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Wrestling / The Crusher

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"Do the hammerlock
Yeah do the hammerlock
Yeah do the hammerlock you turkey necks
You do the hammerlock
You do the hammerlock
Everybody do it now raaayyyy"
The Novas, "The Crusher"

Reginald Lisowski (July 11, 1926 – October 22, 2005) was an American Professional Wrestler from Milwaukee, Wisconsin as The Crusher. He is best known for his work in the Midwest, particularly for the AWA, from the 1950s until he retired in the 1980s. He is especially known for his years of teaming with Dick the Bruiser. He competed for various National Wrestling Alliance territories, for All Japan Pro Wrestling, for Stampede, and even for WWE as "Crusher Machine." He retired in 1988. Among his in-ring achievements, he was a 3x AWA World Heavyweight Champion, a 9x AWA World Tag Team Champion and a 1x NWA International Tag Team Champion. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996.

The Crusher is notable for several innovations in professional wrestling. He was one of the first "tweeners," frequently brawling and using "bad guy" tactics as a fan favorite at a time when babyfaces were lauded for their scientific wrestling backgrounds. His bleached blonde hair, bodybuilder physique, and flamboyant interview style also became something of a prototype for future "superstars" and was built upon by wrestlers such as Super Star Billy Graham, Jesse Ventura, and Hulk Hogan. Not the very least was his beer-swilling badass persona, brought into the modern era to mainstream audiences by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Appropriately enough, Austin's famous "Austin 3:16" promo was delivered at the MECCA Arena; the same building The Crusher sold out on a regular basis decades earlier.

Not to be confused with Jerry "The Crusher" Blackwell nor with the villain in the Bugs Bunny short "Bunny Hugged."


  • Arch-Enemy: Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Harley Race
  • As Himself: In the 1974 film The Wrestler.
  • Audience Surrogate: Especially in Milwaukee and Chicago which had large working-class Polish populations
    • Of particular note was his brief feud in Pittsburgh with Bruno Sammartino. Even though Crusher was presented as the heel and Sammartino the hometown babyface, Pittsburgh had a large Polish population of its own that caused the fans' rooting interests to break down along ethnic lines.
  • Bash Brothers: with Dick the Bruiser, of course, Baron Von Raschke, Mad Dog Vachon
  • Beergasm: Most likely the Ur-Example of this in pro wrestling. He would claim to train by running down Bradford Beach in Milwaukee while carrying a full beer keg. Then drink the keg and run home.
  • Blood Knight: Him and Bruiser, if they felt like they didn't beat on their opponents enough in the ring, would take to beating each other after the match.
  • Catchphrase: "How 'bout dat?"
  • Cigar Chomper: Regularly seen with cigars.
  • Chubby Chaser: Would frequently mention his preference for doing the polka with bigger "dollies" as part of his training regimen. He once claimed he had to get rid of a girl because she dropped her weight down to 215 pounds.
  • Expy: The Sandman and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's badass beer-drinking brawler characters can be traced back to Bruiser and Crusher.
    • The mean, rule-breaking wrestler, Crusher Hogan, who Spider-Man faced in Amazing Fantasy #15, was most likely inspired by The Crusher.
  • Guttural Growler: Him and Bruiser were known for their growling, low pitched voices.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He and Bruiser got accepted by the AWA fans following a match against Harley Race and Larry "The Ax" Hennig in 1965.
  • Manly Man: A beer swilling, cigar chomping, skirt chasing, hell raising, tough-as-nails So B who calls himself The Crusher? You better believe he's manly!
  • Megaton Punch: Would brag about having "100 megaton biceps" that he used for his devastating bolo punch.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: His bolo punch and stomach claw Finishing Moves.
  • The Nicknamer: He and Dick the Bruiser gave Bobby Heenan the name "The Weasel," and would refer to the team of Harley Race and Larry "The Ax" Hennig as "The Dolly Sisters." Would refer to his opponents generically as "da bum."
    • Jerry Blackwell was often referred to as "Fat-well" by Crusher in the AWA. "With an oink-oink here, and an oink-oink there... And soon there ain't gonna be no more oink-oink!"
  • No Indoor Voice: It was rare if he didn't yell at the top of his lungs in a promo.
  • One-Steve Limit: When Jerry "The Crusher" Blackwell came to the AWA, they naturally feuded over this.
    • "Do he smoke cigars? Do he drink beer? Does he do da polka? HOW CAN HE CALL HIMSELF DA CRUSHER?!!!"
  • Popularity Power: Once he and Bruiser got over, they never lost the crowd's support.
  • Red Baron: "The Wrestler Who Made Milwaukee Famous"note 
  • Ring Oldies: He was active until he was 61 years old.
  • Tag Team:
    • with Dick the Bruiser.
  • Unrelated Brothers: With Stan Lisowski (real name Stan Holek).
    • Unrelated Cousins: Also with Dick the Bruiser.
  • Working-Class Hero: He lived it, working all kinds of blue collar jobs on the side while getting his wrestling career going.