WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana and fellow inductee Bret Hart share several commonalities, including being second-generation wrestlers and having a reputation for their exceptional in-ring talent. Both of these smaller wrestlers rose to prominence in the 1980s.
While Hart eventually secured numerous titles, circumstances could have easily placed Santana in a similar position. In a recent episode of "Wrestling Then And Now," Santana discussed how he was on the verge of a WWE Championship run before the company opted for Hart in 1992.
He explained that WWE had planned to expand into Mexico, South America, Central America, and Spain, prompting the company to consider him for the title.
Santana Recalls Missed Championship
"There was a time that they were going to put the belt on me," Santana recalled.
He added that he defeated The Undertaker in Spain while being built up as El Matador. However, WWE eventually dropped their plans for the Latin American tour and decided to focus on Canada instead, selecting Hart for the championship.
Santana bears no grudges against WWE for choosing Hart over him, but he expressed confusion about why the company did not capitalize more on Hart's later championship reign in 1997. He explained that the rivalry between Canada and the United States was prevalent then, and Hart's departure seemed like a questionable decision.
"The whole Canadian thing was on fire. It was like the Canadians against the Americans," Santana stated. "And then all of a sudden, I hear that Bret's going to be leaving, and I just said to myself, 'You know, it took all this time to get over, and now they're going to take the belt away from him?' I couldn't understand." This candid conversation sheds light on the unpredictable nature of professional wrestling and the numerous factors that can influence a wrestler's career trajectory.
Although Santana and Hart enjoyed successful careers, it's fascinating to ponder how things could have played out differently if WWE had pursued its initial expansion plans.
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