WWE Network recently aired an episode of Table For 3 featuring Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair and Randy Orton where the three men discussed a number of topics. Specifically, Sammartino talked about his suggestion of Ivan Koloff as his replacement when he originally departed from WWE due to medical reasons as well as the process of having his WWE statue made
According to Sammartino, he had brought to suggestion up to Vince McMahon Sr.
"Well, after eight years, I told the old man, as we called him, Vince McMahon [Sr.], I said, 'you'd better get somebody.' I said, 'my body is broke, man.' My body was hurting from head to toe. And eventually he did. And I felt bad because he got a guy that I respected very much as a performer. It was Ivan Koloff. I suggested to Vince, I thought Ivan Koloff would be great because we had done great business all over."
Sammartino said, "Koloff, he had done so well I told Vince, I said, 'I think he could carry [the title]' because the reason why it was hard for a heel to carry the championship for a really, really long, long period of time because a heel could get over on TV. All he had to do is go out there and beat the heck out of somebody maybe half his size and say, 'this is what I'm going to do to Bruno Sammartino when I meet him.' But it was very difficult to get a babyface over as quick."
Sammartino expressed his disappointment at Koloff not being given much of a chance at the top spot.
"I felt very, very bad that I even mentioned him because [after] three weeks, they took it off of him and gave it on Pedro Morales. Fine. Pedro is a good guy and a good performer. I just felt bad Ivan didn't get the break."
During the show, Sammartino also complained about having his statue made.
"Did you have to go to New York where they put the stuff [on your face]? Oh my God! That was terrible. Yeah, to make the mold and, you know me, I can't breathe out of my nose. I said, 'how long is this going to take?' because I can't breathe. They said, '10 minutes.' It was 30 minutes! You felt like you were suffocating. It's so hot in there. Then, when they take it off, it doesn't come out and they're trying to bust it. It's nasty."