Captain Lou Albano
Captain Lou Albano was a short, round man with limited wrestling ability, but that didn't stop him from becoming one of the
greatest entertainers the industry has ever seen. After a brilliant five decades in the wrestling business, the eccentric Albano
will forever be remembered for managing an unprecedented number of champions, an amazing speaking ability and, believe it or or
not, rubber bands hanging from his face.
Albano originally hoped to make a name for himself as a boxer, but after promoter Willy Gilzenberg refused to use him due to his
short stature, he turned his efforts towards professional wrestling. After being trained by the legendary Arnold Skaaland and Soldier
Barry, Albano began his professional career comparing in front of miniscule audiences around the New York area. He eventually
worked up to more prestigious promotions in Canada and Chicago. While in the Windy City, Albano began teaming with fellow Italian
Tony Altomare. Collectively known as The Sicilians, Albano & Altomare attracted great controversy due to their mafia innuendos.
A managerial move
In 1967, The Sicilians jumped to the World Wrestling Federation where they immediately claimed the United States Tag Team
Championship from Spiros Arion & Arnold Skaaland. Despite his success in the tag ranks, it was clear that Albano's wrestling
skills were not going him much further. So rather than settle for a career in mediocrity, Albano made the decision to jump into
the managerial ranks. The move proved to be a wise one, as Albano spent the next quarter-century cementing his legacy as one
of the greatest wrestling managers ever.
Albano's first client was the powerhouse Crusher Verdu. Like Albano. Verdu never seemed destined for greatness, but with
Albano leading the way, he eventually earned an opportunity at Bruno Sammartino's WWF Championship. Unfortunately, Verdu failed
in his attempts to unseat Sammartino, but glory was right around the corner for Albano.
In January 1971, Albano's protégé Ivan Koloff ended one of history's greatest title reigns when he defeated Sammartino for the
WWF Championship. The win ended Sammartino's nearly eight-year run at the top and catapulted Albano straight to the top of the
The golden touch
In the years that followed, Albano also lead many of the WWF's most hated Superstars to the Intercontinental Championship.
Pat Patterson, Don Muraco, and Greg Valentine all employed the services of Albano en route to claiming the Intercontinental
Despite all his success guiding Superstars to singles titles, Albanos' greatest managerial accomplishments are from his time spent
in the tag team ranks. Over the course of his career, Albano lead an amazing 17 teams to tag team titles, more than any other
man in sports entertainment history. His list of championship duos include such legendary teams as the Valiant Brothers, the
Blackjacks, the Wild Samoans, and the British Bulldogs.
Albano also helped launched the "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection" that took America by storm in the mid-1980s. His famed
friendship with rocker Cyndi Lauper landed him in the Girls Just Want to Have Fun music video. In turn, Lauper appeared
on several WWE televised events, including the first-ever WrestleMania. The on-air chemistry between Albano and Lauper
made national news and eventually helped propel the WWF into mainstream.
Following the success of the "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection," Albano found himself in high demand in Hollywood. His acting
credits include several episodes of Miami Vice, as well as a prominent role in the major motion picture Body Slam.
Albano's most memorable role, however, was that of Nintendo legend Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
Sadly, the WWE Hall of Famer would pass away on October 14, 2009. His cause of death was not immediately disclosed.