Celebrating the NFL's 100th with Milwaukee's own Da Crusher

Long before Hulkamania took the nation by storm and Vince McMahon turned professional wrestling into the multi-billion-dollar "sports entertainment" industry, one of Milwaukee's own established himself as one of the sports first true superstars.

Reggie Lisowski grew up in South Milwaukee and was raised in a prototypical Polish family on the South Side. He played football in high school, excelling as a fullback.

His football days were interrupted by World War II. Lisowski was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army and it was there that he started dabbling in wrestling.

When he was discharged, he began working out at the Eagles Club and made his debut in 1949 against Marcel Buchet.

In the early years, The Crusher wrestled several times a week around Chicago while working as a bricklayer during the day to make ends meet. He joined Vern Gagne's AWA circuit in 1963 and went on to win three World Championships during his career and five Tag Team Championships, several of those with longtime partner Dick the Bruiser.

When the AWA started to wane in popularity, thanks to the rise of Hogan and McMahon's WWF, the Crusher joined the circuit on a part-time basis, working a number of smaller shows throughout the Midwest. He continued wrestling until retiring in 1988.

Da Crusher's statue was unvieled last year

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