Bruno Sammartino is headed to the WWE Hall of Fame. The announcement was made official on Monday Night Raw, and I say it’s about time.
“Never say never.” The old tag line used in WWE circles has never been more true than it is right now. In this modern era of heavy fan criticism of the product, there has to be some real satisfaction today among the masses.
After all, this is what fans wanted.
Bruno’s legend is well-known, his legacy in WWE is undeniable and his status as an icon will now firmly be cemented among his peers in the Hall. This is the honor that fans have been wanting to see for many years, the honor that we believed Bruno deserved.
Even if he didn’t.
Bruno’s issues with Vince McMahon and WWE go back a long way, and it seemed that every time talk of him possibly being inducted arose, those problems immediately brought it to a stop. He just was not buying what Vince was selling and nothing was going to convince him otherwise.
So what changed?
What caused the longest-reigning WWE Champion of all time to change his mind and accept the invitation to be immortalized in the Hall of Fame? Who was responsible for this all taking place?
For me, the point here is that it’s happening. Despite who or what made Bruno actually reconsider the position he had taken for so long is irrelevant. The fact is that he not only deserves this moment, he owes this moment to the fans who have supported him all these years.
I often compared Bruno to Bret Hart. Bret was also on the outside looking in, a guy who had every reason to hate WWE and everything they stood for. His problems with Vince were widely publicized and though fans could understand where he was coming from, I for one began to wonder when it would change.
I began to wonder when Bret would wake up.
Bret gave his all for WWE, put his body on the line night in and night out, as all Superstars do, and helped the company make money during his run at the top. Considering the infamous Montreal screw job and the bitter feelings that followed in the years since, it was completely understandable that he harbored a grudge.
But Bret eventually began to realize that it was less about him and his own drama with WWE and more about paying respect to the fans who made him famous in the first place. The fans wanted to see Bret in the Hall and back in WWE in some capacity. We wanted closure, perhaps as much as he did and, more importantly, we wanted to thank him.
I believe that Bret came to terms with that, put his own ego aside—at least at the time—and made the right decision.
I am not suggesting that Bruno Sammartino did not have legitimate reasons for not wanting to be associated with WWE. He is an old pro and is certainly no fool, especially when it comes to the industry and how Vince McMahon does business.
But, his decision to say yes to the Hall of Fame has to be considered a victory for fans. Now, respect can be paid in a very public arena, with his family, his friends and his peers all in attendance and watching around the world.
Now, we can finally say “thank you” as Bruno takes his place among the all time greats of professional wrestling.
Is it a perfect Hall of Fame? Is everyone there who should be? No, not at all. Bruno is just one of many who should have been inducted a very long time ago.
But the WWE Hall of Fame is the most well-known, most public pro wrestling hall of its kind. This is the best way to honor Bruno’s contributions to the business and to ensure that present and future generations will never forget.
This is a landmark moment for WWE and despite how or why it happened, I for one am just happy that it has. Bruno has earned his spot. He deserves this night.
And so do his fans.