Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Ryan Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Frost
Smash and Repo Man in WWE
Currently Known For:
1985 - 1999
October 6, 1959
Smash and Repo Man in WWE
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Once a successful tag team wrestler, Barry Darsow was one of the many wrestlers of the 1990s that was given a ridiculous gimmick to work with, and he tried to make it work the best he could. Darsow said that he was working with eventual wrestlers The Road Warriors and Rick Rude before wrestling. “We were all working as bouncers at the same bar and Eddie Sharky was a bartender there. He is the one that got us into wrestling and we all went to the same wrestling camp,” he said. If you were watching wrestling in the 1980s, you might remember Darsow working with Jim Crockett Promotions as Krusher Khruschev, teaming up with Nikolai Volkoff for a couple of years before his contract came to an end.
Darsow then joined the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) to team with Bill Eadie. Eadie played the character Ax while Darsow was known as Smash, and together they were Demolition. The team found great success with the WWF, winning the World Tag Team Championships and holding the belts for more than a year. The duo would win the belts on three different occasions, making them one of the more successful tag teams of the era.
Things had to come to an end eventually, though, and Darsow tried to make a solo career out of the Smash character, only to be relegated to lower profile matches and leaving television for a short hiatus in August 1991. Later in the year, Darsow was back in the ring, and he came back with a doozy of a gimmick. This time around, he had an everyday job gimmick that was common back then.
He became The Repo Man, a character that did exactly what you would expect someone with that name to do. Darsow’s character was repossessing cars and other items, which was actually based off of a job that Darsow had before wrestling. What made it even more interesting was the fact that it wasn’t Vince McMahon or any of the other creative directors that came up with the idea. Instead, it was all Darsow’s doing.
Most repo men don’t wear a mask that makes them look like The Lone Ranger, but that’s what Darsow did to make his character distinct compared to Smash. The Repo Man would be involved with some feuds in the early 1990s with some of the biggest names in the business. Randy Savage, Sgt. Slaughter and more were in his path, but Repo Man would lose more often than he’d win.
The gimmick was in effect for about a year and a half before it was scrapped, and Darsow would leave the company in 1993. Darsow went independent for a brief time, and then joined WCW as The Blacktop Bully, but was fired rather quickly for cutting himself (blading) to add blood to a match against Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes was also fired from the promotion as a result.
Darsow again found himself on the independent circuit before coming back to the WCW, this time with an even more ridiculous gimmick. He was known as Mr. Hole-In-One, a vicious golfer that would attack his opponents during a putting challenge. He would switch gimmicks a few more times before leaving WCW once again at the end of 1999, and started wrestling in various promotions around the United States.
Darsow no longer works the full-time schedule that he used to, and he hasn’t had a registered match with a larger promotion in the past four years. For the most part, Darsow has been incredibly busy in other facets of life, including owning a printing company while also working in the real estate industry. When he gets some time for himself, Darsow stays true to his former golfer gimmick by spending some time on the links.
Always excited to talk about golf, Darsow says that “I play against 60 other guys in my league. I’m usually a six or seven handicap, depending on how often I play. Sometimes when we’re out there and I’m losing, I get the urge to morph back into (Mr.) Hole-In-One Darsow and swing a club at somebody, especially after I shank one into the woods.”
Golf is a great distraction, but Darsow says that wrestling is still in his system. “I miss it sometimes,” he said. “I miss seeing the boys, and I miss being on the road. But, as the same time, I know I could never get back in the ring. I couldn’t do the sport justice. Wrestling is still in my blood, though, and it always will be. I had the time of my life.”
The Smash gimmick is what made him famous, but it’s still The Repo Man that people always want to talk about. “It’s quite funny because a lot of people always asked me why I did that,” he said. “Well for me, I liked playing a character. It was a real hard character to get into so I had a lot of fun pulling it off and one of the reasons why I did it was because I was going to end up being a babyface and I wanted to do things like hospital signings for Make A Wish Foundation and I really enjoyed it.”
He knows that his gimmicks wouldn’t work in today’s world of pro wrestling, either. “It’s probably down to the fact that a lot of the guys can’t be the characters anymore, and they actually have a hard time even being themselves,” he said. He says that newer wrestlers didn’t have a passion for the business and “are just out to make money...I think it’s been hurting the business because there is so much focus on the entertainment now, even when we played the characters we knew how to wrestle.”
You can see Smash, or Repo Man, or Mr. Hole-In-One wrestle every now and then, but don’t expect his appearances to be too common. He says that he’s had to turn down a lot of appearances because “You’ve got to have a life...And I’ve got to see my wife, my son, my grandson.” At 58 years old, Darsow is taking it easy now, and he’s enjoying life away from the grind that comes with being a full-time wrestler.