Former WWE commentator and a current announcer for Mexico's AAA promotion, Hugo Savinovich, was a guest on Wrestling Inc.'s very own WINCLY Podcast this week. As noted, Hugo unfortunately lost both his wife and sister earlier this month, however, these hardships haven't kept him from working hard as he normally does.
"I'm going through a tough time - last week, I lost my wife, my sister, and I still just returned maybe not even a few hours ago from Mexico," Hugo said. "We were doing a live show last night from Mexico with Triple A and there we recorded for Thanksgiving. Here I am and I have a few hours here and then I head to Puerto Rico to do the promotion and I have Fight Forever. I feel excited because there's ten super matches... You name it, we have it. Dream matches with a beautiful production, and even the fact of just having an opportunity to see dream matches this Saturday in Puerto Rico."
Hugo's excited to present Bret Hart's tribute show in Puerto Rico this weekend, and he recounted the process it took signing Bret up for the event. Hugo has personally put in loads of effort trying to make this a special event to honor an incomparable legend inside the squared circle.
"I just told him the truth; I said, 'You know the fans love you! We did this show last year that was a tribute to Mesias and we want to do that with you because, first of all, you were so great to the Latino wrestlers in WWF.' Savio Vega was one of them but Bret was good to everybody whether you're Japanese or - he didn't care! He was just a good, solid person," Hugo said. "So I said, 'Listen, the fans love it.' I started talking to the Puerto Rican fans and I asked them what we should do for the tribute and more people were mentioning that.
"My fame and my success in over forty years of wrestling - the first year, I did the creative part with Vince [McMahon], Pat Patterson, and Bruce Prichard. I've done successful business all over the world and it's because I listen to the fans. I believe that if you listen to the fans and you give them a good product, if you pay the talent good money, and have them in good hotels and treat them with respect, it's going to be an adventure for fans and wrestlers to create the atmosphere of a great show, and Bret agreed," Hugo continued. "He has a lot of bookings and stuff like that that he does but I explained what I wanted to do and have the opportunity because I'm creative for that event. Besides the poster that we made for the event, I'm also including a second poster of Bret for the event, and his son is traveling with him, and this is huge. This is not a stunt; people know I only do things that I feel in my heart. He deserves it."
Hugo thought back to 1997 and the night of the infamous "Montreal Screwjob" between Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Vince McMahon. Hugo remembers his genuine surprise that something so chaotic was unfolding right before his eyes.
"We were shocked like hell because we were doing the passionate narrating - Carlos Cabrera and Hugo Savinovich are doing Spanish [commentary] and then this happened," Hugo explained. "And as you know, nobody knew [the Screwjob was going to happen], so this thing happened and then we saw that he spit at Vince and then he destroyed our table! He was so upset, so furious. Carlos and I were in shock about what did happen there so it was like, 'Woah! What the heck just happened?' And we were there.
"It was like a commotion and whatever happened, it didn't last too long," Hugo said. "In the background, we found out that Shane got in the middle and he injured his ankle or something like that. And this was not a scripted story and then we found out that this thing was kept a very heavy secret. Now things were in a delicate situation because back then, you couldn't see the scandals like you do now that break on the internet and all that. So, that was huge and it's still big news to kind of have that ending to a match where one of the biggest stars in our business was shocked and robbed of the title in front of his fans. Regardless of how predictable our outcomes are, he was really surprised."
Despite what any other people may believe, Hugo is absolutely convinced that Bret knew nothing about the Screwjob before it happened. He thought the act was especially disrespectful because of it taking place in Bret's home country of Canada.
"No, not at all. This was a decision that Vince took. I was also involved in WrestleMania 19 where Hulk Hogan hits me with a chair, and I can tell you that you could count on your fingers the people who knew about that that day," Hugo said. "Stone Cold said he was watching with Booker T [when I got hit] and he said to Book, 'Oh! He was in the middle!' Because as a professional, he knows that an announcer should not be there.
"[The Montreal Screwjob] was a decision after Vince had secured a good contract for Bret of over 8 million dollars or more with Bischoff and Ted Turner. And what he wanted was a different outcome than what Vince accepted," Hugo said. "I think it was a very delicate situation and then also you've got Bret in his homeland, his country. Which, you know, is sacred for people. He's a true professional and trust me, even with the years gone by, I don't think you can forget something like that. You say, 'Okay, it happened', but when you talk about it, I believe it still hurts."
Hugo remembers WCW buying out Bret from WWF because Ted Turner could offer more money in a contract. He believes this is likely the reason the "Screwjob" and the characters that followed after, including Mr. McMahon, came to manifest themselves.
"Remember that the whole thing was that the contract was up with Bret and if the contract was not ended, it would renew itself automatically. Vince didn't have the money that he has now. If Vince had the money that he has now while competing against Ted Turner, who was putting out millions to Eric Bischoff so he could by whatever talent," Hugo said. "The mind of Ted Turner was a predator - any news company that was going to be a competition, he would buy it, destroy it, and make a parking lot out of it.
"That mentality was the whole thing; Vince didn't have money to fight it with money so he re-invented characters and invented his own character., Mr/ McMahon. But by doing that, Ted Turner and Bischoff had to agree to give Bret Hart a huge contract... Of course, he was not going to know about that incident where Goldberg injured him and took him out of a super millionaire career," Hugo went on. "That was another fact to take into consideration is what would happen if Bret did not get injured by that fatal hit by Goldberg."
Savinovich presents the biggest Puerto Rican pro wrestling event of the decade, Fight Forever: Tribute to Bret "The Hitman" Hart, on Saturday November 23rd. For information and tickets please click here.
Hugo's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In the full interview Hugo discusses his upcoming tribute show in Puerto Rico for Bret Hart, his memories of being ringside for the Montreal Screwjob, breaking the Saudi - WWE travel story, if his opinion has changed on any of the facts, Cain Velasquez's leap to pro wrestling, why wrestlers always target the Spanish announce table and more.