Canadian Bulldog's True Wrestling Stories: Tito Santana
By Canadian Bulldog
So it's come to this. Wow. Pretty pathetic, huh? If you thought I was scraping the bottom the barrel with my last TWS on Samoa Joe…
I kid, I kid. Actually, Tito was one of the greatest wrestlers never to win a world title, according to a survey I made up just now. His accomplishments in this industry simply can't be ignored. No, really, they can't. I am legally prevented from ignoring Tito's accomplishments (he has an AWESOME lawyer).
Tito has done quite a bit during his Hall of Fame career (although… they're letting pretty much anyone in there these days). He lost at something like seven or eight consecutive WrestleManias, which is how I figure they would have booked Eric Bischoff had he been an active wrestler during that era.
I mean -- REALLY NOW -- seven losses in a row? Even Kane hasn't suffered through something like that yet, and he always jobs!
Geez, what a loser. Why the hell am I writing about him? Why am I even writing this column at all? Does anyone (besides The Fake Jim Cornette) even READ this column?
WHAT AM I DOING WASTING MY LIFE LIKE THIS???
And with that, I give you The True Wrestling Story of Tito Santana.
Chapter One: … Or Else Forget About It
Yes, it can now be confirmed: Tito Santana was born into the legendary Santana music family, which included Carlos and, uh, Possibly Others.
The Santana Blues Band became a tremendous success story, although Tito wasn't the most accomplished of musicians. He would routinely show up on stage, shirtless and shout "Arriba!" for no apparent reason.
I suppose it just wasn't meant to be: look at what happened to other famous people named Tito who tried to sponge off the family name (Tito Jackson, Tito Puente, uh… Mr. Tito?). So he decided to follow the most logical career path: telemarketing.
But when that fell through, he decided to give wrestling the old college try.
"He's paid his dues to get where he is now," said journeyman grappler "Iron" Mike Sharpe. Oh crap, I'm quoting jabronis now??? Just great…
Oh, and I should add that the cooking at Mama Santana's house was dreadful, according to one Bobby The Brain Heenan.
Chapter Two: Worst Action Figure Ever! (EVER!!!)
Yes, I know this deviates from our story a little, but I'm sorry - take a look at that toy. A GOOD look at it. Tito Santana looks like he's taking a crap! What the hell?
Did toy company executives actually sit down one day and say: "You know what would really resound with our target demographic? An action figure of some guy in desperate need of some Pepto-Bismol."
I mean, was the cooking at Mama Santana's really that bad? Or was this just a part of his character I missed out on as a child? I can hear Gorilla Monsoon now: "Watch out, Brain, here comes Tito with a case of explosive diarrhea. The pinfall is academic now."
"Hey, at least he HAD his own action figure," said "Iron" Mike Sharpe.
I remember when they finally decided to make a change with the Tito Santana action figure. And what did they do? They switched his trunks from purple to white. He still looked like he was taking a dump, though.
I apologize; this just really bothers me for some reason. Every other action figure was probably laughing at Tito behind his back; even the Hulk Hogan doll that suffered from anorexia and the Rick Rude one where the only move you could perform is to have him kiss his opponent.
Hogan: "Hey, brother, maybe you're just lactose intolerant, brother. Does this yellow underwear make me look fat, brother?"
Rude: "Shut up and kiss me."
Chapter Three: The Champ… Is… HEE-YAH! ("Booooo…")
That's right, the man known as "Mister WrestleMania (Jobber)" and "The Hulk Hogan of Tocula, Mexico" held the prestigious WWF Intercontinental Title on more than one occasion, a feat that has only been duplicated by current WWE superstar Edge.
Well, Mr. Perfect as well. And I'm pretty sure The Ultimate Warrior held that bad boy twice. But besides those rare exceptions, and also Triple H, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Rob Van Dam, Don Muraco, Pedro Morales, Shelton Benjamin, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, Razor Ramon, Christian, Chyna, Val Venis, Kane, Golddust and Possibly Others, he stands in pretty elite company.
"True, but this was in an era when holding the Intercontinental MEANT something," explained "Iron" Mike Sharpe. "Oh, I forgot to ask you earlier; did you want regular or unleaded?"
Chapter Four: Jobber To
Okay, so explain to me HOW this looks the guy in the previous chapter. Were the illustrators at Hulk Hogan's Rock n Wrestling confused? Did they think they were supposed to be drawing Luis from Sesame Street?
Sorry… back on topic. A lot of people think that Tito always lost, but that's just not true.
He only jobbed to top guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ted DiBiase and Randy Savage. Occasionally Bad News Brown or The Honky Tonk Man or Lex Luger, but that was it.
Sure, there were times where he'd end up on the losing end of a match with Outlaw Ron Bass or Jim Neidhart or Mr. Perfect, but that wasn't the case every single night. Hell, even against Papa Shango, The Warlord and The Barbarian.
I'd even wager that there were times he couldn't quite get the job done in action against Jake The Snake Roberts or Terry Funk or Paul Orndorff. Also Nikolai Volkoff, The Iron Shiek, Sgt. Slaughter and Killer Khan. And Nailz, Kamala and Repo Man.
Fine, there were even days where he jobbed to Dangerous Danny Davis, Jimmy Jack Funk and Hercules Hernandez. Not to mention A.J. Petruzzi, Kato, "Silent" Brian MacNie and The Duke of Dorchester.
But at least he never lost to a certain "Canada's Greatest Athlete" we could mention.
"BAH!" said "Iron" Mike Sharpe.
Chapter Five: Strike Force (a/k/a Jobber Patrol '88)
Tired of absolutely stinking up singles wrestling, Tito hooked up with Rick Martel (and, apparently, Funaki) to create Strike Force.
After a few televised wins against nobodies ("But… I fought Strike Force on television around that time…" said "Iron" Mike Sharpe. "Ah."), Strike Force were ready to challenge The Hart Foundation for the WWF Tag Team straps. And shockingly, they won. Possibly because Figurehead President Jack Tunney felt badly that they had botched Tito's action figure.
Sure, they quickly dropped the straps to Demolition at WrestleMania, but their tag team legacy remains, joining such teams as Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio, Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki, Tazz and Spike Dudley, Lance Storm and Val Venis, aw… I guess I can't do the same basic gag three chapters in a row, can I?
Shortly after losing the belts, Martel suffered a severe injury and took almost a year off, signaling the end of Strike Force.
… OR WAS IT???
Chapter Six: Nope
If you thought the D-Generation X reunion is going to be huge, then brother, you should have seen the 1989 reunion of Strike Force, because it… it…
I've got nothing. Sorry.
"I thought it was great," recalled "Iron" Mike Sharpe. "There was so much drama there, so much…"
Shut up and check my fucking oil, Sharpe.
Chapter Seven: No Bull
Reasoning that he couldn't even do a "sympathetic babyface gets pummeled by newly turned partner" angle right, Santana was soon repackaged as El Matador.
That's right; his character was that he was a bullfighter. Mind you, this was early-1990's WWF programming; most of the roster was some sort of plumber (T.L. Hopper), prison guard (Big Boss Man), race car driver (Sparky Plugg), clown (Doink, Randy Savage) or steroid abuser (Everyone Else).
Still, they missed the one money angle in this gimmick. El Matador should have swung his cape around, and then Mantaur could have charged him (see illustration above). Matador would have pulled away the cape at the last moment, and Mantaur would have no idea what to do, even though his manager Jim Cornette (real or fake; it really doesn't matter at this point) would have been screaming at him to just stop charging and wrestle.
This would have also worked with any other Bull (Nakano, Buchanan, Shannon, et cetera).
"That would have been the shit," said "Iron" Mike Sharpe. "Say, do you know how all these guys get those 'WWE Legends' contract thingies? Any idea?"
Chapter Eight: End Of An Era
Why can't they make a decent figure for this guy? Sure, he no longer has stomach pain, but now he just looks like some guy you'd see kicking around a soccer ball at the park. And the pink socks over his boots? Not helping.
Back to my point. In the year 1990-something (What do I look like, Wikipedia?), Tito agreed to part ways with the World Wrestling Federation. They wished him the best in future endeavors.
"They wished ME the best in future endeavors, too. And look where it got me," says "Iron" Mike Sharpe. "You gonna finish those discarded french fries in your ashtray?"
Chapter Nine: OH, COME ON NOW!!!
WHAT THE FUCK??? I realize WWE didn't produce this particular figure, but what's with the awful?
I look at this and see The Guy From C.H.I.P.S. escaping from a particularly nasty automobile accident. That doesn't scream "Tito Santana" to me. It screams "Get this poor man a blood transfusion!"
And really -- when did Santana ever blade? They never, ever, allowed guys to get color in a four-minute match before losing to Skinner on WWF Superstars of Wrestling.
"Did you know I'm from Hamilton, Ontario?" offered "Iron" Mike Sharpe. "And my black wristband? It had a foreign object in it, all those years, and nobody ever caught on."
Chapter Ten: The End (No, he didn't die. I'm just wrapping this shit up)
FINALLY -- a half-decent action figure. Yes, he's once again kind of constipated, but at least he has great choice in T-shirts.
Santana's career had some interesting moments following his WWF departure. In 1992, he defeated Don Muraco to win the ECW Heavyweight Title. E-C-Dub! E-C-Dub! Yet, do you see him getting invited to One Night Stand? Didn't think so. Fucking racist, that Paul Heyman…
He also competed for outfits such as the ICW and AWF (which had a weekly television show on at 2 a.m. where I lived, filled with old WWF and WCW rejects, and it was STILL better than TNA), before retiring for good and becoming a schoolteacher.
Personally, I would have rather seen him get into the restaurant business. I could see a chain of eateries called "The Flying Jalapeno" popping up at food courts nationwide. But, of course, he never asked me what I thought.
In 2004, Tito was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, alongside Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Junkyard Dog, and numerous other people whose action figures didn't look like they had to take a shit.
"Geez, what a loser!" said "Iron" Mike Sharpe. "Oh, by the way, sir, your credit card was rejected."
For True Wrestling Stories, I'm Canadian Bulldog.
Canadian Bulldog is a borderline journalist who writes weekly for World Wrestling Insanity and Online Onslaught and has published his own book of nutty e-mails to wrestlers. See his obscenely expensive Canadian BullBLOG for more details. He welcomes your comments at CanadianBulldog@worldwrestlinginsanity.com
|© 2005-2007 All content contained here Copyright 2006 by James Guttman *** World Wrestling Insanity and ClubWWI are not affiliated with any wrestling promotion.|