Tito Santana spoke with WrestleZone ahead of his live virtual signing for ’80s Wrestling and talked about the WWF office discussions about potentially giving him a run with the WWF Championship. During a recent episode of Something to Wrestle, Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson discussed the possibility of WWF putting the World Championship on Tito in the early ’90s. Prichard confirmed there was some talk about it but the nod ultimately went to Bret Hart, noting there were several considerations at the time but a strong response on a particular European tour in 1992 sealed the deal for Bret. Santana says he wasn’t privy to that discussion at the time, noting that he and Ted DiBiase were getting similar responses in a hot market but politics came into play and they chose someone else to push.
“I was getting the same responses, the Million Dollar Man was getting the same responses and somebody like Bret Hart, they had the Canadian market. Everybody in the WWF was over in the European market. I think they were prepping me because they were planning to go into South America, Central America, Spain. Before the switch to Bret, I wrestled The Undertaker in Spain and I beat him in Spain and I think that was the time they were starting to prep me to be the World Champion.” Santana said. “Then the WWF decided not to go into Central America and Mexico and they went into Canada full blast, and the European market was hot, wherever we went all over the country, all over the world.”Santana said. “Wherever we went, we were selling out everywhere. But it was somebody inside that had a bigger voice than whoever voted for me.”
In hindsight, Santana says it still feels good to be considered as World Championship material by the company. He noted that at the time, he was above Bret Hart on the card but he soon saw what the company saw in him, adding that Bret had a good run as champion until someone decided it was time to move on from him.
“I think at that point when they went with Bret Hart, I don’t know if you remember, it took him a long time to start drawing any crowds. He was a middle guy, the Tag Team Championship was the most success that him and Neidhart had achieved. I had been higher on the cards in the WWF so I was above Bret Hart at the point and the houses were down for a long time. I went back as a Spanish commentator,” Santana said, “I saw what was going on between the Canadians and the Americans and man, Bret Hart finally got over like a million dollars. They were drawing big crowds, the Canadians against the Americans was a hot topic and all of a sudden, I figured, ‘Man, this guy is hot!’ And then they decided to get rid of him and put the belt on Shawn Michaels and I could never figure that out.”
“It took so long to get him over. It’s Vince that gets you over. There are so many workers that would have gotten over if they had gotten the push. Vince controls who got over and who didn’t. If they start beating you.” Santana said, “like when they used me to get other guys over, your value goes down. So that, I could never understand where the heat was and they decided he’s got heat with somebody and ‘oh, we’ve got to get rid of Bret Hart.’”
Check out our full interview with Tito Santana at the top of this post. The next ’80s Wrestling Virtual Signing will feature former WWF World Champion SGT. SLAUGHTER on Monday, October 19th. Former WWF World Tag Team Champions DEMOLITION will appear on Monday, November 16th, and Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine (aka The Dream Team) will appear on Monday, December 14.
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