top of page

Da Crusher- the man that made South Milwaukee famous

Reginald Lisowski (July 11, 1926 – October 22, 2005) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, The Crusher (sometimes Crusher Lisowski to distinguish him from other Crushers, such as Crusher Blackwell). In his obituary, The Washington Post described him as "a professional wrestler whose blue-collar bona fides made him beloved among working class fans for 40 years". One of the biggest-drawing performers in the history of the American Wrestling Association (AWA), he was known as "The Wrestler Who Made Milwaukee Famous", and found his greatest success in the American Midwest, often teaming with Dick the Bruiser.

Introduced at the beginning of wrestling matches as "The Wrestler That Made Milwaukee Famous" (a play on the slogan for Schlitz, "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous"), Crusher was successful as a solo wrestler, winning the AWA World Heavyweight Championship three times, the first time unifying it with the Omaha version of the World Heavyweight Championship on July 9, 1963, in a match where he defeated Verne Gagne. He was skillful at cutting promos, as he would brag about his "100 megaton biceps" and offer to pummel "da bum" he was facing in the ring with ease, and he often delighted in calling opponents "turkeynecks."His most quotable and famous phrase though was: "How 'bout 'dat? When asked how he trained for a match, he'd claim he ran along the waterfront in Milwaukee carrying a large full beer barrel over either shoulder for strength (and longtime AWA announcer Rodger Kent often noted that by the end of the Crusher's training run, the beer was gone), and that he'd dance polka all night with Polish barmaids to increase his stamina. Although much of Crusher's popularity came from the idea that he was a big beer drinker, in actuality, he never drank beer, and according to Baron Von Raschke, he actually preferred wine. In 1981, Lisowski's wrestling career almost came to an end when the 450-pound Jerry Blackwell (who he had feuded with over the "Crusher" moniker) botched a top rope move and landed on Lisowski's right arm, causing nerve damage from his shoulder all the way to his wrist. Doctors told him he would never wrestle again, but Crusher did strength training for two years while he was unofficially "retired," returning to the ring in 1983, teaming with Baron von Raschke to beat Jerry Blackwell and Ken Patera for the AWA World Tag Team titles, only to lose them to The Road Warriors in August 1984

bottom of page