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  4. Mario Mancini remembers his match vs. the Undertaker

WWF wrestler Mario Mancini joined IYH Wrestling Radio for an encore performance. Mario was selected by the IYH fans as the 2014 “Interview of the Year”.

Highlights included the following:

* His memories of wrestling The Wild Samoans and Haku:

“Afa and Sika were great. Afa would teach you in the dressing room, even if you weren’t working with him. He watched my match once. We were somewhere in Pennsylvania and we were at a high school, and I came back from my match and I asked Afa if he watched it, and he said, “Yeah, it was really good, kid. It was really good…Just one thing. When you chop someone, you don’t skim their chest like that; you lay it in, like this.” And he chopped me and I left my feet, and about three feet behind me I just smashed up against the lockers, and went straight down. And he said, “You got that?” I said, “I got it.” But to work with them in the ring, they’re just like anybody else…You have to be awake, though, because if you’re stiffer you’re like a piece of lead in there. If you’re weight in there they’ll lay it in to wake you up, if you’re just a little lethargic in there. I’ve seen them do that to people before, and you know what? They’re just doing their thing. Listen, Haku did it to me. Terry Garvin called me at like 11:30 in the morning at my house, and he goes, “Mario, we need you in Johnstown, Pennsylvania tonight.” And I said, “OK, where’s that?” He goes, “About 40 miles east of Philadelphia.”…Well, it was about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh, 418 miles one way. I was late. (Gorilla) Monsoon looks at me and goes, “Where the hell were you?” I said, “Garvin told me this thing was four hours away. It’s eight hours away.” He says, “Get dressed.” So I look up at the board, and it says Haku v. Mancini. Haku and I got along well, and he said, “Mancini, how you doing?” And I said, “I’m just a little tired, you know?” He goes, “Yeah yeah, warm up and get that out of you.” Well, evidently it wasn’t out of me. And the first 90 seconds of the match he just got me against the ropes and he just took his hand and just buried it in my midsection, and that woke me up quick. For anybody who doesn’t know, in the history of pro wrestling, the fans always go ‘I wonder if there was a real fight who would win? I wonder if this wasn’t fake who would really go over?’ The answer is Haku. Haku would have been the reigning Heavyweight Champion for years, because he was the toughest guy that ever entered professional wrestling. He could kill you with his bare hands. People feared him.”

* You were The Undertaker’s first match in the WWF. What are your thoughts on wrestling him and are you surprised his career has lasted as long as it has?

“How was it to work with The Undertaker? Obviously, at the time, you really can’t see what’s going to happen…Here was this guy that was 6 foot 7 or 6 foot 8, and I knew he was Mean Mark in another organization…I walked up to him and said “I’m Mario Mancini and…we’re working together. I’ve been here for six years… there’s nothing I can’t do. I’ve been here for six years and I’m here to put you over.”…He said OK, and I said, “What do you want to do?” He told me what he wanted to do, and he said “Just one thing for me, please?…I’m gonna walk the top rope.” And I said, “You’re gonna walk the top rope?” He said, “Yeah.”…I said, not a problem. He said, “Can you take a clothesline backwards over the top rope?” I said, “Absolutely”…And that was it, it was a good match. He said he was going to give me that reverse piledriver and I said I’d taken that many times from Don Muraco; not a problem. That was it. Did I think he would last 25 years? No. No, I didn’t think he’d last 25 years at all. It’s a rough business…I just didn’t see Mark lasting 25 years, but God Bless Him. Sometimes I wish that when he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame I’m there in the crowd, because I am the answer to that trivia question ‘Who was his very first match?’, and it was me. Great guy, nice guy, class guy, good worker, he wasn’t stiff, treated me well, thanked me a million times; good guy.”

* His thoughts of The Brooklyn Brawler, Steve Lombardi:

“I might have mentioned Lombardi, but we didn’t get into it. Thank God, because then I would have really got cranky. But I still maintain if the SOB gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame before I do, I will be going down to Stamford…He absolutely disgusts me, the way he got his break. You know what? You had other superstars there, that were already established; I never had a judgment on those guys. And I mention those guys, because I have respect for them, because they were gay, but they were already on top. They were already over big-time…Lombardi…he did it specifically to get over; he did it to get over.”

Other topics discussed included:

* Did he ever cross paths with Jim Cornette during his career?

* His memories of being on the show “Tuesday Night Titans”.

* Did anyone ever come up to him with a suggestion for a spot that he refused to do?

* What did Chief Jay Strongbow mean to him personally and to his career?

Mario will be appearing at New England Fan Fest 5 on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island. For additional information, go to http://www.newenglandfanfest.com .

The contact information for Mario’s wrestling school is:

Paradise Alley Wrestling School

662 Coe Avenue Unit 2

East Haven, Connecticut.

Phone: 203-410-5152 http://paradisealleywrestling.com/