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 - Jim Zordani

By the time the 70s rolled around, the Crusher was entering the twilight of his wrestling career. Crusher no longer used the full nelson as his finishing maneuver instead choosing to use the two handed stomach claw to make his opponents submit. Another new weapon in the Crusher's offensive arsenal was the Bolo punch. The Crusher would wind up with his right hand and then deliver a right uppercut to his opponent's body rending said opponent lifeless on the mat. Crusher had moved away from power moves such as the full nelson and began incorporating comedy spots into his repertoire of ring techniques. One such comedy spot was using two of his fingers to poke his opponent in the eyes ala Moe Howard of the Three Stooges.

John Lanza started his wrestling career in 1963 and soon became known as Cowboy Jack Lanza. Lanza was a clean cut mid card baby face for the next few years gaining a reputation as a solid in ring worker. On June 24th, 1967 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Lanza shocked the wrestling world by turning on his partner Wilbur Snyder during a match against the Devils Duo of Angelo Poffo and Chris Markoff. Under the guidance of Pretty Boy Bobby Heenan, Cowboy Jack Lanza was transformed into Blackjack Lanza. 

Lanza's heel turn was such a huge success that over the next couple of years Lanza and manager Bobby Heenan received bookings not only in Indianapolis but all over the Midwest in cities such as St Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis and Milwaukee. Lanza and Heenan invaded the AWA in August of 1969 with Lanza going on a huge winning streak and becoming one of the most hated men in the territory. After beating wrestler after wrestler set in front of him, Blackjack Lanza was matched against the Crusher during August of 1970. Bobby Heenan would often get involved in Lanza'a matches with Crusher causing Crusher to demand a series of handicap matches against the hated pair. The Crusher did win a few handicap matches against Lanza and Heenan settling the feud for the moment.

After failing to defeat Mad Dog and Butcher Vachon for the AWA tag team titles, Crusher and Dick the Bruiser only teamed together on special occasions. During the latter part of 1970 and the first half of 1971, Crusher's most frequent tag team partner was Bull Bullinski. Crusher and Bullinski met the Vachons on several occasions but did not win the AWA tag team titles.  More...

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