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Brian Adams (wrestler)

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This article is about the professional wrestler. For other people with the same name, see Brian Adams (disambiguation). For other uses, see Crush (disambiguation).
Brian Adams
Adams in 2002
Birth name Brian Keith Adams
Born April 14, 1964[1]
Kona, Hawaii, United States
Died August 13, 2007(2007-08-13) (aged 43)[1]
Tampa, Florida, United States
Cause of death Drug overdose
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Brian Adams[1]
The Kona Crush[1]
The American Ninja[1]
The Demon[2]
The Midnight Soldier[1]
Billed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[1]
Billed weight 315 lb (143 kg)[1]
Billed from Kona, Hawaii
Trained by Tatsumi Fujinami
Antonio Inoki
Debut 1986[1]
Retired 2003

Brian Keith Adams (April 14, 1964[1] – August 13, 2007) was an American professional wrestler. Adams is well known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), under the name Crush, and for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) under his real name Brian Adams. Trained in Japan by Antonio Inoki, he was a two-time WCW World Tag Team Champion and a one-time WWF World Tag Team Champion and All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Champion, among other titles and accomplishments. In 2002, he briefly tried a career in boxing until he was forced to retire due to back and shoulder injuries. He died of accidental respiratory failure from a combination of buprenorphine, carisoprodol, chlordiazepoxide and alprazolam.[3]

Early life[edit]

Brian Adams was born in Kona, Hawaii and was raised in Kealakekua, Hawaii and attended Konawaena High School.[4][5] After graduating from high school, Adams joined the US Air Force, where he began boxing.[6] It was during his time in the USAF, while stationed in Japan, that he was also exposed to wrestling. Adams was trained in wrestling by famed Japanese wrestler and mixed martial artist Antonio Inoki.[6] In 1986, after training in Japan, Adams came to the United States and began working in Portland, Oregon's Pacific Northwest Wrestling (PNW).[1]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1986–1987)[edit]

Brian Adams made his debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1986. However, his work visa expired, forcing him to return to the United States.

Pacific Northwest Wrestling (1987–1990)[edit]

In the Pacific Northwest Wrestling (PNW) promotion, he was given the nickname The American Ninja and was put in a tag team called "The Wrecking Crew" with Len Denton, who wrestled under a mask, billed as "The Grappler". Adams and Denton were the Pacific Northwest Tag Team Champions for a time and worked a feud with the Southern Rockers, Steve Doll and Rex King.[7] In 1990, he won the Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship after winning a tournament final match against Larry Oliver in Portland on April 21, 1990 for the vacant title.[7] He lost the title to Scott Norton on May 12, 1990 in Portland.[7]

Return to NJPW (1987–1988)[edit]

In September 1987, Adams returned to NJPW with a couple of victories over Kenichi Oya. By February 1988, he began wearing a mask and going by the name The Midnight Soldier. Although he was usually on the losing end of most of the matches, he wrestled to a double countout with George Takano and held a victory over Tatsutoshi Goto.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (1989)[edit]

In January 1989, Adams went to All Japan Pro Wrestling for its New Year's Giant Series tour.

World Wrestling Federation (1990–1991)[edit]

In June 1990, while still working for the PNW, Adams debuted in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as Crush, the third member of the WWF World Tag Team Championship team Demolition.[8] With Adams joining Demolition, the stable exercised the Freebird Rule allowing any combination of the three to defend the tag team title, which allowed Crush to become a World Tag Team Champion without being involved in the match where the team won the title (Demolition had begun their third reign as champions at Wrestlemania VI in April 1990 before Adams even debuted for the WWF).[8][9] At the SummerSlam pay-per-view in 1990, Demolition, with new member Adams, lost the Tag Team title to The Hart Foundation in a two out of three falls match with Adams getting pinned for the final fall to lose the title.[10] After SummerSlam, Demolition resumed an earlier feud with The Legion of Doom.[8] Adams continued to perform as part of Demolition until after WrestleMania VII where he and Smash lost to Genichiro Tenryu and Koji Kitao. After WrestleMania, the WWF decided to disband Demolition as a team.[9]

Return to PNW (1991–1992)[edit]

Upon his departure from the WWF, Adams, who continued to use the Crush gimmick, returned to PNW.[11] He was portrayed as a dominant wrestler, winning both the Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship and the Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship. Adams received the first of these two championships during this stint in the PNW while teaming with previous rival Steve Doll and defeating The Bruise Brothers for the Tag Team Championship on July 27, 1991 in Portland, Oregon.[7] They remained the champions until September 1, 1991 when they lost the title to The Grappler and Don Harris.[7] A little more than a month later, Adams received his second Pacific Northwest Heavyweight title, on October 12, 1991, in Portland after he defeated Rip Oliver via submission to the Full Nelson hold.[7] Adams was the champion for just over three months, losing the title to Ron Harris at a show in Portland, on January 18, 1992.[7]

Return to WWF[edit]

Kona Crush (1992–1993)[edit]

Adams went back to work for the WWF in 1992 and was given a new fan favorite gimmick: an easygoing surfing Hawaiian who wore bright neon tights and utilized a new two-handed skull vice finisher called the Kona Crush.[8] Crush made his televised debut in WWF under his new character on May 9, 1992 episode of Superstars, defeating Kato. At SummerSlam 1992 at the famous Wembley Stadium in London, England in front of 80,355 fans, he defeated his former tag team partner Barry Darsow (Smash) who was now known as Repo Man, although it was never part of a storyline that the two were former tag-team partners.[12] Crush then engaged in a feud with Doink the Clown (Matt Osborne), after he was attacked with a loaded prosthetic arm while confronting the clown about his cruel pranks on children at ringside, which caused Crush to miss the 1993 Royal Rumble. The feud culminated at WrestleMania IX in Las Vegas, where Crush lost after a second, identical Doink (played by Steve Keirn) appeared from underneath the ring and struck Crush with the prosthetic arm.[8] At the first King of the Ring pay-per-view, Crush challenged Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Championship, but lost the match after a distraction by Doink.[13]

On July 4, 1993, Crush injured his back in the stars and stripes challenge trying to bodyslam WWF Champion Yokozuna who at the time had a billed weight of 580 lb (260 kg) (the bodyslam challenge took place on the US Navy Aircraft carrier USS Intrepid). Crush, generally considered to have the best chance of those present, was the first wrestler to actually get Yokozuna off his feet but his back gave out forcing him to stop. Lex Luger, repackaged from the heel character The Narcissist to an all-American hero, arrived soon after via helicopter and slammed the 580 lb WWF Champion. On the July 12 edition of Monday Night RAW, Crush faced Yokozuna for the WWF Championship in a losing effort. To send a message to Luger, Yokozuna performed several Banzai Drops to Crush, leaving him off TV for several months.

Various alliances and storylines (1993–1995)[edit]

Crush returned in the fall of 1993 and attacked his on-screen friend Randy Savage, because Savage had encouraged him to enter the Body Slam Challenge, and had failed to contact him during recuperation. Crush then allied himself with Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji,[8] becoming a villain. Adams adopted a "Japanese sympathizer" gimmick to go with his new attitude, including growing a beard, using face paint (albeit a design far different from his Demolition days), and wearing darker colors. This rivalry led to a falls count anywhere match against Savage at WrestleMania X, which he lost when Savage hogtied him to a metal rack and returned to the ring before a 60-second count. The match with Savage is notable for being Savage's final WrestleMania appearance.[8][14]

After the feud with Savage ended, Crush was put into a feud with Lex Luger. Crush would also briefly form a tag team with Yokozuna, defeating such combinations as The Smoking Gunns and Mabel and Typhoon before challenging The Headshrinkers for the World Tag Team Championship at the 1994 King of the Ring pay-per-view. They lost the match after Luger distracted Crush as retaliation for Crush costing him a spot in the King of the Ring tournament. The feud was dropped in July when rumors that Luger was joining Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation were starting. Crush left the WWF in August 1994.

In January 1995, Crush returned and took part in the 1995 Royal Rumble match as the 30th entrant in the elimination match. He eliminated Billy Gunn, Bart Gunn, Adam Bomb, and Fatu before being eliminated by Davey Boy Smith. Shortly after, while home in Hawaii, he was arrested and subsequently jailed for purchasing steroids and possessing an illegal hand gun.[15]

NOD and DOA (1996–1997)[edit]

After a brief stint in jail, Adams was brought back to the WWF with a new biker look at the beginning of the Monday Night Wars in 1996, with his real-life incarceration being referenced as part of a storyline on Monday Night Raw.[1] Upon his return, the WWF gave Adams Clarence Mason, who portrayed a lawyer-like character on-screen, as a manager.[8] Shortly after his return, he was made a member of the Nation of Domination (NOD) along with Faarooq and Savio Vega.[8] Adams was later kicked out of the group, while once again turning face and subsequently formed and led a wrestling biker gang stable called the Disciples of Apocalypse (DOA).[8] The DOA feuded with Faarooq's NOD and Vega's new stable, Los Boricuas.[1] Adams later left the WWF in 1997, partially in protest to the Montreal Screwjob, while in storyline, he was injured by Kane even though his real last appearance was on Shotgun Saturday Night that week as he and the rest of the DOA defeated Steve Corino, Marty Garner, Mike Hollow, and Jason Ahrndt.[6]

World Championship Wrestling (1998–2001)[edit]

Adams signed with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1998 and debuted as part of the New World Order (nWo).[8] During his initial days, Adams pulled out an upset victory over Eddie Guerrero on August 30 edition of Monday Nitro, after Guerrero laid down for Adams on purpose in purpose. As a lower card performer, he often tag-teamed with the likes of Scott Norton and Stevie Ray, occasionally losing matches against smaller and lesser known wrestlers. However, he also gained squash victories over jobbers in singles competition. During his time with the promotion, he was involved in a tag team tournament steel cage match on WCW Thunder in February 1999, in which he and Horace Hogan lost to Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. Afterwards, he was chosen to portray the KISS-themed wrestler "The Demon" after walking out on the New World Order and entering a limo that supposedly had the band inside. He played the character for its debut on WCW Monday Nitro in which KISS also played a live concert. He would play it one more time to come out and have a staredown with heel wrestler Vampiro and abandoned it afterwards, never wrestling a single match with the gimmick. The Demon mantle was subsequently passed to Dale Torborg with no explanation given. Later, he formed a team with Bryan Clark called KroniK, which won the WCW World Tag Team Championship twice.[7][8]

Second return to WWF (2001)[edit]

After the WWF's purchase of WCW, KroniK appeared in WWF as part of the Alliance storyline. During their time in WWF, they were managed by Steven Richards and were placed in a short feud with The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane).[8] Adams and Clark faced, and lost to, the duo at the 2001 Unforgiven pay-per-view.[1] Both men were accosted by the Undertaker in the locker room after the match for their lackluster performance. Clark was released from his WWF contract after refusing to go to the then WWF developmental territory Heartland Wrestling Association in Cincinnati, Ohio, while Adams did go to the HWA, where he performed until he, too, was released from his WWF contract in November 2001.

Independent circuit (2001–2002)[edit]

Adams and Clark briefly worked for World Wrestling All-Stars in early 2002. They then traveled to Japan to work for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). On July 17, 2002, at an AJPW pay-per-view, Adams and Clark defeated Keiji Mutoh and Taiyō Kea for the World Tag Team Championship.[6] Adams and Clark remained champions until November 2002 when AJPW declared the title vacant, because Adams had left the promotion to pursue a boxing career.[6]

Wrestle-1 (2002–2003)[edit]

After recovering from his shoulder injury, Adams returned to wrestling for "Wrestle 1", a pay-per-view for the Japanese promotion W-1, which was held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. In January 2003, he made his last in-ring performance, teaming with Bryan Clark, and facing Bill Goldberg and Keiji Mutoh in a losing effort. He suffered a spinal injury in this match that forced him into retirement.[8]

Boxing career[edit]

Adams was scheduled to have his first boxing match, against Rick Zufal, on November 16, 2002 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada with professional wrestler Randy Savage in his corner.[16] This bout was to air on the Never Surrender boxing pay-per-view, but during his training for the bout, Adams injured his shoulder and was unable to fight.[8][17]

Personal life[edit]

On March 13, 1995, Adams was arrested at his home in Kona, Hawaii, after narcotics officers search his home and discover 500 units of anabolic steroids and several unregistered semi-automatic guns. He was released on $10,275 bail. On October 28, 1995, he was sentenced to five years probation after pleading no-contest to 11 counts of drug and weapons charges.

In 1996, Adams had an uncredited role in the Bollywood movie Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi. In the movie, he played "Crush" and was killed by "The Undertaker" (played by Brian Lee) in a wrestling match.

Adams had surgery to attempt to correct his spinal injury, but it left him unfit to continue to wrestle.[18] Following his retirement, Adams became a bodyguard for his longtime friend, wrestler-turned-rapper Randy Savage, who was touring to promote his CD, Be a Man.[19] It was reported that Adams was living on income from a Lloyd's of London insurance policy.[1] Adams expressed interest in opening a health club in Tampa, Florida, which was to be a franchise of fellow wrestler Marc Mero's "Body Slam" training center.[20] Brian Adams and his wife had two children.


On August 13, 2007, Adams was found unconscious in his bed by his youngest son (age 7) at their Tampa, Florida home. His son called 911, but Adams was pronounced dead by paramedics when they arrived. The medical examiner concluded that he died as a result of mixing the painkiller buprenorphine with the muscle relaxant carisoprodol and the sedatives chlordiazepoxide and alprazolam. The coroner determined the drugs in his system were individually at therapeutic levels, but their combination impeded his respiratory system enough to kill him. He was 43 years old.[21]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1Demolition, after Crush became a member, defended the titles via the Freebird Rule


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Adams's Bio". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  2. ^ "Online World of Wrestling". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  3. ^ "Lethal mixture of prescription drugs killed ex-pro wrestler Adams". The Associated Press. 2007-09-27. 
  4. ^ "Alumni page". Konawaena High School. Retrieved 2007-06-05. 
  5. ^ " Famous Native Hawaiians". Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Oliver, Greg (2007-08-13). ""Crush" Brian Adams dead at 44". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Brian "Crush" Adams passes away". World Wrestling Entertainment. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  9. ^ a b "Demolition: the Imitators Become Innovators". 2004-08-13. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  10. ^ a b "History of the World Tag Team Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  11. ^ "KM: Portland TV 6-22-91 Page 2". Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  12. ^ "WWE: SummerSlam '92 Results (archived July 4, 2007)". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  13. ^ Gutschmidt, Adam (2004-06-23). "King of the Ring 1993 Re-Revued". Online Onslaught. Archived from the original on 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  14. ^ Powell, John. "Hart elevated at WrestleMania 10". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  15. ^ "Pro Star Nabbed For Steroids". Classic Wrestling Articles. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  16. ^ "Former WWF/WCW Superstar to Step Inside a Different Ring: Brian Adams' Professional Boxing Debut Set for Nov. 16th Pay-Per-View". 411mania. 2002-10-03. Retrieved 2007-06-13. 
  17. ^ Oliver, Greg. ""Crush" Brian Adams dead at 44". CANOE -- SLAM! Sports. Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  18. ^ "Kronik History". 
  19. ^ Clevett, Jason (2003-11-25). "Savage turns to rap'n'wrestling". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  20. ^ Mooneyham, Mike (2007-08-14). "Brian 'Crush' Adams Found Dead". The Wrestling Gospel According to Mike Mooneyham. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  21. ^ Martin, Adam (2007-09-27). "Cause of death determined for Bryan Crush Adams". Retrieved 2014-12-15. 
  22. ^ a b Desjardins, Curtis (February 3, 1999). "The Official RSP-W Finishing Moves List". Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  23. ^ a b c World Championship Wrestling (1999-02-18). "Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko Vs. Bryan Adams & Horace". WCW Thunder. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f World Championship Wrestling, TNT (1999-01-04). "Brian Adams Vs. Diamond Dallas Page". WCW Monday Nitro. 
  25. ^ a b c d World Championship Wrestling, TNT (1999-10-04). "Brian Adams Vs. Sid Vicious". WCW Monday Nitro. 
  26. ^ a b World Championship Wrestling TNT (2001-01-15). "KroniK Vs. O'Haire & Palumbo". WCW Monday Nitro. 
  27. ^ a b World Championship Wrestling, TNT (1998-07-27). "Brian Adams Vs. Goldberg". WCW Monday Nitro. 
  28. ^ World Championship Wrestling TNT (2001-01-08). "KroniK Vs. Goldberg & Sarge". WCW Monday Nitro. 
  29. ^ JPW (2003-01-19). "KroniK Vs. Keiji Mutoh & Goldberg". AJPW. 
  30. ^ "The Coliseum Video Rant XXI: Bleeped And Bashed In The USA!". 411Mania. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  31. ^ a b "KroniK profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  32. ^ Inside Wrestling, Feb 1993, issue, article: Our urgent message to Animal and Crush: Don't dismantle the new legion of doom!, pages 34-37.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 100 Tag Teams of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 

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