Tito Santana spent nearly 15 years in WWE as a part of a career that spanned four decades. He’s settled into a normal life now and with a regular job as he revealed in an interview with VOC Nation.
“I’m a school teacher and that takes up a lot of my time, and I go out and do appearances on the weekend. The reason I keep doing appearances is that it’s amazing how many fans come up to me and thank me for childhood memories, and talk about things that they remember about my career that I had forgotten,” said Santana It’s always so cool to see the satisfaction.”
Outside of teaching and making appearances, Santana also recently wrote a book called Don’t Call Me Chico. He talked about why he chose that as the title of the book.
“It was a combination decision that Kenny [Cassanova, co-author] and I made? I talked to him about how Jesse The Body used to call me Chico. I was never one to watch wrestling shows; when I started getting to arenas and the fans started calling me Chico, I thought they were being insulting and it kind of pissed me off a little bit,” admitted Santana. “Then one day I was watching it and I saw that Jesse The Body calling me Chico and I realized that was because Jesse was over so big on TV as a commentator.
“In reality Jesse and I were good friends and Jesse was really trying to help my career? So we [Tito and Kenny] both decided that would be a good title. As far as I’m concerned, when Jesse The Body and Gorilla [Monsoon] were going, the commentary on TV it didn’t get any better than that.”
“Chico” was one example of the somewhat-racist language or sayings that were directed to Santana or others of Hispanic descent in the 1980s. He was asked if he was offended by the racial insults levied at him.
“No, professional wrestling was a fraternity. Those guys were saying things; the more they knocked you, I think it was the more they liked you. Bobby Heenan used to say, ‘I met Tito Santana selling hot dogs in Mexico living with his family in a 56′ Chevy.’ I don’t think you could get away with it nowadays, but back then it helped my career. Neither one of them had a racial bone in their body,” Santana said of Heenan and Ventura before being asked if he thinks they could be successful in today’s climate.
“Those guys were so smart and so intelligent about the business, they would figure out a way to get the wrestlers over in the ring. That’s what it was all about. They were there to get heat and Gorilla Monsoon was the babyface. They could do it [if they had to today] without being racial. At the time you could get away with it so they used it to their advantage. Those guys were so smart that there is no doubt in my mind that they could pull it off today just like they did back then.”