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WWE History Vol. 2: The magnificent career of Bruno Sammartino

  • A definitive rundown on one of the greatest WWE Champions of all time.
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 03 Jul 2019, 15:58 IST

World record bench press

A young Bruno Sammartino attempting a massive bench press.
A young Bruno Sammartino attempting a massive bench press.

With his Olympic dreams dashed, Sammartino redoubled his efforts on both powerlifting and amateur wrestling.

Training at the University of Pittsburgh in amateur wrestling, he turned to strong man acts to help pay tuition and other costs. In 1959, he set the world record for the bench press at 565 pounds.

Unlike modern weight lifting, in Bruno's era, the athlete was required to hold the bar on their chest for two full seconds before attempting the press, rather than 'bouncing' it as modern weight lifters do. Not only that, the tough as nails Sammartino didn't even wear protective wrist or elbow straps!

His strong man feats caught the attention of a local sports caster in Pittsburgh named Bob Prince. While appearing on Prince's show, he caught the attention of wrestling promoter Rudy Miller.

Miller recruited Sammartino into the world of professional wrestling. While Sammartino was expected to do great things, even Miller would be shocked at just how well Bruno took to the sports entertainment of the era.


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Published 02 Jul 2019, 11:35 IST
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