59 Facts About Bruno Sammartino


Bruno Leopoldo Francesco Sammartino was an Italian-American professional wrestler.


Bruno Sammartino is best known for his time with the World Wide Wrestling Federation.


Bruno Sammartino is overall a two-time world champion in professional wrestling.


Bruno Sammartino is widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.


Terry Funk commented that Bruno Sammartino "was bigger than wrestling itself".


Bruno Leopoldo Francesco Sammartino was born in Pizzoferrato, Abruzzo, Italy, to Alfonso and Emilia Sammartino on October 6,1935.


Bruno Sammartino was the youngest of seven children, four of whom died during his early childhood.


Bruno Sammartino turned to weightlifting and wrestling to build himself up.


In 1959, Bruno Sammartino set a world record in the bench press with a lift of 256 kilograms, done without elbow or wrist wraps.


Bruno Sammartino trained in wrestling with Rex Peery, the University of Pittsburgh team coach.


Bruno Sammartino became known for performing strongman stunts in the Pittsburgh area, and sportscaster Bob Prince put him on his television show.


Bruno Sammartino made his professional debut in Pittsburgh on December 17,1959, pinning Dmitri Grabowski in 19 seconds.


Bruno Sammartino was forced to return to Pittsburgh and found work as a laborer.


Bruno Sammartino made his Toronto debut in March 1962 and very quickly, with the help of self-promotion in local newspapers and radio programs, became an attraction.


Bruno Sammartino challenged NWA World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz twice for the championship in Canada.


One match ended in a draw and the other with Thesz scoring a fluke pin after a collision, despite Bruno Sammartino controlling the 20 minute match from the beginning.


Between Antonino Rocca and Bruno Sammartino they went with the younger Sammartino who was 27 years old at the time.


Bruno Sammartino won the title on May 17,1963, defeating Rogers in 48 seconds.


Bruno Sammartino held the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship for seven years, eight months, and one day.


On January 18,1971, Bruno Sammartino lost the championship at Madison Square Garden to Ivan Koloff.


Bruno Sammartino recalled the shocked silence that greeted the result, remarking he thought he had damaged his ears.


Bruno Sammartino took a hiatus from the company in 1971 and 1972 working in Japan, and various territories.


Later in 1972, Bruno Sammartino was asked back by McMahon Sr.


Bruno Sammartino wrestled then NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race to a one-hour draw in St Louis.


Also during this time, Bruno Sammartino began serving as color commentator for the WWF's syndicated programs, WWF Championship Wrestling and WWF All-Star Wrestling.


Bruno Sammartino, shocked and hurt by Zbyszko's betrayal, vowed to make Zbyszko pay dearly.


Bruno Sammartino retired from North American wrestling full-time in 1981, in a match that opened the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.


Bruno Sammartino then finished up his full-time career by touring Japan.


At the inaugural WrestleMania on March 31,1985, Bruno Sammartino was in his son David's corner for his match against Brutus Beefcake.


Bruno Sammartino returned to in-ring action soon after with his son, as they wrestled against Beefcake and Valiant at Madison Square Garden.


An irate Bruno Sammartino attacked Savage during a TV interview, after Savage bragged about injuring Ricky Steamboat, by driving the timekeeper's bell into Steamboat's throat during a televised match.


Bruno Sammartino defeated Savage in a lumberjack match for the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship via disqualification at the Boston Garden.


Bruno Sammartino was often teamed with Tito Santana and his old enemy George "The Animal" Steele to wrestle Savage and "Adorable" Adrian Adonis.


Bruno Sammartino engaged in a feud with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper after Piper insulted his heritage on a segment of Piper's Pit at Madison Square Garden.


Bruno Sammartino faced Piper in both singles and tag team matches.


Bruno Sammartino teamed with Paul Orndorff in his matches against Piper, while Piper would tag with his "bodyguard", Ace "Cowboy" Bob Orton.


In 1986, Bruno Sammartino competed in a 20-man battle royal at WrestleMania 2 at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago.


Bruno Sammartino continued doing commentary on Superstars of Wrestling until March 1988.


Bruno Sammartino particularly criticized the use of steroids and "vulgar" storylines.


Bruno Sammartino appeared in the media in opposition to the WWE on such shows as The Phil Donahue Show, Geraldo and CNN.


Bruno Sammartino worked as a commentator for the Universal Wrestling Federation.


On October 28,1989, Bruno Sammartino made a special appearance at the NWA pay-per-view event Halloween Havoc, where he was the special guest referee in a "Thunderdome" cage match which featured Ric Flair and Sting taking on Terry Funk and The Great Muta.


Bruno Sammartino worked several WCW events in a minor analysis role in the early 1990s, as well as a brief run doing color commentary with Jim Ross on Saturday Night in 1992.


Bruno Sammartino acted as special guest referee in World Championship Wrestling for a series of matches between Flair and Randy Savage in June 1996.


On March 25,2010, Bruno Sammartino was honored at the 74th annual Dapper Dan Dinner, a popular awards and charity fundraising event in Pittsburgh, with a lifetime achievement award, for which fellow former Studio Wrestling personalities Bill Cardille, "Jumping" Johnny DeFazio, Dominic DeNucci, Frank Durso, and referee Andy "Kid" DePaul were all present.


In 2013, Bruno Sammartino accepted an invitation for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, after having declined several times in prior years.


Bruno Sammartino finally accepted the offer to join because he was satisfied with the way the company had addressed his concerns about rampant drug use as well as vulgarity.


The ceremony took place at Madison Square Garden on April 6,2013, and Bruno Sammartino was inducted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Bruno Sammartino appeared on the October 7,2013, episode of Raw and received a birthday greeting in his hometown of Pittsburgh.


On March 28,2015, Bruno Sammartino inducted Larry Zbyszko into the WWE Hall of Fame.


Bruno Sammartino is honored on the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame.


Bruno Sammartino has appeared as a playable character in five WWE video games, including: WWE 2K14, WWE SuperCard, WWE Champions, WWE Universe, and WWE 2K23.


Bruno Sammartino was married to his wife Carol from 1959 until his death in 2018.


In 2013, Bruno Sammartino appeared as one of the Board of Governors in the nationally televised 69th Annual Columbus Day Parade.


Cimino was new to his post and intervened in a match finish involving Bruno Sammartino, who took a shot at Cimino in the ring and the argument continued backstage.


Bruno Sammartino ended up in a screaming match with Cimino on Pittsburgh's local Studio Wrestling program, and Cimino suspended him for a month.


Flair had denigrated Bruno Sammartino's wrestling ability in his book To Be the Man.


Flair said Bruno Sammartino refused to shake his hand at the event, while Bruno Sammartino said Flair saw him coming down the hall, turned, and rushed away.


Bruno Sammartino died on April 18,2018, at the age of 82 from multiple organ failure due to heart problems following a two-month hospitalization.