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"Cowboy" Frankie Laine (1943-2016)

Real NameFrank Luhovy

Lifespan - 4/16/1943 - 5/24/2016

6’ 230 lbs. - Alvinston, ONT

Athletic Background

Teacher(s)Jack Britton

Professional Background - n/a

Aliases - none 

Peak Years`69-`79

Place in HistoryOne of the dangers of being a pro-wrestler with a gimmick is following someone else with that same gimmick.  One could have a different twist, be a better performer or even be in stronger angles, but if that taint of being a copycat is there, it can be hard to shake.  Lex Luger followed Hulk Hogan in the WWF, the Fantastics followed the Rock-N-Roll Express in several territories and several black babyfaces followed the Junkyard Dog in Mid-South.  For “Cowboy” Frankie Laine, it was following two men, Bob Ellis and Tex Mckenzie (both occasional partners of his), that likely prevented him from becoming a top babyface in several areas.  Frank Luhovy was a farm kid from Ontario who saw pro-wrestling as a way to improve his quality of life.  He was named for a popular singer and cut his teeth working around Ontario, Michigan and Ohio.  He adopted his cowboy persona while working in Oklahoma and got over as a top babyface upon heading to Oregon.  From there, Laine worked in the Hawaii, San Francisco and Los Angeles territories and won the top singles title in most of them.  While he was considered as good as Bob Ellis and was decidedly better than Tex McKenzie in the ring, Laine was seemed like a smaller and less charismatic version of both.  However, he was able to play the heel and he did so often.  Perhaps he excelled as a bad guy because he rubbed many people the wrong way and had a knack for getting himself into trouble outside of the ring.  By the late 1970s, Laine was working in the upper midcard in smaller territories and on the undercards in bigger territories.  He seemed likely to fade into obscurity when he had the biggest run of his career.  Laine teamed up with Dutch Mantell and headed to Puerto Rico as “Los Vaqueros Locos,” a pair of villainous cowboys, who took over as the top heels for the Martels.  Their feud with Carlos Colon and Huracan Castillo over the North American Tag titles led to the hottest period in the history of the company.  They did 12 weeks of > and headlined the company’s first show with over 20,000 in attendance.  The run established both men and Laine was regular for a couple more years.  He worked until 1987, mainly in the undercards of Jim Crockett and WWF shows.  Frankie Laine might be dismissed as a second-rate cowboy journeyman whose biggest claim to fame was a brief run in Puerto Rico or that he “discovered” Jimmy Snuka, but he was a talent whose career might have been bookended with insignificant undercard runs, but he worked all over the world and was used well more often than not.