Sammartino comments on the Hall of Fame, Flair, Hogan, and more
Jul 13, 2012 - by Steve Gerweck
In an interview with Inside the Ropes last night, Bruno Sammartino talked about why he’s not in the WWE Hall of Fame, his problem with the company and more.
Here are highlights from the interview:
On his memories of WrestleMania 1: “When McMahon contacted me after Vince Sr died, he asked me if I would come back saying he wanted to carry on his fathers tradition and who better to do that with than me because I’d been there for so many years. I agreed because he said I’d do broadcasting once every three weeks. Everything turned out to be not true. He did not keep in his father’s tradition. He made changes that I personally didn’t care for. I saw the disgusting steroid and drug use that bother me tremendously so things started going bad for me in that relationship. As for that WrestleMania, I had no idea how big it would be. I was there as a second, with my son on the ring. I was so unhappy at the time. I just wanted to get away from there.”
On the changes in wrestling he didn’t like: “Not that we had girl wrestlers, they brought them in skimpy. The wrestling, they started getting more vulgar, the profanity, the language. Everything had changed. Triple H having sex with a corpse in a casket. You can imagine what that would do to someone like me who had been in the business 25 years and see this. To see Steve Austin, the champion, he had a can of beer in his hand and they had to bleep every word, there were little kids in the audience. It appalled me.”
On Hulk Hogan: “People get fooled by publicity. Hogan wasn’t a good champion at all. In 1985, Hogan had been champion for a year and a half. Vince asked me to put on the tights because the house was down. He would do a good house the first time, but if he came back the second, or dare the third time, he couldn’t draw. He wasn’t a great performer. It did not work. He would use him more for merchandise and pay per view events. He was not a good for a champion like previous people.”
On his backstage incident with Ric Flair in 2004: “He’s an idiot. A first class pathetic idiot. He wrote a book and said something that wasn’t very complimentary about me, I haven’t read it so I don’t know. So I’m standing in the hallway at the show talking to 2, 3 people and my back was turned to him. When I turned round and he saw me, I started walking towards him to say hello and he turned away and ran. Later he told one of the Hebner brothers that he wanted to come say hello to me but I turned my back on him and ignored him. Which is a complete bold class lie.”
On why he’s not in the Hall of Fame: “I am in the Hall of Fame. The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. Only wrestlers get inducted there. When you talk about McMahon’s Hall of Fame, I absolutely wouldn’t have any part of it because of my feelings for him and his company. Secondly, it’s not a legitimate Hall of Fame. When you have kids and you wanna go see a building, there’s nowhere to go. It’s just a marketing campaign. Look who’s in it, game show hosts, Drew Carey. A baseball player, football player. I’d be embarrassed to be in that Hall of Fame.”
On what he would do if he was inducted posthumously: “I don’t know the law….that’s something an attorney would have to tell me. I don’t know what the law is on that. That’s a good question. I’m glad you asked me that because I’m going to ask my lawyer about that.”
He also talks about meeting Vince McMahon in 2004 at RAW, his upbringing, his career in the WWWF and more.