Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Ryan Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Frost
Disco Inferno in WCW
Currently Known For:
Night Club Manager
1995 - 2002
November 12, 1967
Disco Inferno in WCW
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Disco might have died in the early 1980s, but its spirit was alive and well in the form of Glenn Gilbertti. Originally from Brooklyn, Gilbertti started wrestling in Georgia during the early 1990s and had very brief stints with both the USWA and even WWE, but wasn’t a prominent talent. After cutting his teeth in the regional territories, Gilbertti was signed by WCW to and given the gimmick of a wrestler that was stuck in the disco music era named Disco Inferno.
While from the outside it seemed like Disco Inferno was a loving tribute to the era, it was actually a masterful form of marketing a heel (bad guy) character. The bookers at WCW knew that people had an outward hatred toward disco music, so a character that came to the ring with blaring disco tunes and dance moves would be universally hated. They were right, as fans chanted “Disco sucks” over and over, as most of the matches were held in the southern United States.
Disco Inferno might seem ridiculous in retrospect, but it was working at the time. He started to make his way up the ladder, and even earned enough respect that he was turned to be a babyface (good guy) character. During his time with WCW, Disco Inferno would win a Cruiserweight Championship, a pair of World Television Championships and a Tag Team Championship with Alex Wright. Wrestling Observer Network (WON) even named his gimmick as the best of 1995.
There were many different storylines and feuds for Disco Inferno, including teams known as The Dancing Fools and The Boogie Knights. He ended up being one of the few members of WCW that stayed with the promotion until it was finally purchased by WWE in 2001. Instead of joining the many that would make the jump over to the large promotion, Disco Inferno decided to go his own way and compete with World Wrestling All-Stars.
Gilbertti explains that there were plans on him going to WWE, and that he was supposed to work with The Honky Tonk Man. It ended up not happening, however. “They kind of screwed me because Eric (Bischoff) told me they were going to let me go because I had four months left (in my contract,” he said. “But they hit me with the no-compete (contract clause)...So at that time, (Vince) Russo was writing for (WWE), writing for Vince (McMahon) and he didn’t call me directly, but I’d head they wanted to bring me in.”
Gilbertti continues. “I’m like, ‘Alright,’ to the point that they actually put a silhouette of me, my character, in the WWE Magazine because Vince thought I was going to be coming in. He liked my character. So the Honky Tonk Man’s protege was going to be the actual gimmick.” Things didn’t go right, as he had spoken to creative writer Jim Cornette about when his contract clause was going to come to an end.
“I had to reiterate every time, ‘my four months is coming up,’” he said. “And then, I finally talked to (WWE producer) Bruce Prichard and I just reiterated the exact same conversation I was having with Cornette...I told him and they didn’t hire me...I found out later that Bruce Prichard told Vince that he didn’t like what I told him. I’m like, ‘whatever.’”
From there, Gilbertti would go back to using his real name and signed a contract with the new Total Nonstop Action Wrestling that was supposed to take WCW’s spot as being WWE’s main competitor. Gilbertti had been part of some of the major angles with the company, but would leave in 2004 to wrestle independent shows. After a few years away, he came back to TNA in 2007, but not as a full-time wrestler. Instead, he was an agent that helped set-up matches for wrestlers.
Within a year, TNA was facing some serious financial problems, and many major names were let go, including Gilbertti. He would make some sporadic appearances in the years since then, but has mainly focused on his independent career that has seen him wrestle smaller shows around the United States. He has also booked many of these shows, and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he worked as a trainer with Future Stars of Wrestling. While living in Las Vegas, Gilbertti has even worked at a gentlemen’s club as a host.
Hardcore wrestling fans have likely heard from Gilbertti over the past few years, as he’s been part of several podcasts and even hosts his own on Chris Jericho’s podcast network. He and Jericho had worked together in WCW, and remain friends to this day. He’s appeared on Jericho’s popular show “Talk is Jericho” on several occasions to share his stories of wrestling with WCW.
You’ll still find Gilbertti in the occasional match wrestling under his Disco Inferno gimmick, with his most recent match coming in June 2016. It’s pretty rare to catch him in the ring, but many former big names in pro wrestling continue into their 60s, and Gilbertti is still in good shape and not yet 50 years old. For the most part, though, he’s focusing on podcasts and the world of sports.
He’s living the high life in Las Vegas and spends most of his time on social media making comments about sports, especially since he’s a self-proclaimed fantasy football junkie. Make your way to Sin City, and there’s a slight chance that you’ll see him in one of the many casinos at the sportsbook. If not there, then check the poker tables at the Wynn Hotel and Casino (and the gentlemen’s club where he still works).