Remembering Bruno Sammartino, the singular face of a bygone pro wrestling era

Remembering Bruno Sammartino, the singular face of a bygone pro wrestling era

Born on October 15, 1935, Sammartino grew up in Pizzoferrato, Italy before immigrating to the United States with his family, settling in Oakland, Pa.

With the WWWF reigning as the top wrestling promotion in the NY area, Bruno Sammartino became the company's second world champion, defeating Buddy Rogers on May 17, 1963. He became the longest-reigning world champion, and held the belt for eight years before losing it to Ivan Koloff on January 18, 1971, ESPN says.

Sammartino's star power and influence will always be remembered and was finally validated when Arnold Schwarzenegger inducted him into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.

What do you think of the passing of Bruno Sammartino?

- Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) April 18, 2018At Wrestlemania 30 I had the chance to meet Bruno Sammartino.

Wrestlers of the past and present paid tribute to Sammartino's passing and offered messages of condolence on social media.

Former World Wide Wrestling Federation champion Bruno Sammartino has died.

Sammartino did not like the direction the WWE took during the so-called Attitude Era, starting in the late '90s, with its tawdry sexual overtones and foul language; it was one of the major reasons for the long estrangement between him and the company.

Sammartino won the WWE title a second time in 1973, and held it for another 3 years and 4 months. He held the title for eight years, which is still a record. He retired from wrestling in 1981, but returned to the now-renamed WWF a few years later, working as a commentator, but also wrestling on occasion, usually alongside his son David, who was a mid-card wrestler for the company at that time. "Growing up in Pittsburgh, he was my father's hero, and sparked my dad's passion for the business that he passed on to me", Corey Graves wrote via Twitter. RIP Bruno. My thoughts and prayers are with his family today. He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Carol, and his three children. "A true friend...and one of the toughest people I've ever met", tweeted Paul Triple H Levesque.

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