WWE Hall of Fame: 5 Lesser Known Moments of Bruno Sammartino's Career
The latest addition to the WWE's Hall of Fame Bruno Sammartino will always be remembered for his historic reigns as WWE Champion. However, the former professional wrestler's career is filled with many impressive acts and significant records.
Ranging from epic to flat out embarrassing, Bruno Sammartino's life has been filled with moments that make the life of the average man seem worthless in comparison.
For better or worse, here are the top 5 lesser known moments of Bruno Sammartino's career.
Lost Via DQ... to an Orangutan
Bruno Sammartino's first reign as WWE champion may have lasted total of 2,803 days, but long before the "Italian Superman" was filling Madison Square Garden to capacity he had an epic match with an Orangutan in 1956.
Working construction at the time, Sammartino entered a match against an orangutan—the prize for defeating the simian was $25.
Despite his best efforts the orangutan nearly beat Sammartino to death.
According to legend, the owner of the orangutan refused to pay Sammartino because he punched the animal in the stomach.
Bench Press Record
Sammartino may be most famous for his record as WWE Champion, but he is also a holder of another record.
In 1959 Sammartino, at the time weighing 270 lbs, set a bench press record lifting a total of 565 lbs—the current bench press record stands at 715 lbs, held by Scot Mendelson.
This of course was before steroids and other muscle enhancements were popular, making Sammartino's achievement all the more impressive.
Bruno Slams Haystacks
On March 29, 1987 Hulk Hogan "body slammed" a 520-pound Andre the Giant, forever making history at WrestleMania III.
Years before this, however, Bruno Sammartino made headlines after becoming the first man to lift Haystacks Calhoun—a 640-pound behemoth.
The act was so phenomenal that it made the headlines of multiple papers.
Bruno Meets the Pope
Perhaps one of the greatest moments for the devout Catholic, Bruno Sammartino has had an honor that no other WWE superstar will perhaps ever have.
At the height of his popularity Sammartino was granted a private audience with the then pope, Pope Paul VI—an honor that may never be again bestowed upon a WWE superstar.
Bruno "Losses" the WWWF Title
No decorated career is complete without a left a few blunders, this stands true for Bruno Sammartino too, who in 1965 lost the then WWWF title.
Unlike most title losses however, the title was literally stolen from Sammartino.
While eating in a New York City restaurant, Sammartino's locked car was broken into and the title (said to be worth $10,000) was stolen and never returned.