Every few years a wrestler retires and it’s time to induct them in the WWE Hall of Fame (HOF). There are maybe five wrestlers who truly defined the sport enough to earn such an honor, and without question, Bruno Sammartino is at the top of that list. While many current wrestling fans may not be familiar with the name, ask someone in their 50’s about Sammartino and they could talk for hours.
His lists of accomplishments are unheard of and will never be surpassed, and some of his most memorable moments involve Madison Square Garden and defending the WWE title in the historic building. It’s only fitting that he’s inducted in the arena that he helped make famous.
Sammartino will always be remembered for his first run with the WWE belt, which, at 2,803 days, was the longest run to date. His next reign was 1,237 days, for a combined total of 4,040. Don’t think for a minute that those are typos. Before there was glitz and glamor, it was Sammartino’s pure toughness that sold out shows for the better part of two decades.
It’s tough to resist rattling off Sammartino’s records, so I leave it with the numbers above. When everyone was talking about CM Punks impressive 400-plus-day reign, that was nothing compared to this. Since Sammartino’s number is truly astonishing and one of those few records that cannot be duplicated, the WWE needs to rewrite history by calling Punk the longest reigning champion in the modern area.
For Sammartino, his HOF induction is long overdue. He honestly belonged in the first class, but due to differences with how Vince McMahon Jr. ran the company, the two never got along. Let’s hopes that’s old news and they can work together now on great pieces. I want to hear all of Sammartino’s stories and I’m doubtful he can squeeze it into one HOF speech.
I never thought the day would come when Sammartino got inducted into the WWE HOF. Clearly, McMahon and Sammartino are able to put aside their differences for the better of the fans – and that’s who this moment belongs to. With him joining this year’s class, it makes the HOF feel whole, as there couldn’t be one without “The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino.