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FORMER USWA CHAMPION THE SNOWMAN EDDIE CRAWFORD PASSES AWAY

By Mike Johnson on 2021-09-29 22:50:00

PWInsider.com is sad to report the passing of Eddie Crawford, professionally known to Memphis Wrestling and Mid-South Wrestling fans as The Snowman.  Crawford passed away earlier today, days after word began circulating that he had suffered a heart attack.

Trained by Jerry Lawler and Koko Ware, Crawford, as Snowman first debuted for Memphis Wrestling when it was running under the CWA name in 1984, wrestling as Snowman and Dr. Detroit, putting over more prominent talents.   The Snowman moniker was said to have been a nickname given to him by O. V. Wright, a blues singer.

As Snowman, Crawford moved over to Bill Watts' Mid-South Wrestling in 1985, where he received an immediate push as a babyface as one of Watts' attempts to replace The Junkyard Dog, who had jumped without notice to the WWF.  Snowman was almost immediately put over Jake Roberts, becoming the promotion's TV Champion.  He worked with veteran heels like Dutch Mantel, Tom Prichard, Len Denton and Eddie Gilbert with the promotion did everything they could to try and get his push to click, even having Muhammad Ali in his corner against Roberts.   

In one angle, Snowman tried to rescue Frankie Lane from Mantel and Prichard, who were using Mantel's whip on him, leading to Snowman taking a big beating.  No matter what the promotion did, it didn't click, but honestly, no one Watts attempted after JYD truly did.  Snowman eventually lost the title to Mantel and was soon gone, his run lasting all of four months.

Crawford began doing local interviews claiming racism against him on the part of Memphis promoters, including Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett.  Grabbing their attention, he was brought back to the CWA under a mask as The Killer, now a babyface, teaming with Lawler in a feud against Bam Bam Bigelow and Larry Sharpe.  He disappeared in late 1986 and returned a year later, once again as The Snowman, wrestling against Manny Fernandez and others before again disappearing.

 

Snowman returned to the now-USWA in Memphis in 1990, getting the biggest push of his career, winning the Unified title from Lawler in June 1990 as part of an angle that would never, ever make television today, even in professional wrestling.  On USWA TV (as seen above), Lawler, who was a heel, was confronted by Snowman, who came out on WMC-TV Channel 5.  At the time, to sell the situation as a shoot, matchmaker Eddie Marlin ran out and told Snowman he couldn’t walk out and do whatever he wanted on live television.  He told Snowman he couldn’t just walk in and get a title match but could work his way up the card.  Security tried to remove Snowman, who remarked that everyone in the company would wake up to find there was a "Black King" in Memphis.

Snowman stated he was buying a ticket for the Mid-South Coliseum that Monday.  Flustered, Lawler tried to go back to his “planned” promo, but was “off” to give the idea that something unplanned just went down in the studio.  If you watch the footage, the segment is all over the place from a production standpoint as well, to sort of give the impression that even behind the scenes, they were reacting as if something went wrong.

Snowman showed up that Monday at the Mid-South Coliseum, where he again got into a heated argument with Marlin before being forced out of the building:

 The story was that Snowman was invited to come back to Memphis TV, but instead of coming out for a segment, he sat in the crowd fuming the entire show.  Marin finally said he wanted to give Snowman a chance to air his problems out publicly.  He began making allegations that the promotion was racist, which brought out King Cobra, who denied that for the 15 years he had been with the promotion, he had never dealt with racism from the company but had dealt with racist people in Tennessee.  The live crowd booed Cobra for this, and he responded they weren’t in professional wrestling and they wouldn’t know his experiences.  Snowman then verbally jabbed by saying he was only still with the company because management knew he wasn’t good enough to be the champion.

 

Lawler, finally having enough, walked out, with Cobra, his long-time rival, finally throwing his hands up at the entire situation and walking out.  Lawler challenged Snowman to come take the USWA title from him at the following Monday’s event in Memphis- at the time Memphis ran the Mid-South Coliseum every Monday and this would be years before Monday Night Raw forced that tradition to change.  Marlin wasn’t happy with anyone but finally sanctioned the match with Snowman slapping Lawler and being dragged out of the studio.  The next Monday, Snowman won the title.

From that point, he feuded with Lawler, then Brian Lee and then the Bruise Brothers, teaming with Jeff Jarrett.  Allegedly unhappy with his pay (the story was that what he was promised he would be paid and what he received were far apart) and status on the cards (Lawler was still the main eventer, even though Snowman was the champion), he walked out of the promotion with the belt, the last time that belt was used in pro wrestling. 

On television, the attempt to bury him after the walkout was so harsh that Eddie Marlin went on TV, announced Snowman had no showed a half dozen times, so he was stripped of the title.  He later claimed Snowman had attempted to pawn the title belt for drugs.  Yes, really.  On live television.  I know the belt was eventually recovered and now resides in a private collection.  The promotion ran a tournament, using the AWA World Championship belt Lawler had won from Curt Hennig and never returned to Verne Gagne, ironically enough, due to a dispute over pay, and that was the title used going forward by the promotion.

Outside of the ring, Crawford was a police officer in Collierville, TN and taught bible studies as well.

PWInsider.com expresses our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of Eddie Crawford.

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