Bruno Sammartino's induction legitimizes the hall of fame. Photo by: WWE
First off, Triple H deserves a ton of congratulations for pulling this off.
Bruno Sammartino is what professional wrestling is all about. Even though he was way before my time, just hearing the name and the respect others show him was enough for me. Now that Sammartino has accepted his rightful place in the Hall of Fame, its credibility is no longer questionable.
On May 17, 1963, Sammartino defeated then-champion “Nature Boy” Buddy Rodgers in just 55 seconds for the WWWF Championship. He kept the title for seven years, eight months and one day, the longest single title reign in history. His second title reign began on Dec. 10, 1973 and lasted three years, four months and 20 days. His 4,040 combined days are the most by over 1,800 days.
Throughout his career, Sammartino has sold out Madison Square Garden numerous times. He was Hulk Hogan before there was a Hulk Hogan. In many ways, he was bigger than Hulk Hogan.
Sammartino had two important feuds in his career, one with Larry Zbyszko and one with Ivan Koloff. These two, along with the name who made this happen, Triple H, should be considered to induct Sammartino. Sammartino and Zbyszko sold out Shea Stadium and put on one hell of a match.
Koloff defeated Sammartino on Jan. 18 1971 for the championship. The crowd was stunned in silence because of the result. Sammartino said when asked about his choice of inducter on Sirius 92, “Guys like Ivan Koloff who took the title from me and who I had some of the greatest matches with.” (h/t WrestlingInc.com).
Triple H is a doubtful inductee, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was chosen. His biggest accomplishment was initiating the talks between the WWE and Sammartino. He explained that the product has become more family-friendly and taken a bigger stance against steroids. Triple H is a man of history and respect for the business. He looks up to the guys who paved the way, and his speech would be the perfect way to show his appreciation.