WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino dies at the age of 82
WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino dies at the age of 82
Bruno Sammartino has died aged 82 the WWE has confirmed
19 April, 2018, 06:25
Widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time for his natural charisma and unique wrestling style, Sammartino was a star that transcended generations.
Like those born in the Great Depression, who grew up only knowing Franklin Roosevelt as US president thanks to his record four terms and 12 years in office, Sammartino had a similar effect in wrestling to many who came of age in the decades which followed.
Sammartino remained a fan favorite into the 1980s before becoming a broadcaster and mentor for his son David. He is the longest-reigning WWE champion in history, and his record reign will never be approached in modern times.
Sammartino was unabashedly proud of his Italian heritage and knew that many of his fellow Italians had to deal with instances of ignorance and racism, so it came as no surprise when this was incorporated into a 1985 feud with the always-controversial Roddy Piper.
WWE extends its condolences to Sammartino's family, friends and fans.
WWEBruno Sammartinodied at the age 82, he was battling with health issues for several months.
Sammartino's Italian heritage, brute strength and good-guy charisma helped make him an instant star in the northeast.
During his title reign, Sammartino defended his strap against names such as Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon and George "The Animal" Steele.
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WWE said in a tribute article that his story "is the story of the American dream".
The powerful brawler, born in Pizzoferrato, Italy, twice won the then WWWF's top title, the WWWF (World) Heavyweight Championship.
On May 17, 1963, Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers in under a minute to become the second-ever WWE Champion.
The man's first championship reign would run for nearly eight years - a record that still holds today. Sammartino was respected and loved by his fans and others in the locker room.
"I don't get into the politics", Graham said. Sammartino escaped the cage a victor. Today he is better known as Bruno Mars. "He was my mentor".
Hopefully the passing of Sammartino will have a similar effect at reminding those too young to have seen what a true world champion should be. He was WWE's biggest and most recognizable star for almost two decades until the launch of Hulkamania and the company's national expansion through the creation of WrestleMania.
Sammartino, who started his wrestling career in the late '50s, wrestled for Vince McMahon Sr.'s World Wide Wrestling Federation in the '60s, '70s and '80s. 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.
WWE released the following statement about the passing of Sammartino.
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