It was announced this morning that legendary Memphis wrestling announcer Lance Russell has passed away at the age of 91. He suffered a fall recently and was hospitalized. His family announced his passing on his official Twitter account.
Hey All, wanted to share the sad news that dad passed away this morning. You all have been a blessing in this difficult time. Thank You!!!
— Lance Russell (@MemphisLance) October 3, 2017
Russell got his start in wrestling in Memphis and became the voice of Memphis wrestling for a generation. He had nearly a 40 year career, working with the NWA and later in WCW, before retiring from his announcing duties in 1997.
Russell’s style was laid back, but he was known to pull out the drama when he needed to. With his interviews, he would get up from his announce position, walk around to the front of the desk, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the wrestlers, and use exaggerated facial expressions during the conversation. These interviews were often the highlight of the Saturday morning television broadcast/taping. Russell also literally rang a bell to begin matches, in addition to pounding it loudly in futile attempts to halt out-of-control melees in the ring.
Russsell’s interactions with Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, and Dutch Mantel, to name a few, made for great wrestling television and defined an era in Memphis wrestling.
Friends and colleagues took to social media this morning to express their condolences.
My dear friend and greatest wrestling commentator ever, Lance Russell passed away this morning. I would have never been without him. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/bD4AlK5dsF
— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) October 3, 2017
— Paul Heyman (@HeymanHustle) October 3, 2017
— Old Wrestling Pics (@OldWrestlingPic) October 3, 2017
Our thoughts are with Lance Russell’s family and friends at this time.