Sammartino is a guest on The Art of Wrestling to discuss his legendary career and how production on television has changed.
Back in the late 50’s and 60’s you’d go into the arena and wrestle live and they’d shoot it live. And a lot of those good matches aren’t out there anymore because they used the same tapes and recorded over a lot of them.
Sammartino discusses what future projects he has with WWE:
Well, definitely. I will not do a lot of travelling because I’m tired, but I will do some. Yes, there will be a DVD and probably be video games featuring me. They have the program called round table where they get three to four different wrestlers from, I guess, mostly yesteryears to speak of the business and what it was like, and all those kind of things. I agreed to do some of those.
Sammartino gives his thoughts about his two WWE World Title reigns:
In those eleven plus years that I was champion I wrestled all over but some of the most memorable matches that I had were against the likes of, Killer Kowalski, Ivan Koloff, Don Leo Jonathan, Dr. Bill Miller, Gorilla Monsoon, and Hans Mortier who was also European and the list goes on. I had some big matches in Japan against Shohei Baba and we fought for over an hour many times, I wrestled guys in Australia, Mexico, and Spain.
Sammartino talks about the back injuries he suffered during his career:
Yeah in my case no question because when one of the world renowned neurosurgeons, Doctor James Moroon who did the surgeries on me, he told me that he could see how hard I had trained and the kind of condition I was in but he also the tremendous kind of abuse that the back took and when he did the couple of surgeries he had to remove a total of sixteen spurs on my back and three vertebrae he had to remove and I still have a lot of problems that to this day.
Sammartino responds to critics of his in ring style:
Well ask people like Killer Kowalski, Don Leo Jonathan, Ken Patera, Gene Kiniski, Ivan Koloff. I mean anyone who has ever seen me with these people, know what kind of action we provided in the ring. For one guy to accuse me of being lazy…if there’s one reputation I had amongst my peers, which makes me feel very proud, was always the great shape I kept myself into, and the great shape I was performing in the ring. I don’t understand why this man would say these things. I just don’t get it.
Sammartino gives his thoughts on WWE buying WCW:
That is a tragedy because who loses out? The wrestlers do. In my day, when you had so many different territories, if you wrestled for Vince McMahon for a year or two, and now you were an undercard guy and were not happy, there were so many other territories you could go to, and become a headliner. You had choices, so many different places you could go. Now you don’t, and McMahon, I don’t care how big his organization may be, he can only use so many wrestlers. That means there are a lot of wrestlers that are either no longer in the business or always looking for work on the independent shows. In my opinion, it has been a horribly destructive thing to the business, the fact that there is just one existing major organization.
Sammartino speaks about leaving his position as a color commentator with WWE:
That’s why I left, I had to get out of there, because it wasn’t just the changes that I didn’t like that they were making But at the time, I saw the drugs the steroids and, the other things that were going on, that I found absolutely appalling. And I said no this isn’t the world of wrestling that I was a part of. I just had to get out of there, because I knew I didn’t belong and I just didn’t care for what was going on at all. At that time I thought the changes were rather drastic, but then never would have I believed what has happened in the last two years.