Don Muraco On The Night Of The Snuka Murder, Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon


‘The Magnificent” Don Muraco was the guest of the 100th episode of The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast. In a rare candid interview, Muraco spoke about a variety of subjects, including Jimmy Snuka, Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon:

On the differences between Vince McMahon Sr. and Vince McMahon Jr.

“It’s apples and oranges. Two different times. Vince Sr. was an old promoter in the old days. He had his area and his promotion and his territory. Vince Sr. was graceful and a gentleman. Not that Vince Jr. isn’t. But he was an honorable and classy type of guy and then Vince (Jr.) got in the new generation with cable TV and the networks and pay per view and marketing and commercials, cartoons, this and that. Vince Sr. was your traditional promoter in an area that was an outstanding area so it was hard for him to not be an outstanding classy guy. Vince Jr. is the wild man you’ve seen. Pushing and taking a chance. Two different types of guys and just a transition. I was lucky to be a part of the Vince Sr./Eddie Graham/Jim Barnet into the Vince McMahon Jr. high wire act.”

On if he though pro wrestling would change after Jimmy Snuka leaped off the Steel Cage in Madison Square Garden:

“We were going through a whole change at the time. It wasn’t Hulk Hogan yet but the business was doing so well and had been doing so well. It  more evolved and picked up. I was talking to Bruno (Sammartino) one time and he said he got it from Rocca, we got it from Bruno and Backlund and that’s why that East Coast business was always fabulous for us. With the growth of television and the incorporation of TV and cable TV it was all just a natural progression.”

On working the North East crowd:

Oh yeah, we loved it. I thought I was pretty hot. I go back and watch some old tapes of myself and see like the first five, eight ,ten minutes of a match and all I do is get the sh*t kicked out of me and the people are popping the whole time. They never seemed to come down or get enough of it. It was an entertaining time to have everything so hot, I look at the matches now and it’s just one comeback after another. Beach-bum was going wild, it was so great.”

On his promo style and attacking Jimmy Snuka in interviews:

“Well we broke in about the same time. I was back here wrestling in Hawaii and I had been wrestling in Vancouver and Portland, I hadn’t been in the business more than a year and Frankie Laine was breaking in Jimmy so that’s where we became familiar with one another. So yeah it was easy to communicate. Polynesians, we work for each other and want to see each other both get over. “

On if he was aware of Snuka’s issues with Nancy Argentino at the time of their feud:

“I was right there around it the whole time. It was the week after we shot the thing where he tore all my clothes off and I hit him with the microphone. The same night, it was the oddest coincidence. That same night Eddie Gilbert had run his brand new Lincoln Town-car off the back end of a semi-truck and got drug down the freeway and he called me in the middle of the night and that’s how I ended up crossing over with all of the State Troopers and everything else and that’s how I got involved but I could see my whole future going down the drain there for a while.”

On if he has talked to Jimmy Snuka in recent months:

“I was talking to him on the phone until he started having his medical issues. I haven’t spoken to him in a while. His wife wanted me to see him when I’m up in New Jersey and she wanted me to say hello to him and kind of perk up his spirits.”

On why he sided with the former contracted wrestlers suing Vince McMahon over injury negligence:

“I would have to be more for the personal responsibility. Although we were getting run really hard. I don’t know, but I guess I would follow (Dan) Spivey where you have to take responsibility for yourself. I just saw a tape of Led Zeppelin doing Stairway to Heaven and Jimmy Page and the four of them and I think the girl from Heart was doing it too and they are all still surviving. So if Led Zeppelin is still going then a lot of wrestlers should be. I think though I have to agree with Danny Spivey and you have to take personal responsibility for yourself when it comes to addiction and taking care of your bread. We are all afforded the opportunity to make money and when you lose it and you are knocked off your high horse you want to blame somebody else.”

On his World Title matches with Hulk Hogan:

“When the Hulkster used to come down my skin used to “pop” too for “Eye of the Tiger”.  I’ve said this before but I realize with all of the racial stuff that he got caught with that previous to that, I’ve read in the wrestling underground media as it is Hulk and The Ultimate Warrior and a couple of those guys were such horrible workers and such boring performers. They were doing fabulous business. Sometimes I think it’s a little in jest that they get criticized for someone not liking somebody’s style but not everyone works like Ray Stevens or Dory Funk Jr. because they are probably the two greatest. Look at all the success Bruno had and his style wasn’t the greatest, you look at the results. When you hold Hogan to those standards it seems like the “underground” goes around calling Hogan a bum but I was going around those times when everybody was fat. Even after I left, he just kept going. Those were good times.”

On Hulk Hogan’s racist comments:

“Honestly, I was never a part of his clique so I don’t have a dog in the fight. I was never a part of his clique with the guys they used to fawn around him and kiss his ass for work and for bookings and for places on the card. He always seemed though to be one of the guys, kind of. Even though he wasn’t because he was “The Hulk”. He had the TV, the NBC, the movies and everyone coming after him.  I never did see or saw him as a racist or a bigot or anything. He got caught. It was stupid for a guy that spends that much time talking publicly like we are talking now for a person that spends that much time being taped it was dumb and pretty insensitive. I don’t know if he was secretly being taped or what the story is but still with all the political correctness and stuff going down now you have to watch your p’s and q’s all the time.”

I've been following wrestling for almost 30 years now, and the metal scene for even longer. And let's just say that all that head-banging has left me with some weird ideas that i will share with you from time to time. Aren't you glad?