Bruno Sammartino is coming home! The Living Legend will finally be returning to the WWE after a 25+ year absence to enter the WWE Hall of Fame on WrestleMania 29 weekend.
“Boy oh boy, I have tried to make it very clear to everybody and I wish that people would understand my feelings. I’ve been so against what they’ve done to wrestling and some of the ugly things that have been going on, the drugs and all of that kind of stuff, that I just don’t want my name associated at all with that organization and therefore I’ve been so critical of them that I’d feel like a total hypocrite if then all of the sudden I’d go into their Hall of Fame and accept that because when you’ve been as critical as I have, and my views were so strong against the drugs and the nudity, the profanity, the vulgarity, there’s no way that I would want to be a part of that Hall of Fame. I just don’t want any part of it and I will not go in and I would hope that people would understand my feelings on that.” –Bruno Sammartino on my radio show in 2010
[adinserter name=”366 left”] Things have changed. I must admit that I was blown away by the news. I have had the opportunity of not only interviewing Bruno about a dozen times over the years, but also developing a friendship. To be frank, I haven’t spoken to him in a long time but if there was ever a man that convinced me of anything it was that he was never going into the WWE Hall of Fame.
The induction will take place at Madison Square Garden, the same arena that Bruno sold out more than any WWE champion in history. Not only will Bruno be entering the Hall of Fame, but he will also be a part of the WWE family once again. The new deal comes with a DVD that will include interviews with Bruno that will also probably be included in other home videos as well. Bruno is back!
“I love the history of this business,” Triple H said. “Without the history, there is no tomorrow. To look back on the history of WWE, one of the most important figures in the long story of where this all came from wasn’t recognized. And that was Bruno.”
The new relationship is a big change of attitude for Bruno. Bruno has been very outspoken over the years about the WWE, specifically what he felt was their promotion of steroids and other PEDs. Bruno also harbored a longtime grudge with Vince McMahon over many things, specifically the pressures he felt to come out of retirement to help his son decades ago.
Here is what Bruno said when I asked him about comments Mick Foley made on my radio show about the special relationship he had with Vince McMahon.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]“Well, if I understood you right you said that Mick Foley said that McMahon has a special place in his heart for me? Let me tell you what a special place he has in his heart for me. Do you remember a couple of years ago the A & E documentary about the history of pro wrestling? If you saw that documentary, my name never appeared once in the whole two hour special. Everybody and their brother was mentioned except me, and I hope this does not sound egotistical but I dominated the game for about twenty years. My understanding from very reliable people involved with the show was that Vince McMahon insisted with A & E that they would not mention or do anything with me, because if they did, than he would not only not give them any film clips, his talent, or himself. So they had a choice to make, whether they brought me into this documentary and do away with McMahon and all that he had to offer them, or me, so they made the choice to go with him. He went out of his way to do this, so that is the kind of special place that Vince McMahon has in his heart for me. The other project which I understand, and this came to me from reliable sources involved with Madison Square Garden sometime ago, was that they wanted to induct me into the Madison Square Garden Hall Of Fame. This was before the present owners took over, who are doing a special on me by the way. The old owners wanted to induct me, but again McMahon used his influence not to let that happen. So, I don’t know what Mick Foley is talking about. I think Mick Foley has been dropped on his head too many times while working for McMahon.”
You can check out several of my interviews with Bruno over at http://prowrestlingradio.com/tag/bruno-sammartino/
It will be a nostalgic night this year at the Hall of Fame as the second biggest drawing card in WWE history Bob Backlund will share the stage with Bruno that night and also be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Regardless of the circumstances I think it is great that this new generation of fans will be educated and introduced to the legacy of one of the biggest draws in pro wrestling. Congratulations to Bruno Sammartino for entering the Hall of Fame.
[amazon_link id=”1440476985″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Bruno Sammartino: An Autobiography Of Wrestling’s Living Legend[/amazon_link]