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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Demolition...Road Warrior Rip Offs" Or Not"
August 19, 2004 by Jared Dinsell


In the late 80's and early 90's Demolition was by far my favorite Tag Team within the WWF roster. While there were tons of teams that I loved such as The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs and The Rockers, Demolition stood out as my favorite. The story of Demolition's origin is relatively unknown but it's assumed that Demolition was created as Vince's version of the Road Warriors (who McMahon was unable to get a hold of at the time due to their NWA contracts).

Demolition debuted in the WWF in January 17th 1987 on an episode of Superstars squashing Salvatore Bellomo & Mario Mancini. The original Demolition was Bill Eadie (Ax) and former Moondog Randy Colley (Smash). The Demolition team was built to be a duo of fear and menace so when fans saw Moondog Rex posing as a Road Warrior the reaction was a puzzled. After a few shows Colley wasn't working as Smash and was replaced by Barry Darsow (who was fresh off his successful run as Krusher Khrusherev in the NWA). The Demolition team was improved with Darsow added to the team but they were far from WWF gold and glory. While the team did well throughout most of 1987 (getting a few key wins over the Islanders and Killer Bees), fans simply couldn't get past that they had be branded as Road Warrior knock offs. Even a manager change (from Johnny V to Mr. Fuji) and a unique feud with Billy Jack Haynes & Ken Patera didn't seem to do much.

When the feud ended (Haynes had left the WWF before it could really have any blow off) things began to change. Demolition began running over every tag team right left and center. A string of victories over the Rougeaus Bros., The Killer Bees, The Young Stallions & British Bulldogs put Ax and Smash in line for a tag title shot against Strike Force at Wrestlemania IV. While Demolition had been dubbed as villainous heels fans were cheering for them when they won their first of three WWF Tag Team titles. Upon their title win Demolition went on to have a string of awesome title defense matches against all-comers including The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs, The Young Stallions, The Rockers, Strike Force, Killer Bees and The Rougeaus. It was during this time that the Road Warrior rip off seal began to fade away and Demolition began to become of tag team of their own.

By the summer of 1988 Demolition was at the top of the WWF Tag Team ranks. However a new baby face team called the Powers Of Pain showed up in the WWF (they had just come from the NWA where they had feuded with ironically enough the Road Warriors). Upon The Powers Of Pain arrival they squashed every tag team they face and announcer built up a possible meeting with Demolition. By the fall the two teams were in a heated feud but the WWF began to realize something. Demolition was far more over than the Powers and fans were actually cheering the heel Demolition over the face Powers Of Pain. Thus, came the infamous double turn at the 1988 Survivor Series.

With Demolition as faces now and the Powers Of Pain as heels under the guidance of Mr. Fuji the two teams continued to feud until their Wrestlemania V blow off match. While some fans had trouble understanding that Demolition were now faces, by the Spring/Summer of 1989 it was clear they had turned because of the huge crowd pops they were receiving. By this time, Ax and Smash had already been reigning Tag Team champions for well over a year. They had just come off a major feud with the Twin Towers when all of a sudden they dropped their titles to the Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard) on the July 1989 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event.

Demolition spent the rest of the summer and early fall as baby face Tag title contenders continuing to battle the Twin Towers, The Brain Busters and The Powers Of Pain. Despite no longer being the champs, Demolition was still the biggest tag team on the scene. After some bizarre out of ring politics, Demolition regained the titles in October 1989. It was clearly a transitional reign though as they lost them to the newly formed Colossal Connection team of Andre The Giant and Haku. Ax and Smash spent the remainder of 1989 and the beginning of 1990 feuding with the new tag team champs. The blow off was set up at Wrestlemania VI where the Demolition would regain their WWF Tag Team titles for a third time. At this point Demolition's run was reaching it's peak. Ax and Smash were getting pops as big as Hulk Hogan (if you don't believe me watch Wrestlemania VI and you'll know what I mean).

After Wrestlemania VI, Demolition was one of the biggest draws in wrestling. They were reigning tag champs for a third time, they ere very over with the crowds, and they had just started an interesting feud with The Hart Foundation and The Rockers. However problems and politics hampered any future plans. Bill Eadie began to develop health problems and couldn't wrestle full time. The WWF couldn't have their top team not run full time so they brought in Bryan Adams to wrestle part time for Eadie as Crush the newest member of Demolition. While Adams tried hard, it was difficult for fans to embrace a relatively green wrestler who was teamed with two seasoned veterans. Demolition's popularity began to sink but they were still over and the top team in the WWF. The other problem was the lack of heel teams in the WWF. The Brain Busters had left in late 1989, Andre The Giant retired so the Colossal Connection was through, The Fabulous Rougeaus had been disbanded, as had the Powers Of Pain because The Road Warriors Hawk & Animal were on their way to the WWF and The Bolsheviks, Orient Express and Power & Glory were either too new to be pushed strong or simply could be taken as a major heel threat. Therefore a Demolition heel turn was evident. With Crush now in the fold, Demolition returned to be heels but they were still the tag team champs and an awesome force to be reckoned with. They toppled the Rockers in tag title matches through their switching of partners illegally. They continued to feud with the Hart Foundation until Summerslam '90 where they lost the titles due to the interference of the newly arrived LOD. Vince wanted the LOD to be faces and figured an LOD/Demolition feud would be a huge draw.

Throughout the Fall of 1990 Demolition and LOD feuded. However it was not the dream match that fans had hoped for. Often it was booked as six man tag team matches where the baby face LOD & Ultimate Warrior would defeat the heel Demolition team of Ax Smash & Crush. By late 1990 it was clear Bill Eadie's health wasn't getting any better. The WWF released him shortly after Survivor Series and Demolition was reduced to Smash and Crush. Although they continued to feud with LOD throughout late 1990/early 1991, the matches were even less spectacular than before. Legion Of Doom would often squash the new Demolition in less then 5 minutes. By this time Demolition's popularity was getting really low. It was amazing how far Demolition had fallen since the arrival of LOD. In the fall of 1991 they were headlining house shows and now in early 1991 they were being squashed on a regular basis. The LOD/Demolition feud was canned shortly after the 1991 Royal Rumble and Smash and Crush were placed into a feud with the Rockers. Although Demolition was jobbing to Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty around the horn they at least weren't being squashed and were actually having some good matches.

The feud went nowhere however and by the Spring 1991 Demolition was now jobbing to the Bushwhackers! After putting over a relatively unknown (in the North American market) Japanese tag team at Wrestlemania VII, Demolition was essentially split up. Both wrestled a few solo matches putting over new talent as Smash and Crush before Bryan Adams was sent to Portland's PNW in May 1991 to fine tune his skills. Meanwhile Barry Darsow stayed on as Demolition Smash for the Summer of 1991 putting over mid-carders like Bret 'Hitman' Hart, The British Bulldog, 'Texas Tornado' Kerry Von Erich, Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine and Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat. In the fall of '91 Darsow was repackaged as the Repo Man, a ridiculous gimmick that made most fans want to see Smash do a solo run instead.

While fans have not had a taste of Demolition in the WWF since August of 1991, they are still considered one of the greatest tag teams to ever grace the promotion. Demolition was branded as Road Warrior knock offs when they debuted but they soon melded into a team of their own having fantastic matches with various tag teams on the roster between 1987-1991. Demolition was able to adapt to another team's style while the Road Warrior simply beat the crap out of every team they faced. I'm a huge Demolition fan and to me they far surpassed the LOD in terms of a tag team. I also felt that the WWF totally dropped the ball with Demolition when Adams came on board as Crush. The Smash & Crush Demolition team was vastly underrated in my opinion and they had a youth to them that the original Demolition lacked. While the original Demolition team of Ax and Smash is what the team will always be remembered for, much could've been done with the Crush & Smash Demolition team that wasn't.

by Jared Insell..


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