Jack Brisco Death – Surgery Complications
1941-2010 (Age 68)
Jack Brisco distinguished himself in amateur and professional wrestling, becoming the first Native American to win the NCAA Wrestling National Championship as well as the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Championship.
Brisco teamed with brother Jerry in various promotions. The pair were also part-owners of Georgia Championship Wrestling. Jack Brisco accomplished much in the wrestling industry; retiring as the business was going national.
Brisco died in 2010 following complications from heart surgery. He was 68 years old.
Amateur Wrestling’s First Native American NCAA Champion
Jack Brisco was born Freddie Joe Brisco on September 21, 1941, just months before America entered the Second World War.
The Blackwell, Oklahoma native proved a capable amateur wrestler in high school, winning two state wrestling titles. Brisco was an accomplished football player as well and was offered a football scholarship at the University of Oklahoma. However, Brisco was committed to wrestling and chose Oklahoma State, becoming a two-time All-American wrestler there. Jack Brisco’s skills saw him finish second in the NCAA’s 1964 wrestling tournament. In 1965, Brisco won it all, capturing the NCAA Wrestling Championship and becoming the first Native American athlete to do so.
Rising to the Top
Although Jack Brisco became a professional wrestler for the chance to travel and make money, he soon became disgruntled with the pay. Things changed when Brisco went to work in Eddie Graham’s promotion, Championship Wrestling from Florida.
Graham, a powerful figure in wrestling, began grooming Jack to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Along the way, Graham taught Brisco the figure-four leglock, a move Brisco immediately adopted.
Brisco’s good looks and incredible athleticism made him a top candidate for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He could defend the belt should someone attempt to double-cross him, and he had the looks to play a strong babyface, yet evoke a tough image with his ability to dish out and take a beating in the ring.
Eventually, Brisco’s moment came. On July 20, 1973, Brisco entered history when he defeated Harley Race for the NWA’s top prize.
Wrestling lore has it Brisco participated in a financial transaction when he dropped the NWA World Heavyweight Title to Japanese legend Giant Baba in Japan in December 1974, winning it back days later.
Brisco engaged in some of wrestling’s biggest matches with the sport’s top stars, including a classic series with Dory Funk, Jr.
Brisco reportedly tired of the hectic life of a champion and asked that the belt be taken off him. On December 10, 1975, Brisco lost to Dory’s brother Terry.
The Brisco Brothers
Jack Brisco remained a top singles star, but also formed a long-lasting and successful tag team with younger brother Jerry (whom Jack trained for the business). The two won many regional titles and also wrestled matches with another brother team—Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk.
The Brisco Brothers worked one of the hottest tag team angles in Jim Crockett Promotions when they began a rivalry with the popular babyface team of Jay Youngblood and Ricky Steamboat. The Briscos were babyfaces when they challenged Youngblood and Steamboat to a match, and during the match, the Briscos accidentally hurt one of their opponents—or was it an accident?
With tempers flaring, the Briscos turned heel, attacking Youngblood and Steamboat, battling with them for JCP’s version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship. This led to their much-anticipated match at the second Starrcade, where the Briscos lost to the babyfaces.
Jack and Jerry were more than a wrestling team, they were business partners too, with an ownership stake in Georgia Championship Wrestling. The Briscos (along with several other owners) sold their interest in the company to Vince McMahon, circumventing co-owner Ole Anderson and allowing the WWF to get Georgia Championship Wrestling’s much-desired two-hour timeslot on Superstation WTBS, as detailed in the 2004 book Sex, Lies, and Headlocks.
In-Ring Retirement and a New Career
Jack Brisco retired in 1984 during his run in the WWF alongside brother Jerry. Jack Brisco had had enough of the road life and was exhausted. It didn’t mean he was going to retire though. Instead, Jack opened up Brisco Brothers Body Shop in Tampa, Florida with his brothers Bill and Jerry. Jack worked at the shop several days a week and enjoyed traveling with his wife, traveling to amateur wrestling tournaments and NASCAR events. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed fishing as well.
In 2008, Brisco was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Jack Brisco Death
As Jack Brisco got older, he was beset with health issues including a growth on his spine that led to problems walking. Circulatory problems and emphysema plagued him in later years as well. Shortly before his death, Jack Brisco had open heart surgery and during rehabilitation, he collapsed.
Jack Brisco died on February 1, 2010. He was survived by his wife, Jan.
Brisco is buried at Wolf Cemetery in Wolf, Oklahoma.
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