Not only the wrestling world, but the sports world was treated to the overly satisfying announcement made that all-time legend Bruno Sammartino will be inducted into this year’s WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013 on the night before Wrestlemania 29. This announcement was met with a string of jubilation among the many old-school fans who still remember the days when Bruno was on top of the pro wrestling world.
This announcement and induction couldn’t have came at a more perfect time, and even though his induction has taken a very long time to become a reality, Bruno may have known what he was doing all along with holding out.
Wrestling fans know the whole story behind Bruno and his constant refusal of being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It has been reported for years now that Sammartino would refuse the invitation because his negative opinion of the current state of professional wrestling.
Since his twilight days of being involved in wrestling, Sammartino has not had any involvement with the sport since it went into a more controversial direction, instead of being upheld to more traditional standards. But was it really that? Was that the real reason why Sammartino would consistently refuse? Or was he waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect class, the perfect year to say “yes”? When you look at the bigger picture, Bruno is taking his place into the Hall of Fame within the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden in New York. Bruno’s name is synonymous to Madison Square Garden, arguably more so than Hulk Hogan‘s is.
In Sammartino’s heyday of being world champion, night in and night out, his name was the headlining main event within that arena. Sammartino would win the WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation) Championship in Madison Square Garden against Nature Boy Buddy Rogers in 47 seconds, an accomplishment unheard of during that era in wrestling.
On a monthly basis Sammartino would have battles with legends such as Gorilla Monsoon, Gene Kiniski, Killer Kowalski, Bill Watts, Freddie Blassie and many more. Sammartino would lose the world championship to Ivan Koloff in Madison Square Garden after holding the championship for six years. In dropping the title to Koloff, there was not a dry eye in the Garden as Sammartino made his exit from the ring – this was the effect that Sammartino had over the audience.
So can you really blame him if he didn’t want to be inducted into arenas such as the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida? Or even The US Airways Center in Phoenix Arizona? Not even the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Those cities and especially those arenas do no hold a significance to his name. Now, I know what you’re saying “so, should every inductee be inducted into the town that parallels with him?”. No, not at all, because you cannot name anyone else who has had the career that he has.
Another reason why Sammartino’s induction comes at a perfect time is due to the current fan base has very little connection to that era of wrestling. For the most part, fans today have seen inductions of superstars who are not so far removed from the ring, so the inductees are very familiar. But inducting men such as Sammartino and Bob Backlund entices today’s fans to dig deep into the roots of pro wrestling and go pass the Attitude Era and even go beyond the Federation years and learn and appreciate the foundation of this sport.
When something is out of sight and out of mind, naturally we tend to be disconnected from the situation and not have that attachment to the subject. Wrestling and wrestlers during this era are easily forgotten about and this will be the spark that fans need to appreciate the era that paved the way for the superstars of today.
Congratulations to the legendary Bruno Sammartino.
Maurice D. Proffit is a Writer for Rant Sports