‘Sweet’ Stan Lane was known throughout his pro wrestling career as a tag team specialist. He was a part of some of the greatest tag teams in the history of this business including the Fabulous Ones with Steve Keirn, the Midnight Express with Bobby Eaton and The Heavenly Bodies with Tom Prichard. Lane had wrestled for various territories all over the world with a tremendous amount of success. It seemed only natural that Stan would eventually jump ship to the biggest promotion of them all…the World Wrestling Federation.
In 1993, that is exactly what happened….well…sort of. You see, Stan Lane wasn’t signed to the WWF as an active wrestler, he was signed to be a WWF broadcaster. It might seem a bit odd considering all that talent that Lane had inside a wrestling ring. Truth be told, it was something that Stan Lane actually welcomed.
Stan had been wrestling all over the world for the last fifteen years. According to his friend and former manager Jim Cornette, Lane lost his passion to continue actively wrestling. His head wasn’t in it anymore. Lane knew the dangers of staying past your welcome in pro wrestling and did not want to end up crippled or far worse than that.
The deal with the WWF all came together in 1993, around the time that Vince McMahon was accused of distributing steroids to wrestlers. While McMahon was facing a Federal trial and a possible stint in prison…Vince turned to Memphis promoter Jerry Jarrett to run the day to day operations of the company. Jarrett was a highly respected promoter, who was also known to be extremely frugal (cheap) with money. When the WWF was looking for announcers to replace Vince while he was busy in court and to also bring in new voices to the WWF…Jarrett chose Stan Lane.
It was one of the very first moves Jarrett did while “in charge” of the company. Keep in mind, Lane had no prior broadcasting experience. There were several reasons Jerry Jarrett chose Lane for the role as a broadcaster despite his inexperience. First off, Lane was a good looking guy that would appear well on television. Secondly, when Lane and Jarrett were together in Memphis, Lane would often joke around by pretending to be a radio DJ as a goof. Jarrett remembered that and thought that Lane had the pipes to pull it off. Last but certainly not least….Stan wasn’t going to cost the company a whole lot.
It was much cheaper to bring in Lane as an announcer than it was to hire a true professional. The transition for Lane was much more difficult than he anticipated. He was immediately thrust onto the “A” show sitting and learning by the side of Vince McMahon on ‘WWF Superstars.’ Lane said it was hard for him to adjust as a broadcaster because his mindset was still that of an active wrestler and felt “like a mark” sitting by Vince color commentating.
Stan also hated the fact that he had to up and move to Stamford, Connecticut for the job. Lane was a country boy at heart and hated living in an apartment complex in Stamford. Despite these issues, Lane knew this was an opportunity for himself to retire from wrestling and still be a part of the business. Soon, Lane moved off the WWF Superstars show and placed on WWF Wrestling Challenge. He worked alongside Gorilla Monsoon and eventually became the play by play man working with ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted Dibiase.
Aside from doing play by play on Wrestling Challenge, he would also do voice over work for WWF Colosseum Home Video productions. Stan Lane remained with the company until 1995. That is a year after Vince McMahon was acquitted. Vince never was a fan of Stan’s work and fired him along with several others that Jarrett had hired in his absence.
It wasn’t all a waste for Stan Lane however. The experience the WWF gave him, helped him land a broadcasting gig with Ted Dibiase’s upstart WXO promotion. When that company quickly went belly up…Lane eventually became the voice of motor boat racing and did that for the next 20 years of his life.