Bruno Sammartino dies age 82

19 April, 2018, 06:29 | Author: Judith Dennis

Several WWE names took to Twitter to remember the former WWE Champion.

He did not drop the title until 1971 when Ivan Koloff beat him at Madison Square Garden, and at first, it looked like his tenure with WWF had come to an end. He initially got into powerlifting as a teenager, but when his feats of strength drew the attention of promoters, he became a pro wrestler, joining Vince McMahon Sr.'s WWWF after stints in a few smaller wrestling companies.

Especially popular in the Northeast, Sammartino wrestled for the first time at the "new" Madison Square Garden - the stadium now standing above Penn Station - just eight days after it opened in 1968; he sold out the arena 187 times out of 211 appearances, according to the Post-Gazette. In 2013, after years of feuding with the younger McMahon over pro wrestling's turn to more vulgar story lines and its coddling of drug use by prominent stars, he accepted an invitation into the WWE Hall of Fame, with the ceremony held at a flawless locale. Bruno Samartino with Steven McMahon.

Sammartino's wife Carol, and sons, Darryl and Dan were said to have been by his side when he passed away. "WWE extends its condolences to Sammartino's family, friends and fans", the company wrote via their website.

Bruno Sammartino in victory after a match in the 1970s.

Sammartino, an Italian immigrant who moved to Pittsburgh in his teens, became a cultural icon throughout the Northeast U.S. during his 30-plus-year wrestling career.

Sammartino's eleven-year reign as champion is the longest reign of all time, regardless of the the wrestling organization. During WWII, his family was forced into hiding during the Nazi occupation.

"Bruno became an overnight sensation, connecting with not only fellow Italians, but also Latinos, Greeks and Jews, successfully bridging the gap in America's melting pot of wrestling fans". Sammartino was 82 years old. He held that title for nearly eight years - he still holds the record for longest reign ever in the history of wrestling. The promotion would bring in huge men such as Killer Kowalski, Bill Miller, George Steele and Gorilla Monsoon and build them up as unbeatable monsters capable of ending Sammartino's title reign, but none of them could do it.

Sammartino was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was the headliner at the first wrestling event held at Madison Square Garden in 1968, and would go on to sell out the venue an astonishing 187 times over the course of his career.



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