Blackjack Lanza, who along with his tag partner Blackjack Mulligan was a staple of Vern Gagne’s Minnesota-based territory throughout the 1960s and 1970s, has died. He was 86 years old.
Lanza, whose legal first name was John, was trained by Gagne, but started his career in the South for NWA Mid-America. It wasn’t long until he returned to the AWA and started working the cowboy gimmick he was most known for. He also eventually teamed up with Mulligan there as The Blackjacks, and that Bobby Heenan-managed duo is how many wrestling fans remember Lanza. But his only AWA Tag title win was actually with Bobby Duncum.
Both as a singles and tag wrestler, Lanza worked with the McMahon’s then-WWWF. After his retirement in 1985, he worked for Vince Jr. as a road agent and producer. He inducted Heenan into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, and Brain returned the favor for The Blackjacks two years later.
Just heard from old, Winnipeg friend Bob Holliday that Jack Lanza has passed away at the age of 86.— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) December 8, 2021
Jack was our lead agent during the Attitude Era.
Our condolences go out to Lanza’s family and friends. Thanks for the memories, Blackjack.