interview starts by asking how they got started in the business. Ax said he got
started by accident as he was home from college and met with his neighbor, who
was the athletic commissioner of Pennsylvania. He then went to the Pittsburgh
Civic Center and met up with Geeto Mongol, who asked him if he was interested
in wrestling and then ended up training on his farm and within six weeks, he
was wrestling in matches. Smash said that he was a bouncer at a bar in
Minnesota and Eddie Sharkey was working as the bartender and asked him if he
was interested in wrestling. Smash thought he was kidding but Sharkey opened up
a wrestling school, which was in the basement of a church that he rented and
trained there. Smash said the conditions were brutal, as it was a homemade mat
that had nails sticking out from the sides. He said that Ole Anderson scouted
some guys while there and took Joe Laurinaitis (Animal) to Atlanta and after
that, the rest of the guys (Wayne Bloom, John Nord) got turns.
are asked how they met. Ax said that Vince gave him a list of names as a
partner and Smash was one of those names. Ax said he called Ivan Koloff, who
worked with Smash in Atlanta, and gave him a good recommendation. Ax said that
Randy Colley didn’t work out as all the fans knew that he was Moondog Rex and
the same thing would happen to the other WWF guys Vince suggested. Ax did not
want to mention the names of the other guys.
thought the gimmick worked and they had good matches but stated it was bad to
essentially kill them off when they brought in the Legion of Doom. Ax said that
they were not knock-offs of LOD as they, along with the Powers of Pain, all had
their own distinct style. Ax said that always knew the Demolition gimmick would
asked what his initial impression was of Ax. Smash said that when he quit
working in Charlotte, he was considering going to Japan but Vince called him
about teaming with Ax. Smash also asked Ivan Koloff about Ax and was told that
Ax would teach him how to work up there, as just about everything was different
between the WWF and NWA.
then asked about the first match they worked together. Ax then recalls how
there was animosity towards them from a few teams in the locker room, stating
some of them were jealous but did not want to mention names. He then said that
Vince told them they would be pushed hard. He then talks about how you have to
know your craft and if you do, you should be able to adjust so work in front of
any crowd in any territory. He recalls how on time in the locker room, Big John
Studd joked that Ax was here to “blow up the babyfaces,” referencing how they
worked a non-stop style that blew up a majority of their opponents.
that there was an immediate chemistry that developed between them and adding
Mr. Fuji helped make it a total team effort, as he would give them advice from
outside the ring.
interviewer talks to Ax about the style change within the WWF from when he was
the Masked Superstar until he came back as part of Demolition. Ax said that
when he broke in, guys would make fun of the then WWWF as it was filled with
slow and lumbering guys, unlike the Southern territories who had guys wrestle
longer matches at a faster pace. Ax said that adding teams like the British Bulldogs
and Hart Foundation helped them wrestle at a quicker pace.
then asked if there was a captain of the team. Smash said that it was Ax, then
notes how they both listened to each other. Ax said it was not a dictatorship
and that they never tried to take advantage of each other. He doesn’t mention
names but brings up how one particular team split up because one of the guys
got the focus for himself and not his partner.
asked about notoriety as they got popular and Ax said that the makeup they wore
in the ring helped them when they were out in public but when Fuji was with
them, everyone could immediately tell. Ax said that he enjoyed being a
celebrity in the ring and being able to go out in public with his family
without being hassled. He recalls one time, while wrestling as the Masked
Superstar, he was in a restaurant when Flair and Wahoo McDaniel arrived and saw
them get mobbed by the other patrons while he got to remain hassle free. Smash
said when he was Krusher Khruschev, he couldn’t go anywhere as the fans wanted
to kill him and would do things such as slash his tires.
about their memories of Hogan and Savage around this time, Ax said they were
usually focused on the other tag-teams they were facing and just had cordial
conversations with them. He then goes on
to state how Savage struggled to find his own identity and started to copy
Hogan in order to get a rub? Smash adds that he liked to work the same cards as
Hogan due to the bigger paychecks.
then asked memories about working with certain teams. They both put over the
British Bulldogs, stating how it was impossible to have a bad match with them.
Ax adds that it was easy to forget how small they were due to the powerful
style they wrestled. They liked their matches with Strike Force but Ax said
that the team did not get over as well as the Can-Am Connection did, noting how
it was tough to replace the original act. Smash jokes how Tom Zenk was a
Ax said that
he requested Mr. Fuji as a manager. They first had Johnny Valiant, who Ax
thought was a nice guy but was too much of a goof on-screen and he could not
grasp what the team was supposed to be, which was a couple of bad-ass guy. Ax
also liked Fuji because he wouldn’t take the focus away from the wrestlers as
opposed to guys like Jimmy Hart and Jim Cornette. Ax said Fuji never ribbed
them but had a motto of be on time, eat and sleep good, and work out.
When it came
to the road schedule, mash talked about how one day you would be in New York
then go to California then back to New Jersey. He said at one point they went
to a pattern of working three weeks then having ten days off after there was an
argument started from a lot of burned-out wrestlers. He says that he traveled a
lot in Charlotte but got to be home in his own bed a majority of the time.
asked about working with some other teams. They liked the Powers of Pain but
noted that the Barbarian was a much better worker than his partner. They said
that the Warlord was a nice guy and tried hard but was too mechanical in the
ring. When asked why their feud ended so
abruptly, Ax said they never found out why. He also adds how they were turned
face about two years too soon then talk some more about the LOD. Smash claims
the fans would b emad if they were brought in earlier and says that the LOD was
jealous that they were more over than them in the WWF. Ax adds that Vince never
realized, because he wanted LOD for so long, that Demolition was more over than
them by the time they arrived.
On the subject
of other teams, they both loved the Hart Foundation. They only recall
having a few matches with the Rockers
and said that they were easy but there was a bit of a style clash. They loved
working with the Brainbusters, as they always made them look good. Smash
reaclls how the crowd deflated when they dropped the belt to them on Saturday’s
Night Main Event.
asked about Andre the Giant and recall how he was fun in the locker room but
generally miserable outside of the ring. Smash said that when they were out
with Andre, he never let them pay for anything. They recall how they once took
Andre out for his birthday when they were in Paris and went on a tour of his
favorite winery where they proceeded to drink a shitload.
asked about their first Wrestlemania match, which was against the Strike Force
at Wresltemania IV. Ax notes how long of a day it was during Wrestlemania,
saying you did interviews from 10am to about 6pm with a short break for lunch
in-between. Smash notes how he signed his first contract just before
asked about a few other workers. They always got along with the Ultimate
Warrior but note how others were jealous of him then add how he was thrown into
a spot that he was not ready for. They both liked Jake Roberts but said that
promoters couldn’t trust him due to his demons. They say that he was a master
of in-ring psychology.
about drug use, both men state they were not a part of that and traveled with
Fuji. They said the guys who took drugs traveled together and some of them became
so paranoid that they believed the wrestlers who didn’t take anything would rat
on them. Ax notes how he was on the road away from his family and would rather
come home with money for them instead of blowing it on drugs. They both go on
to state how they never ratted guys out to the office and took pride in not
backstabbing or intentionally trying to hurt others. Ax said he wasn’t shocked
that Dusty came to the WWF but was surprised that he allowed Vince to give him
the polka dots and everything else about his character.
Both said it
is not hard to stay in shape on the road. They add that you need to keep a
routine. Ax notes how he once brought his wife and daughter on the plane with
him and when the plane took off, the other wrestlers went asleep and Ax told
his daughter, who asked, that this is the only time that some of them get to
sleep. On the subject of steroids, Ax says no one tells you that you need them
but he was prescribed them at one point and they helped him.
Up next is
how Crush became part of the team. Ax notes how shortly before Wrestlemania VI,
he developed an allergic reaction to shellfish. He went out for Chinese food
with his wife before going to the movies and said that he felt a burning
feeling but thought it was just bad food. While at the movies, he had to go outside to get fresh air then collapsed
after going into anaphylactic shock. Vince thought he had a heart problem and
went looking for a replacement and they spoke with Len Denton (The Grappler) in
Oregon about Crush, who said he was a great guy. Ax says that he was thrown
into a tough situation and was rough on interviews but did try and listened but
couldn’t replace the original.
Up next is
when the LOD came to the WWF. They are asked if they heard about them coming in
before they did and both said others told them the LOD were pissed at them
about their gimmick but the LOD never said that to them. Ax said even if they
were, what would happen, they try to fight them. Ax said he always got along
well with Hawk but hints at some animosity between him and Animal. Smash said
that their matches were not good because they never wanted to sell any offense.
Ax notes how they were just as big as LOD, if not bigger, then say if someone
as big as Andre can sell, everyone should be able too.
interviewer then brings up Ax’s shoot interview (as the Masked Superstar) and
how he felt betrayed by Smash then wanted to know how they patched things up
between them. Ax said they were supposed to have a match that ended up having a
screwy finish but Smash no-showed and he and Crush went out and lost. Smash
said he was home hunting ducks and quit. They both thought they were leaving
together for WCW. Before this, Vince met with both guys and proposed an idea of
both guys changing their gimmicks to wear cloth masks. Anyway, some of the
agents stirred things up backstage, telling Ax and Crush that Smash made
another agreement with Vince to do another gimmick, which pissed them both off.
It turns out that WCW gave them a much worse deal than the initially proposed
and they were not going back there. For a long time, Smash had no idea that Ax
was mad at him.
asked what ideas WCW proposed to them. They said there were two options. First,
since WWF did not own the Demolition name, they could use that or the other
idea was for Ax to return as the Masked Superstar and work with Vader and have
Smash and Crush continue as Demolition.
asked about how they are feeling physically at the moment. Smash said that his
back and neck are in constant pain but he just took a shot and feels okay
today. Ax said he has arthritis in his hands and wrists but works out a few
times a week and feels good most of the time.
about the lack of kayfabe today, Smash said that it is no longer wrestling but
entertainment today. Ax notes how older fans come up to him and say how it is
not liked it used to be anymore. Ax thinks that back then, they were not trying
to insult the fans and might have been more believable and notes how psychology
is a lost art nowadays.
about overrated and underrated guys, Ax notes how Terry Taylor was
underappreciated and brings up the awful Red Rooster gimmick. He then tells a
story of how his daughter was with him and asked why he came down to the ring
acting like a Rooster. He said that he didn’t know then she asked if it was
because someone didn’t like him. Smash states how he wants everyone to know
that the LOD was not overrated, just that they didn’t have good matches in the
WWF due to the different style.
favorite teams to work against are the Bulldogs, Hart Foundation and Strike
Force. Smash also loved working against Andre and Haku, as they were friends.
Both then state how the WWF should have paired up Haku and the Barbarian.
owns his own printing shop and sells real estate. Ax went back to teaching, he
taught for five years prior to wrestling, and teaches special education,
primarily kids that come out of juvenile detention and does work in a psychiatric
hospital for kids who were sexually abused. Both men do nor miss the hassle of
traveling on the road but do miss the hefty paychecks.
then asked about what makes a great angle. Smash said something believable and
having the guys who can make it work. Ax adds that you have to become the
person and adds that once he was asked to be a cowboy and didn’t feel
comfortable as he knew nothing about being a cowboy and felt the fans would see
right through him. They note how they
could have had a good angle wih the Road Warriors but it wasn’t done correctly.
He notes that they should have been kept separate for a while, winning matches,
then started to feud. Smash adds that this would have gotten the LOD over more
in the WWF.
how different and cold the wrestling business is compared to others, noting how
he received Christmas calls and cards from old bosses but never had that happen
once from a wrestling promoter. He then tells a story of how he recently talked
to John Laurinaitis and asked about a job working as an agent. He helped him break
in the business and thought he would put in a good word for him, after he was
told there were a few openings but Laurinaitis ended up laughing at him. Smash called
back a few weeks later and they pretended like they did not know who he was at
the offices. Ax says that wrestling is nothing more than a meat factory and you
need to realize that so you don’t take offense to being let go.
asked about road stories and just add that they had fun and gave it their all.
Ax notes how wrestling provided for his family and sent his daughters to
school, which makes him proud. Smash is sad that a lot of his friends in the
business are starting to pass away.
by thanking their fans.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this interview. If
you do like gossip and road stories, you will not find that here but both guys
were well spoken and agenda-free. Also, it is nice to see them being successful
after the careers have ended and not struggling to make a living on the Indy
circuit. I will say that I have no idea what Ax was talking about when he
stated Savage did not have an identity and they mentioned the Road Warriors an
awful lot, frequently mentioning how they did not work in the WWF and he did come off a tad self-righteous at times when discussing how he generally refrained from partying on the road but did seem like a likable guy overall. Still, it
was interesting to see how they were split up and even though Ax spoke more
than his partner, they were not cutting each other off or speaking over each
other, which can happen during these shoots. I recommend this shoot, especially
if you are a fan of this era of tag-team wrestling.