"The Living Legand" Bruno Sammartino
Bruno was born in Abruzzi, Italy on October 6,1936. He immigrated to the US when he was 15.
Bruno started wrestling in 1959. He won his first title on May 17, 1963. He defeated "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers in record time and won the World Wide Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship.
Bruno was extremely popular after only 4 years in the business. He went on to help establish the WWWF. Giving Vince McMahon Sr. more credibility. Bruno would become Heavyweight Champion and hold on to title for an amazing reign of 7 years.
Bruno's fan base was like no other when he was in his prime. The only one that came close was Hulk Hogan. But Bruno still holds the title for the number of times he sold out Madison Square Garden.
After taking on all the number one contenders for 7 years Bruno's title reign would end on January 17,1971. "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff would be the one to do it. Ivan's manager at the time was Captain Lou Albano and Lou was making a point of sending his best men after Bruno to end his title reign. Ivan got the pin fall after he used his finisher move off the top rope, Russian Knee Drop. 22,000 people in Madison Square Garden would stare in total shock and disbelief.
After this happened Bruno took a short leave from WWWF. He went to WWA. While he was there him and his tag team partner Dick "The Bruiser" won the Tag Team Titles. Unfortunately they would only hold the titles for about 6 months. They would lose there title to The Valiant Brothers.
Bruno would than again return to the WWWF. When he got the chance to win the title from Pedro Morales. Bruno put his all into the match but was unable to get the pin fall. The match lasted for over an hour and ended in a draw.
Morales lost his title to Stan Stasiak on December 1,1973. But unfortunately for Stan he would not hold the title for long. On December 10,1973 he would lose the title to Bruno.
Bruno's second title reign would last for 4 years! He would go on to state that his second title reign was tougher than the first because the competition was greater.
Make no mistake Bruno was a fighting champion. He would defend his title 5 to 6 nights a week. On April 26,1976 in a match with Stan "The Lariat" Hanson. Bruno would get his neck broken in a blotched body slam.
After Bruno spent time away from the ring recovering from his injury. Bruno would have a rematch with Hanson. In this rematch Bruno would beat Hanson so bloody and so brutally. That Hanson would run scared from the ring and not only lost the match but was disgraced as well.
As fate would have it Bruno would lose his title for the second time in the Spring of 77. To the flamboyant "Superstar" Billy Graham. Graham cheated by using the ropes to make the pin fall. This is the last time Bruno would hold the title.
In 1980 Bruno's protégé Larry Zbysko would turn on his mentor in what was supposed to be a friendly TV demonstration. This match would last for months. It was finally ended in a steel cage match when Bruno beat Larry at Shea Stadium.
Bruno went on to have some violent feuds with Roddy Piper, Adrian Adonis, and Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Bruno would beat them all. But after 20 years with the WWF Bruno left them for good.
He would dabble a little with UWF and WCW after his retirement. But he would get bitter and never have anything to do with the sport that he worked so hard to make respectable.
To this day Bruno is the only person to hold the WWF Championship for a total of 11 years in 2 reigns. He is also the first ever 2 time champion and he still holds incredible attendance records. Because of these accomplishments Bruno Sammartino will all ways be the Living Legend!!