Tuesday, 4 September 2012

WCW's Crowbar - Post Wrestling Career

Got a nagging injury you want to fix? A bad back? Stiff knees? If you’re in the market for a physical therapist, look no further than the pipe-wielding wildman of WCW, Crowbar. While that may not sound like the best advertisement for a therapist, the former WCW Hardcore and Cruiserweight Champion, whose real name is Christopher Ford, has dedicated years of his life to the craft, working with several hospitals in northern New Jersey before branching out and opening his own practice. And he did it all while competing in the ring, bouncing around between WCW, ECW and WWE before finding a stable spot in Ted Turner’s Atlanta-based organization in 1999. But the story of how Ford got there, and what he’s done since leaving WCW in 2001 is stunning. Ford’s love of wrestling began at childhood. A major fan of superheroes and comic books, the Rutherford, N.J., native was originally drawn to larger-than-life characters like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. But as he got older and was drawn more to the craft of wrestling, Superstars like Randy Savage and Ric Flair began to mesmerize him. By the time he hit high school, wrestling became an extreme passion for Ford and he began to consider stepping in the squared circle. “It was getting to where being a fan wasn’t enough,” he told WWE.com. During his sophomore year of high school, Crowbar found out that former WWE Superstar “Iron” Mike Sharpe was going to open a wrestling school in Brick Township, N.J., about 90 minutes from home. That was all he needed to hear to make up his mind. He spent the summer working as a bus boy in a banquet hall, eventually saving up enough to begin training at Sharpe’s school. Ford was “Iron” Mike’s first student at the Jersey Shore academy. He quickly learned that there wasn’t much of a difference between Sharpe, the man he had seen on television, and Sharpe, the teacher. “What you saw of him on TV was how he trained you,” Ford explained. “He would put on his black tights and boots, tape up his wrists and actually oil up to train. He would be explaining the moves and all that, but he was working out himself, too.” And if you’re wondering, Sharpe did occasionally wear his trademark leather armband, his student said. Sharpe’s quirkiness didn’t end in the ring, though, as he’s long been rumored to be one of the “neatest” grapplers ever — a fact which Ford laughed about when asked about his teacher’s penchant for organization, before confirming it was true. “His bag was immaculate,” he said. “If you opened it up, it was a series of Ziploc bags. It was almost like those Russian egg dolls. You would open one bag that would go into a smaller one that would go into a smaller one.” After studying under Sharpe for nine months, Ford hit the independent scene on the east coast in early 1992. Taking the name “Dangerous” Devon Storm, he barnstormed throughout New York and New Jersey, wowing crowds with talent like Ace Darling, who later became his tag team partner in WCW. The bleach blond grappler adapted an aerial style he learned from Bill DeMott. Devon Storm’s high-flying ability caught the attention of WCW’s higher-ups, who put the young New Jersey native on the biggest stage they had to offer. Ford began working for the company on a regular basis, appearing on several episodes of Saturday Night and an early edition of Monday Nitro, challenging then–United States Champion Konnan. Though he was taking to the air on national television, when the cameras were off, Ford was trying to keep his feet firmly on the ground and his nose in books. When he wasn’t wrestling, he was a full-time student at Kean University, pursuing a degree in physical therapy so he’d have something to fall back on. “It was a unique thing,” he explained. “I would attend school, get my work done ahead of time and fly out to TV.”

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