Jim Ross Looks Back At His Friend General Skandor Akbar
On Akbar's early days in the business: The man of Lebanese decent broke into the wrestling biz in the early 60's which was his lifelong dream. Ak was always a wrestling fan and was also one of the legit, strongest men in the wrestling business. His free weight workouts were legendary when he would matter of factly bench press over 400 pounds for several reps and did so without a spotter. Ak would sit on the bench, pick the weight up off the floor. manhandle it to his chest, lean back on the bench and begin his eye popping workouts.
On when he met Akbar: When I broke into the McGuirk/Watts territory in 1974, Scandor Akbar and Danny Hodge were tag team partners in the ring and outside the ring were the best of friends.
Ak and Danny became my regular 'road partners' and we traveled thousands of miles together when I was in my early 20's which were extremely important, formative years in my career. They taught me respect for the business and those involved within it and not to mention valuable lessons on the intricacies of pro wrestling.
On what he learned from Akbar: I learned from listening, and occasionally contributing, to conversations during long car trips about what worked in the biz and what did not work.
Ak could squeeze blood out of a quarter and always told me that no one made too little money on the road to not save some of it. Ak knew the value of a dollar and always saved his money no matter if he had a great week thanks to working main events in front of many people or if he was lower on the card working in front of only a few hundred people.
From early on in my career, I had many career aspirations and knew full well that no one's wrestling career would last forever and to always, always prepare for the future. These life lessons were learned at the feet of many men including Bill Watts, Lee Roy McGuirk, and Dan Hodge but no one was more prominent to me personally than Scandor Akbar.
On Akbar mentoring Steve Austin: I delivered a letter to Ak that Steve Austin hand wrote and got to me before I left Oklahoma for Charlotte and Fanfest. I have no idea what the letter said but after taking his reading glasses out of his pocket, glasses that I kidded Ak must have come out of the George Burns, largest frames in the world collection, the strongman read the letter twice. After the first time he read it, I noticed Ak wiping a tear from his eye. I acted as if I didn't see it.
Ak read the letter a second time and simply said to me, "Thanks, Jimmy for bringing this to me and tell Steve how much I appreciate it. Steve was like you, one of my boys who I was proud to have been able to help. You guys have made me proud by what you've done in the business."
Akbar and Bronco Lubich both mentored young Steve Austin in Steve's earliest days in the business in World Class Wrestling in Dallas. Ak was known to be a patient, honest mentor/teacher and, more importantly, a friend to so many wrestlers and countless others.