Stan Stasiak Death – Heart Failure
1937-1997 (Age 60)
Once upon a time, a world championship was an honor granted to few individuals. To hold the belt meant something – even if the title reign was transitionary.
While Stan Stasiak’s World-Wide Wrestling Federation Championship reign was brief, it was in recognition of his contributions to the industry and a reflection of an overall excellent career.
Stan Stasiak was a wrestler who symbolized the travel and glory of the territory era.
A Fiery Temper Leads to the Ring
George Stipich was born on April 13, 1937 in Quebec, Canada. As a young man, he played hockey, including time in the Quebec Amateur Hockey Association. Stipich was an aggressive player, incurring penalty after penalty until his coach reportedly suggested he try his hand at professional wrestling.
Stipich agreed, debuting in the late 1950’s with the nickname “The Crusher.”
Eventually, he became known as Stan “The Man” Stasiak, a rugged competitor who hailed from Buzzard Creek, Oregon. Stasiak was once billed as the son of grappler Stan Stasiak, but this was just a promotional tactic. Stasiak began using a finisher known as the heart punch, a move billed as capable of finishing any opponent unlucky enough to be on the receiving end.
Stasiak worked a number of territories in Canada and the United States, winning numerous singles and tag team championships. Stasiak worked overseas as well, competing in Australia and winning Australia’s International Wrestling Alliance’s (IWA) World Heavyweight Championship in 1970.
Stan’s Night of Glory
Stan Stasiak was no stranger to the WWWF, having worked the northeastern promotion before.Typically, Stasiak worked TV and house shows, thus being established as a top contender against the WWWF champion. Stasiak had been challenging WWWF champion Pedro Morales, failing to walk away with the belt. However, things were different on December 1, 1973 in Philadelphia because that night, the road agent informed Stan he was going to win the title.
Morales would go for a belly-to-back suplex, covering Stasiak. However, Stasiak would lift his right shoulder, winning the title.
The WWWF wanted Stan to become a transition champion, allowing Bruno Sammartino to regain the WWWF championship without defeating fellow babyface Morales. Stasiak did as instructed and entered wrestling history.
Nine days later in Madison Square Garden, Stasiak returned the favor for Bruno Sammartino:
Stan “The Man’s” title reign only lasted nine days, but his career was far from over. Stasiak received title shots against the AWA, NWA, and WWWF champions, showing he was still considered a top-ranked competitor.
Stasiak continued working until the 80’s when he retired from the ring and became a security guard.
Stan Stasiak’s manager while with the WWWF, The Grand Wizard of Wrestling, passed in 1983 after suffering from a heart attack.
Stan Stasiak’s Death: Passing the Torch to a Second Generation
On June 19, 1997 Sean Stasiak died from heart failure.
He was 60 years old and survived by his wife Jill and his two children Brittany and Shawn.
In 1997 we also saw the losses of Fritz Von Erich and Brian Pillman.Stan Stasiak’s son Shawn would enter the business in the 90s, first working for the WWF during the Attitude Era under the moniker “Meat”.
Shawn Stasiak later spent time with WCW, winning tag team gold with Chuck Palumbo on three separate occasions before the company was absorbed by the WWF in 2001. Shawn transitioned back to the WWF, managed by Stacy Keibler. He now works as a chiropractor in Plano, Texas.
Ryan O’Connor contributed to this article.