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Lord James Blears (1923-2016)

  

Real Name - Lord Blears (born “James Ranicar Blears”)
Lifespan - 8/13/1923 - 3/3/2016

6’ 225 lbs. - Honolulu, HI


Athletic Background - Swimming [British Olympic Team]

Teacher(s) - n/a

AliasesJan Blears, Mr. X

Peak Years - 1950s


Place in History - Lord James Blears spent seven decades in pro-wrestling and fulfilled several different roles.  He was, of course, a pro-wrestler for twenty-five years, but achieved greater success and fame as a booker, commentator, interviewer and figurehead president.  In Hawaii and Japan, where he became a fixture for many years, Lord Blears’ career as a pro-wrestler was secondary to other roles.  As young man, Blears was an Olympic hopeful in swimming and began training in wrestling at the local YMCA.  World War II invariably changed his life and telling the story of James Blears is not complete without telling of his harrowing escape from the Japanese in the Pacific Theater.  While serving in the Merchant Navy, Blears was on a ship that was sunk by the Japanese.  They captured and beheaded many seaman, but Blears leapt from the ship and evaded machine gun fire.  He was eventually rescued.  Blears returned home and resumed his career in pro-wrestling, but it was not until he headed across the Atlantic that Jan Blears started making some headway.  He famously befriended Paul Boesch, Sandor Kovacs and Stu Hart and all four went on to become some of the most influential men within the pro-wrestling business.  While he started in New York City, it was in Los Angeles that the Lord James Blears became a top star.  As a self-important heel wearing a monocle and a cape, Lord Blears was the perfect antagonist for babyfaces like Wilbur Snyder, Billy Darnell and Sandor Szabo.  Managed by Captain Leslie Holmes, he excelled in the role and formed successful tag teams with Lord Athol Layton and Gene Kiniski in the mid-50s.  It was while touring with Kiniski that Blears first ventured to Hawaii.  By the end of the decade, he was living there full-time and soon after a part-owner of the territory with Ed Francis.  During the 1960s, 50th State Wrestling was wildly popular on the island as they featured some of the best talent in the world.  Local stars like Curtis Iaukea, Johnny Barend and Ripper Collins mingled with visitors like Nick Bockwinkel, Pedro Morales and Giant Baba in a tropical paradise.  Blears became the booker and announcer, making him arguably the single most important person in the territory.  The TV show was known for its interview segments, which orchestrated.  Despite being a supposed British nobleman, he was accepted as a local hero and his endorsement of a babyface or conflict with a heel carried weight with the fans.  From Hawaii, Blears was able to secure talent as it headed to and from Japan and Australia for years.  When San Francisco promoter Roy Shire tried to come in, it was the ability of Blears to put together hot cards with big names that made the difference.  It was no coincidence that the introduction of the Battle Royal to Hawaii won the war and that Shire made that speciality match into his trademark for years to come.  By the mid-1970s, the changing of arenas, the cooling of the product and the costs of flying in talent forced them to go dark for a few years.  Steve Rickard and later the Maivias took over the area, but Hawaii’s glory days were long gone.  When Giant Baba was forming his promotion, All Japan Pro-Wrestling, Blears became a key supporter and served as the PWF President from 1974 to 2001.  The position mainly included showing up at big shows and reading proclamations before Triple Crown matches.  It was a tradition that lived on through the years when All Japan was producing perhaps the greatest pro-wrestling ever.  Lord Blears, while only a figurehead president, will always have an association with those legendary matches.  After his pro-wrestling days in Hawaii, Lord Blears’ celebrity only grew as he patriarch of the “First Family of Surfing.”  All four of his children became professional surfers and he often served as a the emcee at surfing events.  He also appeared on episodes of Hawaii Five-O and Magnum, P.I. based on his fame on the island.  In his many lives, Lord Blears has been able to been able to find a level of success in each that few others can match.
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