David Sammartino’s memory is a little fuzzy.” – Ron Shaw
Editor’s Update (October 18th, 2019): After reading this article, Ron Shaw kindly reached out to us to share his side of the story which can be read in full below.
Ron Shaw with Wild Bull Curry
“I first want to say that David Sammartino was a great wrestler with a great knowledge of holds and counter holds and was very strong. I know this as I was the first man to wrestle him on TV in Poughkeepsie, New York where he made his debut. We did not chop meat, kick, etc. It was clean holds and counter hold type match until I bodyslammed him hard into the mat, where he then gorilla pressed me over his head for his first win. This was the only match that we ever had on TV and in some past interviews years ago he had said he squashed me many times on TV and that I was basically a jobber.
David’s memory is a little fuzzy and he doesn’t know my history prior to our meeting in 1984. Six months after becoming a pro, Vince Sr. took me to the side and gave a young kid a great compliment and said I was a natural and gave me a push as The Executioner, where I worked all over.
In 1982 I started with Kowalski’s IWF Bedlam from Boston shows as I was one of the top heels managed by Wild Bull Curry.
Then we merged with Bruno in Pennsylvania where I was then teamed with Hans Schroeder as the top heel tag team as we faced David and Manuel Soto a few times and shortly after that I became a face after a bloody turn of events as Schroeder turned on me on TV and even several times Bruno interviewed me to build up the match between Schroeder and myself.
Some fans believe I was good friends with David, but I never traveled or shared a room with him and the only time I saw him was in the dressing rooms. Now, the night David was scheduled to wrestle me in Philadelphia, The Hulkster and then Bobby the Brain Heenan came up to me and gave me a warning in which I thought I was going to be made an example of in the ring. I have been in shoots before where I almost broke, but most certainly damaged a young wrestler’s arm and shoulder ’cause he was making me look bad in the ring.
Or the time Irish Davey O’Hannon spoke to me before a match when the Samoans Afa and Sika were going to work against me and a new kid who must have been bragging and talking crap in the dressing room.
In that match, they beat the crap out of him where it just looked like a normal match where all the punches and kicks were stiff and the kid left the ring with a punctured lung and was bloodied. Earlier in the evening, he introduced himself to me as he was the flower lady’s son who always sat at ringside with his mom at the TV tapings in Allentown where they gave out roses to the faces as they were going back to the dressing rooms. It was his first and last match.
So as I stepped into the ring, David and I faced each other and I gave him two blows behind the neck and seven bodyslams later my hand was raised. In the interview [he recently had with Monte and The Pharaoh], he said I let him hurt his back and I was the better man that night. Well, I don’t know if I would let anybody purposely hurt my back. Even though this is one of the most talked-about upsets, I still consider pinning Chief Jay Strongbow my biggest win as he was a veteran of some 30 years and wins over Iron Mike Sharpe and Rene Goulet.
It’s an honor to be in the books “WWE 50” and the “WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment“ with the biggest superstars because of that match and almost winning the battle royal at The Brawl to End It All in MSG.
Ron Shaw submission in the book 'WWE History of the Last 50 Years'
Appearing in two books, Ron Shaw is not forgotten in WWE or wrestling history.
David and I had some things in common. We both wanted to be wrestlers when we were about 8 years old and both our fathers were heroes to us. And yes, it was damn cool knowing what this business was really about at an early age.”