(WMC) – Memphis wrestling legend Lance Russell died Tuesday morning at the age of 91.
“I cried all the way home. It was tough,” Brown said.”Lance and I were friends, coworkers, partners for 53 years, and in all that time we never had a single cross word between us.”
With a career spanning more than 50 years, Russell was arguably the most recognizable voice in professional wrestling. The wrestling world used social media to send condolences and remember Russell’s legacy.
He first began announcing matches at WHBQ before heading up the long-running Saturday morning wrestling program on WMC5 with Dave Brown in 1977. He was also the center of the ring for Monday night matches at the Mid-South Coliseum.
Russell even gave WMC’s Chief Meteorologist Emeritus Dave Brown his start at WHBQ and his chance at weather.
Jerry Lawler shared his condolences on his Twitter.
Lawler was responsible for Russell’s nickname, Banana Nose.
“I don’t know anyone who could say something bad about Lance Russell,” Lawler said. “Without Lance Russell, there would be no Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler right now.”
Russell even got himself caught up in the action from time to time, including a match no one will ever forget when Andy Kaufman stepped into the ring.
Another classic moment? The Tupelo concession stand brawl. Institutionalized jars of ketchup and mustard were thrown across the arena.
In 2015 when Dave Brown retired, Russell offered him some sage advice.
“I tell you if you enjoy your retirement as much as I did then you got a lot of good days in front of you,” he said.
Russell was married 67 years to his wife Audrey until she died in 2014. His daughter, Valerie, a beloved school principal, died about a week ago, and she was buried Tuesday. He leaves behind two sons. WMC5 will share arrangements for Russell as soon as they are announced.
“At the end of every show, Lance would look right at the camera and say, ‘That’s it for today. For Dave Brown, I’m Lance Russell so long everybody,'” Brown said.
(WMC is a media partner of The New Tri-State Defender)