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Arnold Skaaland

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"Golden Boy" Arnold Skaaland -- (born January 21, 1925, in White Plains, NY) was a legendary manager in professional wrestling who managed both Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund to the WWWF Championship; thus he managed the top man in the business from December 1973 until December 1983 (sans a 10-month hiccup in 1977).

Arnold Skaaland had a moderatelty successful career inside the ring as a wrestler, becoming one of the fixtures of 1950s/60s wrestling in the northeast United States until his retirement. However, Vince McMahon Sr. found his expertise too valueable to lose, and he made Skaaland part-owner of Capitol Wrestling Corporation. Additionally, Skaaland was the manager of reigning WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino, so once he retired, they became inseparable and famous scene for WWWF fans. Skaaland remained his manager during the years between his first two title reigns, but the two parted ways in 1977. Skaaland found Backlund shortly thereafter, and he led him to the WWWF Championship in February 1978 to begin a six-year run as manager of the champion.

In December 1983, an injured Bob Backlund defended the championship against The Iron Sheik with an injured neck. Once Sheik trapped him in the dreaded Camel Clutch, Backlund refused to surrender. Arnold Skaaland, however, threw the towel in on behalf of his charge, signaling a submission and the referee awarded the match and the title to the Sheik. The verdict became a subject of controversy at the time since Backlund did not submit, and the (W)WWF rules stated that a title could only change hands by pinfall or submission (albeit, the match's announcer Gorilla Monsoon identified that a manager throwing in a towel was the same as a submission). Skaaland apologized to Backlund in 1994 after Backlund snapped, but he attacked Arnie and put him in the cross-face chicken wing.

After the match, the WWF changed greatly through the launch of Hulkamania so Skaaland shifted his responsibilities to behind the scenes, where he acted as a personal agent to Andre The Giant and a backstage agent into the 1990s until he entered the WWE Hall of Fame in the first full class of inductees. Skaaland died on March 13, 2007, with his wife Betty by his side.

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