This man is reportedly the major reason Sammartino has declined induction
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Arda Ocal, and I am a pro wrestling optimist. When I watch wrestling, I see things with the glass half-full. Yes, I do provide criticism, but I don't jump at the chance to belittle, rant on or throw under the bus the product I'm watching.
The “Internet Wrestling Community” is full of people who like to do that. That's fine by me; they are entitled to their opinion and have as much right to say what they want to say as I do.
Me? Each week here on Bleacher Report I'll be giving you thoughts from an optimist—a guy who, like many of you, is a life-long wrestling fan but somehow didn't “lose his smile” along the way. Instead of digging for the dirt, I'll present you the facts and give you the positive outlook.
This week, a hot topic is Bruno Sammartino and a phone call he had with Triple H about being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
According to an interview with Mike Johnson of PWInsider, Bruno Sammartino stated said that the phone call was very cordial, and Bruno has nothing but nice things to say about Triple H and his respectful approach to inviting Bruno to the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Ultimately, Bruno declined. This isn't the first time he has declined a WWE invitation, as he had been contacted in prior years.
The reason this is such a big story is because nobody would ever deny that Bruno Sammartino, who held the WWWF championship for a total of 11 years, deserves to be in WWE's Hall of Fame. He has been inducted in the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, located in Amsterdam, New York. His accolades speak for themselves.
The problem lies with Sammartino and Vince McMahon. Sammartino has taken exception to the raunchy direction WWE took in the 90s, which was far different than the product when he was at the helm. Another reason why Bruno declined invitation was because actors and other athletes reside in the hall (albeit in the “celebrity wing”), as well as a lack of a physical hall of fame where fans could visit and learn about the legends past.
One physical pro wrestling hall of fame does exist. I attended the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Ceremony in Amsterdam, New York, this year and saw Bruno Sammartino accept his PWHF induction ring, 10 years after he was inducted (in 2002).
Why did it take Bruno 10 years to collect his ring? Aside from coming to see his longtime friend, Domenic DeNucci, receiving induction honor this year, Bruno is a guy built on respect, honour and trust. It's very fair for him to want to make sure that he isn't being taken for a ride in any situation or be leery of any scenario that would tarnish his reputation, because of who he is. For him to think that about induction into the WWE Hall of Fame would be understandable on his part (going back to his reason about actors and non wrestlers being inducted and a lack of a physical Hall, which could be assumed that the ceremony simply promotes DVD sales).
The biggest thing I took away from this entire story? It's simple.
One day, Bruno Sammartino will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
You read that correctly. Based on the facts that are out there, I can confidently envision this happening one day. It may be in the distant future, when Vince McMahon is no longer a part of WWE and Triple H once again makes a respectful phone call to Bruno and, after a nice conversation about respecting yesteryear and laying out how the evening will unfold, convincing the “Living Legend” that actors and non-wrestlers reside in their own wing and don't tarnish the wrestler's reputation and inviting him to the grand opening of the physical location of the WWE Hall of Fame, Bruno finally accepts.
But to me, this is no longer an impossibility. Luckily we don't have to worry about the awkward situation of a passing—Bruno is in such good shape, he will live to be at least 125 years old!