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
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
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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