And I’m not just talking about this guy.
Independent pro wrestling shows promoting one thing and delivering another is nothing new, especially when they’re run out of your local hockey complex and advertise shows featuring The Honky Tonk Man, but Florida promoter Dino Puglia has taken it to a new level. His Saturday night tribute show to Randy “Macho Man” Savage in New Port Richey, billed as a fundraiser for All Children’s Hospital and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, has suddenly become national news based on the fact that it not only milked the legacy of a popular dead wrestler, it milked two huge hospitals full of dying babies. The wrestling industry can get pretty shifty and unseemly, but holy sh**.
“I’ve stopped answering (Puglia’s) calls, and I don’t want to have anything to do with him,” said Savage’s brother “the Genius” Lanny Poffo, who had given his blessing for the event. “I thought it would be a good thing for my brother’s name, but I regret the outcome and would prefer to distance myself from the stench.”
Of course that quote is paraphrased, as the actual one rhymes and was written on the back of a frisbee.
The “fundraiser” never got permission to raise money for the hospitals, and the promoter says he didn’t raise enough money to cut a check to either charity. Why didn’t he raise enough money? It could have something to do with the fact that nearly half of the people he advertised for the show weren’t there, and some were never supposed to be. Poffo told Puglia that he was occupado elsewhere, but his face ended up on the poster. The Honky Tonk Man was photoshopped in before he was even asked to appear, and has posted a 15 minute phone conversation between he and Puglia on YouTube about false advertising wherein you find out the Honky Tonk Man refers to himself as “Honky Tonk Man” in real life. The situation turned into such an epic clusterf**k that the promoter FAKED A HEART ATTACK so he could leave the show. When you read Fred Sanford territory you know something is wrong.
Wrestler Big Vito LoGrasso, famous for wrestling in a women’s sun dress, shared his thoughts on the show with the St. Petersburg Times. If you think stealing money from children’s hospitals and faking heart attacks was as sad as this story gets, think again.
LoGrasso called the show “a rinky-dink operation.” There was no sound system, no bell to ring. In honor of the Macho Man, Puglia held marginally observed moments of silence, repeating “ding” into the microphone.
LoGrasso helped organize the event until he and Puglia had a falling out. Puglia blamed LoGrasso for many of the event’s problems, including the misleading promotions — which LoGrasso flatly denies. Puglia banned LoGrasso from the event, threatening to have him arrested if he showed up.
“He even deleted me from his friends on Facebook,” LoGrasso said.