After years of turning them down, legendary professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino has finally agreed to join the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Sammartino, who reigned as then World Wide Wrestling Federation (now WWE) Champion for more than 11 years, left the WWE completely in 1988 and became an outspoken critic of the way WWE Chairman Vince McMahon had changed the "sport." Sammartino feels (last I knew, this was still his opinion) that McMahon had taken away the competition and purity (through the rampant use of steroids) in an attempt to market sex and violence to a younger crowd.
Since leaving the WWE, "The Italian Superman" has largely remained in his Pittsburgh-area home and appeared at smaller independent wrestling shows that are unaffiliated with the WWE.
“For my fans around the world, I am pleased to be joining the WWE Hall of Fame, especially at Madison Square Garden (in New York City, site of many Sammartino matches),” said Sammartino in a press release.
“Having sold out more than 200 shows at Madison Square Garden and being the longest reigning WWE champion in history, Bruno Sammartino is truly ‘The Living Legend,’” McMahon added. “This is an extraordinary and historic moment to have Bruno take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.”
Sammartino joins Mick Foley, Trish Stratus and Bob Backlund as the names announced for enshrinement this year in the WWE Hall of Fame. The even happens the night before the biggest wrestling pay-per view of the year, Wrestlemania, and has aired on tape delay on USA in the past.
The WWE is expected to announce his enshrinement tonight on its flagship program, Monday Night Raw.
Will Sammartino show up before or after Wrestlemania weekend? Were you a fan of Sammartino?