Thanks to Triple H, Bruno Sammartino will finally be in the WWE Hall of Fame

Wow. One of the most significant moments in quite a while for us long-time fans will finally happen on WrestleMania weekend when the WWE inducts Bruno Sammartino into its Hall of Fame during ceremonies at Madison Square Garden.

The hall has always suffered by Sammartino’s absence, and deservedly so. To this day, decades after his last appearance with the WWF, Bruno is still remembered by many as the face of the promotion. He connected with so many fans in the Northeast, not only in New York City, but also Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities along the East Coast.

Growing up, I remember that most people I knew, even if they weren’t wrestling fans, knew of Sammartino.

The story of the induction was first reported by ESPN.com on Monday. Triple H is the guy to credit for Sammartino’s change of heart.

Bruno had long resisted going into the Hall of Fame, owing to his long-standing feud with Vince McMahon about the direction the WWF took when it underwent its national expansion in the 1980s. Sammartino didn’t like that steroids became prevalent, and later in the 1990s didn’t like the vulgarity and sexual innuendo that quite frankly made the Attitude Era so great.

According to the ESPN story, Triple H – who is now as an executive with the WWE after retiring as a full-time wrestler – worked hard to convince Sammartino that things had changed and that wrestler health was an important priority for the WWE.

“I felt like if I could get Bruno on the phone and I could run down a list of those things that he didn’t like, I could show him how we changed,” Triple H told ESPN. “We’re PG, family-friendly entertainment with a wellness program that is truly based on the wellness of our performers.”

Sammartino said he is excited to be inducted into the hall in MSG, the building he made synonymous with WWWF wrestling for so many years.

“I had a lot of my success due to appearing at the Garden,” Sammartino said to ESPN. “I wrestled there over 200 times, it’s where I won the title, and it’s where I picked up 630-plus pounds of Haystacks Calhoun.”

The ESPN article also mentioned that Sammartino and McMahon will sit down and talk face-to-face, perhaps during WrestleMania weekend, for the first time in years.

I have bitched and moaned about Bruno not being in the Hall of Fame for a long time, well before I started this blog. To me, the hall is a joke without him.

And now it’s time for me to man up and say thank-you to Triple H and the WWE for making sure that Sammartino is inducted while he’s still alive and while his fans can still be part of this historic moment.

Triple H has plenty of years left to lead the WWE once he and wife Stephanie McMahon truly take the reins from Vince, but the Sammartino induction may end up being his most significant contribution.

It’s hard to believe that a kid from Nashua, NH, who loved wrestling – whom I saw wrestle in the ‘90s on local school gymnasium shows as Terra Ryzing – would be the guy to finally bridge the gap between Bruno and Vince.

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6 comments

  1. Pingback: Like Bruno, Randy Savage resisted a Hall of Fame induction … but is now going in | Boston Garden Balcony
  2. Pingback: Tonight at the Hall of Fame, Sammartino and Backlund get some respect back | Boston Garden Balcony
  3. J.Cee

    Congratulations to the Living Legend for his soon-induction into the Hall. I hope that the WWE does a commemorative DVD set of his various title defenses during his tenure. And congratulations to Bob Backlund as well for his induction.

  4. Joe

    Well it’s about time. It’s always been a black eye of sorts by not having “Da Brune” in WWE’s Hall of Fame. Those of you who arrived late to the rodeo, this is the equivalent of let’s say Babe Ruth not being in Cooperstown. Yes it’s that prevalent! Back in the early days Bruno Sammartino was pro wrestling. He was one of the most popular (W)WWF Champs of its time. He was the epitome of what a champion should be. His tenures as champion helped solidify the WWE what it is today. I am in full agreement with Triple H via WWE.com on his remarks that “he loves the history of this business.” “Without history there is no tomorrow.” “To look back on the history of the WWE, one of the most important figures of the long story of where this all came from wasn’t recognized.” “That was Bruno.” Bruno layed the groundwork for all who followed. Of course I had the privilege of seeing Bruno in action at the Boston Garden well past his prime in the 80’s. I vividly recall his popularity when he was in town. His appearances in the ring were deafening. His steel cage match with Roddy Piper was one of the best cage matches I ever witnessed. And here was Bruno well into his later years going at it and getting the best of the best at that time. I appreciate Triple H’s concentrated efforts in making this historic induction possible. I try not rely on the fluff of backstage/executive actions. I sometimes think it turns into a shoot style angle and then the real story gets lost. I feel Bruno’s induction overshadows the rest of the class of 2013. Last week we here, it’s the kid to whom he was compared to as the next Bruno Sammartino at that time. Of course I am referring to Bob Backlund. Then it’s the actual Living Legend himself going in right next to him. Poetic? Symbolic? I think so. I am looking forward to Bruno’s Hall of Fame induction as its well deserved, long overdue and about DAMN TIME!

  5. Chuck Mullen

    I think that his most significant contribution by far, will be the developmental program. NXT (if you watch it) is pure wrestling, old school style, mixed with some newer elements. However it IS the BEST SHOW on TV right now as far as wrestling goes. It has surpassed ROH as the SHOW I must watch. I can miss everything else, but NOT NXT.

    And to know that Bruno (being a Pittsburgher myself, now living abroad, and 30+ fan, etc) will finally be in the Hall of Fame, the next logical step is a REAL Hall itself. I think that while it may not be the big deal that other Halls are, this could be the centerpiece of what TripleH is building. And to think we all thought the business would die with TripleH on top.

    So far, so good… lets see what really happens when Vince is out of the picture for good.

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