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David Sammartino vs Ron Shaw (The Phantom Submission Match)

 New posts 2015-2017

Published on Sep 4, 2015

This is the infamous "Phantom Submission Match" from November 1985 at the Philadelphia Spectrum. The story goes that David was booked to win (which would make sense as Shaw was a prelim guy), but he was fed up with the lack of push he was getting from the WWF and wanted to leave (get fired) in a blaze of glory. When Shaw grabbed him in a bear hug, he submitted so loudly & adamantly that there was no way to cover it and the referee was forced to award the match to Shaw. The ref and Shaw didn't know what was going on afterwards and Shaw gets legit pissed when he realized that David "worked" him. Shaw then kicked and spit on him before leaving the ring. Gorilla Monsoon is also left not knowing what to say and tried his best to cover up David's "shoot", but fails miserably. Very interesting video.


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The "bullshit" chant at the end of the match, in 1985 lmao.


Beckonor Oh they used to chant that in the Roman Coliseum when a Christian survived

I want a Ron Shaw action figure


Shawamania is running wild brother!

David Sammartino > Roman Reigns


+AMQ82 more importantly, body slam city > suplex city


+BoB n fishy more like Bearhug City!

Monsoon Saskatchewan Alberta Canada Lmao


Lol, Monsoon protecting the business like a champ, calling an obvious submission, in slow mo nonetheless, as something else! David should've held up a sign like Wile E. Coyote saying "I quit!"


Just noticed David shaking hands and having a discussion with the ref right after entering the ring. Maybe tipping him off to what he had planned?


Good eye. I'm with ya.

I can't be sure. Notice how Shaw VERY quickly gets up when the ref reaches the two count against Sammartino. Shaw clearly was not expecting this.

Got to disagree with you there. The more I watch this, the more it looks like everyone was in on it: Sammartino, Dusty Feldbaumer and Shaw. Shaw pulls Sammartino up in typical heel fashion, to punish him some more, obviously because a quick pin after three routine body slams would have looked terrible. Dusty never would have counted to three anyway. By submitting to a bear hug, David got the chance to sell his aching ribs and back well after the match ended. Gorilla should have latched on to that and sold a possible serious injury as the reason for the submission instead of taking the ridiculous route of complete denial he did.


+MrHmg55 Okay, good points! You know what, I just enjoyed seeing Big Ron get the win of his career! I always liked him!


+Sam Taylor Sure it did, but Sammartino was always a spoiled smart ass, and it made him look even more pathetic, which is what he deserved.

Here's my take on what happened. When the match started the plan was for the heel jobber to get some offense. But David was selling almost like Shawn Michaels sold for Hulk Hogan. Shaw must have wondered why Sammartino was making him look a little too good. When Shaw goes for a pin, he was expecting Sammartino to kick out. When David didn't do it, Shaw had to pick him up. By now Shaw knows things are not going according to the script. When Shaw goes for the choke, he's probably asking David what the Heck was going on? Shaw is not a happy jobber by the time he slams Sammartino over and over again. He keeps yelling at David to get up and fight. He isn't kidding. He wants Sammartino to get back to the script. I don't know who decided he should give Sammartino the bear hug, but at that point Shaw must have known he'd submit. Shaw is pissed and might be a bit scared (he didn't get fired, but Vince must have been pretty angry and Shaw knew he could get canned even though he was innocent). But the kicks Shaw gave Sammartino at the end are worked. I saw where Shaw was hitting and I know that it didn't hurt much. I feel sorry for Shaw, but I knew enough about David Sammartino's run in the WWF to know that he was jjustified in going out like this.


One of the most awkward matches I've ever seen. If Sammartino wanted to end it, he should have made it known and not made Shaw look like a jackass by blowing the spot over and over again. Even someone with no real westling knowledge could see that something is very off about the whole thing.


There was a rumor that Sammartino had informed Shaw that he would be taking a dive, but I tend to doubt it. Shaw looked rattled throughout the entire match. As he was pummeling Sammartino early on, he probably thought "Okay, he's going to let me rough him up a bit, get the audience even angrier, and then turn the tables on me as often happens." But the look on Shaw's face and his overall reaction to when Sammartino submits to his bear hug was like "Shit, did I just win? Holy shit, I won!" Give credit to Shaw for maintaining his poise despite his being shocked and surprised. He shows his muscles to the audience, spits on Sammartino, and then struts arrogantly out of the ring. A less experienced wrestler would have given away his surprise to the audience.


This was not just a defeat, it was a squash. Sammartino did not get in even a single blow. It was like a perfect game in baseball, or a 6-0, 6-0 loss in tennis. In losing this way to a jobber like Shaw (it would have been different had he taken a dive for a highly ranked opponent), Sammartino sealed his fate in the WWE. Being scripted to lose to a jobber was always the management's way of saying "Okay, buster, that's it, you're done".


Funny thing is, he wasn't supposed to submit. He was scripted to win. Haha


+A.J Herbert Which is why Sammartino sealed his own fate. You can see that Shaw had no idea what was going on. He quickly stood up when he had the two count on Sammartino, and was probably asking what the hell Sammartino was doing. You could not help but notice his look of surprise when Sammartino submitted to his hold. The referee had no choice but to declare Shaw the winner because the audience could tell Sammartino was waving his hand in surrender. Truth be told, I always liked Shaw. His size and power dictated that he should have been pushed more as a wrestler, so it was nice to see him get this win.


atlantic1119 David did it to himself, he was supposed to win.

atlantic1119 but how was it management's way to say anything?

Just saw an interview with David. It sounds like Shaw knew that David was going to give him a lot of offense, but he didn't know about the submission.

You gotta love that kid giving David some Philly love with a middle finger at the very end.


I need to watch this again! Ron gave him the finger? I know he spit on him, but yeah, I love it!

No, some kid in the audience did.

I remember watching this on PRISM as a teen and being completely dumbfounded.


Yeah I'm surprised that WWF aired this after it happened, as Sammartino basically threw the match to Shaw. I figured they would have buried this in some salt mine and let everyone forget about it


The Philadelphia Screwjob in all its glory...


Sammartino was a decent worker, the problem was that he was Bruno's son and there was no way he could ever get out of his dad's shadow. Like I said, he was a DECENT worker...meaning his was passable, if it wasn't for the fact that he was Bruno's kid, he might have made a solid low level midcarder, but that's all he would have been. He didn't completely suck, but he was probably one of the worst second gen stars I've ever seen (besides Lacey Von Erich).


Dustin got out of Dusty's shadow. Problem was that David didn't have the charisma or the talent of Bruno.


+David schwartz Yup, pretty much. +Sam Taylor  David Flair had potential. I mean the guy could do a moonsault, so he had some fundamental talent, he just could never fill his dad's shoes. Sammartino couldn't work his way out of a wet paper bag that already has a hole in the bottom and with someone pushing him through. When I said Sammartino was a decent worker I meant, PASSABLE (but just barely)

ron shaw handsome n hairy.... anyone know what happened to him?


+Rob Daniel Order a pizza, he may show up


I've been trying to find out for years. I wish I knew.

I always liked Shaw. He deserved a way better push in the WWE, he certainly had the size and power.


I actually found an interview of Ron Shaw in 2015, even has a personal website, he talks about leaving the WWF by the 90s, preferring the old school style, and retired from wrestling in 2000s. But just came in the public eye lately since people have wondered what happened to him. If you are wondering what he looks like now, he hasn't changed much in the 80s, still in good health and looking pretty good for his age as well.

why he'd submit instead of taking the early pin


+tickle fan shaw pulled him up.

Ron Shaw has  a hot bod and was a hot match. Those body slams over and over were awesome.


Man, I get off on this match. I love seeing Shaw make Sammartino suffer.

same here man

me too. I wish the match was even longer.

For you non-Canadians, Saskatchewan is a province. Alberta is a different province. Monsoon said that Shaw was injured in Saskatchewan, Alberta. That's as wrong as saying Wisconsin, Virginia.


lol he even said he was there that night, so he didn't even know where he was lmfao. not exactly a geography major.

what's a canadian?

David, born to suck!


Body Slam City


He was in the bearhug for one and a half seconds and submits? And against a ham 'n egger like Shaw? Not too convincing, folks!


I wish Ron Shaw would do more bodyslams.

Bruno is like what?


It would be amazing if someone had the balls to do this today.

botchamania brought me here

This match was terrible anyway, I don't blame David at all.

suplex city? ha! body slam state!

Worzel sighting!


+paul coy Steve, what BAR is Ron Shaw?

Já vi lutas ruins, mas essa foi a pior, sem a menor dúvida.

what the fuck was that. i'd chant bullshit as well. david sammartino tried to screw the wwe over by doing that and instead, he screwed himself. what an idiot. i guess he never did acquire his father's talents.

+thevoid99 there were a lot of underlying issues. he basically felt that the fed was using his father because whenever bruno was around they put david near the top of the card, but when bruno wasn't there david was mid-card at best. he voiced his frustrations and was basically told to get over it, and when he tried to leave they didn't let him back out of his contract.

+BoB n fishy still, it made him look really bad in front of everyone and that was a shitty way to go. 

Ref to ring announer: "Yeah, we are probably all going to be fired, but the guy was determined to submit, what can I do?" BTW: Who is announcing with Monsoon?

+AZDuffman Dick Graham. Dick announced the vast majority of the Spectrum wrestling cards on Prism back in the day


Never saw this. How odd. Monsoon and the other announcer are definitely in the dark. When i doubt, blame everything on the ref.

Did it work?

+Joe Schmo Oh yes, David was blacklisted right after this match and went to the AWA where he didn't last long.

Old posts prior 2015

Phantom finish? What a joke. David clearly submits. He waves his hands like to ring the bell. I am sure the ref was confused because to me it clearly looks like he is waving to the ref to call the bell.


Ironically, Shaw uses David's daddy's submission to screw his hometown fans...lmao


Thanks for posting this. I had it on tape years ago. Memory's a funny thing, I remembered it as Shaw powerslamming David, and pinning him, then spitting on him right away. I do remember the crowd chanting "bullshit! bullshit!" afterwards (imagine that, a phony fake pro wrestling match, lol)


Went to high school with Ron. Won't say his real name but he really was a polish power. He was a big dude.


+Roy Lucier I have yet to see any recent photos of Ron.


David was angry with the way he was being handled. And quit right after this match. Vince omly would put david in etter matches if his father (Bruno) would wrestle.


I was at this match!!!   Never thought I'd see it again.   30 Years later and I'm still stunned by David Sammartino losing this match :-)  


I read that when middle card heels were occasionally scripted to win matches, that some more than others would take advantage of the situation by inflicting more pain and punishment than necessary, probably as a way of attracting promoters for a possible "push". The anonymous author (a former jobber) said that Charlie Fulton and Ron Shaw were especially nasty when scripted to beat a jobber. Shaw was comparatively gentle with Sammartino here due to the fact that they were friends in real life, but according to this jobber, who lost to Shaw in another match, he was injured purposely by Shaw who later boasted about "nearly snapping his left arm in two".


Although David Sammartino may not have been destined for greatness, this match is embarassingly bad.



Topic: WEHT: Big Ron Shaw?

Duke Of Dorchester  Member  Member # 6218   posted 02-06-2013 12:05 PM                       after WWF, I remember seeing him on the local "Bedlam from Boston" TV show (Kowalski's). He was actually one of the stars on this small studio wrestling show. Anyone know what ever became of Big Ron? Where he is today, etc? -------------------- [[[----------]]] IP: Logged

Duke Of Dorchester  Member  Member # 6218

brawler2711  Member  Member # 26849   posted 02-06-2013 12:59 PM                       His biggest win... IP: Logged

brawler2711  Member  Member # 26849

ronvonheel  Member  Member # 64336   posted 03-04-2013 03:16 AM                       bigron shaw fanitichere... any other guys crazy for him'? where is he now...anyone know? will trade pics of him --------------------

ronvonheel  Member  Member # 64336

The sound is not that great on this video, but... at 2:50 or so did Monsoon actually say that Shaw broke his leg in "Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada?" I mean, please tell me I heard that wrong.


I heard the reason David got fired is he hit a fan who got in his face

Notice how the ring announcer doesn't want to say Shaw won, as if he is afraid he will be fired

Amazing upload !! Great stuff, thank you !

I believe you are right. I just watched a "shoot interview" where Bruno said that the WWF used David to bring him ( Bruno ) back in the ring. Bruno said that the WWF needed him because the numbers in Boston and Philadelphia were down since Hogan was the champ, and Vince thought that Bruno was going to be the solution. WWF clearly had no plans for David, he became aware of this and therefore he decided to change the finish of this match and leave. I remember seeing him in the UWF in 1990-91

My kids are now getting into WWE and I was telling them about Ron, so my daughter wanted to see him wrestle and thats how I found this youtube video. It's really neat that he actually has a following as he was more or less an unknown jobber in the 80's

Good job Ron ! 7 x body slams !!!

Here's what happened. David eventually figured out he was being used by Vince Jr. to get Bruno back in the ring to up the houses because Hogan wasn't drawing strong consistently in the northeast, so he needed Bruno back. David quit after this, resurfaced in 1988 because Bruno got him another shot, and then punched a fan and burned all bridges with Titan.

Well, he is probably a nice guy, but I will always be loyal to Ron Shaw, who brutally kicked his ass in this match, and effectively ENDED Sham-artino's career. Yes, Big Ron was singly responsible for forcing David SHAM-artino out of wrestling. A brutal, cruel, merciless slaughter. RON SHAW IS THE MAN!

My 87 year old grandmother keeps tabs on that side of my family. I mov ed down to Englewood Fl in 09 and I was told that he lived about an hour from me there in Ft. Myers Fl. He lives a pretty low key private life there and that he either teaches wrestling or has his own school there. I never really took any time to get aquainted as he is 25 years older than me. I was qa wedding in Cherry Hill back in 2000 and Larry Sharpe was there,


David stuck around into 1988, though, mostly doing house shows against other mid-level JTTS types (Iron Mike Sharpe, Tiger Chung Lee, etc.) His last TV match saw Dino Bravo (w/Frenchy Martin) pin him with the side suplex on the April 11, 1988 (taped March 5) episode of WWF Prime Time Wrestling, which was taped at the Boston Gardens. His last WWE match saw him d. Barry Horowitz at a house show at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago on March 12, 1988.

The real funny thing here is listening to Gorilla Monsoon trying to keep to the company line and still put over David Sammartino & explain this blantant loss as a mistake.

According to Wikipedia, Sammartino was supposed to win. In protest of his use by the WWF, he pulled the submission out of the blue without telling Shaw.

No you're thinking of the Executioner tag team of the 1970's, Kowalski, Stud and later Volkolf as the" illegal" third one. I'm referring to the 1980-1981 Executioner. It was definitely Ron Shaw. You can find proof of it on line. He had what they would call a mini-push. They needed someone that the faces could get over on that wasn't the usual prelim scrub.

Obviously I wan't paying attention but the match that you have here is in the Spectrum and on Prism so that means you are from Philly. I was looking around some old wrestling videos and came across Mike Rotundo and Barry Wyndham and they used the song Real American before Hogan did and the match they had using that song was against Ron Shaw and some1 else. with Ron doing the job as usual

Well, actually, you are, have you had a writing professional look at your grammar and spelling? RON SHAW ALL THE WAY!

Ron Shaw is my Second Cousin. I was there for that match. One of Rons 2 WWF Wins

I was a devoted fan of Ron Shaw. While it was really great to see him get this win, controversial as it was, I was also happy that he won a number of other matches against other jobbers, including Rene Goulet and Steve Lombardi. The frustrating part is that Ron clearly deserved a better push in the WWE, given his talent as well as intimidating size. Let's be honest, in an unstaged fight, Ron could have obliterated most of the guys to whom he lost in the ring. A great wrestler!

who I spoke to on the phone 2 years earlier as my friend was trying out at his school and Larry told me that him and Ron go way back and trained together on Frankford Ave then Ron had did some teaching at his school before going to Fl. Ron broke his leg thats why he retired. I was in Wildwood back in 87 and he was headlining an independent card at the civic center on the Boardwalk and he went by the name Ron " The Bandit" Shaw and he was the Champ.

You talk as if it wasn't a fix. Ordinarily, David would polish him off with no problem. David was just tired of the way he was being booked.

He won more than two, especially when you count his wins as The Executioner.

Here is another video with Ron Shaw wrestling. He wrestles at the very end of the video

Monsoon knew this was BS, and it was good to hear him shoot somewhat here!

Whoa, clearly it was a fix, just like they all were! But just like seeing our heroes and heroines get their day on TV or in the movies, it was also good to see our favored but underrated wrestlers get their victories. With that said, you have to agree that Big Ron in a REAL fight could have squashed many (even most) of the guys to whom he lost. Why he was never pushed is beyond me, but then again, he did not have a famous father in the business like cry baby David.

RON SHAW IS THE MAN! Great to see him polish off this whining brat with brilliance and precision! Sammartino did not register a single hit, like in tennis, 6-0, 6-0! Why Big Ron never got a push in WWE eludes me, in real life, he would have slaughtered Sammartino and so many others. Still, it was good to see Ron humiliate this loser. Sammartino begging for mercy at the end, and then seeing Ron spit on him was the best.

Fantastic !!! Thanks so much for finding this great bout, Ron Shaw should have good further in wrestling than he did...!!!!

I used to listen to this radio show on 610 wip called Rasslin Radio and every week you had a chance to call up and stump the host on wrestling trivia for free tickets to spectrum wrestling, so I called week after week until I finally got a chance and I asked the host who are the two wrestlers that Ron Shaw defeated in WWE He got the Samartino right but not get the 2nd 1 (Rene Goulet), and I got my tickets to go to a rare Friday Night Show which the Main Event was Hogan & Piper vs Flair n Justice

I don't think he wrestled as the executioner unless he was filling in for one of the three original executioners