Arnold Skaaland
Born(1925-01-21)January 21, 1925[1]
White Plains, New York, United States
DiedMarch 13, 2007(2007-03-13) (aged 82)[2][3]
White Plains, New York, United States[2]
Spouse(s)Betty Skaaland[2]
Children3
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Arnold Skaaland[2]
Bobby Weaver[4]
Billed height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[2]
Billed weight240 lb (110 kg)[2]
Billed fromNorway[4]
White Plains, New York[2]
Debut1946[2]
Retired1978[4]
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch
United States Marine Corps
Battles/warsWorld War II

Arnold Skaaland (January 21, 1925 – March 13, 2007) was an American professional wrestler and professional wrestling manager.[2][1][3]

Early life

Skaaland served in the U.S. Marines during World War II.[5] After a short-lived attempt to make a living through boxing, he decided to become a professional wrestler.[1]

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1946–1963)

Skaaland debuted in 1946 as "Arnold Skaaland". Though competing under his real name, he was billed early in his career as hailing from Norway. Performing throughout the northeastern United States, Skaaland gained the nickname "The Golden Boy" and was known as a small, agile wrestler who relied on speed, wits, and toughness in the ring rather than size and strength.[1][3] In the late 1950s, he wrestled in Georgia under the ring name Bobby Weaver.[5]

In the early 1960s, Skaaland unsuccessfully challenged both Pat O'Connor and "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. In 1962, he refereed a high-profile match between Freddie Blassie and Rikidōzan in Japan.[1]

World Wide Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Federation (1963–1994)

Wrestling appearances (1963–1978)

In 1963, Skaaland was a part of the newly created, New York City-based World Wide Wrestling Federation. On June 1, 1967, he collected his only title as one half of the WWWF United States Tag Team Champions, when Tony Parisi gave his half of the title to Skaaland.[3] Skaaland and his partner, Spiros Arion, soon lost the titles to The Sicilians (Lou Albano and Tony Altimore) on July 10, 1967, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Arion and Bruno Sammartino rewon the belts two weeks later, and retired them. In addition to wrestling, Skaaland was a shareholder of the Capitol Wrestling Corporation, the parent company of the WWWF, and a business partner of WWWF Chairman Vince McMahon Sr.[3] Skaaland was responsible for producing WWWF shows in the Westchester County Center in Westchester County, New York, and serving as an agent for André the Giant.[6]

Managerial appearances

Skaaland managed Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund, with both men winning the WWF World Heavyweight Championship under his tutelage.[3][7] In 1978, Skaaland retired from regular wrestling, though he occasionally appeared as a late substitute for wrestlers that couldn't make a show. Pro Wrestling Illustrated named Skaaland Manager of the Year for 1978 and 1979. Backlund's lengthy reign ended on December 26, 1983, when Skaaland threw in the towel while Backlund was trapped in the camel clutch, the finishing move of challenger The Iron Sheik.[3] It was also rumored that Backlund begged authorities for a rematch.[8]

Skaaland appeared in the 1987 music video for the title track from Piledriver - The Wrestling Album 2, "Piledriver" by Koko B. Ware as the foreman of a construction site. In 1994, he was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame class of 1994 for managing both Sammartino and Backlund to the (W)WWF World Heavyweight Championship.[9] He appeared on WWF television later that year, with Backlund attacking him in order to consolidate his heel turn.[10]

Personal life

Skaaland was married to Betty Skaaland. He had three sons from her: Edward Patrick Skaaland, James Allen Skaaland, and George Skaaland (the latter of whom briefly competed as a wrestler in his own right in the mid-1980s).[11] It was said that Skaaland was the only guy who could somewhat keep up with Andre the Giant when it came to drinking.[12][13]

Death

Skaaland died on March 13, 2007, with his wife Betty Skaaland by his side, and had been sick for some time.[14] He is interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.[15]

Championships and accomplishments

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Brian Solomon (15 June 2010). WWE Legends. Simon and Schuster. pp. 33–37. ISBN 978-1-4516-0450-4.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Arnold Skaaland". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Burkett, Harry (June 2007). "names makin' news (the Wrestler)". The Wrestler/Inside Wrestling. Kappa Publications. pp. 6–8. Volume 15, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c John Grasso (6 March 2014). Historical Dictionary of Wrestling. Scarecrow Press. p. 267. ISBN 978-0-8108-7926-3.
  5. ^ a b Variale, Philip (June 2007). "Three months of tragedies". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Kappa Publications. pp. 105–107. July, 2007.
  6. ^ JP (2009-07-22). "PROVING THAT SIZE DOES MATTER | WRESTLING LEGEND ANDRE THE GIANT". The Selvedge Yard. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  7. ^ Backlund, Bob; Miller, Robert H. (2015-09-15). Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling's World Champion. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-61321-696-5.
  8. ^ Sugar, Bert Randolph; Napolitano, George (1985). Wrestling's Great Grudge Matches: "battles and Feuds". Gallery Books. ISBN 978-0-8317-9682-2.
  9. ^ "WWE Hall of Fame". www.prowrestlinghistory.com. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  10. ^ Bob Backlund attacks his former manager Arnold Skaaland: Superstars, October 15, 1994, retrieved 2021-06-02
  11. ^ "George Skaaland's Profile". Cagematch. Archived from the original on 2021-06-29.
  12. ^ Todd, Terry. "To The Giant Among Us: What life is like for Andre the Giant". Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  13. ^ English, Richard. "The Greatest Drunk on Earth: Andre the Giant | Modern Drunkard Magazine". Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  14. ^ "Arnold Skaaland dead at 82". Slam Wrestling. 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  15. ^ "Arnold Skaaland passes away". WWE. Archived from the original on 31 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
  16. ^ "List of CAC Award Winners". Cauliflower Alley Club. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2019.