Austin Idol, also known as the “Universal Hearthrob” and Iron Mike McCord was an international Pro Wrestling Star who started his illustrious career in 1972. Idol survived a fatal plane crash in 1975 when the plane he was a passenger in went down in the middle of the waters of Tampa Bay. Austin made history when he defeated Jerry “The King” Lawler in a steel cage “Hair” match in Memphis,Tn April 27, 1987. Austin retired, or at least we think he retired, in 1993. Who really knows, look at Bret Favre? Visit Austin Idol’s website here: http://www.austinidollive.com
AUSTIN IDOL REMEMBERS ERNIE ROTH…… THE “GRAND WIZARD!”
Have you ever had a Grand Wizard as a friend? Oh yeah, I’m not talking about a Harry Potter movie because Ernie Roth the “Grand Wizard” of professional wrestling was just that, a true wizard in every sense of the word!
The Wiz wore outrageous outfits complete with wild turbans that would make Lady Gaga jealous! Ernie was a master on the microphone and could cut an interview as long as the Gettysburg address without coming up for air!
He managed so many of the great ones back in the day when the WWE was the WWWF, and this is how I first got to know him.
I was in New York wrestling as “Iron” Mike McCord, the name Vince McMahon Sr. gave me upon my arrival to the Big Apple. I was at my first TV taping when I met the Wiz and I’ll never forget him coming up to me and saying, “Mike, if you need anything, make sure you ask me for help”. Talk about a feeling of comfort when you’re a young punk kid arriving in New York City and really only knowing one person. That one person was none other than “King Curtis” Iaukea. King Curtis is another story that I will tell you about in a future column.
Ernie managed the likes of The original Shiek, “Superstar” Billy Graham, Blackjack Mulligan, Stan Stasiak, Tiger Jeet Singh, Don Muraco, and my good friend “Handsome”Jimmy Valiant.
Ernie Roth is in the WWF Class of 1995 Hall of Fame as he so deserves!
One night we were wrestling in “Bean Town,” at the Boston Garden and Ernie came up to me right before my match. He pulled me off to the side and said, “Mike, I think you’re in trouble with the old man,” referring to Vince Sr. ! I said, “What could this be about, I haven’t done anything wrong, at least not that I know of”. “Well, “ said Ernie, “when the old man gets hot, it’s not a good sign nor should it be taken lightly. If I were you, I’d give him a call and find out what’s going on.”
Job security 101! I didn’t have Vince’s number, so The Wiz told me he would give it to me later. The next day I called the number he gave me, someone answered, and I asked if Mr. McMahon was available. The person asked who was calling and I said Mike McCord. He responded with, “Let me check, I think he wants to talk to you.” Oh great, just what I needed to hear, and now I really am thinking of job security. The person comes back to the phone and says, “Mr. McMahon asked me to tell you that you are free to leave the WWWF!” I immediately shot back “Leave the WWWF, I don’t want to leave here, there must be some confusion!”
“ Look kid, make up your mind, do you want to stay or go,” he asked.
”I want to stay” and never said anything different so I’m not sure what we are talking about,” I said. His response, “You better talk to The Wizard about this, it’s up to him!”
Now I’m really confused, so the next night I see Ernie and asked if we needed to talk. He quickly shot back, “You bet we do, I’m really ticked at you Mike and I can’t believe you didn’t want me to manage you! “
He went on to tell me that Vince was going to have Lou Albano manage me!
Ernie smiled as he continued, “Mike, you’re getting a big break, and I couldn’t be happier for you”. Sure enough, the next week it was announced on TV that “The Captain and Guiding Light” Lou Albano was now managing “Iron” Mike McCord and yes indeed, it was my big break in the WWWF 1973. I had to endure a couple of heart attacks courtesy of the “Grand Wizard’s” sense of humor to finally get the good news but, it was well worth it!
Mark your calendar to return here next Wednesday. I’ll give you some details about surviving the tragic plane crash that took the life of Bobby Shane.
See you next week! A.I.