The entertainment world is mourning the loss of Captain Lou Albano, one of the most charismatic people ever to step into a wrestling ring. Albano became a household name during the rise of the WWF in the early 1980s, as his professional relationship with Cyndi Lauper put him on television outside of wrestling events. But he not only brought wrestling to the people, but he also brought people to wrestling. Case in point: The WWF (now WWE) used to have a pretty regular working relationship with MTV. The network hosted a number of original shows (including “WWE Tough Enough” and “Sunday Night Heat”), and back in the original Wrestlemania era, MTV actually aired live wrestling events, both of which involved Albano and Lauper.
The first event, “The Brawl to End It All,” aired in 1984 and featured a Women’s Championship match between Wendi Richter and the Fabulous Moolah. The show was broadcast live from Madison Square Garden in New York and, at the time, was the highest-rated show in MTV’s young history. The following year, the network aired “The War to Settle the Score,” which featured a high-profile main event between Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. In the main event, Piper attacked Lauper and was saved by Mr. T. The incident set up the main event of Wrestlemania, which saw Hogan and Mr. T square off against Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. After the match, Mr. T, Hogan, Lauper, Albano and Andy Warhol (who had an MTV show called “15 Minutes” at the time) all retired to the locker room for the aftermath. Check out the video of said aftermath, and observe Albano’s incredible promotional skills: During his rant, he manages to praise Hogan, defend Lauper, attack Piper and set up the main event for what became one of the biggest events in history.