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Monday, February 1, 2010

Remembering The Great One, Jack Brisco

After losing wrestling's greatest friend (Georgiann Makropoulos) last week, today we've lost one of its greatest all-time stars, former NWA and NCAA champion Jack Brisco.

Brisco died at age 68 after undergoing triple-bybass surgery last week.

Until the arrival of Kurt Angle, Brisco was the most heralded of amateur wrestlers to make the move to the professional ranks. In 1965, he won the NCAA title without having a takedown scored against him the entire year. Eight years later, on July 20,1973, he beat Harley Race for the NWA World title. He lost the title in Japan to Shohei Baba in December 1974, but regained it after only a week and continued his reign until being beaten by Terry Funk a year later.

Jack and younger brother Gerald (Jerry) were three-time NWA World tag team champions, but are perhaps more famous for what they did as business partners, convincing a majority of their fellow partners to sell Georgia Championship Wrestling to Vince McMahon in 1984 and enabling the WWF to claim the nationally syndicated TBS time slot at the expense of the NWA.

Jack Brisco was a tremendously devoted husband to wife, Jan, who shared his passion for traveling around the country taking in NASCAR events as well top amateur wrestling championships. "Traveling is no longer stressful, as when I was wrestling,” Jack told me. “Now I actually look forward to seeing all I missed.”

Brisco is a charter member of The Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, along with Jerry, in 2008.

“When I walked away from the business, that was it,” he told me in 2001. “I still loved wrestling and my friendships with my peers, but I had had enough. It was more than just my body aching. We all had made so many sacrifices; being away from our families was the biggest one. At least I was lucky for all the time I did get to spend with Jerry on the road, though. I can't complain, I've had a great life so far."

—Mike Lano


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