Jerry Blackwell
Blackwell, c. 1982
Born(1949-04-26)April 26, 1949[1]
Stone Mountain, Georgia, U.S.
DiedJanuary 22, 1995(1995-01-22) (aged 45)[1][2]
Cumming, Georgia, U.S.
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Crusher Blackwell[1]
Jerry Blackwell[1]
Sheik Ayatollah Blackwell[1]
The Canadian Bumblebee[1]
Billed height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[1]
Billed weight474 lb (215 kg)[1]
Billed fromStone Mountain, Georgia[2]
Trained byGino Brito[1]

Jerry Blackwell (April 26, 1949 – January 22, 1995) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name "Crusher" Jerry Blackwell.[1] Blackwell competed in the 1979 World's Strongest Man contest, but withdrew early in the competition due to an injury.[3] He was a main event star in the American Wrestling Association where he feuded with Mad Dog Vachon, Hulk Hogan, The Crusher, Bruiser Brody and Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissey.

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1974–1979)

Nicknamed the "Mountain from Stone Mountain", "Crusher" Jerry Blackwell began his career in the 1970s. Despite his considerable bulk, Blackwell was quite nimble and a gifted worker, able to throw a standing dropkick and take bumps in the ring. In 1976, he wrestled in Pennsylvania, where he faced such wrestlers as Dominic DeNucci and Ivan Putski; in the latter match, he was disqualified for using brass knuckles against his opponent.[4] He competed in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) in 1978. He defeated such wrestlers as Larry Zbyszko, Dominic DeNucci and S.D. Jones but was unsuccessful in matches against high-profile stars such as André the Giant and WWF Champion Bob Backlund.[5]

American Wrestling Association (1979–1989)

Hulk Hogan performing a leg drop on Blackwell, c. 1982

In the 1980s, Blackwell settled in the AWA, where he became a main event star and feuded with Mad Dog Vachon, Hulk Hogan, and the "Crusher" Reginald Lisowski. Blackwell was tagged as the "Rattlesnake", given for his quick speed and aggression, a nickname which later in the 1990s was bestowed upon Steve Austin. After a bloody, unsuccessful feud with the Crusher, Blackwell dropped his "Crusher" moniker and eventually joined forces with hated AWA manager Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissey in 1983, wore Arab garments, and formed a successful tag team with Ken Patera known as the Sheiks. The Sheiks feuded with Verne Gagne, as well as the High Flyers (Greg Gagne and "Jumpin" Jim Brunzell) over the AWA world tag team title. The Sheiks beat the High Flyers for the tag team titles and remained champions for eleven months before being dethroned by the Crusher and Baron von Raschke.

Blackwell's career reached new heights after the departure of Hulk Hogan from the AWA in late 1983. Verne Gagne tapped Blackwell to be Hogan's replacement as the top babyface in the AWA. Blackwell became a face immediately after winning a battle-royal at the St. Paul Civic Center on June 10, 1984, when he was attacked and brutally triple-teamed by Al-Kaissey, Abdullah the Butcher and his tag team partner in Japan Bruiser Brody (billed as "King Kong Brody" in the AWA out of respect for Dick the Bruiser), which led to a post-match brawl also involving Dusty Rhodes, Curt Hennig and the Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane) coming in on Blackwell's behalf. Blackwell began a historic feud with Brody and Al-Kaissey, and established a new image as a solid fan favorite as well.

Blackwell went on to receive numerous title shots against AWA World Heavyweight champions Stan Hansen and Curt Hennig throughout 1986 and 1987; due to poor health caused by years of obesity and physical punishment, however, Blackwell's in-ring performance slowed. As a result, Blackwell stopped wrestling full-time. Blackwell made his last appearance in the AWA during a television taping in Rochester, Minnesota in October 1989, wrestling in a singles match against Tom Stone and in a 6-man tag team match with Bobby Fulton and Jackie Fulton against Johnny Valiant, Mike Enos, and Wayne Bloom. The AWA took the opportunity to push an angle between Blackwell and Adnan's new protégé Kokina Maximus, but the match never took place.

Blackwell considered joining the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) during the promotion's expansion in 1984. Before being signed, wrestlers were required to record promos, but the large number of wrestlers wanting to join the WWF made for a long lineup on a day while the interviews were being recorded. Blackwell got so frustrated with standing in line that he left, claiming that he was a wrestler and did not want to feel like he was punching a time clock for a corporation.[6]

Reception and incidents

Blackwell was also known for his feats of strength. One of the most famous, which he performed during interviews, was diving into a 2x4.[7]

While Blackwell was generally regarded as an easy wrestler to work with who was willing to sell his opponent's moves, he was involved in at least two matches in which his opponent was seriously injured. Mad Dog Vachon sustained three broken ribs and two broken vertebrae in a match with Blackwell and was unable to compete again for almost three years.[8] The Crusher suffered nerve damage to his arm and was forced to take about a year off after Blackwell performed a move from the top rope and landed awkwardly on him.[9]


In later years, Blackwell suffered from health problems including diabetes, gangrene, and gout. He also suffered from personal losses, such as the death of his son, a subsequent divorce, and the loss of his business. Blackwell came close to death after kidney failure and pneumonia, and suffered several automobile accidents.[10]

In December 1994, Blackwell was injured in another automobile accident, and died on January 22, 1995, at the age of 45, due to complications from injuries sustained from it.

Championships and accomplishments

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Wrestler Profiles: Jerry Blackwell". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Slagle, Steve. "Hall of Fame Inductee: Crusher Blackwell". Professional Wrestling Online Museum. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  3. ^ "Results of the 1979 World's Strongest Man Contest". World's Strongest Man Competition Page. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  4. ^ "Erie - 1973-76". Steel Belt Wrestling. May 1, 2006. Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  5. ^ "Ring Results: 1978". The History of WWE. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  6. ^ Matysik, Larry (2005). Wrestling At The Chase: The Inside Story Of Sam Muchnick And The Legends Of Professional Wrestling. ECW Press. p. 204. ISBN 1-55022-684-3.
  7. ^ Oliver, Greg; Steven Johnson (2007). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. ECW Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-55022-759-8.
  8. ^ "Mad Dog Vachon live at Canoe". SLAM! Wrestling. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2008.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ Oliver, Greg. "The Crusher dead at 79". SLAM! Wrestling. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2008.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ Rickard, Mike (January 4, 2018). "Jerry Blackwell - Dead at 45".
  11. ^ "AWA World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  12. ^ "NWA World Tag Team Title (Central States)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  13. ^ "CWA Super Heavyweight Title". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  14. ^ Hoops, Brian (January 12, 2019). "Pro wrestling history (01/12): The Outsiders win WCW Tag team titles". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  15. ^ "NWA Southeastern Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  16. ^ "NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  17. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
  18. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 100 Tag Teams of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on September 21, 2011. Retrieved February 27, 2008.