Legendary professional wrestler and road agent Jack Lanza has passed away at age 86, Jim Ross confirmed via Twitter.
Lanza, who started in the AWA in the early 1960s, made a name in the Minneapolis and St. Louis regions throughout the decade while teaming with Bobby Duncum to win the AWA Tag Team Championships, guided by Bobby Heenan. He also had successful stints in the Indiana-based WWA and in the Carolina’s with Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Lanza’s run as a top heel in the WWA began in 1967 when he defeated Wilbur Snyder that September for the territories World Championship and culminated in a blood feud with the iconic Dick The Bruiser in 1969.
Lanza, however, is most renown, perhaps, for his time in Vincent J. McMahon’s World Wide Wrestling Federation, known today as WWE. Lanza worked as a solo star in 1973, working programs with talents such as Jay Strongbow, Tony Garea, Gorilla Monsoon and Andre the Giant. In 1975, Lanza became WWWF Tag Team Champions with Blackjack Mulligan, defeating Pat Barrett and Dominic DeNucci in the Philadelphia Spectrum. Before exiting the promotion, Lanza had solo programs with Hall of Famers Ivan Putski and Bruno Sammartino, the latter being for the World Championship. His final WWE match was against Putski on HBO in Madison Square Garden.
Lanza won championship gold in Georgia Championship Wrestling and the AWA in the late 1970s before retiring in 1985. Following his retirement, Lanza worked as the head road agent in the WWF during the height of Austin 3:16, the peak of professional wrestling’s popularity and what is now-known as “The Attitude Era.” Lanza was integral in putting together some of the most iconic matches in WWE history behind the scenes. Lanza, alongside Mulligan, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
We at Bodyslam are saddened to hear about the loss of Jack Lanza, one of the most iconic professional wrestlers of his generation. We wish the most sincere of condolences to the Lanza family.