The news last night that Skandor Akbar had passed away brought back a flood of memories for me. I particularly remember the events that led to him becoming one of the hottest heels the business has ever seen.
In the old Leroy McGuirk territory, Danny Hodge was the most beloved babyface in the area. Akbar was positioned as Hodge’s protege until Akbar betrayed him and turned on him in a tag match. That act of betrayal caused the fans in the area to instantly move him to the top of their hated list. The feud with Hodge set the stages for Akbar to become an unbelievably hot heel. In those days, especially in the Louisiana area, fans took hating heels seriously. It was impossible for Akbar to go to a restaurant without worrying that the cook might spit (or worse) in his food or to worry that his tires might be slashed when he went back outside. Fans waited outside arenas to throw debris at him. It was a different era back then, and Akbar was one of the best.
After the Hodge feud, he had a great run as a wrestler in the McGuirk/MidSouth territory, and I can remember many nights watching him scare people half to death. Fans thought he was legitimately crazy, and he could scatter the front row just by looking at a fan and flinching in his direction. I was one of those fans one night. I believe I must have been about 15 years old at the time, and he came in my direction looking like he wanted to kill me. I did what any kid my age would do. The next day I asked a teacher of Arab descent to teach me curse words in a language Akbar would understand so I could retaliate the next week. I can remember repeating the words over and over so I would get them just right. The next week, I proudly sat in the front row waiting for my chance to throw insults his way in his native language. When the moment came, he glared at me and ever so slightly flinched in my direction…and of course I forgot the words and ran away with the rest of the fans in my area.
Akbar is best remembered as the “General”, a heel manager who led “Devastation Incorporated”. He was just as hot as a manager as he had been as a wrestler, and had great success in that role everywhere he went. He settled in Texas and had a great run with World Class. In recent years he stayed active and attended independent shows in Texas and Louisiana on a regular basis. Just a couple of weeks ago he was at the NWA Legends event in Charlotte where he had a chance to talk to Bill Apter. I’m sure Bill will be writing about that visit later today.
I miss the “good old days” and the people like Akbar who made them good. He was a one in a million character who will be sadly missed.
Thanks for the memories General.