The wrestling world lost a true icon on Wednesday with the passing of Bruno Sammartino, and his death resonated with many current wrestlers who realize the role Sammartino had in blazing a path for them. He was born in Italy and his family immigrated when he was a child to Pittsburgh, where he learned how to become a pro wrestler. He went on to defeat inaugural WWWF champion Buddy Rogers a few years after his first match in 1963, holding the title for more than eight years.
Sammartino would become quite the staple at the Garden holding the championship for almost eight years, the longest reigning champion in professional wrestling history.
Bruno Sammartino (right) wrestles "Mr Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.
I didn't even know that Sammartino was in poor health, so this is a shock to me.
Yet despite the division between the two sides, Sammartino's estranged relationship with WWE came to an end in 2013 when Triple H played a key role in convincing Sammartino to accept an induction to the WWE Hall of Fame.
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Sammartino is one of the most iconic figures in professional wrestling history.
A two-time WWWF champion with reigns surpassing 11 combined years, Bruno Sammartino stands to this day as the longest-reigning world heavyweight champion in the history of what is now known as WWE.
- ShinigamE (@WWEBigE) April 18, 2018Bruno is indirectly responsible for where I am today. He helped turn professional wrestling into the massive industry it is today, and many current wrestlers shared their memories of him and thanked him for his contributions to the sport after learning of his passing.
We at Wrestling Rumors extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sammartino family during this hard time.
Olympic gold medalist and WWE star Kurt Angle, a Pittsburgh native, called Sammartino "a hometown hero" who carried himself with dignity and was courteous to fans.