Thursday, July 14, 2011

John Shane

John Shane started in Arizona in the 1960s and had he not done so well in his daytime job within law enforcement, he would have traveled out more often, becoming a far bigger name.

Early in his career, Shane was seen on the undercard or occasionally teaming with one or both of the Monroe brothers. It was not until 1966 that a feud with Ray Gordon would launch him into main events.

The feud was born simply enough. After losing by pin to Gordon at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden, Shane reached out and offered to shake hands with the winner. He then stomped the  hell out of him after the fact and the battle was on.

Two years later, they were still at it. Others were involved by then, which led into a series of six man brawls with Gordon, Tito Montez and Cowboy Bob Ellis taking on Shane, Chuck Karbo and Henry Pulusso.

Other wrestlers Shane faced in various towns on the Arizona circuit included Eddie Lopez, Kiko Torres, Ken Lucas, Eddie Sullivan, Nano Ortega, Pepe Romero, Bruce Kirk, Luis Martinez, Wally Steele, Armon Hussein, Tony Hernandez, Phil Melby, Roy McClarity, Ham Lee, Jim Wright, Oscar Salazar, Rocky Smith, Pancho Pico, Dick Dunn, Jose Lothario, Joe Colt, Eduardo Lynch, Johnny Colt, Man Mountain Mike and The Bat. During most of his encounters he used a sleeper hold as a finisher and provoked the crowd to even greater anger when, after winning a good number of matches, continually put off waking his defeated opponents up.

Oddly enough, after a career spent in the role of "heel" Shane turned into a fan favorite just before  retirement. Maybe he wanted to go out with a bang, so in the 1970s he saw himself being cheered.

His last Phoenix feud came with a set of matches facing a younger and equally sinister Paul Harvey.

In 1997, Shane said farewell to Arizona when he showed up at the Old Timer Reunion held in Tempe. Afterward, he moved to Oregon.

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