Sad news for wrestling fans. Iconic wrestler and trainer Blackjack Lanza has passed away at the age of 86. Lanza was a tag team specialist who teamed with Blackjack Mulligan to win several titles. Following his retirement, Lanza worked as a road agent and producer for WWE.
Jim Ross broke the news on Twitter.
Just heard from old, Winnipeg friend Bob Holliday that Jack Lanza has passed away at the age of 86.
Jack was our lead agent during the Attitude Era.
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) December 8, 2021
Blackjack Lanza’s career
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota Lanza started his career in AWA under Verne Gagne. He found success as a singles and tag team competitor winning singles and tag titles in AWA, WWWF, Georgia Championship Wrestling, NWA Big Time, and the World Wrestling Association.
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Lanza was managed for a lot of his career by fellow AWA product Bobby Heenan.
As an agent, he was one of the key architects of the Attitude Era, including several of the classic confrontations between The Rock and Austin.
Fans and Wrestlers Pay Tribute to Lanza
I think this was the first match I ever saw, if not it is my first wrestling memory. The night Blackjack Mulligan picked Blackjack Lanza over the Heenan Family. No idea why but the lady jumping up and clapping in the 3rd row always stayed with me. https://t.co/vhSN9VA2ap
— stacy mirba (@stacy_mirba) December 8, 2021
I met him once at the airport in Las Vegas after an event in 1999. When I asked him for his autograph, he said, “Aww, come on young man. You don’t want my autograph, get some of these guys, my time has passed.” We talked for a few and I left with an autograph and great memory#RIP
— the1See (@CMSDrums22) December 8, 2021
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Lanza. Jack Lanza was a man’s man, respected and beloved by all. He loved and worked for WWE for many years. His loyalty and dedication will never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/4wpq9E1Ypo
— WWE (@WWE) December 8, 2021
BLACKJACK LANZA BUBBA YOU WERE THE TOUGHEST BUBBA. I MISS YOU FOREVER pic.twitter.com/i3JTvRkbRK
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) December 8, 2021
I’m very saddened to hear of the passing of Jack “Blackjack” Lanza. Jack was a great Pro in his time, top rate producer, kind, incredibly knowledgeable,helpful and wise in his advise to me for many years. My deepest condolences to his family.
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) December 8, 2021
The NWA is saddened to learn about the passing of legendary performer John ‘Blackjack’ Lanza.
Our thoughts go to the friends and family of one of the greats. #NWAFam pic.twitter.com/GLwUUdtcbp
— NWA (@nwa) December 8, 2021
RIP to the legendary Blackjack Lanza…he had a great run as a wrestler then as an agent in WWF for many years…also he was Bobby Heenan’s first big act as a manager pic.twitter.com/z7DhB0oe6p
— Kris Zellner (@KrisZellner) December 8, 2021
Blackjack Lanza, a major star in the 60s and 70s with Bobby Heenan, and later a key agent in WWF, has passed away at 86.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) December 8, 2021
We’re extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Blackjack Lanza. As one of the most respected men in our industry, Lanza was a force both in the ring and backstage as a match producer. Our thoughts are with Lanza’s family and friends. RIP Blackjack pic.twitter.com/5Sm5eXj4lN
— International Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame (NY) (@IPWHF) December 8, 2021
Share your memories of Blackjack Lanza in the comments below.
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