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 mat-men 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 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 WWF.
Sammartino was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.