Friday, July 22, 2011

Sam Bass

Sam Bass is remembered mainly for his work as a manager and occasional wrestler for his work in the Tennessee/Kentucky area for Nick Gulas, In whatever function he chose, he has a natural talent for getting  heat from the fans. He was especially talented on the microphone and could work the crowd into a frenzy with his tirades against them or opponents his men would be facing.

In the 1960s, Arizona saw an influx of southern wrestlers. Buddy Fuller made a faltered attempt to develop a second promotion out west, but the cost proved too high for him. Other stars such as Dick Dunn and Len Rossi made occasional trips westward to escape the winters back in their Nashville home base. Bass also decided to make a trip to Phoenix as a suggestion from some of his associates. He did not stay long, but his venture into the Phoenix area was quite successful.

Bass was paired as a manager with the Comancheros/Hell's Angels when they first showed up in the Phoenix circuit in 1967. Together, they worked well, but such was the case for Bass, who proved magical for anyone he was linked with.

On occasional the usual stunts were pulled, such as having the manager banned from the ring or handcuffed to someone to keep him from interfering. Predictably, the Comancheros still found a way to win.

While the Comancheros loved Arizona and became mainstays there, Bass evidently disliked the thought of 115 degree summers and headed back to Nashville. It was a decision that would eventually cost him.

A few years after his Arizona stint, Bass was killed in a  fiery car crash along with Pepe Lopez and Frank Hester on the highway between Memphis and Nashville.

"The wreck was a mess," Don Greene woudl later say. "The entire car just exploded in flames,. They identified the bodies by dental records and by one of the other wrestlers who knew where each man had been sitting."

Greene hesitated and then went on to tell the most chilling part of all..

"I would have been the fourth man in that car as I was supposed to ride with them, but JC Dykes didn't want to drive back to Nashville alone. He was afraid of falling asleep at the wheel, so I said I would go with him instead and I did. Had it not been for him, I would have been in that car and in that wreck also."

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