August 22, 2004
Manager Of The Year - 1977
As you know, the WWE had run a promotion with Maxim Hair Color for last years' Babe of the Year. The voting for the final candidates had come in fast and furious as the poll went into the night and onto it's final desision; it would be none other than WWE Ladies Champion, Trish Stratus amongst many deserving WWE divas.
But while we are on the subject of voting and winning, this brings me to a story that time forgot, until now. It's a story that is classic and entertaining. Allow me to take us back to the Fall of 1977, back when KISS was a hot band and the Fonz was just becoming cool. And Vince McMahon Jr was on a show called Championship Wrestling to announce who would become....
There it was...it was an average looking trophy, standing on a table. Yet three of the four managers would want that trophy like it were covered in diamonds. First Vince called out The Grand Wizard's name. The Wizard immediately started grabbing at the trophy, prompting McMahon to say "Not yet, not yet."
Arnold Skaaland was the next to be called out, to little fanfare. Captain Lou Albano was the next to come to the ring, to many boos and catcalls from the fans. When Fred Blassie made his way to the ring, he got quite an ovation; much foot-stomping, quite a buzz from the fans.
It then came time to announce the results; the third runner up was Fred Blassie. Outraged, Blassie stormed over to Vince and screamed "50,000 more votes from the European Health Spa and Health Club, and they won't be here tonight!!! They'll be here next week!!!" As McMahon announced the second runner up, Blassie could be heard all over the arena. But that's okay, because Blassie was about to be drowned out by the second runner up: The Grand Wizard. To quote The Grand Wizard, himself: "This is the greatest robbery since the Brinks job! You'll hear from my attorneys on this!"
The moment of truth had finally come. Would it be Captain Lou Albano, or Arnold Skaaland? When Vince announced that first runner up, you can bet it wasn't Arnold Skaaland that walked away empty handed. Captain Lou staggered around shocked, bewildered, at times grasping at the trophy he felt was surely his. Meanwhile, Vince and Arnold had thier backs to him; Vince was congratulating Skaaland for the win.
Meanwhile, Lou grabbed the trophy off the table, snuck up from behind and he blindsided both Vince and Skaaland, knocking them both out of the ring. Albano then proceeded to smash the remainder of the trophy to pieces, screaming all the way.
As a result of this incident, Arnold Skaaland wrestled Lou Albano in Madison Square Garden on December 19, 1977. It was a special "managers match", the result of which was a count out when Albano left ringside. I never got to see that, though. Just the "Manager Of The Year" segment that happens to be on my brother Sheldon's video of 1970's footage. It's a great little piece if you happen to see it. Very entertaining; it sums up each manager in one little nugget. Anyway, Sheldon got it off eBay last year, and he's lucky for that. Real lucky. Gotta be at the right place at the right time.
Amen to that.