Wrestling Legend Bruno Sammartino Dead at 82

Posted April 20, 2018

Sammartino would continue to be estranged from WWE until 2013 when he agreed to be inducted into the Hal of Fame after a meeting with Triple H. Sammartino was assured the business had changed and become "cleaner".

Sammartino was born in Abruzzo, Italy before moving to Pittsburgh, PA as a teenager.

Tommy Dreamer posted: "Bruno Sammartino is a wrestling Legend".

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Family friend and former wrestling announcer Christopher Cruise said Sammartino had been hospitalized for two months. He became the longest-reigning world champion, and held the belt for eight years before losing it to Ivan Koloff on January 18, 1971, ESPN says. It took only 48 seconds to become the second-ever WWE champion that night.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania resident was inducted at Madison Square Garden by iconic Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But even to fans outside the walls of the then-WWWF during the height of pro wrestling's territory era, Sammartino was far more than just the biggest name in the northeast thanks to his record 187 sellouts as a main event attraction headlining New York's Madison Square Garden. He held the title until 1971.

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The man's first championship reign would run for nearly eight years - a record that still holds today. Sammartino became a broadcaster for the company in the 1980s and later became outspoken about the company's evolving philosophy that put the emphasis on entertainment. Not only was the stocky and barrel-chested Sammartino a legitimate strongman who once set a world record in the bench press in 1959, his brawling in-ring style was believable because of the truly tough man who was hardly playing a character at all. The promotion would bring in huge men such as Killer Kowalski, Bill Miller, George Steele and Gorilla Monsoon and build them up as unbeatable monsters capable of ending Sammartino's title reign, but none of them could do it.

The WWE confirmed the news that the Hall of Famer, whose nickname was "The Living Legend", passed away on Wednesday, April 18. He was in his son David's corner for a bout at the first WrestleMania in 1985. I'm so grateful I had the chance to meet Bruno and tell him how much he meant to my grandfather and the entire Hart family.

Olympic gold medalist and WWE star Kurt Angle, a Pittsburgh native, called Sammartino "a hometown hero" who carried himself with dignity and was courteous to fans.

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The group then proceeded to power through several of their mammoth hits, including "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "It's My Life". Band members Jon Bon Jovi , David Bryan and Tico Torres reunited with former bandmates Richie Sambora and Alec John.

"Bruno is indirectly responsible for where I am today".