Cleat Geeks

Remembering the Legends : One Man Gang

If you watched wrestling in the 1980s and early 1990s you were exposed to a monster like no other. The One Man Gang. The biker persona wrapped around a mountain. George Gray started at the bottom in this business. Working his way up through smaller promotions using his real name and many aliases. Including Crusher Gray, Crusher Broomfield, One Man Gang and Akeem. An enlarged human being billed by WWF at the time as 6’9″ and 450 pounds. In and out of the ring he appeared every bit the monster reported.  Gray is a native of North Carolina and was trained in the wrestling business by Jerry Bragg(Chief Grey Eagle). A legend in the same company as Stu Hart or Verne Gagne.

Whether you remember the One Man Gang in the WWF with Manager Slick. In WCW with Gary Hart, or in the Regional Federations as part of Skandor Akbar’s Devastation Inc. Maybe you caught a glimpse of him in Japanese Wrestling. Wherever George Gray appeared there was no missing him. Billed as being a biker from Halsted Street in Chicago his persona played to the crowd. One Man Gang was the perfect monster heel. He was easy to root against, easy to hate. Later in the WWF, as Akeem he proved to have some comedic ability, in between being offensive. Right or wrong I am sure the offense was scripted intentionally. In retrospect I am sure there are certain promos involving Akeem the African Dream that all parties look back on less than proudly.  But within the character interactions there was certain comedic chops displayed. Entertaining but in the end the One Man Gang is the Legendary figure, not Akeem.

Gang had some awesome feuds with many of the biggest stars ever to grace a squared circle. Gang entered wrestling through Independent Circuits. After the Independents he moved into International Championship Wrestling.  Working alongside Jerry Bragg, Ric Flair, Randy Savage and Ron Garvin to name a few.  In the Mid-South territory Gang entered the scene by interfering in matches and disposing of the fan favorite. Prompting announcer Jim Ross to exclaim the yet unidentified wrestler as “He’s a one man gang”. The notation stuck, rightfully so.  A monster heel was born. Gray then ran with Jim Crocket Promotions before a stint in Texas All Star Wrestling and a memorable feud with Big Bubba. When the Mid-South was repackaged as Universal Wrestling Federation Gray became a main heel figure feuding with the great Jim Duggan(Hacksaw).  Eventually holding the UWF Heavyweight Belt for six months.

Many of you will remember One Man Gang from his appearances in the National Wrestling Alliance via several affiliated circuits.  Most will remember the higher profile stint in the WWF.  With Slick in his corner and the GourdBuster/747 Splash finishing moves in his tool kit Gray wreaked havoc on lower tier talent during his initial push. Gray wrestled Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in main event matches. Even being center in Billy Graham’s “forced” retirement storyline. Later teaming with Andre the Giant Vs Hulk Hogan’s Team in the Main Event of the first ever Survivor Series. In the first ever Royal Rumble Gray was the last man disqualified. Hacksaw Jim Duggan was the man who eliminated Gray and won the match. Gray would go on to feud with many other WWF notables like Bam Bam Bigelow and Don “the Rock” Muraco. Along with tag team action under a new guise. After adopting the character Akeem the African Dream, Gray began teaming with Bog Boss Man,  As Akeem, Gray continued to battle the Mega Powers and Demolition tag teams in long term storylines as the Twin Towers. The Twin Towers were the core nemesis tag team in the Ms. Elizabeth, Hogan and Savage storyline leading to the breakup of the Mega Powers.

After exiting WWF Gray rejected the Akeem personality and joined WCW once again as the One Man Gang. Managed by Kevin Sullivan, who cast away the spirit of Akeem, Gray embarked on a feud with El Gigante. After a four year issue over refusing to put another wrestler over Gray returned to WCW. Eventually holding the WCW US Heavyweight Championship. After the WCW run Gray never rose to the higher circuits of Pro Wrestling again.

After suffering a heart attack Gray lost a lot of weight and no longer wrestled frequently. Last known Gray was now a prison guard at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Still making occasional appearances on Independent Circuits including a main event in 2009 vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan in the International Wrestling Cartel (ICW). Gray has held over a dozen Championship Belts in some of the most influential circuits in the history of pro wrestling. Gray has been the main event in some of the greatest shows ever aired. Gray’s One Man Gang was one of the greatest monster heels in the history of the sport. Gray played the heel to Hogan’s face, Savage’s face in multiple promotions. One Man Gang is a “huge” part of the magic that was 1980’s Professional Wrestling.  For that reason George Gray, the One Man Gang, is the legend remembered today.

 

 

 

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