The following are interview highlights with pro wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino:
Sammartino on memories of WrestleMania 1: “When (Vince) McMahon contacted me after Vince Sr. died, he asked me if I would come back saying he wanted to carry on his father’s 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.”
Sammartino on changes in wrestling that he doesn’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.”
Sammartino on his thoughts of 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.”
Sammartino on his thoughts of Ric Flair: “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 two, three people and my back was turned to him. When I turned around 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.”
Sammartino on his thoughts of the WWE 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 (Vince) 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.”
Check out the complete interview online at InsideTheRopes.podbean.com.