Reginald “Crusher” Lisowski, whose charismatic promos and vicious brawling style inspired a legion of Midwestern fans and put the territory on the map, died late Saturday night. He was 79.
As one of the most consistent draws in American pro wrestling from the 1950s through the 1980s, Ligowski is unquestionably a Hall of Fame caliber figure in the history of the sport. He was a huge draw around the country but most significantly in the Midwest, where his run as a draw in the 1970s is unrivaled. He drew historic ratings in a televised match with Giant Baba.
Ligowski had struggled with a non-cancerous brain tumor, which constricted his health.
He is an emblematic figure of the Midwest territory and of the AWA. He won the AWA Championship three times and was Tag Team champion seven times (with Billy Robinson, Red Bastien, and most famously, Dick the Bruiser).
When the WWF contrived a successful drawing campaign in the Midwest in the 1980s with Hulk Hogan, not even Lisowski’s drawing power was secure, and the AWA territory very slowly collapsed.