During his lengthy wrestling career – that saw several stints with the WCW and WWE – Barry Darsow had a number of gimmicks – some successful and some less so. It is those gimmicks that are the focus of this latest ‘The Many Faces Of’.
Barry Darsow was born on October 6, 1959 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a kid he attended high school in Robbinsdale, Minnesota alongside six future wrestlers: Curt Hennig, Rick Rude, Brady Boone, Tom Zenk, John Nord (The Berzerker), and Scott Simpson (Nikita Koloff). He would also later work as a bouncer alongside Hawk and Animal, the Road Warriors.
After stints in Hawaii and New Zealand, he made it to Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1983 for a brief stint before arriving in Mid-South Wrestling as Crusher Darsow, a tag team partner of Nikolai Volkoff that played the role of a Soviet sympathiser. He achieved some success, now under the name Krusher Khruschev by winning the first ever Mid-South TV title in a tournament final.
In late 1984 he arrived in NWA and became part of the six-man champions with Ivan Koloff and Nikita Koloff. The trio also adopted the Freebird rule when it came to defending the Koloff’s tag team titles and they battled the Road Warriors as well as The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson). It was the team of Ivan and Krusher that eventually dropped the gold to the team of Morton and Gibson.
In late 1985 at the NWA’s premier event – Starrcade, Krusher defeated Sam Houston win the vacant Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship but dropped the belt to Houston in early 1986 in a match that also saw him picking up an injury that kept him out for more than six months.
He eventually returned and helped Nikita win the NWA US title from Magnum T.A while teaming with Ivan to win the US tag team titles, defeating the team of Dutch Mantel and Bobby Jaggers in a tournament final.
When Magnum T.A. was forced to retire after his car accident, he admitted respecting Nikita Koloff which turned him face and he would team with Dusty Rhodes to take on Krusher and Ivan. At the tail end of 1986, Ron Garvin and Barry Windam defeated the Koloffs to win the US tag straps and soon after Darsow left Jim Crockett Promotions.
Over in the World Wrestling Federation the team of Demolition had been put together, the company’s attempt at recreating the Road Warriors. The team consisted of Bill Eadie as Ax and former Moondog Randy Colley as Smash.
However, the crowd recognised Colley – even under make-up – and the fans chanted “Moondog” at him. Eadie suggested to Vince McMahon that Darsow be brought in and after Johnny Valiant was replaced with Mr. Fuji, the classic Demolition line-up was in place.
At WrestleMania IV, the pair bested Strike Force – Tito Santana and Rick Martel – to win their first WWF World tag team titles and would hold the gold for 16 months.
With the team becoming increasingly popular amongst fans, the WWF turned them babyface and their newest rivals The Powers of Pain (The Barbarian and The Warlord) heel – with the latter also gaining the services of Mr. Fuji – in a match at Survivor Series 1988.
On the episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event that aired in July 1989, the team of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, known as The Brain Busters, won the tag team tiles from Demolition. Ax and Smash regained them in October but in December 1989 lost them again, this time to The Colossal Connection (Haku and André the Giant).
At WrestleMania VI they become the third team to win three titles in WWF history. Later that year, with the WWF concerned over the health of the aging Ax, they were joined by a third member: Crush with the trio also operating under the Freebird rule. Demolition lost the titles to The Hart Foundation at SummerSlam ’90 and after a feud with Legion of Doom, the team dropped down the card and would disband in the spring of 1991.
Crush left the WWF while Smash wrestled on the undercards, largely in the role of a jobber. His final recorded match as Smash would occur on August 1991 in a losing affair to The British Bulldog.
In late 1991 Darsow began performing as The Repo Man, a sneaky heel character who repossessing items. He wore a black Lone Ranger Zorro-like Domino mask and an outfit with tire tracks on them all while carrying a tow rope that he would tie up opponents with after defeating them and then assault them.
Soon after debuting as this new character, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase hired him to defeat Virgil which led to a programme between the pair. At the December 1991 event ‘This Tuesday in Texas’, Repo and Dibiase teamed to beat Virgil and Tito Santana. The following month, Repo made his Royal Rumble debut but would be eliminated by the Boss Man. At WrestleMania VIII he teamed The Mountie and The Nasty Boys in a losing affair to The Big Boss Man, Virgil, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter.
He would quickly drop back down the card but did appear at SummerSlam, losing to his former Demolition partner. 1993 saw him briefly feud with Macho Man – who eliminated Repo from the 93 Rumble – before eventually leaving the WWF in mid-1993.
In 1994 Darsow began appearing on WCW TV in the front row of the audience with a blow horn, distracting and berating babyfaces. He got into an altercation with Dustin Rhodes and was storyline arrested. Colonel Rob Parker bailed him out and Darsow became The Blacktop Bully, under the tutelage of Parker and feuded with Rhodes. However, the pair were both fired after 1995’s Uncensored event when both men bladed in their ‘King of the Road’ match-up that took place on the back of a moving truck.
He reappeared wrestling under his real name until he was repackaged, first, as Mr. Hole-In-One and later “Putting” Barry Darsow, a heel golf player. He entered the ring in golf attire and would offer his opponents the win if they could make a putt in the ring but this inevitably resulted in him sneak attacking his opponents. Unsurprisingly, this gimmick was largely kept of the company’s main programming being relegated largely to WCW Saturday Night. He left the company in 1999.
From then until present day, Darsow has competed largely on the independent scene with fleeting performances elsewhere.
At WrestleMania X-Seven Darsow competed as The Repo Man in the gimmick Battle Royal and on the 15th anniversary episode of Raw in 2007, again as the Repo Man.
In 2008, alongside Ax and The One Man Gang he wrestled for Chikara in their King of the Trios event but the trio were defeated in the second round by “The Fabulous Three” (Larry Sweeney, Mitch Ryder and Shayne Hawke).
Darsow still regularly competes to this day alongside Ax. In 2012 the pair wrestled in a tag team gauntlet tournament for Chikara but were eliminated by their old WWF rivals the Powers of Pain.
You can read all previous ‘The Many Faces Of’ articles here.