Guest Author - Vance Rowe
Captain Lou Albano
Louis Vincent Albano was born in 1933 in Mount Vernon, New York. He attended school in White Plains and then went on to the University of Tennessee on a football scholarship. He soon left school to join the Army. He wasn’t interested in a wrestling career until he was working at a bar as a bouncer and met two professional wrestlers. He debuted in 1953 in Quebec and defeated a man named Bob Lazaro. Later he achieved some success as a tag team partner to Tony Altimore and went by the name of “The Sicillians”. They dressed and acted like real Mafioso gangsters. So much in fact, that Lou said team was approached by real gangsters from Chicago and were told to tone their act down. The team eventually won the Mid-west Tag team titles and would later win the WWWF tag team titles from Arnold Skaaland and Spiros Arion. However, it wasn’t until he became a manager that he would achieve his greatest success and fame. He joined the “Trio of Terror” with other managers, the Grand Wizard and Freddie Blassie. He was the archetype of heel managers and led the hated Ivan Koloff to the WWWF World Heavyweight Title when Koloff ended Bruno Sammartino’s seven year reign as champion. This would be the only time that he would manage a singles’ World Champion.
The World Tag Team titles are a different story. He led an unparalleled twelve teams to the titles. He managed such teams as: Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito, Wild Samoans (Afa & Sika), The Executioners (Masked Executioner 1 & Masked Executioner 2), The Yukon Lumberjacks (Yukon Eric & Yukon Pierre), The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid), The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu),The Valiant Brothers (Jimmy Valiant, Johnny Valiant & Jerry Valiant), The Moondogs (Moondog King, Moondog Rex & Moondog Spot) and The U.S. Express (Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham) among others.
In the mid-eighties, Captain Lou Albano helped bring pro wrestling into the mainstream when he entered a feud with then pop icon Cyndi Lauper. He claimed to be Lauper’s manager and he was the reason behind her success. MTV and the WWF joined forces to show a wrestling extravaganza called “The War to Settle the Score.” Lou had lost the match and apologized to Lauper and he instantly became a face and very popular with the fans. He finished his career as a popular manager and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996. Captain Lou Albano set the standard for wrestling managers and through his career managed over fifty wrestlers. He accomplished things that have never been done before and may very well never be accomplished again.
Captain Lou – Often imitated but never duplicated. Truer words were never spoken.