Many consider Bruno Sammartino to be the greatest professional wrestler of all time. Bruno
Sammartino has a record that will possibly never be matched or overtaken. Over his two reigns,
Sammartino was WWWF Champion for 2803 days or 11 whole years. Even today, after his passing,
Bruno Sammartino’s deadly bearhug is still remembered.
The youngest of seven children, Sammartino’s mother helped hide him from German soldiers,
growing up in Italy during the Second World War. In 1950, the Sammartino family arrived in
Pittsburgh. Sammartino was sickly throughout his school life, and this was the motivation for him
becoming a bodybuilder.
Bruno Sammartino won his first match against Dmitri Grabowski in 19 seconds. He would rise up the
ranks until he received a title shot against ‘Nature Boy’ Buddy Rogers, the WWWF World
Heavyweight Champion. Bruno Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers in just 48 seconds. Sammartino
would hold the title for over 7 years before he lost it to Ivan Koloff.
Bruno Sammartino would recapture the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship in 1973 when he
defeated Stan Stasiak. He would lose it three years later to Superstar Billy Graham.
Bruno Sammartino was very critical of the road that WWE was taking especially when it moved on to
the ‘racier’ aspects of its programming. Many years later, in 2013, Sammartino returned to the
company when he was assured that the company had mended its ways and was no longer the
product Bruno Sammartino was critical of.
Bruno Sammartino was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in the year 2013. After being hospitlized for over two months, Bruno passed away in 2018.