Historically Speaking: Another Goes Too Soon


“Man in a word has no nature; what he has is history.” – Jose Ortega y Gasset

The Opening Chapter
I said previously that I didn’t want to use this column to write obituaries for dead wrestlers, but I since I said that at least six former or current wrestlers have died. That’s alarming for a two month time frame. Unfortunately the man who died on Monday the August 13 was a wrestler who I was a fan of – Brian Adams. Last week I said I am a mark for Demolition and that markdom extends who Adams, who made his national television debut as Crush, the third member of Demolition. Adams has held a spot as a favorite of mine since that debut. And since, I haven’t seen a real good full scale career retrospective of the former biker/ex-con/nWo b-teamer/high times guy, I feel it is my duty to do so.

So this week prepare for a look back at the career of man mostly famously known as Crush.

The Early Days
Adams got his start while in the Air Force and stationed in Japan. He was trained by Japanese great Antonio Inoki of all people and following his stint in the military he was back in the states. He got his start in the business in the Pacific Northwest territory. He was billed “The American Ninja” and ended up winning the territory’s tag and heavyweight belts.

His run in Demolition was brought is first taste of national wrestling fame. During the summer of 1990, Adams, now billed as “Crush,” was brought in as the third member of the famed team. Using the infamous “Freebird rule,” Crush was allowed to defend the WWF Tag Championship alongside either Ax or Smash. The combination of Crush and Smash lost the belts in a great 2 out of 3 falls match to The Hart Foundation at SummerSlam ’90 and then transitioned into a feud against The Legion of Doom. Adams ended up working a majority of Demolition matches as Bill “Ax” Eadie’s health was failing and was soon to be phased out altogether. Once their run with LOD finished and Eadie left the team, Demolition virtually become persona non grata around the WWF, as now that McMahon had the original Road Warriors, he had no more use for the doppelgangers. Adams quietly finished out his role in Demolition after WrestleMania VII, where he and Smash were soundly beat by Tenryu and Kitao.

Going Solo
Kona Crush
Adams returned to the WWF in the summer of ’92 after another stint in the Pacific Northwest. Still billed as Crush, he was now a happy go lucky Hawaiian often called “Kona” Crush. He had runs against his old partner Smash (now going as Repo Man) and a run with Doink the Clown that led to blow off at WrestleMania IX.

evil Crush
Having gone as far as he could as a face with that character, Crush was “injured” by Yokozuna in the summer of ’93. He returned months later and instantly started feuding with former friend Randy Savage and aligned himself with Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji. He was still “Kona” Crush, but now with darker colored gear, face paint and the obligatory heel goatee. Crush’s run with Savage culminated in a falls count anywhere match at WrestleMania X. Crush stuck around through ’94, but was released in early ’95 after being arrested for steroids and weapons charges.

jail bird Crush
Vince McMahon is never one to miss out on a good real life story and the chance to turn it into a storyline. So by the fall of ’95, Crush was back in the WWF, this time as an ex-con managed by WWF’s resident lawyer Clarence Mason. He sound found himself aligned with Faarooq in the fledgling Nation of Domination. Soon the Nation split and Crush was out to start his own group

biker Crush
This led to “biker” Crush, a leader of the motorcycle gang called The Disciples of Apocalypse, including Brian “Chainz” Lee and The Harris Brothers (Skull and Eight Ball.) The DOA feuded with the new Nation, Los Boricuas and the Truth Commission as part of the “Gang Warz” angle. Adams left the WWF in November ’97 after the Montreal Screwjob.

Life on the B-Team
He soon found himself, like so many of his fellow WWF alumni, in the warm embrace of WCW’s money. He was put in the nWo, primarily as mid to low card guy. His run in the nWo lasted all the way into 1999, as he and fellow b-teamers like Vincent, Horace and Stevie Ray made up the last vestiges of the original nWo black and white stable.

He was briefly given the KISS Demon gimmick, but only made one appearance as the character before it was given to Dale Torborg.

High Times
Adams landed on his feet in early 2000 in a power team with Bryan Clark called Kronik. The pair won WCW Tag gold twice in the last year of WCW’s existence and were pushed quite heavily. When WCW folded, both Adams and Clark disappeared off the national radar until September 2001 when they were brought into the WWF during the Invasion storyline. They had one PPV match against Undertaker and Kane, but the match was deemed so poor that Adams and Clark were instantly taken off TV and sent to developmental. Adams saw the developmental trip as an insult and was released in November 2001.

Adams and Clark then headed to Japan and had some good success in the tag ranks. The pair split in October 2002 when Adams went to pursue a boxing career. He was injured during training for his first fight, and returned to wrestling in early 2003. He was injured in a match against Rey Mysterio, Jr. and never wrestled again.

The Perspective
Brian Adams had a solid, if entirely unspectacular, wrestling career. He was a solid mid-card big man and could be counted on the tag ranks. He probably reached his greatest level of notoriety and advancement while working heel as “Kona” Crush but was never ever really considered to be a main event level guy on a consistent basis. For many fans, his death is one that will be overlooked, but I wanted to spotlight the career of a man I found myself to be a mark for. From the early days in Demolition to Kona Crush and his run with Bryan Clark (another favorite of mine) he’s a guy I always enjoyed seeing. Unfortunately, like so many others his age he has now just become another statistic that people can put on their ever-growing list. And frankly, that’s just sad.

For this week the vault is closed

Linked to the Pulse
You all really to need to check out Blatt’s coverage of ECW this week. His wife helps him and provides some absolutely hilarious, and at times brilliant, commentary.

David B. brings a long forgotten piece of WWE programming.

P.C. talks about where TNA went wrong with Joe and Angle.

This Day in History
I figured if we are talking history around here we should pay homage to what has happened on this very day in the years gone by. It will either make you long for the old days or be happy for what we have now.

1960 – Verne Gagne declared first AWA Heavyweight Champion
1975 – Crusher & Dick the Bruiser defeated Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens for the AWA Tag Team title
1986 – Rick Morton & Robert Gibson defeated Dennis Condrey & Bobby Eaton for the NWA World Tag Team title
1992 – The Great Muta defeated Riki Choshu for the IWGP Heavyweight title
1993 – The Dogcatchers defeated the Moondogs for the USWA Tag Team title

1946 – Dick Murdoch was born
1990 – Pat O’Connor died of cancer at 65
1997 – Plum Mariko died as the result of head injuries at 29

The Assignment
It’s important to know your history to know where you have come from and where you are going. Nova implemented history assignments for the students of the developmental territories months ago so they would know pro wrestling’s history and they would learn just how many moves Nova did create. I feel this is a smashing idea and every week I will assign a book or DVD for you to check out and learn from. They are not only educational but very entertaining.

It seems like I’ll buy almost any autobiography that WWE puts out, and have only recently gotten into non-WWE created novels. A lof WWE’s have been terrible (The Rock, Chyna, Fabulous Moolah), but some have been fascinating to read just for the stories, even if everything written isn’t necessarily true, or has a political edge to it. Take for example Ric Flair’s book To Be The Man. I know a lot of people have jumped on this book for sucking up the right people and pointing fingers at others, but to me the book is just flat out entertaining and fun to read. I remember reading it on a flight to Tuscon and just laughing out loud at Flair’s stories about Terry Funk naked in his front yard fighting with Flair’s dog or Flair and Piper’s trip to Puerto Rico where Piper clotheslined every plant in the lobby. And I also remembering being on that same plane when I read about Flair’s crash; that gave me a little chill. If you are interested enough to pick up a wrestler’s biography then I encourage you leave some of your smarkiness at the door and just read it for what it is; a good story. And there doesn’t get to be too many stories better than that of Ric Flair’s.

Mark was a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over four years, evolving from his original “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into the Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” He also contributes to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow me on Twitter here.