Skip to comments.Wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino dies at 82
Posted on 04/18/2018 9:03:45 AM PDT by TexasGurl24
Professional wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino has died at 82, WWE announced Wednesday.
A sickly, malnourished immigrant boy when he first came to America, Sammartino transformed himself into one of the strongest men in the world, winning the respect and love of legions of immigrants who found hope in his message that hard work brings reward.
You just knew this guy was a nobody, said Marty Lazzaro, a fan as a kid who became Sammartino's friend and spokesman in adulthood. But he came here, worked hard, got big and strong and made something of himself. These people weren't just rooting for Bruno. They were rooting for the idea that they could make something of themselves, too.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald called Sammartino a Pittsburgh legend and iconic figure in a statement issued shortly after news of Sammartino's death broke Wednesday morning.
He has always made us proud. He embodied Pittsburgh and served as one of the greatest ambassadors for this region, Fitzgerald said. This is a great loss for those of us who are of a certain age who remember his accomplishments and achievements in the ring. Growing up, Bruno always made us proud that he was from Pittsburgh and made us prouder to be from Pittsburgh too.
(Excerpt) Read more at triblive.com ...
That stirs some memories. RIP.
I used to love watching wrestling on Saturday afternoon. Mr. Wrestling #2, The Sheik, Andre the Giant, Bobo Brazil, all the classics. Same format as today’s wrestling but without the explosions, rock music and hot ring girls. Ok, the hot ring girls are an improvement.
I remember Bruno. He had a feud with Rowdy Piper.
Me too. Baron Mikel Scicluna, Gorilla Monsoon and his Manchurian Landslide.
Bruno told the story once that Art Rooney (the original Steelers owner) during the early 60’s invited him for a tryout and offered him a contract to be a Pittsburgh Steeler lineman. He turned him down because he would have been taking a pay cut.
He was a true great one. He used to talk about how his mother and his family used to be hiding from the Germans during WWII. He would be on local TV a lot over the years talking about different subjects such as wrestling and growing up in the Pittsburgh area after coming here as an Italian immigrant. He was very interesting to listen to.
When I was a kid (60s/70s), I loved the fact that there were so many guys that were local (Bruno, Jumping Johnny Defazio, Larry Zybysco and Dominic Denucci, etc...). For younger people, you may not know but all pro wrestling leagues were local to areas at that time and we in SW Pa got Vince McMahon Sr and the WWF.
My sons are big wrestling fans, but Bruno refused to sign an autograph for my son when he was just a little boy. So, a fan of him I WAS NOT.
About fan signing:
A dozen or so years ago I was looking for a rifle range somewhere near my prior address. One of them was having an open house.
On the porch of the clubhouse sat a formerly tall mild-mannered elderly man, bony and slumped with age, but smiling. His name: Killer Kowalski. He was signing photos... I thanked him for scaring me as a kid many years ago, and we laughed. He was nice, and mellow. He died a couple of years later.
I have a feeling there's more to that story than that. Perhaps he was on a tight schedule and had to run. Because one would have to be a real creep to reject a little kid fan of his. And I doubt he was anything of the sort.
Went to see his match against Haystacks Calhoon,700 pounds of pure fat,in the mid 50’s. Bruno picked up Calhoon and threw him on his back. The expression on Calhoon’s face was priceless.
Bruno was very cool, extremely intelligent, and seriously rough back in the early 60's.
He was a good friend.
.....................a real man.
Sounds like a real nice guy.
George The Animal Steele had nothing but praise for Bruno as a worker on his website.
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