The man I feared the most growing up passed away last night. And, I wish to thank him for wonderful childhood memories. Yeah, that sounds weird and it gets weirder because I'm talking about General Skandor Akbar, leader of Devastation, INC. Old-school wrestling post.
He was probably the reason my parents wouldn't let me watch pro-wrestling as a kid. Ok, it was probably more than him. But General Akbar was the man I most feared growing up. He was the evil Arab manager of such wresting legends like Kamala, Abdullah the Butcher, the Missing Link, One Man Gang... the list goes on. He and his faction literally gave me nightmares.
I remember a dream I had as a kid where Devastation, Inc. broke into my house and hunted me down. Mind you, they didn't beat me up. No, the General himself took out a tommy gun and shot me down. I laugh about that now. This was long before I knew wrestling was... well, scripted.
Devastation, Inc taunted my heroes. If memory serves, General Akbar himself blinded "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan with a fireball. This was in Mid-South Wrestling, later known as Universal Wrestling Federation. He may have even had a feud going with Sting. All I remember is if you were to top good guy in Mid-South, Akbar and his crew were after you. And, I hated this man for it. I hated the way he ordered his faction to destroy my heroes week after week. There was nothing I could do to help them. And, I'd tune in the next week, hoping and praying my favorite good guys would finally get the best of Devastation, Inc.
When I was older, I was hired to "be security" at an independent wrestling show in my hometown. I just had to make sure no fans came through the back curtain. I was in on the ruse by this time. All the wrestlers were friends backstage. I remember even seeing two guys in a heated feud outside in their rental car smoking a joint together.
Much to my surprise, General Skandor Akbar was at this event. Heck, in retrospect, he was probably booking the show. This guy is like 5'6" and by this time I towered over him. And, it's funny, but I was still very intimidated by him. I had a thought that introduce myself at this event. But, I never did. Still too scared, I guess.
This guy was so good at what he did, he had to wear bullet-proof vests to the arena. He kept his personal life private to protect his family. His tires got slashed, windshields shattered and he received many death threats. He was ambushed by mobs with sticks and stones. But, the more you hated him, the more he loved it.
Now as I learn of his passing, I wish I would have spoken to him. I would of thanked him for letting me hate him. I would of said, "General Akbar, I have hated you all my life and I just wanted to say thank you for that privilege and honor." And, you know, I have the feeling he would of laughed and taken that as one of the highest compliments a heel wrestling/manager can receive from a fan.
Thank you General Skandor Akbar. May you rest in peace.