Wrestler of the Day – January 30: Demolition

My main option today was Rockstar Spud so we’re going to go with the next best option: Demolition, as Brian Adams (Crush) was born on the 30th.

Demolition is of course Ax and Smash, but the Smash you most commonly know was the second person to portray the character. Originally the character was portrayed by Randy Colley, more famous as Moondog Rex. People soon caught on to the identity though and the role had to be recast. They did have a few matches with Colley as Smash though, including the debut on the January 17, 1987 episode of Superstars.

Demolition vs. Salvatore Bellomo/Mario Mancini

Demolition is managed by Johnny V here and have black and yellow face paint on instead of the usual red and white. Smash pounds on Bellomo to start and it’s quickly off to Ax. These guys actually look alike which is more than can be said about the future team with Barry Darsow as Smash. Ax rams Mancini into the buckle as we get house show ads on commentary. Back to Smash to slam Mancini face first into the mat and then his entire body out to the floor. The Demolition Decapitaton (Smash puts a guy over his knee and Ax hits a middle rope elbow) is good for the pin on Mario.

Smash would be replaced by Darsow a few weeks later and Mr. Fuji would take over as manager. Here’s one of their traditional squashes from September 27, 1987’s Wrestling Challenge.

Outback Jack/SD Jones vs. Demolition

Smash gets things going with Jones who somehow looks younger than he did at the first Wrestlemania. The announcers spend the first part of the match talking about Demolition’s theme song. Heenan says that the local radio station is playing WWF songs from the Piledriver album. I don’t buy it but it’s a cool story. Off to Jack (from Humpty Doo, Australia) who cranks on the arm and gets punched in the face for his efforts.

Ax slams him down for two before it’s back to Smash for right hands to the ribs. Jack tries a comeback but a few shots to the back put him down again. A kick to the chest finally allows for the hot tag to Jones but he charges into a backbreaker for the Decapitaton (called by name for one of the only times I can ever remember) and the pin.

Rating: D+. Not much to the match but it’s cool to see the traditional Demolition doing what they do best. We also got the always awesome looking rapid sledges to the back which became a trademark of the team over the years. There’s nothing to the match but the team always looked great.

Demolition would go on to win the Tag Titles from Strike Force at Wrestlemania IV. Most of you have probably seen that match, so here’s the rematch from about two months later on June 1, 1988.

Tag Titles: Strike Force vs. Demolition

This is the rematch from Mania where Demolition began the longest reign in the history of the titles, holding them for over a year. No date or location listed here but this is at a Superstars taping given the banners. I’m a big fan of both of these teams, even though Strike Force is considered weak and forgettable by most people. Commentary says this is in Oakland but it’s not like it really matters.

Gorilla and Hayes do commentary here so at least we have one competent guy talking now. Demolition starts the beatdown early as you would expect, just totally overpowering the far lighter team. They use their double teaming and take over for a bit, working on Smash’s arm. So much for that as Smash realizes he’s half of Demolition so screw this getting beaten up thing.

Hot tag to Martel and the crowd is pretty clearly liking what they’re seeing here. Boston Crab to Axe but it gets him nowhere. Everything breaks down and a chair to the back of Martel and then the Decapitator on the floor which Martel sells like DEATH. He didn’t wrestle again until the Rumble, 8 months from this, so I’d bet on that being rather legit. Demolition wins by countout.

Rating: C-. Decent and mainly for the angle but this wasn’t all that great. I’m probably biased in this though so take it with a grain of salt. The Decapitator at the end was AWESOME so they nailed that to say the least. Strike Force had one more televised match at Mania 5 where Martel turned heel, so this is more or less the end of the team

Demolition would hold the titles for over a year which is one of those records that is never going to be broken. Part of that reign was at the 1988 Survivor Series which saw one of the few double turns in wrestling history. Demolition was becoming more and more popular and it was clear that something had to change. The teams here are captained by Demolition and their main rivals at the time: Warlord and Barbarian, the Powers of Pain.

Team Demolition vs. Team Powers of Pain

Powers of Pain, Rockers, British Bulldogs, Hart Foundation, Young Stallions

Demolition, Brain Busters, Bolsheviks, Fabulous Rougeaus, Conquistadors

Now here’s a famous match. Demolition won the titles at Wrestlemania and are rapidly becoming faces based purely on fan reactions. They’re with Mr. Fuji here. These are the same rules as last year, meaning if a member of a team is beaten, he and his partner are both gone. Los Conquistadores are masked guys and would probably be played by different guys every night. My guess here would be Jose Estrada and Jose Luis Rivera here.

British Bulldog starts with let’s say Conquistador Uno. It’s quickly off to Jacques who was having legit backstage issues with the Bulldogs at this point. Off to Zhukov vs. Shawn and Michaels moonsaults out of the corner ala Daniel Bryan. Marty comes in and I’m not likely going to mention every tag here given how fast they’re happening. Ax comes in to pound on Jannetty and it’s off to Arn Anderson of the Brainbusters. Tully comes in and gets beaten up in the face corner for his efforts.

Jacques is tagged to be the fourth heel in about a minute and a half. Dynamite pounds on Jacques which is probably the most interesting pairing in the match given their real issues. Jim Powers comes in for about a second before it’s back to Dynamite to face Raymond Rougeau. A sunset flip gets two for Dynamite and it’s back to Powers to face Zhukov. Smash comes in and Powers is in trouble. Jacques dropkicks Powers into the corner and here’s Bret to a BIG pop. Bret quickly small packages Raymond to get things down to 5-4. There are still a ton of people on the apron though.

Off to Roma vs. Volkoff with Roma being in trouble quickly. Roma comes out of the corner and in an impressive spot, he jumps from the mat to the top rope and hits a spinning crossbody for two. Volkoff comes back with a dropkick of his own and it’s off to Smash vs. Neidhart. Jim quickly tags out to Barbarian for the real feud of the match: Powers vs. Demolition. Smash, still a cowardly heel, brings in Conquistador Dos.

Warlord comes in to pound on Dos as does Bret. Ax comes in and kicks Bret down before it’s off to Tully. Bret clotheslines Tully down and from the mat they tag in Shawn (he and Bret have to interact at Survivor Series. It’s like law or something) and Smash respectively. Volkoff and Smash double team Shawn with Nikolai hitting the gorilla press backbreaker. Back to Tully who immediately tags in Arn for the wicked spinebuster for two.

Uno comes in again and slams Shawn down but it’s off to Marty even faster. Back to Volkoff who tosses Marty around with ease. Davey comes in and the power advantage is negated. Nikolai brings in Tully who drops a lot of elbows on Davey before it’s off to Dos vs. Warlord. Warlord no sells everything and gorilla presses Dos into a tag to Ax. They slug it out with Ax taking over and handing it off to Smash.

Smash doesn’t do as well and it’s a double team from the Powers to take over on him. Tully comes in with a middle rope elbow to the head of Barbarian but Barbie clotheslines Blanchard’s head off. Barbarian tags Neidhart for a powerslam on Tully and then it’s off to Dynamite. Arn slows him down and brings in Uno who brings in Zhukov. Powers gets the tag and backdrops Boris, but Zhukov rolls through a crossbody for the pin out of nowhere to eliminate Powers and the Stallions.

It’s 4-4 now and Shawn comes in with a fist drop for two on Boris. Barbarian comes in and Tully gets tagged in. Tully realizes who he’s facing so he immediately tags in Nikolai without making a single bit of contact. Ax pounds away on Barbarian with current champion taking over. Off to Nikolai again with nothing of note going on. Shawn comes in to face Zhukov and makes a blind tag to Marty, who sunset flips Boris out of nowhere for the elimination.

Marty rolls up Dos for dos and it’s off to Uno for a BIG backdrop. Ax vs. Marty now as Ax takes over and brings in Arn. Davey gets the tag as does Tully and Blanchard is scared to come in again. I’m not sure why as he whips Marty into the corner and Jannetty is turned upside down. Smash comes in and puts on a front facelock but he tags off to Dos. It’s downhill for Demolition’s team now as the Harts pick apart both Conquistadores, including hitting something similar to the Demolition Decapitator on Uno. Amazingly enough that only gets two.

Shawn dropkicks Uno down and it’s off to Marty with another dropkick for two. Dynamite comes in and there’s the snap suplex. A middle rope kneedrop gets two and Jesse is impressed by Uno’s toughness. Back to Barbarian with a powerslam and a fist drop but he headbutts Uno into the wrong corner and it’s off to Tully. On Bobby’s advice, Tully goes right for the eyes and takes over.

Demolition double teams Barbarian and it’s off to a chinlock from Smash. Uno comes back in and is carried to the corner by Barbarian, but Ax makes the save and puts the chinlock on again. The Brainbusters come in for some offense but Arn puts his head down and gets kicked in the face. Off to Jannetty with a jumping back elbow and it’s time for Anvil. Neidhart immediately does the same thing Anderson did and gets kicked in the face as well.

Blanchard can’t suplex Neidhart and it’s off to Bret. Can we watch these two for 20 minutes or so? Bret pounds away in the corner and the Canadian tries a German on the American, but Blanchard gets his shoulder up and Bret is pinned. It’s now Demolition, Los Conquistadores and the Brainbusters vs. the Powers of Pain, the British Bulldogs and the Rockers. The Bulldogs beat up Tully and it’s off to Shawn. The Busters double team Shawn, drawing in Marty for a four man brawl. Both referees come in and both teams are disqualified and eliminated. It’s down to two teams apiece.

The four eliminated guys brawl to the back as Smash puts a chinlock on Dynamite. Off to Dos with a knee to the ribs, followed by Uno with a top rope forearm. Uno misses a kind of Swanton and it’s off to Warlord with a gutwrench slam. Barbarian comes in with the Kick of Fear followed by the delayed vertical suplex from Davey. Ax comes in for a power showdown with Davey.

Dynamite comes in and clotheslines Ax down before bringing in Davey to hit the gorilla press and powerslam on Dos. Barbarian hits a backbreaker to knock Dos into the corner for another tag, this time to Ax again. The Conquistadores take over on Barbie which isn’t something you say all that often. Dynamite gets a tag because Barbarian only has to fight off Uno.

Warlord gets a quick tag in and drops a leg but doesn’t cover, much to Jesse and Gorilla’s dismay. Dynamite comes in and ducks his head, allowing Uno to tag out AGAIN. Smash charges into a boot and there’s the snap suplex. The Swan Dive misses and a basic clothesline pins Dynamite, getting us down to three teams. That would be it for the Bulldogs as a team in America, mainly due to the medical issues of Dynamite and those fights with the Rougeaus I mentioned. Smash and both masked dudes work over Barbarian in the corner but he easily powers over to Warlord.

Warlord misses a charge and hits the post shoulder first and it’s time for Ax to pound away. Off to Smash who stays on the arm as Fuji gets on the apron. Off to Dos and then Uno with a top rope shot to the shoulder. Fuji is back on the floor now and Ax is in, cranking on the arm some more.

Fuji gets back on the apron and Warlord makes a comeback, only to be clotheslined down again by Smash. Fuji pulls down the top rope as Smash hits the ropes, sending him out to the floor. Remember that Fuji is Demolition’s manager. Demolition gets counted out and we’re down to one team apiece. Ax goes off on Fuji and Fuji hits him with the cane, only to get laid out with a slam.

Demolition leaves Fuji laying as we’ve got the Powers of Pain vs. Los Conquistadores left. They have a standoff until the Powers go out and help Fuji to his feet. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the ultra rare double turn. Back in the ring, Dos comes in to pound on Barbarian and it’s off to Uno. Fuji trips Uno and a headbutt from Barbarian gets the pin to win the match.

Rating: A. What a great match this was. It had EVERY tag team you could want to see in one match as well as a major move at the end with Demolition turning face. You had mini-stories in the match itself which is always a nice touch, with teams having short matches against each other. Also this was about five minutes shorter than the one last year which helped it tremendously. Great match and the 42 minutes that it runs flew by.

The Powers put Fuji on their shoulders post match. Demolition runs in and cleans house.

Ax and Smash were officially huge faces and would feud with the Powers of Pain and Fuji until Wrestlemania V where they would successfully defend the titles in a handicap match. After not much of a summer, Demolition would team up with Jim Duggan in a six man tag against a massive team of Andre the Giant and the Twin Towers.

Twin Towers/Andre the Giant vs. Demolition/Jim Duggan

 

Duggan is King of the WWF and has his face painted like Demolition but is rocking an American flag pattern of course. Akeem starts with the King with Duggan absorbing the trash talk and pounding away on the big man before it’s off to Ax for some pounding on the arm. Smash comes in and Demolition pounds Akeem down before bringing Duggan back in to crank on the arm as well.

 

Akeem finally gets in a shot to Ax’s ribs and it’s off to Boss Man who is immediately pounded down by the fresh Smash. Boss Man rakes the eyes to slow Smash down but Smash rakes the eyes right back in a good bit. Ax comes in again and cranks on the arm but gets sent into the wrong corner so Andre can come in and pound away with big right hands.

 

Akeem comes back in but misses a slow motion splash, allowing for the hot tag back to Smash who slams Akeem down in an impressive power display. Everything breaks down and Akeem hits a bottom rope splash on Smash, but Duggan hits Akeem in the back with the 2×4 to give Smash the pin.

 

Rating: C. It wasn’t much of a match but for above seven and a half minutes with these six guys, this was as good as you were going to get. Duggan was about as big as he was going to get in the WWF at this point as the fans were WAY into his Hogan-Lite character. Demolition was fresh off losing the tag titles but but they were still the most popular tag team in the company. Good, fun little match here which was much better than I was expecting.

 

The amazing title reign would FINALLY end in December of 1989 in a squash at the hands of Andre the Giant and Haku, the Colossal Connection. This led to a rematch in Toronto at Wrestlemania VI.

Tag Titles: Colossal Connection vs. Demolition

Only the challengers get an entrance. Andre is old and banged up here but they gave him a token title at the end of his career. The champions, the Connection, takes over to start as it’s Haku vs. Smash to get us going. Off to Ax to pound away but Andre comes in to break it up. Smash will have none of that and the beating continues on Haku with the challengers taking turns on him.

Haku and Smash fight over a backslide for awhile until Andre breaks it up. Demolition keeps control though and Haku gets beaten on even more. Andre finally cheats enough to let the give the champions the advantage. The giant headbutts Ax from the apron for a very delayed two before Haku rams Ax’s head into Andre’s head for two more. This was during the time when Andre would be officially in for about 15 seconds which was all he was capable of anymore.

Off to the Tongan nerve hold by Haku for a bit before Andre chokes in the corner. Andre hasn’t actually been in the match yet. A shoulder breaker gets two for Haku but he misses a charge into the corner. Hot tag brings in Smash to clean house and a flying forearm gets two. Everything breaks down and Andre is taken down by a double clothesline. Haku accidentally superkicks Andre into the ropes and the Decapitator gives Demolition their third tag titles.

Rating: C-. This was decent stuff but it was basically a handicap match. Andre was just too old to do much else after this and I don’t think he ever had another match in the WWF. Demolition would go on to have a summer long reign before turning heel and losing the titles to the now face Hart Foundation. Decent stuff here and the fans loved it.

Over the summer the team would turn heel again and add Crush as a third member of the team due to Ax developing health issues, including a heart condition which healed over time. This led to Crush subbing for Ax at times as the team began defending the titles under the Freebird Rule. One of these matches, and perhaps their most famous as a team, was against the Hart Foundation in a 2/3 falls match at Summerslam 1990.

Tag Titles: Hart Foundation vs. Demolition

This is 2/3 falls and Demolition is defending. Basically the Harts have about as much chance coming into this as I have at being Miss America 1974. Bret starts with Smash but the Harts knock Crush to the floor before anything gets going. Things settle down and Bret gets a quick rollup for two. Anvil comes in to crank on Smash’s arm before Bret comes back in with a fist to the back. Smash tries to get into a technical match with Bret and gets caught in an armbar for his stupidity.

Smash finally slams Bret down and brings in Crush, only to have Bret avoid an elbow and pound away. Crush charges into a boot in the corner and gets rolled up for two before it’s off to Neidhart vs. Smash, only to have Crush kick Jim in the back to give the champions the advantage. Crush comes in again and misses a charge into the corner, allowing for another double tag to Bret and Smash. Neidhart falls to the floor as everything breaks down. Smash is whipped into Crush and Bret gets two off the middle rope elbow but here’s Crush again. The Decapitator to Bret is enough for the first fall.

The second fall begins with Crush hitting a hard clothesline on Bret and Smash pounding on the chest. After a quick neck crank by Crush, Bret fires off the Hart Attack clothesline on Smash, allowing for the hot tag to Neidhart. A powerslam gets two on Smash and Bret launches Anvil into Smash in the corner. The Hart Attack takes Smash down but Crush breaks up the pin for the DQ to make it 1-1. Why they didn’t let the Harts get the pin there is beyond me.

During the break between falls, Demolition knocks Bret to the floor, allowing Ax to run down and sneak under the ring. The third fall starts with Bret getting two off a sunset flip before taking Smash down by the leg. Neidhart picks Bret up for the reverse powerslam for two on Smash. Now things get tricky as Smash rolls to the floor and rolls under the ring, switching places with Ax.

The idea is that Ax and Smash look so much alike that the referee can’t tell them apart. This is fine except for one problem: THEY DON’T LOOK ALIKE! Ax is taller, heavier set and has a rounder head, not to mention a deeper voice. This reasoning never made sense to me as a kid and it still doesn’t to this day.

Anyway the fresh Ax destroys Bret and gets two off Bret’s chest bump in the corner. Anvil comes in sans tag as Smash takes Ax’s place again. They try to switch again and the Legion of Doom come out to break it up. Smash goes after Hawk and Animal as Anvil shoulder blocks Crush into a rollup by Bret for the pin and the titles. The place comes unglued as the Harts have shocked the world.

Rating: B. That’s probably a bit high but I love this match. The wrestling is just ok but the storytelling is as good as you’ll get in a tag match with the LOD coming out to even things up, allowing the Harts to finally do the impossible and win the titles. This is a popular match among old school fans and if you watch it you’ll see why.

Legion of Doom vs. Demolition was a dream match in the 80s but it just never happened due to the timing. The match most people call the closest thing to the showdown was at Survivor Series 1990 in an eight man tag, but here’s the LOD vs. Smash/Crush from Supertape 3.

Demolition vs. Legion of Doom

Don’t freak: it’s Smash and Crush. This was the attempt at the new Demolition but without Axe and putting them back with Fuji for some reason the fire wasn’t there anymore. They would be gone just after Mania and this is apparently from late November. Crush and Animal start us off which doesn’t last long as it’s a big brawl quickly. Animal hits a belly to belly suplex to send Demolition running. I guess they did have an escape after all.

Back into the ring with Smash vs. Hawk and Smash wanting a test of strength. That doesn’t work so Hawk hammers away. Ten punches in the corner and a clothesline put Smash down again. Fuji trips up Hawk and the momentum shifts. A cane shot shifts it even more and some heel shenanigans follow. Crush comes in off the top with a double axe handle to the back which sets up a bearhug.

We go through some rest holds by both teams as I guess the working that they’ve done has worn them out in the past five minutes. The Decapitator with Crush dropping the elbow is awful as it only gets two. Granted I’m not a fan of that move in the first place. Clothesline puts both guys down and it’s off to Animal vs. Smash. Animal cleans house but Fuji breaks up the Doomsday Device. A top rope knee by Crush gets two and everything breaks down. Smash tries a Piledriver but Hawk hits the top rope clothesline to end this.

Rating: D+. Very basic match here but there was nothing great about it at all. This was a big brawl which is exactly what you would expect here. That being said it still wasn’t incredibly good, as both teams were gassed a few minutes in. The right eam won, but there’s nothing to Smash vs. Crush.

Demolition was clearly an attempt at ripping off the Legion of Doom but they were also one of the best tag teams the WWF ever produced. They were only the third team in company history to be three time Tag Team Champions and hold the record for longest reign by a wide margin. Ax and Smash are as dominant of a team as you’ll get and that’s all they needed to be. Believe it or not they still show up in indy companies every now and then, even holding some indy tag titles. They’re a great team, but unfortunately not as well known as LOD.

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