Reporting Larry Richert
PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) - After a quarter century of self-exile from wrestling, Bruno Sammartino has made up with the sport he loves.
Sammartino has finally accepted the offer to be inaugurated into the Wrestling Hall of Fame, and he’ll do it this weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Welcoming him will be a star-studded cast of wrestlers, celebrities and even Arnold Schwarzenegger inducting him officially.
On his was to New York, talked to KDKA-AM’s Larry and John about what this honor means to him and why it took so long to accept wrestling again.
“I thought the business was family friendly, where a dad could go to a match and take his kids,” said Sammartino. “Then they started all this nudity and vulgarity and a lot of profanity, and I was appalled by that. It made me ashamed to say this is what I did for a living.”
Sammartino began to publicly criticize the sport, leading to a fall-out with Vince McMahon. Cutting himself off from the sport, Sammartino declined offers to enter the Wrestling Hall of Fame, until the sport cleaned up. After all these years, he says wrestling has finally became the sport he loved again, and for the first time after more than two decades, he and McMahon will meet face-to-face.
“We’re going to have a private meeting right there in Madison Square Garden — and only one of us is coming out of that meeting,” Sammartino joked.
Sammartino also talked about his career, his life and his continued work with kids. There’s even a song about him, “I’m Strong Like Bruno Sammartino,” to help bullied kids.
“I’ll be honest,” he said, “I got goosebumps, hearing them sing the song telling my life.”
Sammartino will be inducted officially into the Wrestling Hall of Fame Saturday evening, selling out MSG one more time after all these years.
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