PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Arguably the world’s greatest wrestler that ever lived, Bruno Sammartino has sold out Madison Square Garden 187 times, wrestled on every continent and was champion for 13 years.
Now, Sammartino will be honored with a series of awards, including induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. His path to greatness, and his self-imposed hiatus from wrestling, is an amazing story of conviction and redemption.
For years, Sammartino has turned down invitations to the WWE Hall of Fame, because he didn’t agree with the violence, vulgarity, sex, and immoral story lines that the wrestling product glorified.
“I saw changes when Vince McMahon, Jr. took over,” says Sammartino. “That offended me tremendously because I wrestled for 25 years all over the world and did my very best to have wrestling looked upon as family entertainment. What it turned into was an embarrassment to me and I was very disappointed.”
But about seven months ago, the WWE reached out again, this time telling Sammartino that they’d cleaned up their act. Gone was the nudity and profanity, and there was a vigorous drug testing program put into effect. Skeptical, Sammartino started watching wrestling again to see it with his own eyes. What he saw was a more family friendly product that he could get behind.
Now, he will be honored in the building that he sold out more than any other performer on April 6,7 and 8 at Madison Square Garden in New York with a big weekend to celebrate his induction into the Hall of Fame.
KDKA-AM’s Larry and John talked to Sammartino, as well as found out what he’s been up to in the past few weeks.
And Sammartino isn’t resting, despite his age. He inspires youths to do their best with Team Sammartino, is helping to record a song about his life and is developing an arm band to inspire others to stick to their convictions.
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