During NIHOF committee meetings, it was extremely rare for us to agree unanimously on anything. We were initially in agreement that Bruno Sammartino had to be considered the most deserving man not yet in the WWE Hall of Fame. Here we are, two years later, and Randy Savage has taken over the top slot, yet the sentiment remains the same: Bruno Sammartino SHOULD be in the WWE Hall of Fame.
In the infancy of the WWE (then the WWWF) Vince McMahon Sr. had so much faith in the Italian strongman that he built his entire wrestling empire on his back. Bruno lived up all expectations; selling out the fabled Madison Square Gardens well over a hundred times and his two WWWF World Title reigns (1963-1971 & 1973-1977) are the still the longest in their history. Sammartino may not have been flashy or even the most technically skilled grappler, but his lunch pail work ethic and everyman appeal reached out to not only the strong Italian fan base in the Northeast but to crowds of different ethnic groups. Sadly, a major falling out with Vince McMahon Jr. has seen the legend walk away from Stamford bitter with the direction in which Vince has taken the organization that Bruno made famous. Based on Sammartino’s past comments over the past twenty years, any reconciliation seems remote at best which is a shame as the WWE Hall of Fame will forever feel empty without him.
The Bullet Points:
Italy (Abruzzi) and U.S.A. (Pittsburgh, PA)
Key Championships Held:
WWA Tag Team w/Dick The Bruiser
WWWF World Heavyweight (2)
WWWF United States Tag Team w/Spiros Arion
WWWF International Tag Team w/Domenic DeNucci
Why He Will Get In:
The Living Legend deserves it and Vince would likely put aside his differences to do it.
Why He Won’t Get In:
Bruno’s choice. He wants nothing to do with it.
Five Greatest Matches/Moments: (In Chronological Order)
1. Defeating “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers to win his first WWWF Championship (5/17/63)
2. Selling out Madison Square Gardens over one hundred times
3. Drawing a huge crowd challenging WWWF World Champion Pedro Morales to a seventy five minute draw (9/1/73)
4. Defeating Stan Stasiak to begin his second WWWF World Title run (10/10/73)
5. Defeating Larry Zbyszko in a steel cage match and headlining a near sold out Shea Stadium in the process (8/9/80)