For three decades, Bruno Sammartino was one of the top draws in the pro wrestling circuit, a title holder and fan favorite who spanned generations.
Known in pro wrestling circles as “The Living Legend,” Bruno Sammartino performed as one of the greatest matmen to ever grace the sport. Competing in three different decades, the 5’10, 265-pound Sammartino became a household name on May 17, 1963, when he stunned Buddy Rogers in Madison Square Garden(no comma) to capture the WWWF belt. He would hold the title for a record 12 years.
It wasn’t unusual for Sammartino to wrestle five bouts a week, with 250 appearances a year the norm.
During and after his title reign, he wrestled all the top stars, including names like: Ivan Koloff, The Sheik, Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon, George “The Animal” Steele, Haystacks Calhoun, Ernie Ladd, Dick “The Bruiser” and a young Hulk Hogan. His gimmick was “no gimmicks,” just willpower and strength.
After his retirement from the squared circle, Sammartino also did a stint as a popular ringside announcer for the WWWF.
Sammartino was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.