Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame still has glaring omission
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame is perhaps the most-respected of pro wrestling’s various halls of fame, but even it has one inexplicable omission.
This year’s Observer Hall of Fame issue came out this week, and the late Capt. Lou Albano once again came up short in the voting. On the bright side, the legendary former WWWF/WWF manager is getting closer to taking his rightful place among the industry’s all-time greats.
Albano received 95 votes (52 percent), 14 votes shy of getting the 60 percent required for induction. That’s way up from the 19 percent that he got last year.
As often seems to be the case with recently deceased candidates for the Observer Hall of Fame, Albano – who died last October at 76 – somehow became more deserving in the minds of the voters (active and former wrestlers, reporters and historians) now that he is no longer with us.
Getting into the Observer Hall of Fame primarily for managing isn’t easy – only Bobby Heenan and Jim Cornette have done so. Those two certainly belong, but I think Albano’s induction is every bit as much of a no-brainer, if not more so.
During the territory days of the WWWF/WWF in the ’70s and early ’80s, the charismatic Albano consistently was the top heel in the area, and he transferred his heat to the men in his stable as well as any pro wrestling manager ever has. When one of Albano’s men was wrestling a top babyface such as Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund or Chief Jay Strongbow, fans bought tickets in droves primarily because they hated Albano and wanted to see his wrestler get his comeuppance.
In the mid-80s, Albano – through his association with pop star Cyndi Lauper – was instrumental in the WWF becoming a pop culture phenomenon. The Rock and Wrestling Connection story line with Albano, Lauper, Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper laid the ground work for the first WrestleMania.
Observer editor Dave Meltzer wrote in this week’s issue that he also believes Albano should be in the Hall of Fame.
“It was researching his career and life after his death that hit home to me that he belongs in, as opposed to just being one of a lot of guys on the ballot,” Meltzer wrote.
Anyone who ever saw Albano in his prime has to know that he truly was one of a kind. Or, to use Albano’s words, he was “often imitated, never duplicated.” Hopefully, the Hall of Fame voters will do right by The Captain next year.
Note: The 2010 Observer Hall of Fame class consists of Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio and historical figure Wladek Zbyszko.