Captain Lou Albano R.I.P.

Well, I’ve been taking it easy of late. You know, recovering from the elk accident and whatnot, and generally being rather thankful for what I have. In fact, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last week, so it was a good time to reflect.

I was very sad to hear about the passing of one of the truly great pro wrestling  performers, Captain Lou Albano.

When i was younger, I owned a copy of the Coliseum Home Video release “The Life and Times of Captain Louis Albano,” and I watched it so many times, I am really shocked the tape didn’t disintegrate.

For a long time after he made his transition from full-time wrestler to manager in the WWWF, Lou was a hated villain. He was kooky, he was goofy, he was wacky (aren;t those all words meaning the same thing?). But one thing he certainly was was COLORFUL. He walked the line between madman and genius in his television interviews, and gave his wrestlers instant credibility (and hatred) just but their association with him.

In fact, it’s somewhat safe to say that in those days, Lou was in the top three heels in the company. “Huh?” you ask, “a manager was one of the top heels?” Absolutely. The hated Albano would bring in wrestler after wrestler to attack and attempt to dethrone the perennial babyface WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino (and succeeded with Ivan Koloff), and later with Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund.

He was so establised and known, that by the time wrestling made it’s huge mainstream/crossover effort in the mid-1980′s, Albano was at the helm, seeing the error of his ways and the “Guiding Light” in fact embraced the light. He also helped spearhead the “Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection,” which garnered a type of coverage not usually afforded that seedy pro wrestling stuff.

He also dedicated his time to a number of charities. For a time, he acted as co-chair (with Cyndi Lauper) of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, raising millions of dollars for the cause. Of course, he also had action figures, appeared in the WWF cartoon, and went on to do movies and the Super Mario Brothers Super SHow (where he played Mario in the  live-action segments).

Those who know me also know I love a lot of the work the WWE production department has done with some of the special videos that air on television and pay-per-view. I honestly think they’ve slipped in quality in recent years, but that’s just me. This past week, however, I feel they regained their award-winning reputation. What was the subject of the video? A tribute to the life and times of Lou Albano. I honestly think it was a great piece, and I’ve included the video below for you to enjoy as well.

R.I.P. Capper! Thanks for the memories.

Encounter With A 600 lb. Elk

If you were reading a few days ago, I plugged a couple of upcoming indy wrestling shows. Shows don;t occur too often around here anymore, so I jumped at the chance to work on a PWA show here in Victoria, BC. I had such a good time catching up with people, and enjoyed being back in the show atmosphere again that even though my booking for the next night’s All Star Wrestling show fell through, I decided to head up to Campbell River anyway, just to help out or hang out.

Of course, the number one rule of wrestling is “always bring your gear”. I can honestly say that actually wrestling has been the furthest thing from my mind for the last couple years. As a result, and in addition to the effects of some illness and medications I was required to take, let’s just say I was far from in “ring shape” let alone any kind of shape.

But, as things always always seem to go, I ended up wrestling my old nemesis Disco Fury in the opener. I won’t lie and say that it was a mat classic, but it was great to be in a ring again, even if it was for the last time. Disco and I have literally had hundreds of matches over the years, and I don’t think I would have done the match if it had been with anyone else.

Everything to do with the weekend went fine. I stayed safe, and even though I hadn’t been in the ring for a year-and-a-half, I came out unscathed. Of course, that would very quickly change.

I climbed in a van with longtime referee Mr. Thug and wrestler/ BCW promoter Dirty Money for the three hour ride home to Victoria. We got no more than 15 minutes out of town before we were stopped dead in our tracks. Both literally and figuratively.

The culprit of the tracks-stopping was a 600 lb. elk. We have no idea where it came from. The road was clear, and then all of a sudden, there it was. There was just enough time for Thug to yell out a very naughty, one syllable word. I cannot really describe the impact. It was, however, ROUGH. We hit the elk, and it flew up into the windshield right in front of my face, actually striking me before continuing to flip right over the top of the van (I think). If you look at the pictures, you’ll see what I mean.

Right after the massive impact, it felt like jumping off the high diving board at the pool and landing in the water face-first as all the glass showered my face. My right leg was also torn up from the knee to the ankle as I was wearing shorts. I got a mouthful of glass, and a few days later I am STILL finding glass in my ears, up my nose, in my scalp, hands, everywhere. The next day it was still in my shoes and socks.

Everyone got rattled severely from the impact. I’m still stiff and sore and walk like the Iron Sheik. My head is healing way fast, and my leg looks nothig like it did even yesterday. We were very lucky that a first aid attendant was driving past, and he was able to check on us and make sure the RCMP and an ambulance were on the way. Initially, I was told that I’d need to go to the hospital, but after getting cleaned up a bit, they realized none of my cuts needed stitches. I did have hundreds of cuts, mind you, but they were all caused by smaller pieces of flying glass, and not major shards or anything.

We were also kindly told of all the recent deaths that have occurred on the highway under similar circumstances. Thug did a great job of handling the wheel, even given the short reaction time he had. Most people try to swerve and not only hit the animal, but roll their vehicle as well. Long story short, the police were expecting us to be dead, and at first didn’t realize that who they thought was a witness or bystander they were talking to was actually Dirty Money, who had been IN the van!

So we are all very lucky. And I can joke that I took an elk’s butt to the face and lived to talk about. Even perhaps comment on any recent meals he had eaten. When you look at what was left of the van, you can see how very close I came to being killed. It’s a very humbling (second Sheiky reference!) and sobering (obviously not a Sheik reference) experience.

Thanks to everyone who has expressed their concern and sent well-wishes. This is definitely something I will never forget, and all of them were very much appreciated.

And now, a few pictures…

Greatest New Wrestling Gimmick

For those of you who may have heard (or read in the latest Figure Four Weekly), I did indeed have a brush with death this past weekend. I’ll write something about it here sooner or later. For now, I want to tell you about the new greatest gimmick in professional wrestling. Anyone is free to take my idea and run with it, so long as they pay me $50 and a bag of Zesty Cheese Doritos.

What is it? Well, in the tradition of great characters/gimmicks like the Yukon Lumberjacks, Jos Leduc, The Moondogs, Grizzly Adams, Hillbilly Jim, Grizzly Redwood, Flapjack Norton, and Lumberjack Bubba comes…

KLONDIKE BART!

That’s right, the lumberjack/gold miner with his axe, flannel shirt and woolly cap. He even comes with a great catchphrase…

“What would YOU do for a Klondike Bart?”

I can hear the sound of cash registers ringing up record profits right now.

You Guys Rule!

I just wanted t throw this out to the masses…

You guys rule!

I don’t even know who most of “you guys” are, but this website has been getting some pretty decent traffic of late. Decent enough that I can easily justify regular postings.

So I guess this is a bit of a vanity moment. People like me. That is nice.  My concern when I chose to be less-active in the ring was that people would stop visiting. Either people were hooked by the wrestling and stuck around for the goofy personality, or people just found the goofy me and bookmarked the site. It makes me happy either way. Happy enough to be my silly self, then post it for your entertainment.

Stay tuned.

Finally, The Firestorm Has Returned to Indy Wrestling?!?!?!

Just a heads up to everyone in the area. If you want to see me crawl out of the cave that I have been in, I’ll be doing so this weekend. I’ll be appearing on two independent wrestling shows on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Please keep in mind that for various reasons, I will NOT be wrestling on these shows, but I WILL be participating on them in one way or another.

Friday September 25th – Victoria, BC

PWA will be in Victoria at the Native Friendship Centre for a FREE show. I will be either refereeing or announcing on this show, so come and say hi, and I’ll prank you by telling the crowd it is your birthday and get them all to sing Happy Birthday to you. Doors open at 6:00pm. Signed for the show: Lak Siddartha battles Mad Dog Sugar and the winner of Disco Fury vs. Ronnie the Greaser in an elimination No-Holds Barred Match for the British Columbia Heavyweight Title; Team Japanada challenges the Kelownafornians in a 2/3 falls tag team title match; Panama Wasp faces Big Bad Chad and more!

More Info @ http://www.pwacanada.com or http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=112735934906&ref=ts.

Saturday September 26th – Campbell River, BC

All Star Wrestling will be at the Thunderbird Hall. I will most likely be announcing the event.  Announcing was originally the job in wrestling I wanted to do, so I love being able to do it again. On the card you will see Sgt. Kaos tangle with Ladies Choice, Team Japanada vs. Kelownafornians, Disco Fury vs. Big Bad Chad and much more.

More info @ http://www.allstarwrestling.info

This will be the first time I have reared my ugly head in well over a year, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m even debating bringing a video camera with me to see what I can document from the trip. Hope to see you there!

Patrick Swayze

Well, the world is mourning the unfortunate passing of Patrick Swayze, who succumbed to cancer.

I can’t say I was a big Patrick Swayze fan (although The Outsiders rules), but it would take a fool to deny him of his accomplishments and impact on pop culture, especially in the 1980′s and 1990′s. Any man that seems to universally make all women of all ages swoon over him HAS to be respected!

I was never a fan of Dirty Dancing or Ghost, but I do have my favorite Swayze moment.

I practically grew up on Saturday Night Live. A great deal of my comedic sense comes from watching religiously, probably from a much-too-young-age to be watching such a mature show (and no, I don’t watch it anymore).

The early 1990′s ushered in a new golden era for the show, with Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Julia Sweeney, and others joining the show. Add in mainstays Kevin Nealon, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman and others, and it was nothing short of awesome.

It was during this time period that Partick Swayze guest hosted and did one of my favorite SNL sketches ever. Swayze and Farley would play two men competing for the same job as Chippendales dancers. It came down to a final audition – a dance-off, even.

Below is the result. I can only hope that right now they are perming an encore of the skit at the pearly gates.