Big Vito had a long and winding wrestling career that took him all over the world. He's best known for his time in WWE as part of the Full Blooded Italians and was also a WCW tag champion alongside Johnny the Bull.
Vito has transitioned into acting recently but he talked about his wrestling career path when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"A lot of people don't remember but I started out in WWF in 1991 as Skull Von Krush. Starting off there and having your first match against The Rockers and then Bret Hart, Bulldog and Boss Man. You're working along the stars and they are teaching you. Being in that environment – I'm here but I'm not here," stated Vito.
He then added that most guys like to work through the ranks to achieve a certain goal like getting a Ribera steak jacket. Vito worked in countries all over the world including Puerto Rico (WWC) and Japan (New Japan).
"I happened to go wrestle [in Japan] in 1992 and who was on the tour but The Harlem Heat, Manny Fernandez, Skull Von Krush. Then when I came back to Japan, I made my way to ECW and wrestled for Paul Heyman. That's when I changed to Vito "The Skull" LoGrasso and then I went on a singles tear and hooked up with Da Baldies," recalled Vito who then hooked up with WCW and worked there until it was bought out in 2001.
Vito then talked about working with Hulk Hogan in the XWF promotion which also featured Jimmy Hart. He said the XWF was very successful until Vince McMahon signed away all their top talent and the company folded.
"I wound up going back overseas and then I wrestled for Rikishi's group and then I went over to Impact," said Vito. "We formed the NYC with Glenn Gilbertti, Trinity and Johnny Swinger and we had a good run there. From there I got my deal with WWE. I went to tryouts and Arn Anderson said, 'Well, where the hell have you been? We've been waiting for you.'
"I would up tagging with Nunzio and had my anniversary with WWE when Nunzio won the cruiserweight title. I did a lot of great things with Nunzio and then we did the dress gimmick and that was awesome!"
Nothing will help you prepare for a film career better than portraying a wrestling cross-dresser and Vito talked about how he transitioned from the ring to the movie industry.
"I guess what helped me the most was I was a pro wrestler and in pro wrestling you have storylines and scripts and have to improvise to get the bullet points you want to get across. I think that helped me tremendously because when I go on screen, it just comes naturally to me," Vito said before adding that he hasn't taken thousands of acting classes like other actors, but wrestling provided him on-the-job training.
"From the wrestling screen to the movie screen, if you look at my TV career, I've been on TV for almost 30 years. So you still have to act and portray a character and I think that's where wrestling has helped me the most.
"Also, the guys on the film, they always critique and give you some great advice. If you don't listen to advice, then you're never gonna grow in any industry."
He then mentioned the great advice he received in wrestling from the likes of Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith and the Honky Tonk Man.
Vito was then asked what he wishes he knew in pro wrestling that he's learned from acting.
"If I would have known about the movies career and what it would take to get your SAG card...you had to know somebody and needed $1,500. Today it's not so much the SAG card, but getting your foot in the door with a producer who's got films. I think if I would have started my film career a lot earlier, I would have been a lot more successful and have more credits under my belt," said Vito.
"So, I guess it's maybe starting late if you can understand my psychology on it."
Big Vito stars in the new movie The Church, an indie horror thriller from first time director and writer Dom Frank, which is now available ONDEMAND through your cable provider, all Digital formats and DVD.
Vito's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it Vito discusses his role in the horror film The Church, his transition from pro wrestling to film, his pro wrestling career path, his WWE "dress gimmick", advice to WWE Superstars who are creatively frustrated, why he's not a fan of the WWE 24/7 Championship and more.