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Blackjack Lanza


Real Name - John Lanza
Birthdate - 10/14/35
6'4" 245 lbs. - Laredo, TX

Athletic Background - 

Teacher(s) - Verne Gagne

Professional Background - AWA(`63), Mid-Atlantic, San Francisco[AWA](`65), Indianapolis(`66-`67), JWA(`66), AWA(`67), St. Louis(`68;`70-`71), Indianapolis(`71), Pittsburgh(`73), WWWF(`73), Dallas(`73-`75), WWWF(`75), Houston(`74), AWA(`76), Houston(`78), Georgia(`79),

Aliases - Cowboy Jack Lanza

Groups - The Blackjacks, Heenan Family

Peak Years - `70 - `76

Finisher(s) - 
- Texas Brainbuster (Clawhold)
- Bulldog
- Cobra Clutch
- Backbreaker

Favorites - 
- Bodyslam
- Headlock Punch
- Turnbuckle Smash
- Overhead Forearm
- Gut Punch

Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set

Intangibles Rating - 


Place in History - Blackjack Lanza is best remembered as the ring general half of the devastating Blackjacks tandem.  However, he spent a number of years prior to that run honing his skills throughout the Midwest.  Most of his early years, he worked as a rugged cowboy babyface much in the mold of Bob Ellis and Tex McKenzie.  In 1967, while working in Indianapolis, Lanza turned on local favorite Wilbur Snyder, partnered up with Bobby Heenan, added a black hat, mustache and glove to his look and Blackjack Lanza was born.  Lanza was a very good hand who not the most spectacular, but Heenan's over-the-top personality added a lot to their package.  Into the early 1970s, Lanza and Heenan were a formidable pair and when they were joined by the big and charismatic Blackjack Mulligan, they were a top heel tag team instantly in the WWWF.  The team only had a short run together before going their separate ways.  Lanza formed another excellent tandem with Bobby Duncum and enjoyed singles success for the remainder of the decade.  He returned to the WWF and worked for them for the next two decades as a road agent.  Although Lanza had a memorable in-ring career, it was this behind-the-scenes role that probably had the biggest impact.  He undoubtedly shaped the WWF product in ways that is hard to calculate and fully appreciate.