Larry Zbyszko revealed that he had to convince Bruno Sammartino to be part of the WWE Hall of Fame.
During his time in the ring, Bruno Sammartino held the WWWF Championship for over 2800 days, a lengthy seven years. Despite this impressive accomplishment, Bruno still had to be convinced to be added to the Hall of Fame.
While in an interview with Captain's Corner, Larry Zbyszko, a student-turned-rival of Sammartino, shared how important he was to Bruno's induction.
He said the company had to approach him a year before Sammartino's induction since the legend didn't want to be included.
“I was kind of instrumental in talking to Bruno. WWE approached me in 2012 because they always wanted Bruno in the Hall of Fame, and Bruno said he would never go in the Hall of Fame years before. But then, you know, they came to me and they asked me if I could talk to him… I wanted Bruno in the Hall of Fame and [Madison Square] Garden was perfect, and then Bruno, I talked to him for some months and then he talked to some other people and he realized the WWE became a great company," Zbyszko said. [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
Arnold Schwarzenegger inducted Bruno Sammartino in 2013. Larry was then added in 2015 by his mentor. The former WWWF champion passed away in April 2018 at 82.
The reported reason why Bruno Sammartino initially didn't want to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame
While in the same interview, the protege revealed that his mentor didn't want to be included in the fear of being called a "hypocrite." He stated that the late superstar had already said he didn't want to be a part of it years ago.
"...His only thing was, ‘I don’t want people to think that I’m a hypocrite.’ I said, ‘A what?’ He said some years before that he would never do it. I said, ‘Well, Bruno, no one will think you’re a hypocrite. Everyone wants you in the Hall of Fame'… Bruno said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’ So it all worked out great and it was a happy ending for everybody,” Zbyszko said.
Given the inspiration he gave to others, fans and wrestlers alike, it's a good thing that Sammartino allowed the company to honor his success.
Do you think anybody will surpass his seven-year world title reign? Share them in the comments section below!