Note: If you were a fan of Memphis Wrestling I highly recommend my friend, Mark James, Books!
I woke up early this morning to a barrage of messages on my phone from my “wrestling buddies” offering condolences and tributes to Lance Russell, the legendary announcer that was the voice of “Memphis Rasslin'” back in the day. Lance had a very recognizable voice that I used to look forward to hearing every Saturday morning (11am on WMC-Tv5), I can still hear him, “yellllll0000000 again everybody…”
Along with his sidekick, Dave Brown, Lance had our attention for a full hour and half each week. As an adult that has spent over 2 decades in the advertising industry it was mind-blowing to me to find out the ratings that Championship Wrestling had back in the 80’s… mind-blowing. How big of a deal was Lance & Dave in the 80s? On my 13th birthday my parents asked me what kind of birthday party I wanted to have, I could pick anything I wanted… I asked to take about a dozen or so of my buddies to saturday morning studio wrestling in Memphis! I still have the letter that Dave Brown sent me afterwards. Everytime I see some of my buddies that were on that busload of kids that my mom chaperoned that saturday morning they still mention that as being a high-point of their childhood.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to hand out w/ Lance and he was just as sharp as ever, and enjoying life. He had recently lost his wife, the love of his life, and you could tell that his health was starting on a downhill slope –but he still loved to talk to his fans and reminisce about the glory days of Memphis Wrestling.
I know that it’s a cliche’, “gone but not forgotten”, but in Lance’s case, it’s so true! He totally belongs in the WWE hall of fame for his contributions to the sport. Below is one of my absolute favorite moments from the 80s featuring Lance and another legend, Tojo Yamamoto. I will probably spent some time this weekend watching Memphis Heat in Lance’s memory…