pa., our art teacher allowed us to make a huge banner that said Crush the Crusher. He simply walked right through it on the way to the ring.

Now, thats charisma. Eventually, Crusher turned from a bad guy to a good guy en route to being one of the sports early antiheroes there was no change in his tactics, of course. Against Rogers in 1961, Crusher was cheered for the first time in Pittsburgh:

Bill Masked Superstar Eadie, Pittsburgh area native: Hed come out an do an interview with a six-pack of Iron City beer on his shoulder and talk about going to the Polish and the Croatian clubs and dancing with all the ladies. I didnt know he was a bad guy. I just liked him. Bruno was the local hero, but Crusher was over.

By fall 1962, it was time for the blue-collar beer swiller to move on. Crusher had been wrestling in the Midwest regularly during his Pittsburgh run, and he worked there for most of the rest of his career, as the feud between Rogers and local hero Bruno Sammartino took center stage in the Steel City. Crusher returned for a few bouts later on. In the fall of 1963, he headlined against Sammartino twice at the Civic Arena, losing by disqualification once and submission once; his name still spelled dollars as more than 15,000 fans flocked to see the cards.

In late 1966 and early 1967, he re-emerged in the territory, again as a heel. In a January 1967 match at the Civic Center, he fought with tag partner Bill Miller against Sammartino and the Battman, and ended up bloodied and unable to continue. His babyface turn the fans more or less forced it on him became his modus operandi in the American Wrestling Association, as well, where he also became a good guy, in particular against Mad Dog Vachon, without abandoning his kick, punch, and gouge style.

Lisowski died in October 2005 at the age of 79; he had been in declining health for years. Appreciations after his passing focused mostly on his work in the Midwest, and his long-time tag team with Dick the Bruiser, which was appropriate. But, for a while more than 40 years ago, Crusher and Pittsburgh had the ultimate love-hate relationship.

Credits: Wrestling World, for snippets of interviews that confounded Bill Cardille; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, George Lentz, The Daily Courier, The [Monessen, Pa.] Valley-Independent, our Studio Wrestling friends at Kayfabe Memories.

SteelBeltWrestling.com grants limited permission to use up to 100 words from any piece of information on this site if a link to the site is specifically provided in another print or Internet publication.

the crusher honored with statue in milwaukee funded by $40,000 in donations (photos) | ewrestling

This past week, the unveiling of a statue in honor of the late pro wrestling legend who had a historic career that spanned over five decades across 40 years, was unveiled at the special two-day CrusherFest festivities in South Milwaukee.

During his run with the company, The Crusher was a former three-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion and a former nine-time AWA World Tag-Team Champion with Dick the Bruiser (5), Verne Gagne (1), Red Bastien (1), Billy Robinson (1) and Baron von Raschke (1).

He also worked for Vince McMahon Sr. at the original World Wide Wrestling Federation, the promotion that would later become WWE, in the late 1960s, before returning to work for Vince McMahon when the AWA promotion was nearing its' end in the 1980s.

During his original run with WWE, The Crusher worked with Johnny Valentine and a young Bruno Sammartino. When he returned in the 1980s, he worked a part-time schedule, mostly wrestling at the house shows in the Midwest area where his star-power was the strongest.

His last match for WWE was at a house show in Omaha, Nebraska on February 15, 1988. He filled-in for Billy Jack Haynes to team with Ken Patera, defeating the team of Demolition (Ax and Smash) via disqualification when their manager, WWE Hall Of Famer Mr. Fuji, tripped The Crusher with his cane.

The Crusher's final television appearance for WWE was at their WWE In Your House - Over The Edge 1998 pay-per-view on May 31, 1998 at the Wisconsin Center Arena in Milwaukee. He was seated in the front row with fellow wrestling legend Mad Dog Vachon and was actually used in an angle on camera.

WWE Hall Of Famer and another former AWA World Heavyweight Champion, Jerry "The King" Lawler, was scheduled to attend, however his flight was reportedly late so he wasn't able to make it in time for the unveiling of the statue in honor of Lisowski.

The statue that was made by Milwaukee-based artist Thomas Holleran featured The Crusher holding a beer barrel on his shoulder with an iconic facial expression and wearing a title belt that reads, "The Crusher."

The statue was funded by a GoFundMe campaign that was started in late-2017. The campaign ended up going viral with donations rapidly coming in and easily reaching the goal of $40,000 within a few months.

Check out local TV news coverage from CrusherFest over the weekend via the video embedded below. Also below are some photos and clips from the event. For additional coverage of this past weekend's two-day CrusherFest events, check out some more local news articles at JSOnline.com and TMJ4.com.

Yesterday was magic. So many great people, amazing fans and a Legend came out to show love to Milwaukee's Iconic favorite son. Thank you to everyone that made #CrusherFest the Event in Milwaukee. pic.twitter.com/1Tr2XgNBk0

crusher - oww

Tom Zak wrote: The Crusher was one of the most exciting wresters I ever saw in my life. My brother and I used to go to the Chicago Amphitheater all the time in the 60s and 70s. We saw Crusher and Bruiser wrestle Henning and Race (the Dolly Sisters as Crusher would call them).Were gonna beat these two bums and then go down Halsted street and dance the Polka with all the girls and drink beer.

Some of the best matches were against Nick Bockwinckle and Ray Stevens along with their manager Bobby The Brain Heenan. The crowd in the Amphitheater used to chant We want blood. We want blood and Heenan used to say in interviews that we were humanoids, 8-5 lifers.

Dan Rygasewicz wrote: Crusher you were the greatest. When you came to Oakland,Ca in the 80s you remembered me from the days I watched you in Milwaukee. Thank you for that interview you let me do for my civics class. Got an A+ for that interview. How bout dat. Rest in piece.WHAAAAAAA!

official merchandise page of da crusher

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the crusher statue unveiling at 'crusherfest' in south milwaukee (photos)

This past week, the unveiling of a statue in honor of the late pro wrestling legend who had a historic career that spanned over five decades across 40 years, was unveiled at the special two-day CrusherFest festivities in South Milwaukee.

During his run with the company, The Crusher was a former three-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion and a former nine-time AWA World Tag-Team Champion with Dick the Bruiser (5), Verne Gagne (1), Red Bastien (1), Billy Robinson (1) and Baron von Raschke (1).

He also worked for Vince McMahon Sr. at the original World Wide Wrestling Federation, the promotion that would later become WWE, in the late 1960s, before returning to work for Vince McMahon when the AWA promotion was nearing its end in the 1980s.

During his original run with WWE, The Crusher worked with Johnny Valentine and a young Bruno Sammartino. When he returned in the 1980s, he worked a part-time schedule, mostly wrestling at the house shows in the Midwest area where his star-power was the strongest.

His last match for WWE was at a house show in Omaha, Nebraska on February 15, 1988. He filled-in for Billy Jack Haynes to team with Ken Patera, defeating the team of Demolition (Ax and Smash) via disqualification when their manager, WWE Hall Of Famer Mr. Fuji, tripped The Crusher with his cane.

The Crushers final television appearance for WWE was at their WWE In Your House Over The Edge 1998 pay-per-view on May 31, 1998 at the Wisconsin Center Arena in Milwaukee. He was seated in the front row with fellow wrestling legend Mad Dog Vachon and was actually used in an angle on camera.

WWE Hall Of Famer and another former AWA World Heavyweight Champion, Jerry The King Lawler, was scheduled to attend, however his flight was reportedly late so he wasnt able to make it in time for the unveiling of the statue in honor of Lisowski.

The statue that was made by Milwaukee-based artist Thomas Holleran featured The Crusher holding a beer barrel on his shoulder with an iconic facial expression and wearing a title belt that reads, The Crusher.

The statue was funded by a GoFundMe campaign that was started in late-2017. The campaign ended up going viral with donations rapidly coming in and easily reaching the goal of $40,000 within a few months.

Check out some photos and clips from the two-day CrusherFest event below. For additional coverage of this past weekends CrusherFest events, check out some more local news articles at JSOnline.com and TMJ4.com.

Yesterday was magic. So many great people, amazing fans and a Legend came out to show love to Milwaukee's Iconic favorite son. Thank you to everyone that made #CrusherFest the Event in Milwaukee. pic.twitter.com/1Tr2XgNBk0

DISCUSSION: What do YOU think of the CrusherFest two-day events? What is your thoughts on the statue and how it was funded? Share your memories of Da Crusher and chat about CrusherFest via the Comments section below.