Brian Keith Adams (April 14, 1964 - August 13, 2007) was an American actor and professional wrestler. Adams gained fame in the 1990s while performing for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) under the name Crush and for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) under his given name.
Trained in Japan by Antonio Inoki, Adams was a two time WCW World Tag Team Champion as well as a one time holder of both the WWF World Tag Team Championship and the All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Championship among other titles and "accomplishments".
Brian Adams was born in Kona, Hawaii and was raised in Kealakekua, Hawaii and attended Konawaena High School. After graduating from Konawaena High School Adams joined the military. It was during his time in the military, while stationed in Japan, that he was exposed to wrestling. Adams was then trained in wrestling by famed Japanese wrestler and mixed martial artist Antonio Inoki. In 1986, after training in Japan, Adams came to the United States and began working in Portland, Oregon's Pacific Northwest Wrestling (PNW).
Pacific Northwest Wrestling
Given the nickname The American Ninja, he was put together in a tag team called "The Wrecking Crew" with veteran performer Len Denton, billed as masked wrestler, "The Grappler.". Adams and Denton were the Pacific Northwest Tag Team Champions for a time and feuded with the Southern Rockers, Steve Doll and Rex King. In 1990, he won the Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship after winning a tournament final over Larry Oliver in Portland on April 21, 1990 for the vacant title. He lost the title to Scott Norton on May 12, 1990 in Portland.
World Wrestling Federation: 1990–1991
In April 1990, while still working for the PNW, Adams was introduced to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as Crush, the third member of the popular WWF World Tag Team Championship team Demolition.The introduction of Adams turned the tag team into a stable. With Adams joining Demolition, the stable exercised the Freebird Rule allowing any combination of the three to defend the titles and not just Ax and Smash that had originally won the titles. This meant that Adams as Crush became a WWF World Tag Team Champion without actually being involved in winning the title in the first place. At the 1990 SummerSlam pay-per-view, Demolition, with new member Adams, lost the Tag Team titles to the The Hart Foundation in a Two out of three falls match with Adams getting pinned for the final fall to lose the titles. After SummerSlam, Demolition continued a feud with The Road Warriors. Adams continued to perform as part of the Demolition tag team up until WrestleMania VII where he and Demolition member Smash lost to Genichiro Tenryu and Koji Kitao in a very short, one-sided match. After WrestleMania the WWF decided to disband Demolition as a team.
Return to PNW: 1991–1992
Upon his departure from the WWF, Adams, who began using the Demolition Crush gimmick, returned to PNW. He became a more dominant wrestler in his second stint there, winning both the Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship and the Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship. Adams won the first of these two championships during this stint in PNW while teaming with former rival Steve Doll and defeating The Bruise Brothers for the Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship on July 27, 1991 in Portland, Oregon. They remained the champions until September 1, 1991 when they lost the titles to The Grappler & Don Harris. A little more than a month later, Adams won his second Pacific Northwest Heavyweight title, on October 12 1991, in Portland, defeating Rip Oliver by via submission with the full Nelson and sending Oliver into retirement due to a (kayfabe) neck injury inflicted by the hold. Adams was the champion for just over three months, until he lost the title to Ron Harris at a show in Portland, on January 18, 1992.
World Wrestling Federation: 1992–1998
Adams went back to work for the WWF in 1992 and was given the first of numerous gimmicks created for him while using the name Crush, the first being a surfing Hawaiian occasionally referred to as Kona Crush. The WWF put him in a feud with his former tag team partner Barry Darsow (Smash) who was now known as Repo Man. Two years after losing the tag team titles, the two clashed at the 1992 SummerSlam with Crush as the victorious one. Crush then engaged in a feud with Doink the Clown and was the target of many of Doink's pranks. This storyline rivalry culminated at WrestleMania IX where it was revealed that there were two Doinks.
At the end of 1992, it was rumoured that Crush joined the Legion of Doom after the departure of Hawk, but the tag team was short lived as Animal also left the WWF. Crush was said therefore to be the only man to be a member of both Demolition and the Legion of Doom.
In 1992 and 1993 he had victories against wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Papa Shango (Godfather) and others. But in 1993, it was scripted that Crush be injured in a WWF Title Match by Yokozuna and had to take several months off. When he returned in autumn, he attacked his on-screen friend Randy Savage, because Savage had failed to contact him during his convalescence. Crush dropped Savage on the guardrail, giving him a lacerated tongue, and allied himself with Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji. Turning heel (bad guy), Adams adopted a "Japanese sympathizer" gimmick to go with his new attitude. This led to a falls count anywhere match against Savage at WrestleMania X.
In March 1995, Adams was arrested, and subsequently jailed, for purchasing steroids and owning an illegal stun gun, while home in Hawaii. After a brief stint in jail, Adams was brought back to the WWF at the beginning of the Monday Night Wars in 1996 with his incarceration being introduced as part of a storyline on Monday Night RAW. Upon his return, the WWF gave Adams Clarence Mason as a manager, Mason's gimmick was that of a lawyer thereby tying it in with Adams’ time in jail. Shortly after his return to the WWF he was made a member of the Nation of Domination (NOD) along with Faarooq and Savio Vega.
Preparing for the coming "Gang Wars" storyline, the WWF had Adams and Vega kicked out the group in favor of Ahmed Johnson and Kama Mustafa. No longer a part of the NOD, the WWF had them each form their own gang with Adams leading a wrestling biker gang called the Disciples of Apocalypse (DOA), formed by Chainz, and the Harris twins, then known as Skull & 8-Ball. The DOA was pitted in a feud with Faarooq's NOD and the gang Vega led called Los Boricuas.
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. In late 1997, Adams asked and obtained his release from the WWF because of his objection to Vince McMahon's double-cross of Bret Hart that has become known as the Montreal Screwjob.
World Championship Wrestling: 1998–2001
After his release from the WWF, Adams signed with World Championship Wrestling (WCW), in 1998 as part of the New World Order stable and later as part of its offshoot, nWo Hollywood. As a lower card performer, he often tag teamed with the likes of Scott Norton and Stevie Ray, occasionally being placed in squash matches against smaller and lesser known wrestlers. One of his most notable matches with the promotion was his involvement in a tag team tournament steel cage match on WCW Thunder, in February 1999, where he and Horace Hogan lost to Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko.
Later, he was scripted as the original Demon, a take off of Gene Simmons of the band KISS. This saw him emerging from an iron maiden with a rendition of "God of Thunder" as his entrance theme. The gimmick did not work for Adams as he made only one appearance as the Demon. Dale Torborg took over that gimmick, while Adams was placed back into tag wrestling again. He formed a team with Bryan Clark called KroniK, where he won the WCW World Tag Team Championship twice.
World Wrestling Federation: 2001
After the WWF's purchase of WCW, Adams, along with Clark, appeared as KroniK 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 Undertaker and Kane. Adams and Clark faced the Brothers of Destruction at the 2001 Unforgiven pay-per-view and gave a very poor performance. Clark was released from his WWF contract and Adams was sent to the then WWF development territory Heartland Wrestling Association in Cincinnati, Ohio where he performed until he, too, was released from his WWF contract in November 2001.
After the WWF: 2001–2003
Adams, along with 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 AJPW's Prefectural Gym pay-per-view, AJPW had Adams & Clark defeat Keiji Mutoh and Taiyō Kea for the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship. Adams and Clark remained champions until October 10, 2002 when AJPW declared the titles vacant, because Adams had left the promotion to pursue a boxing career.
Adams was scheduled to have his first boxing match, on November 16, 2002, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, with professional wrestler Randy Savage in his corner. The match versus Rick Zufal was to air on the Never Surrender boxing pay-per-view, but during his training for the bout, Adams injured his shoulder leaving him unable to fight.
After recovering from his shoulder injury, Adams returned to wrestling for "Wrestle 1", a PPV of the Japanese promotion W-1, which was held at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. In January 2003, during his last in-ring performance together with his tag team partner Bryan Clark he faced Bill Goldberg and Rey Mysterio and lost. He suffered a spinal injury in his last in-ring performance that forced him into retirement.
Adams had surgery in an attempt to correct his spinal injury, but it did not result in a return to professional wrestling. Adams said that due to his spinal injury, he was unfit to wrestle. 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. It was reported that he was living off of a Lloyd's of London insurance policy.
On August 13, 2007, Adams was found by his wife unconscious in bed and not breathing. His wife, Irene then dialed 911. When paramedics arrived they could not revive Adams. He was pronounced dead of an undetermined cause. Police noted that "there were no visible signs of injury." Adams was 43 years old. An autopsy was performed on August 14, 2007 with inconclusive results.
On August 30, 2007, Adams was discovered to have been given illegal steroids in February 2006. Adams received nandrolone, testosterone and Human growth hormone. Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit were discovered to have been given steroids prior to their deaths during this investigation, as well as former WWE superstar Sylvain Grenier and ten current WWE superstars.
On September 28, 2007, popular wrestling news site 1Wrestling.com reported that the autopsy results showed Brian had died of an overdose of pain killers and anti-depressants. The language in the announcement pointed towards an accidental death. There were no steroids found in Adams' system.
- Finishing and signature moves
- Kona Clutch (Double handed skull clutch submission)
- Tour of the Islands (Tilt-a-whirl slam)
- Full nelson slam
- Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker
- Leg drop
- Jumping knee drop
- Heart punch
- Military press gutbuster
- Fireman's carry DDT
- With Bryan Clark
- High Times (Double chokeslam)
- Total Meltdown (Powerbomb (Clark) / Diving clothesline (Adams) combination)
- Demolition Decapitation (Backbreaker (Crush) / Diving elbow drop (Ax or Smash) combination)
Championships and accomplishments
- AJPW Unified World Tag Team Champion (1 time) - with Bryan Clark
- USWA Heavyweight Champion (1 times)
- PWI ranked him # 289 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- PWI ranked him # 59 of the 100 best tag teams during the "PWI Years" with Bryan Clark in 2003.
1Demolition, after Crush became a member, defended the titles via the Freebird Rule.