Sunday night saw yet another passing from the world of pro wrestling, as former New York State Athletic Commission referee Jack Lotz passed away at the age of 86. In an era where regional athletic commissions assigned the referees, much like in boxing or UFC now, Lotz was the main referee to work Madison Square Gardens for events for the WWWF in the 1970s and WWF in the 1980s. He was the referee for the match that saw Bob Backlund defeat “Superstar” Billy Graham on February 20, 1978, for the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship, as well as the September 22, 1980 Title Unification match between NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Harley Race against WWF World Champion Bob Backlund. His biggest title match he reffed in the WWF was arguably on January 23, 1984, when he counted the “1-2-3” that saw Hulk Hogan defeat the Iron Sheik for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.
He would referee as part of the first three WrestleMania events, including the Mr. T vs Rowdy Roddy Piper match – he was also accredited to ref boxing matches. Jack Lotz was used in movies as the referee in on-screen fights, including Martin Scorcese‘s Raging Bull and Norman Jewison’s The Hurricane, a biopic about Ruben “Hurricane” Carter. He was also a stuntman on the Sopranos.
LWOPW sends its sincere condolences to the Boni Blackstone and the entire Pedicino family, his friends, peers, and colleagues. Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.
Sad to hear Jack Lotz passed away
He was NY State referee did many of my early matches
Was ref for 2 @wwe title changes Backlund vs Graham@HulkHogan vs @the_ironsheik
A Korean War veteran
Saw him about 2 years ago
We spoke about 20mins he was raising $$ for the Veterans pic.twitter.com/zt9sJQBe7j
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) April 20, 2020
Saddened to hear of the passing of former referee John L. "Jack" Lotz this past Friday. He was a good, kind man. Always so nice. RIP good sir. pic.twitter.com/kmdSl2Zey5
— Jimmy Korderas (@jimmykorderas) April 20, 2020