Farewell Lou Albano: A Tribute to the Captain

Matthew HesterSenior Writer IOctober 14, 2009

Hello, everyone. As always, I would like to thank all of you for joining me today.


I know I haven’t been writing much lately, but I felt it was only proper to come in and pay my respects to longtime legend Lou Albano.


For those of you too young to remember him, he was one of the true pioneers in the world of pro wrestling.


To us older fans, we remember Lou Albano as the manger whose attire consisted of tacky shirts and rubber bands. He was a key figure during the rock and wrestling connection in the '80s.


He was much more than that though. He was a key figure in wrestling going all the way back until the '50s. While he was never a tremendous wrestler in the ring, he was a major player in the way managers would transcend the sport.


Albano would spend almost 40 years in the business known as pro wrestling. He would be remembered mostly for the excitement and controversy he created as a manager.


His over the top heel persona would make him one of the most hated managers in the business. He would later flip the script and become a fan favorite in the WWF during the early '80s.


What some don’t know about Albano is that he also made an impact as a grappler. He was part of a team in the late '50s known as the Sicilians. During this run he would win multiple tag titles.


His gimmick at the time was an Italian gangster. In fact, he pulled the gimmick so well that he had real gangsters approach him and tell him to tone it down.


The Sicilians would reach their peak in the early '60s, when they won the Midwest tag titles in Chicago. This would instantly make them one of the premier tag teams at the time. They would later go on to take the United States tag titles in the late '60s.


Eventually Albano would leave the tag ranks and make his way to the WWF as a manager. In his early run with the WWF he would spend years feuding with Bruno Sammartino. He managed guys like the Crusher, Fred Blassie, and Ivan Koloff. He would finally succeed when Koloff pulled the strap from Martino in 1971.


He also feuded with longtime champion Bob Backlund in the late '70s. He was unsuccessful in his efforts to remove the belt from him, though.


Albano also managed some other singles champions in his career. He had legends like Don Muraco, Pat Paterson, and Greg Valentine in his family.


His real success would come in the tag team ranks. Over his career he had 15 different teams hold the tag team champions. It is a feat that will unlikely be accomplished again.


In an era where managers were key to a wrestler's success, Lou Albano stood behind no one. He has helped make stiffs into Hall of Famers for years.


His last real major angle was during the Rock and Wrestling angle. He would shock the wrestling world by turning babyface during this stint. Shortly after that Albano would leave the WWF.


Besides appearing in various movies like Body Slam and doing shows like Miami Vice, he also was a head figure for many charities. He would occasionally appear on TV for the WWF, but not very often.


Despite the lack of appearances on wrestling, he remained a fan favorite for years to come, and in 1996 he would have his dues paid when he was inducted into the WWE HOF. It was a fitting honor to a man who gave so much to the business.


Sadly, Lou Albano has left us. He has recently passed away at the age of 76. I truly hope that all of today’s fans appreciate what he did for the business. He now belongs to the wrestling Gods in the sky.


Rest in peace, my friend; many will truly miss you.