Bruno Sammartino Passes Away, Wrestling World Reacts | WrestleTalk News Apr. 2018

Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk News
– I’m Oli Davis. Bruno Sammartino Passes Away
Yesterday, WWE announced that Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino had passed away age 82. Sammartino made his professional wrestling
debut in late 1959, and became the WWWF World Heavyweight Champion four years later in 1963,
beating inaugural champion Nature Boy Buddy Rogers in a 48 second match. The WWWF being what WWE was called even before
it was called WWF, back when Vince McMahon Jr’s father, Vince McMahon Snr, ran the
promotion. Which isn’t confusing at all. Bruno would then hold onto the belt for over
seven and a half years – widely considered to be his crowning achievement in wrestling,
with a run that headlined Madison Square Garden on a monthly basis. His reign remains the longest top company
title run ever, and one that is unlikely to ever be broken. Sammartino finally dropped the belt in 1971
to Ivan Koloff, where Bill Apter, who was in attendance for the match live, wrote: “I
remember seeing Bruno’s fan club president, Georgian Orsi, sitting in the front row, crying. Many other fans wept as well. I felt like we were all at a funeral as Bruno
left the ring. No one knew what to say.” Which is more impressive considering men showing
emotions wasn’t invented until 1982. Bruno would then win the title back two years
later for relatively short 3 and a half year run. But his relationship with Vince Sr’s son,
the man who would take over WWE, wasn’t so smooth. After leaving the WWF in 1988, he publicly
criticised Vince McMahon Jr. for his version of professional wrestling – mainly taking
issue with the use of steroids in the company and the more risque storylines of the Attitude
Era. Because of this, Bruno declined a WWE Hall
of Fame induction spot several times before Triple H finally managed to convince him in
2013 – where he was inducted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has tweeted in memory:
“Bruno Sammartino was a legend. He was the American Dream personified. From his childhood in Italy hiding from Nazis
to selling out Madison Square Garden 188 times as the biggest star of professional wrestling,
he was a hero in every stage of his life.” And away from the spotlights and attention,
he had the biggest heart you can imagine. I’ll miss you, Bruno. Triple H shared: “Devastated to hear the
passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man… A true friend…and one of the toughest people
I’ve ever met. My thoughts are with his entire family. #RIPBrunoSammartino #AmericanDream”
And Vince McMahon posted: “One of the finest men I knew, in life and in business. Bruno Sammartino proved that hard work can
overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. He will be missed. #RIPLivingLegend”
While Corey Graves shared the impact Sammartino had on many current day wrestlers: “Bruno
is indirectly responsible for where I am today. Growing up in Pittsburgh, he was my father’s
hero, and sparked my dad’s passion for the business that he passed on to me. I was lucky enough to spend some time with
Bruno, and the man exemplified class. #RIPBruno”
While Rusev recalled a conversation he had with Sammartino, about how he could’ve been
a great foreign heel for him: “Rest In Peace Bruno Samartino. It was an honor meeting you and talking how
many times we could have sold out MSG together back in the day. #RIPBrunoSammartino”
In honour of Bruno’s passing, WWE’s live event in Cape Town last night opened with
a 10-bell salute. Click the videos onscreen now to watch the
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