When I started watching pro wrestling in February 1981 (I can’t believe it’s been 31 years), Captain Lou Albano was known as the WWF manager of tag teams.
The first tandem I saw him guide was Rex and King, the Moondogs (Spot later joined the team after King was stopped at the Canadian border in real life and not allowed into the United States). Most of Albano’s teams, the Moondogs included, held the WWWF or WWF Tag Team Title.
Albano’s start in tag teams happened well before the ‘80s, as he managed several teams in the 1970s. Here is who I can remember Albano managing (and if I’ve got anything or missed a team, let me know):
- Yukon Lumberjacks (Eric and Pierre) — These guys are actually the first wrestlers I ever remember seeing on TV, as I switched on the channel and caught them. It was a few years before wrestling hooked me.
- Blackjacks (Mulligan and Lanza) — Blackjack Mulligan went on to headline against Bob Backlund in the early ‘80s with his claw hold, which often resulted in bloody jobber matches during which the infamous red censor X blocked the screen. Lanza later became a long-time WWF road agent behind the scenes.
- Executioners — This masked team was actually legendary wrestler Killer Kowalski and his protégé, John Studd. Studd became a main-eventer years later.
- Valiant Brothers (Johnny, Jimmy, and Jerry) — The Valiants were a big deal at the time, holding the tag belts for more than a year. These guys were really effective as heels, particularly Johnny and Jimmy.
- Wild Samoans — Perhaps Albano’s most successful team, Afa and Sika held the WWF Tag Team Titles three times, which was a long-standing record.
- Moondogs — I remember well their feud with Tony Garea and Rick Martel over the belts.
- Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito — Fuji had held gold with Professor Toru Tanaka in the 1970s, while Saito was an accomplished Japanese star who later became AWA World Champion.
- Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo — After Albano turned babyface in late 1984, he started managing good guy teams, although the “magic” of Captain Lou was lost once he dropped his heel character.
- British Bulldogs — The Bulldogs were one of the greatest teams in history, with Dynamite Kid as the workhorse and Davey Boy Smith as the powerhouse.
- The Machines — This was a masked gimmick that started after Andre the Giant was suspended in the storyline. The original Machines (Giant Machine and Super Machine) were Andre and Bill Eadie, a.k.a. Masked Superstar and later Demolition Ax. As Andre’s health declined, Mulligan came in as Big Machine.
The Machines may have the only team Albano managed that didn’t win the tag belts.
I know the Mongols held the tag titles in the early ‘70s, but I’m not sure if Albano managed them. Anyone out there remember?