Friday, November 6, 2015

JACK BRISCO - THE CHAMP



JACK BRISCO
September 21, 1941 – February 1, 2010



Born Freddie Joe Brisco, he grew up in Blackwell, Oklahoma with five siblings. He was followed by his younger brother, Gerald Brisco, into the sport of wrestling and turned down a football scholarship at University of Oklahoma to go to Oklahoma State. In 1965, he became the first Native American to win an NCAA National Championship.

Jack's first documented professional championship reign began on October 16, 1965, when he defeated DON KENT to win the NWA MISSOURI JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT title.

He also won his first tag team title in this promotion, teaming with HAYSTACK CALHOUN as co-holder of the NWA U.S. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP.

BRISCO headed east to Florida in 1968. Here his career skyrocketed. Over the course of the next few years, JACK held virtually title in the Sunshine State.

BRISCO's first NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP began in Houston, Texas when he defeated HARLEY RACE on July 10, 1973. He wore the belt until losing to GIANT BABA on December 4, 1974, then regained the title four days later. JACK remained the champion until December 10, 1975 when he was defeated by TERRY FUNK.

I was thrilled when Ted Turner's independent CHARLOTTE TV station began carrying CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM FLORIDA in the late 1960s. The first wrestler who jumped out of the screen at me was JACK BRISCO.

This young man was something special. He didn't have the look of many of the 'stereotypical' wrestlers of the day. Here was a nice-looking, clean-cut, college grad young man (there weren't many back then), and he could really go in the ring.

JACK soon began appearing in the MID-ATLANTIC territory on a limited basis. My first occasion to see JACK wrestle in person was August 4, 1969, when he teamed with MR. WRESTLING (TIM WOODS) to face THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO at the original CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

Later, I was able to attend a CHARLOTTE PARK CENTER card when BRISCO battled THE MISSOURI MAULER (LARRY HAMILTON). There was also a night in the tiny hamlet of NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. that I witnessed JACK and JERRY BRISCO meet SGT. SLAUGHTER and DON KERNODLE. (This night, I believe, was also the final night of PAUL JONES' career as a full-time wrestler. PAUL was pinned on this card by TOMMY GILBERT--EDDIE's father. The next night in CHARLOTTE, PAUL was a manager.) 

During his tenure with JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, JACK held the NWA EASTERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP twice, the MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP four times and with his brother JERRY (or GERRY) the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM titles on three occassions. Fans today still remember the great title match with RICKY STEAMBOAT and JAY YOUNGBLOOD at STARRCADE '83.


A January, 1975 World title defense in GREENSBORO, N.C.

Few athletes have attained the honors and awards that JACK BRISCO has earned. From NCAA champion to NWA champion, BRISCO has worked throughout the world, entertaining fans of wrestling.

He certainly did that for me.

JACK BRISCO will always be at the top of my list, and I thank him for all of the many memories.

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