When the WWE inducts wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame, it will bring to a fitting close one of the most successful careers of all time.
Many of the WWE's younger fans may not know all that much about Sammartino. The quick run-down is this: Sammartino was the second WWE champion ever crowned.
With the company known at the time as the WWWF, Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers on May 17, 1963, less than a month after Rogers "won" it in a tournament. Sammartino would go on to hold the title until Jan. 18, 1971—nearly eight years later. A second title run lasted an impressive three years, four months and 20 days.
In between, he conquered the wrestling world. His charisma and drive made him a household name, much like Hulk Hogan in the '80s and The Rock in the '90s.
He fought the legends of the ring, including Gorilla Monsoon and Killer Kowalski. He sold out Madison Square Garden 187 times. According to WWE.com, grown men cried when he lost the belt for the first time in '71.
Bruno began his wrestling career in 1959, winning his first bout in 19 seconds. (Davies, Ross (2001). Bruno Sammartino. Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 23–24.)
But because of how early he started wrestling, there isn't much video of his early matches. Most of what is available are pictures or eyewitness accounts.
This article ranks five of Sammartino's best matches available on video. Because of this, some bouts have been left off, such as his epic clash with Pedro Morales.
Matches are ranked based on intensity and how the bout affected Sammartino in a historical sense.