Blackjack Lanza Passes Away

The rugged Hall of Famer was 86

John Lanza, known for years as villainous cowboy wrestler Blackjack Lanza, and simply as Jack Lanza in his later years as a WWE official, passed away at an unreported point over the preceding days.

Lanza's death was announced by Jim Ross via Twitter, who heard the news from a mutual friend.

Lanza was 86 years old.

A pro since 1961, Lanza made his mark in a number of territories, including the AWA, Mid Atlantic, and Indianapolis' World Wrestling Association, the latter of which he reigned as champion for nearly two years in the late sixties. Lanza also held the AWA World Tag Team titles with Bobby Duncum during the 1970s. Oftentimes, Lanza was managed by close friend Bobby Heenan.

Lanza formed his most famous pairing, The Blackjacks, with Blackjack Mulligan (grandfather of Bray Wyatt), with Heenan often managing the pair. Together, the two reigned as Tag Team champions in Indianapolis, Detroit, and in mid-seventies WWWF.

After retiring from the ring in 1985, Lanza became a backstage official for WWE, and could often be seen intervening in various pull-apart brawls. He was inducted along with Mulligan into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by Heenan. The Blackjacks were later inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016.

Cultaholic extends its condolences to Mr. Lanza's family and friends.

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.