May 27, 2009
NWA's Skull Krushers 'all definitions of ugly'
By BLAINE VAN DER GRIEND - SLAM! Wrestling
Just when it seems like tag teams in pro wrestling have become a thing of the past, The Skull Krushers aim to create a future for tag team wrestling in the National Wrestling Alliance.
"The Skull Krushers are all definitions of ugly," said NWA Producer David Marquez. "They always do things their way and they want to leave the message behind with everybody that they are the centrepiece of the National Wrestling Alliance."
Rasche Brown is a 33-year-old bouncer from Milwaukee, standing 6'4" and weighing 255 pounds. Keith Walker is a 30-year-old football player from Chicago, standing 6'3" and weighing 305 pounds. How could they not get along?
Brown had been doing the Skull Krusher gimmick as a singles wrestler, before the team was ever formed. He had no formal training when he first got into the business, but he was just a tough guy from Wisconsin who loved to fight.
"I used to set up the ring for WCW and I didn't really know anybody," Brown said. "After five or six years, I started to learn how to wrestle, but nobody ever told me it was a work."
In the ring, Brown is known as Big Krush and has earned every right to be called by that name. He figured that his partner Keith Walker and himself had made such great opponents over the years, that they would make a good tag team, because they knew each other so well. They were also very similar in age, height, weight, ability and even experience as both were former WWE developmental talents. It was only a matter of time for the Skull Krushers to make their mark on tag team wrestling.
"We used to beat the crap out of each other for about four or five years, so we never had a problem with teaming up, because it's business," Brown said. "We don't try to copy anybody's style. We're ourselves and we just do our own thing."
Walker says one of the only differences between them may be their in-ring style and personality. But he adds that everything else is flawless.
"We're just a couple of burly looking guys, both 6'3" and above and one's white, one's black, so why not tag?" Walker said. "Out of the two of us, I'm more of the animal. I do a lot more barking in the ring. He's (Brown) more of the technician."
As far as the team name goes, sometimes it just hits like a bolt of lightning, but in this case, it came to Brown in the most unlikely of scenarios.
"I thought about a name for about a month when I broke in and while I was driving a school bus and the name just came out. That was it and then a few months later I saw Adrian Street had that wrestling school with the same name. I wasn't going to think of a new one again," Brown said. "I wrestled singles as the Skull Krusher for 13 years. When we teamed up we decided it was a great tag name."
One of the biggest challenges for pro wrestlers is to maintain their identity in the transition from teams to singles and vice versa. But it wasn't really a big deal for either Skull Krusher.
"I prefer wrestling the Japanese strong style and I do a lot of Lucha stuff as well," Brown said. "In tag matches, everybody's focused on doing all their spots. Because of the time, that's not always possible. I'm more of the ring general, so if something needs to be cut, I'll cut it out myself and then we'll work around it. I also know how to get the crowd involved as well, so if I'm on the apron, I'll single out somebody from the audience. I can push buttons to get a reaction. Sometimes when I do the Lucha spots, I'll do it and botch it so they'll start booing."
"It's amazing how two guys can not only mesh so well together, but also be able to tell what the other person is thinking. We know each other very well," Walker said. "We always try to put in extra effort to keep the crowd entertained, which is why we excel as a tag team."
The Skull Krushers have certainly left NWA Promoter Ed Chuman smiling from ear to ear with every one of their performances, as Chuman has been 100 per cent in support of them from day one.
"It's a pseudo-type of biker gimmick that I've put together for them, and financed," Chuman said. "That's basically what I've been doing with my people. I pour money back into the promotion. I put over $2,500 into their gimmick, buying 'their shit' and making sure it was quality stuff. I've been grooming them for a year."
"You can't call either of them tame, but Keith Walker is definitely the more business oriented of the two. Rasche has a bit more of a temper on him," Marquez said. "Both of them have everything it takes to be main event level."
Future Hells Angels or not, the Skull Krushers are definitely a force to be reckoned with in the NWA's Midwest territory.
"I'm 33 now and I have about 10 or 12 good years left," Brown said. "Things are definitely going to happen this year. It's not the last you'll hear of the Skull Krushers."
Blaine van der Griend has had a krushing headache, but never krushed a skull.