Bruno Sammartino has passed away

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Bruno Sammartino has passed away

Post by ICW » April 18th, 2018, 10:30 am

WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino passed away at age 82.

The story of Bruno Sammartino is the story of the American dream.

During his childhood in the small Italian mountain town of Abruzzi, Italy, Bruno Sammartino heard stories about how the streets in the United States were paved with gold. Though he believed it literally at the time, Sammartino would experience fortune and fame first-hand as the longest-reigning WWE Champion and the most beloved competitor in the history of the squared circle.

Life wasn’t always so glorious for The Italian Superman. Bruno’s brother and sister both passed away at young ages, and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi forces seized their town, but Bruno persevered. He and his mother hid in a mountain called Valla Rocca during the German occupation and eventually joined his immigrant father in Pittsburgh in 1950.

Sammartino began lifting weights as a young man and grew to become one of the strongest men on the planet. After setting a world record in 1959 by bench-pressing 565 pounds, Sammartino caught the eye of Vincent J. McMahon, and became a sports-entertainer.

Bruno became an overnight sensation, connecting with not only fellow Italians, but also Latinos, Greeks and Jews, successfully bridging the gap in America’s melting pot of wrestling fans. His legend continued to grow on May 17, 1963, when Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers in just 48 seconds to become the second-ever WWE Champion in front of nearly 20,000 fans at the old Madison Square Garden.

Bruno held the WWE Championship for nearly eight years — by far the longest reign of all time, and a record for all professional wrestling champions, no matter the organization. A household name all over the country, the beloved hero defended his title in legendary rivalries against WWE Hall of Famers Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon and George “The Animal” Steele.

In early 1968, Sammartino headlined the first wrestling event at the brand-new Madison Square Garden, just eight days after it opened. The Garden truly was the house that Bruno built, as he sold it out an astounding 187 times. When he lost the title to Ivan Koloff in 1971, grown men in the crowd were seen weeping, but on Dec. 10, 1973, Sammartino became the first two-time WWE Champion and held the title for an additional three-and-a-half years.

On Aug. 9, 1980, Sammartino defeated his former protégé, Larry Zbyszko, inside a steel cage at New York City’s Shea Stadium in front of more than 35,000 people. The heated grudge match broke box-office records for wrestling events, and Bruno retired from the ring the following year.

Bruno returned to WWE in the mid-80s as a broadcaster alongside Mr. McMahon and as a mentor for his son David, who was just beginning his grappling career. Now known as The Living Legend, Bruno also engaged in several rivalries with a generation of WWE’s greatest villains, including “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Honky Tonk Man.

The star power and influence of Sammartino was exemplified by the fact that he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was the 188th and final time that Sammartino headlined and sold out Madison Square Garden.

WWE extends its condolences to Sammartino’s family, friends and fans.
Feel free to visit my blog concerning wrestling conventions, signings, and meet & greets!

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Re: Bruno Sammartino has passed away

Post by mrira » April 18th, 2018, 11:34 am

Bruno was the first wrestler I ever met at Wrestling Universe (the original location), must of been 98-99 & has always been so kind. I thought he live into his 100's.

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Re: Bruno Sammartino has passed away

Post by Greg2600 » April 18th, 2018, 12:23 pm

82 for a pro wrestler is like 110 for anyone else.
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Re: Bruno Sammartino has passed away

Post by yosemitechris » April 18th, 2018, 1:19 pm

never got to meet this true legend, but got a autograph from him through a show back in the day!

he was wrestling! one of the greatest wrestlers ever in the business and so many wrestlers today owe him so much for paving the way. champion of champions, hero, mega star he will be missed R.I.P. 😇🙏🏻

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Re: Bruno Sammartino has passed away

Post by 16times » April 18th, 2018, 1:51 pm

I got a chance to get a pic with Bruno and Ivan Koloff at Greg Price's Fan Fest back in 2008.

About a year ago, I was in a work meeting with a guy with the last name Sammartino. I said, "I gotta ask the question" and before I could finish, he said, "Distantly related, but I never met him." :rofl1:
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Re: Bruno Sammartino has passed away

Post by Anthony18 » April 18th, 2018, 3:13 pm

I met Bruno in 2013 at Little Italy. For some reason he was doing an autograph signing at the annual festival down there. There was a guy in a referee shirt that got on the microphone and was advertising the meet and greet "Come meet the Pope of Wrestling" is among the things the guy said. It was funny. I was also in attendance at the hall of fame when he got inducted. A true legend of wrestling, he's actually in my Mt Rushmore of wrestling and should be on everyone's.

RIP Bruno Sammartino

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Re: Bruno Sammartino has passed away

Post by class316 » April 20th, 2018, 3:43 am


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