(b. 1953) is a semi-retired Professional Wrestler
from Mission, Texas best known for his work in WWE
in the 1980s as Tito Santana.
He started his career in Florida in 1977 and also worked in Georgia, WWE, the American Wrestling Association
, Southwest Championship Wrestling in San Antonio, and the Funk family
's Western States Wrestling promotion in Amarillo, TX before making his home in WWE. Santana is a 2x WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion
, a 2x WWE World Tag Team Champion
, holding the belts the first time with Ivan Putski and the second time with Rick Martel
as Strike Force and a 1x NWA ECW Heavyweight Champion
(see below under The Cameo
). He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.The Other Wiki
has a good writeup on his career.
- Arch-Enemy: Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Slick, Rick "The Model" Martel (after Strike Force's split at WrestleMania V), Demolition
- Bash Brothers: Rick Martel, Ivan Putski, Junkyard Dog, Pedro Morales
- The Cameo: He's made several since his regular WWE run ended.
- Made one appearance in ECW on August 8, 1993, wrestling three matches, including defeating fellow 1980s great Don Muraco for the NWA ECW Heavyweight Title, and never wrestled for the promotion again.
- Defeated WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett, in a non-title match on the January 10, 2000 WCW Monday Nitro.
- At CHIKARA King of Trios 2012 Night 1, September 14, 2012, the Spectral Envoy (UltraMantis Black/Frightmare/Hallowicked) were supposed to face the Submission Squad, but they were not there, so three names were drawn from a hat. The first was the Mysterious and Handsome Stranger, who was there. The second was Kazuaki Mihara of Osaka Pro. The third was Stan Hansen, who was not there. They tried Kwang (Savio Vega doing a lame masked ninja gimmick in WWE from 1994-1995), who was not there. They tried Tito Santana, and he was there. The Envoy won after UMB rolled Tito up from behind for the pin.
- Catch Phrase: "ARRIBA!"
- Continuity Nod: He and Rick Martel never quite got over the Strike Force split. From then on, whenever they were in a situation against one another, like a Royal Rumble, one would always make a beeline for the other, to the exclusion of everyone else.
- Everyone Went to School Together: He and Tully Blanchard were on the West Texas State University football team together.
- Face: One of the very few wrestlers to be a babyface for his entire career.
- Finishing Move: Flying Forearm, figure-four leglock; (as "El Matador"): El Paso de la Muerte
- Genius Bruiser: Teaches Spanish in New Jersey.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: His real last name is pronounced "So-LEASE," like Carlos and Gabby, not like "So-LISS."
- Legacy Character: WWE has repackaged Primo and Epico Colon, who are Puerto Rican, as "Los Matadores."
- Mistaken Nationality: From Texas, billed from Mexico, though not even from an actual city in Mexico. See below.
- Parts Unknown: "Tocula, Mexico," making Santana possibly the most normal wrestler to be billed from a nonexistent place.
- South of the Border: His "El Matador" gimmick.
- Start My Own: Santana's Hair Salon in Succasunna, New Jersey
- Still Got It: As this clip from CHIKARA 2012 King of Trios Night 1 proves.
- Tag Team: Strike Force, with Rick Martel
- The Worf Effect: Acknowledged by Jim Cornette in his commentary on the Tito Santana-Kelly Kiniski match on Volume 5- Beat Me If You Can of the Wrestling Gold series that if you faced Tito and beat him in WWE in the mid-80s that meant that you were on the way up and if you faced Tito and lost that meant you weren't. This also contributed to his status as the sort-of Bizarro World version of The Undertaker, with a WrestleMania record of 2-7.
- What Could Have Been: Has stated that there were plans for a WWF expansion into South America in the early 90's, and he would have been given the world title to be the company face for it, but the expansion ended up north into Canada instead, putting Bret Hart as the obvious choice instead.