|By Raj Giri||March 28, 2013 | Comments|
"I was in the business for almost a quarter of a century, and I'm very proud of my career", Sammartino said. "I loved wrestling and so forth, but when I retired I saw changes that were very bothersome to me. For one thing, there were a lot of steroids and other drugs being used. That bothered me tremendously. Secondly, they had these good looking girls as wrestlers, but there was some nudity and some very vulgar stuff involved. The profanity they were using was also terrible, I hated to see the profession I held for 25 years come down to that. As a result, because of how much it bothered me, I was very outspoken about it and tried to bring attention to the fact hoping that something maybe could be done. So, the main reason why I wouldn't go into the WWE Hall of Fame was that I'd feel very much like a hypocrite if I did, because I resented all of these things. It just didn't feel right then to accept entrance into the Hall of Fame.
"When Paul (Triple H) contacted me about 7 months ago, I had long since quit watching wrestling. So he called me up and said that both him and WWE would really love to have me in the Hall of Fame. Paul was very kind, he said, 'Our Hall of Fame needs to have you, to become legitimised, because you held the World Title almost 12 years and you were the WWF'. He said he'd heard a lot of the interviews I'd done over the years, but wanted me to know that WWE had made a lot of changes. They hired a doctor, Dr. Maroon and his staff, to do very strict drug testing and now had a complete Wellness program in place – checking out the overall fitness of the guys and making sure they weren't suffering from concussions etc.
"So, I knew of Dr. Maroon, he's a very famous neurosurgeon, and had in fact operated on me before. I did a lot of damage to my back throughout my career, and he helped me tremendously. He's a very ethical man with a wonderful reputation. I spoke to him about things several times, and he told me how strict things had become; he informed me how much WWE were doing to correct prior problems. As I started watching it all again, I noticed that the wrestlers looked normal – they looked like athletes again! They no longer looked freakish and over-developed, like Hulk Hogan, Billy Graham, The Road Warriors or The Ultimate Warrior.
"Then Paul continued to talk with me, telling me that WWE had done away with all the nudity, vulgarity and profanity, because they wanted to be more of a family entertainment program. Without giving him a decision on the Hall of Fame quite yet, I decided to watch for a few more months to see if what he said rang true. They were legitimate changes WWE had made, which was good. After I was convinced of the drug testing and all of the other changes, I finally told Paul, 'Ok, you guys are going the right direction and I'm willing to come in'. That's how my pending induction into the WWE Hall of Fame happened".
To hear the entire interview, plus exclusive words from all of the other inductee's of 2013, visit ministryofslam.com.
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