Source: Legends With JBL
On WWE Network's Legends With JBL, former world champion John 'Bradshaw' Layfield, spoke with one of his professional wrestling idols, WWE Hall Of Famer Stan Hansen. Among other things, Hansen shared stories about working with fellow WWE Hall Of Famers, Bruno Sammartino and Andre The Giant.
"Terry Funk, and, I'd have to say Bruno."
On the subject of Sammartino, Hansen admitted that he "never witnessed anybody being so over so much with so many people." Hansen said that 'The Living Legend' himself called 'The Lariat' about coming to WWF in 1976.
"Bruno ended up calling me and we talked. And then, Bruno called Vince [McMahon], Sr., and then, Sr. brought me in. Here I was, one night wrestling in Knox City, Texas, and then, the next week I'm working Madison Square Garden, the greatest venue of all time."
With respect to breaking Sammartino's neck in a match, Hansen professed that he felt bad about the mistake, but he called Sammartino, who was still in the hospital, a few weeks after the incident because he did not know how to contact 'The Italian Strongman'.
"I slammed Bruno on the back of his head and his neck. And Vince, Sr., if looks could kill, I'd have been dead. He was shocked and I felt really horrible too. I mean, he's the guy, he brought me in and sight unseen, right? And I end up hurting him and putting him out."
Hansen continued, "I couldn't [call him sooner]. I didn't know how to get ahold of him. And finally after two or three, a couple of weeks or whatever, I said, 'can anybody [get me in touch with him]?' And he was still in the hospital. He was in traction and I had seen some pictures. And I'm going, 'oh God!' So I called him up and we talked. I just said, 'hey, I am so sorry.' He says, 'don't worry about it.' He said, 'don't even worry about it. Take care of yourself. I'm going to come back.' And wow! To this day, I call Bruno a couple of times a year and we touch base. He's just a class act. He's just a class act, man. He gave me a great chance."
Moreover, Hansen recalled that Vince McMahon, Sr. sent him to Texas because he was worried someone might kill him in New York. Sure enough, 'The Bad Man From Borger, Texas' almost got shot for breaking Sammartino's neck.
"I stayed around and worked, but everybody's waiting for Bruno to come back. And wow, it was just awesome. It was a lot of heat there. And finally Jerry [Blackwell], we were in some little spot show and some guy came up and he had a gun in the crook of his arm. And he came up and started saying something and I looked down at the gun. And Jerry was following me out the door and Jerry didn't see the gun. He grabbed the guy's arm and he turned like that and I was right at the back door. I went on out the back door and there were milk bottles, I'll never forget, milk bottles, at this building. I picked up a bunch of bottles and I said, 'if the guy comes out, I'm going to bust them over his head' or whatever. Jerry came out and he was a white as a sheet because he didn't see the gun until the guy turned on him. Nothing happened, but, in my book, he maybe saved my life."
As for Andre the Giant, Hansen acknowledged that Andre got him over in Japan.
"I mean, I had some great opportunities in Japan. [Antonio] Inoki pushed me. They gave me that opportunity and everything, but the thing that actually really got me over in Japan was Andre The Giant and Andre was such a smart guy. He had a great ear. He knew the wrestling business really well." Hansen continued, "he decided in his head, 'here's my guy, that here's a guy who can be my opponent here in Japan' and he ended up selling me and, man, it got me over more. And he fought."
Hansen noted at Andre let 'The Cowboy' bodyslam him before the iconic slam from Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 3. Hansen called his match with Andre one of his all-time favorite matches.
"I slammed him. 'Slam.' 'Slam? What? Do what?' And at that time, I'm sure he had been slammed somewhere, but I know he got slammed later, but he did it for me. And wow, people went crazy and they still, that's one of the top matches the people still remember in Japan."
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