Tito Santana’s Tales From The Ring can be compared to buying a 1080p LCD TV and only watching black and white programs every day. Not that this book was terrible, but Tito Santana and/or Tom Caiazzo just didn’t put the detail into the book to make it a must read in my opinion.
On a recent edition of the MJ Mailbag on Pwinsider Elite, Mike Johnson stated that Tito Santana wasn’t someone known for being a good storyteller and that statement is very much the truth.
The book begins on a very interesting note, as the introduction penned by Tito Santana goes into good detail about his early life. Tito Santana discusses his families life as migrant workers and the harsh conditions they were forced to live in as they traveled from location to location. The book then talks about the tumultuous relationship between Tito Santana’s mother and father, whom eventually split up.
Tito Santana also goes into great length to discuss the prejudices and racism he faced throughout his life and career in professional wrestling. It doesn’t take long for the book to dive into Tito Santana’s professional wrestling career, which began after Tito Santana met Tully Blanchard, son of the legendary Joe Blanchard.
Tito Santana talks about the territorial days working under The Funks, Ole Anderson and other promoters throughout the country. Tito Santana then discusses his first time working for the then WWWF under Vince McMahon Sr. and becoming the WWWF Tag Team Champions with Ivan Putski. The autobiography then delves into Tito Santana’s run in the AWA and his matches with Sgt. Slaughter (who along with Paul Orndoff, wrote the forwards to this book).
It doesn’t take much time for Tito Santana to talk about his second run in the then renamed WWF under Vince McMahon Jr. (as Vince McMahon Sr. would pass away shortly after his return). Tito Santana goes into detail about how Vince McMahon’s attitude changed after the transition from WWWF employee to WWF owner.
Tito Santana then brings up his two runs as WWF Intercontinental Champion and his feelings on dropping the title to both Greg Valentine and Randy Savage. The book then delves into Tito Santana wanting to leave the WWF, but being convinced to stay aboard and team with Rick Martel. The duo was christened Strike Force and won the WWF Tag Team Titles once, before dropping them to Demolition at WWF Wrestlemania 5.
The best factoid coming out of the book is when Tito Santana discusses that he was originally going to defeat Ric Flair for the WWF Title in 1992, but the role was given to Bret Hart and Tito Santana was back to mid-card status. Then Tito Santana talks about his last push in the WWF under the moniker “El Matador” Tito Santana.
Tito Santana then dedicates a chapter in his book to both road stories and his opinions on various actions that have occurred in the WWF. This chapter proves my point to why Tito Santana isn’t much of a storyteller, as very few of his road stories and opinion pieces are longer that the paragraph your currently reading, which is a true shame.
To prove my point even further, Tito Santana and Sgt. Slaughter once ran a wrestling promotion together, which eventually went out of business. That promotion was the American Wrestling Federation and it got a total of one sentence written about it in the entire book.
The final chapter features Tito Santana’s induction into the WWE Hall Of Fame (WWE Wrestlemania XX weekend). Tito Santana talks about how he initially did not want to attend the event, but decided to attend to meet up with old friends and give his family a chance to learn about his wrestling career.
Overall, while the book does feature a few decent things I never knew about Tito Santana, the lack of detail about his time in professional wrestling really took this book from a must read (when I initially heard it was coming out) to a week long renter at my local library.
You can contact David Tees at firstname.lastname@example.org