Induction: Jailbird Crush – Brudda in Arms

30 Submitted by on Thu, 13 November 2014, 19:00

WWF, 1996

With all the WWF talent jumping ship to WCW in 1996, Vince McMahon and VP of Talent Relations Jim Ross had to dig deep to find wrestlers to fill the void. There were the more conventional sources, such as WCW itself, ECW, and USWA…


…and then there was that great untapped talent pool known as the Big House. Yes, this week’s inductee was such a bad apple that he was fresh out of the slammer when he signed on the dotted line with Titan Sports.


To build intrigue among RAW viewers, the WWF aired a series of segments where resident sports-entertainment attorney Clarence Mason negotiated with a skeptical Gorilla Monsoon to allow his client, an unnamed former Federation superstar, back into the squared circle.


jailbird04 That mystery man turned out to be Crush.
But gone was the fun-loving, mulleted “Chaka Bra” (a nickname he may have adopted out of fondness for Chaka Khan’s cleavage)… jailbird05
jailbird06 …who wore bright colors and said “brudda” every other sentence.
Even gone was the fearsome mulleted heel Crush who wore face paint and said “brudda” every third sentence. jailbird07
jailbird08-27 Instead of his famed flowing mane, Crush now wore dreadlocks.
Instead of neon spandex, he now wore street clothes. jailbird09
jailbird10 Instead of face paint, he now sported a (temporary) facial tattoo.
And instead of no really stupid piercings, he now hung a chain from his earring to his nose ring. He must have really liked Janet Jackson’s “Runaway” video.
jailbird12 The point of this makeover, of course, was to show that Crush was a changed man, a bad dude whose outlook on life turned upside down while serving hard time.
I know Hawaiian lock-ups can’t be as luxurious as I imagine — deep down, I know they don’t really serve cocktails out of coconuts in the cafeteria or host surfing contests in the prison yard — but I still can’t fathom how they could have turned Chaka Bra into the hardened criminal who arrived back in the Federation in the summer of 1996. jailbird13

(Although Crush may have, like Iron Mike, converted to Islam behind bars)

Plus, you wouldn’t think a guy like Crush — six foot eight, 315 pounds, muscular — would have had any trouble in prison. You don’t think Mike Tyson had to put in any extra effort to intimidate his fellow inmates, do you?
But the fact is that, for whatever reason, Crush was permanently and radically scarred by his stint in state custody. So scarred was he that he lost his mind when the fans called him “jailbird.” jailbird15
jailbird16 He even pulled a security guard over the guardrail and roughed him up because of the small chant.
Crush didn’t care for society’s “rules,” which is why he adopted the heart punch as his signature move and didn’t care that by 1996 it was already decades out of date for a finisher.

The guy had two years to think of a better finisher than a head vise, and this is what he came up with.

jailbird18 The WWF fans were seeing a cruel, cruel man who, high-fives notwithstanding, bore no connection to the Original Hawaiian Punch, Crush.
You’d think it would take years and years in a penitentiary to warp a man’s psyche and turn him into a hardened criminal, yet between Crush’s last federation appearance at the 1995 Royal Rumble and his re-appearance in 1996, a mere 18 months had passed. jailbird19
jailbird20 Now guess how long the WWF claimed Crush had been behind bars. Go on, guess.
I can wait. While you formulate your guess, enjoy this photo of a Crush-Clarence Mason two-pack, no doubt marketed at the Crush superfan… jailbird98
jailbird99 …by which I mean this kid from 1993.
Anyway, your guess for how long the WWF claimed Crush had spent behind bars is way off. The correct answer:

one day

jailbird22 Yes, during Crush’s introductory segments, the WWF quietly acknowledged that he had only spent one day in jail — jail, not prison — and was never convicted of anything.
Even Olympic hero Ken Patera got two years for chucking a rock through a McDonald’s window, and he had mitigating circumstances in his favor.
jailbird24 But Brian Adams — both in real life (for possession of steroids and an illegal firearm) and in storyline — only spent a single day in the slammer. His 24 hours in the clink put Brian Adams, the wrestler, on about equal footing in terms of street credibility as Bryan Adams, the soft-rock singer.
The Mountie spent a night in a New York prison, and he didn’t end up with any permanent mental scars. And he got raped!

(Don’t worry, it was just a comedy rape. Trust me, I was quoted on TV Tropes.)

jailbird26 The WWF clearly didn’t have a problem employing guys with arrest records (the lead announcers at the time were Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler, after all), so why did it take wrestling’s shrewdest Johnny Cochran stand-in weeks just to convince Gorilla Monsoon to sign Crush? Clarence Mason trademarked the second-most common letter in the English language, for Pete’s sake!
And there were more questions yet unanswered. Like, when exactly did Crush have time to get that prison tattoo — and it must have been a prison tattoo, as no reputable tattoo artist would have inked the eyesore on Adams’s face. jailbird08-27
jailbird28 The mystery of Jailbird Crush continued. Nothing else about Crush’s subsequent WWF career made much more sense. Under legal representative Clarence Mason’s guidance, Crush joined the Nation of Domination, where he remained for half a year before Faarooq realized that his black separatist faction needn’t be as racially inclusive as, say, the cast of ZOOM.
From there, Crush went one step further with his prison mindset; forget dumb piercings and disappearing face tattoos – Crush formed a gang of big, violent white guys who beat up rival black and Puerto Rican gangs. At least they didn’t call themselves the Aryan Bruddahood.
jailbird30 Frankly, the most surprising development of all for Crush was his teaming up with Brian Lee, who just a year earlier, as the Fake Undertaker, had beaten Kona Crush to death in a public showdown and had his body dumped into Lake Ontario.


Come to think of it, that kind of ordeal would make anyone cranky and on edge, jailbird or not.


Mystery solved.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at:
30 Responses to "Induction: Jailbird Crush – Brudda in Arms"
  1. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    Another outstanding induction, Art!

  2. The Doctor of Style says:

    Amazing that Lawler didn’t get “Rob Bartletted” after mocking McMahon for his legal problems!

  3. MajorMayor says:

    Channeling his inner most Jane Child with that earring to the nose.

  4. Sean Bateman says:

    Crush’s bio should be “Oh Bruddha… Where are thou, Bruddah…..”

  5. John C says:

    This is a perfect example of why at the time this crap was going on that I was giving in to my own “personal demons” and blanked a lot of this from my mind. I don’t know his worst move was head vice, heart punch or the godawful pile drivers he would do when he was in WCW.

  6. Ze Frenchie says:

    Too bad Vince didn’t bring back Nailz at that time. They could have formed a Tag Team that could have been the original Cryme Tyme.

    • Cerith Burrows says:

      I still find the fact that Nailz claimed Vince raped him to be so bizarre, even by the bizarre standards of wrestling.

  7. Andre R. says:

    Well, he did wear leather and chains when he was in Demolition. And was this worse than when he became Kronik in WCW with the former “Adam Bomb” Bryan Clark? Incidently my favorite version of Crush is the heel one with the beard, facepaint, and black, purple and silver outfit. And whatever happened to the whole “I’m actually part Japanese” thing they tried with him when he turned heel and joined Yokozuna and Fuji? I dont recall if that was ever mentioned on TV, but a WWF magazine article had a whole thing about Crush’s heel turn and that his “ancestors came from Japan”. And the name of the white redneck biker faction Crush formed along with Chainz (Brian “Underfaker” Lee) and Skull & 8-Ball (the talentless Harris twins) were called the Diciples Of Apocalypse. Yeesh!

  8. Jesse Ali says:

    Damn you, Art! You made me click that Janet Jackson link and I’ve been watching noting but Janet videos instead of reading about ol’ Chaka Bra!

  9. Mav says:

    Brian Adams only spent a day in jail in real life? Geez, I had no idea. I thought he spent at least a year in the lockup. Kind of a desperate gimmick for a desperate time.

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      Yeah, I didn’t know that until I read the induction either! See? WrestleCrap is educational sometimes. 🙂

  10. Down With OPC says:

    Roll the dice, don’t think twice, and we Crush! CRUSH! Crush ’em! CRUSH ‘EM!

  11. Bone White says:

    That “Chaka Bra” is doing a hell of a job (laughs like Sid James).

  12. Evan Waters says:

    Prison change Crush QUICKLY.

  13. David P. says:

    Zoom, TV Tropes, and Chaka Khan references? Awesome! Though, is it just me, or does Jailbird Crush remind anybody of Jonathan Davis of Korn a little bit?

  14. Stephen says:

    Art, the man paid his debt to society! Hasn’t he suffered enough without us mocking him!?

    To be fair, he spent three years in WCW, so he’s served hard time.

  15. Thomas Moffatt says:

    What? No Man Mountain Rock???

  16. Sir Thomas says:

    Wow, I was WAAAAY off. I guessed thirty years, and it ended up only being a day.

  17. Rob Brown says:

    The first time I saw Crush was during this phase of his career, and I actually thought he had pretty badass look. So that’s my guilty pleasure, being a fan of Jailbird Crush. Mind you, I began watching at the end of ’96, so I didn’t know about the “one day” thing. Which yes, is incredibly stupid and stretches suspension of disbelief far past its snapping point.

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      I think the look is pretty cool (well, maybe minus the forehead tattoo). The problem was the stupid angle that went along with it and that they never did anything interesting with him.

  18. Mortuary Matt says:

    Every time my wife is watching HGTV nonstop I just keep repeating the words Property Bruddas until she turns it off.

  19. nomangang says:

    I do believe Crush wins the award for Most Gimmicks Under the Same Ring Name. Demolition Crush, Day-Glo Hawaiian Crush, Facepainted Heel Fujisaki Crush, Jailbird Crush, Biker Crush…I swear, if they’d given Brian Adams the Xanta Klaus gimmick they still would’ve called him Crush.

  20. AdamX says:

    “Aryan Bruddahood”

    ^ This had me rolling, bravo.

  21. Mister Forth says:

    Mike Tyson could ask rioters to stop while he’s eating a salad, and they’d stop. Guess the allusion.

    P.S. So that’s who Ahmed meant be “Gerald Burd”.

  22. E-Squared says:

    The thing I wonder about this iteration of the character is were there any links to his past personas? I mean was he still billed from Kona, Hawaii? Or did he at least use the Cranium Crunch as a move during this time? When was his last WWF appearance before the debut of this gimmick?

  23. Dan says:

    Now when will Nathan Jones get an induction, the WWE’s real life jailbird.

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