Crash Crimson has played many roles during his eight-year career. In addition to wrestling, he trains aspiring wrestlers and owns his own promotion, Pro Outlaw Wrestling, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
He first broke into the business in Winnipeg, when a regular at the bar he bounced at asked if he was interested in wrestling. He pondered it for a while and then took him up on the offer. They went out to a local community center and joined up with a third guy, and after giving it a shot, he decided to go for it.
“The guy at the bar ended up being Leatherface, and his friend was Eddie Watts,” recalls Crimson, whose real name is Brian Bailey. “We went out to Somerset, Manitoba a few days later where there was a ring. Everyone who was there cleared out because Eddie has a reputation of being stiff and mean, and he put me through the motions. My first day of training I was taking backdrops, that is how intense it was.”
Watts continued training him, however commitments internationally lead Crimson on to other training, being introduced to Brian Jewel who completed his training.
“I joined the CWF, because I didn’t know any better at the time. After a while I realized that CWF was going nowhere and was a Mickey Mouse Fed, so I quit and met up with Tony Condello. We hit it off, and the rest is history.”
Condello is famous for his death tours of Northern Manitoba. Crash has joined four of these tours and like every other wrestler, has his own favorite stories. “The second year I was on the show, we did 28 days in a row. It was starting to warm up and turn into spring, and as we were driving home, what had been a snow road was now a mud road and the lakes are covered in water over the ice. It was so warm you could drive with your window down, and people were getting nervous. About 10 feet from the side of the van was a hole in the ice the size of a transport truck. You could clearly see there was no ice under there. At any minute you felt like you could fall through.”
It was on one of these tours where the idea of POW came about. Crash had relocated to Saskatoon, and when people found out he was a wrestler he received a lot of interest from other hopefuls. He was talking to Shawn Dunster, who put the idea of the mini-camp in his head.
“I advertised around the city and got a ton of phone calls for it. Twenty people showed up for that first day. I borrowed a ring from a guy in Regina and Shawn came up to give me a hand. From that I decided I wanted to train these guys and start running shows. I talked the Pat (a local bar) into letting us have our first show in their parking lot, brought in some other guys from Calgary to wrestle and it started from there.”
The mini-camps are a grueling test of endurance that let potential wrestlers really decide if they want to pursue it before investing significant amount of money into it. Crash gleefully described a typical day in camp.
“They show up at noon, and start the day off with things similar to what you do in the ring. Wind sprints, because you have to run the ropes, and then push-ups, sit ups and squats are like getting up in the ring after bumping. Usually we do that until someone pukes, and then we go a bit more. After that, we put them in the ring and show them how to take a bump. That is the most important thing to know, it will determine what kind of career you have, a long one or a short one. Then we show a few things and that’s it. It shows people what they have to go through, so they don’t waste money doing something they end up hating.”
From those camps, Crash has built up his current roster, while bringing in outside talents like Cyrus, Apocalypse, and Vance Nevada to round out the shows. POW has developed a strong reputation in Western Canada that prompts calls from many wrestlers looking to work. Crash‚s experience working for No Holds Barred has helped gain that respect.
“I can get along with anybody on the road. I’m not the greatest wrestler out there, but I can go out there and have a good match with anyone. Guys like Luther go around telling people that I am easy. I don’t know if he is telling the girls that, obviously not. The first time Juggernaut was going to work me, he called Luther who told him I was fine. That reputation has helped POW. We treat wrestlers with respect, they trust us to get paid, and they are going to enjoy the show. The crowd here in Saskatoon is a good crowd, they get into the show. We want to grow and bring in bigger and better talent. It takes time to build; you can’t just open up and bring in a guy like Jerry Lynn because that costs a lot of money.”
It’s been a slow and steady building process for the four-year-old company, which hopes to have shows monthly from September to May, with the summers off. “This company is still an infant, we are growing, but not too fast which is good,” he said.
Crimson has had some legendary battles with wrestlers like LeatherFace, Massive Damage, Juggernaut and Darren Dalton. Although he has slowed down, his past is filled with what many fans and wrestlers alike have deemed “insane spots.”
“At the University of Manitoba I was back suplexed off the top rope through a flaming table. I landed right on the back of my head. Before we hit it, the flames were low, so I only had minor burns. The guy who suplexed me had water thrown on him, but not me, they just left me there to burn.”
In addition to that, he faced Darren Dalton in a “Staple gun on a pole match,” was thrown headfirst off a parked moving truck by Ivan, and took a backdrop that fans in Winnipeg still talk about.
“Juggernaut comes up with some of the worst ideas,” he laughed. “We were in Coyotes bar in Winnipeg for a NHB show and there was a catwalk about four and a half feet above the ground. He was at one end of it, I ran at him and he backdropped me off to the concrete floor. Everybody that saw it freaked out. Jerry Lynn and Chi Chi Cruz were tripping out afterwards. That was one of my worst bumps.”
These stories prompt one question, why does Crash do it?
“I don’t know why. I want to make sure that the people who come to the shows and enjoy exciting matches, like extreme stuff and want to go ‘Holy Crap’ get their money’s worth.”
However, despite his extreme style, he teaches his minions to be well-rounded wrestlers. “Too often rookies just go out there and do everything they can. When someone goes out and does every move they know, what is everyone else supposed to do? And if you hit 20 finishers in a match, the crowd doesn’t pop anymore. It ruins the show. There is a lot to be said about being trained as an all-around wrestler. You can put the crowd in the palm of your hand, bring them into your world, and keep them entertained. That takes skill, more than flopping around. Psychology is vital.”
He also speaks out about rampant drug use in wrestling. “I don’t take painkillers or drugs but I’ve sat beside friends on tour buses and seen them kill themselves with drugs. I don’t push my guys not to take them because they are adults. I recommend they don‚t take it and why, and let them make their own decision. If they want to take drugs, there is nothing I can do about it, but it’s made clear to them they won’t be working for POW.”
Crimson has faced a variety of opponents in different matches, but his choice of favorite opponent prompted laughter and disbelief. “My favorite match was against Kurrgan, it was a lot of fun. I know that sounds weird, but I am serious. On a different tour we roomed together, that was an experience in itself, that man is a very loud snorer.”
The Pro Outlaw Wrestling message board has been a hotbed recently on the topic of Backyard Wrestling. He chimed in with his two cents worth. “If kids want to go out and play fight and pretend they are The Rock, that‚s fine. What I don‚t like is when anyone, backyard wrestler or not, try and pass themselves off as wrestlers. I’ve worked very hard to get where I am in wrestling, and I don‚t appreciate guys who say they are wrestlers when they aren’t. There is a big difference between playfighting and pro wrestling. Anybody with one eye and an asshole can hit each other with a chair, it‚s another to go out and put on show. What really amazes me is guys who are 18 and 19 and ‘backyard wrestle.’ If you love it that much, go get a part time job and do it right, because you never know what will happen. One of our regulars, Biggie Phatz, was a backyard wrestler, came to our camp and now wrestles guys like Gerry Morrow and Scott D’Amore, and working NHB tours with guys like Lynn. He did that because he got trained.”
Crimson is happy to be working for NHB and POW. Running a fed is a challenge he enjoys, and he sees big things in the future of his company.
“I’d like to branch out. Regina would be great but previous feds have killed it off. We’ve done small tours in Prince Albert and such but we relied on other people to do the promoting and they were slow so we just kept our heads above water financially there. Learned from that so in the future will handle things themselves. We want to establish ourselves as a name and be recognized. If we can get recognized in a strong city like Saskatoon, then the cup will overflow and we will branch out. A lot of feds make the mistake of going too big too fast. We are building a reputation and a good base, that is our formula and we are sticking with it for now.”
Crash Crimson joins Sabu, Jerry Lynn and many more for the Saskatoon Exhibition from August 5 ˆ 10. Visit www.pow.canadianwebs.com for more details.