Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Living Legend Comes Home

The rumors are over.  The speculation is done.  A twenty-five year silence is finally ended.  Bruno Sammartino is taking his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.

So much has been written of the issues between Sammartino and the company over the years.  He's being stubborn.  They're being stubborn.  The company isn't what it once was.  They're leaving him out just to spite him.  Guess what?  None of it matters now.  A deal has been made.  The news has been bigger than perhaps even those of us that wanted it to happen the most ever could've dreamed.  From the legendary KDKA here in Pittsburgh to ESPN, it's front page news.  It's a colossal event happening at just the right time.

While the announcement is even sweeter seeing as that the induction will take place in the house the Bruno built, Madison Square Garden, little or no attention has been paid to the fact that it is actually the 50th anniversary of Sammartino capturing the WWWF Championship for the first time.  It also marks 25 years since Bruno made his last "new" appearance on WWF television.  March of 1988 saw the end of Bruno as a color analyst on WWF Superstars of Wrestling.

Bruno has already publicly stated that he is doing this for the fans.  Is there money involved?  Absolutely.  There should be.  The man has an absolute right to it.  I've met Bruno many times.  I've watched him interact with the fans that, especially here in Pittsburgh, still idolize the champ.  Trust me when I say, he is doing this for the fans.  Others can raise their eyebrow and claim the name all that they want, but Bruno Sammartino will always be "The People's Champion."

At 77 years old, this is yet another gift to the fans who have already enjoyed so much from Mr. Sammartino.  After all of this time, we will finally get to see one of the men who built the company come back and participate in the future.  This is important not as much to the legacy of Sammartino but to the WWE itself.  The "Universe" of fans deserve to learn about the man who took a regional wrestling promotion and placed it on the launching pad to global recognition.  They deserve to know about a man who never went out and proclaimed to be a role model, but instead let his real life actions speak for him in a largely fictional world.  They deserve to know why Bruno Sammartino is indeed "The Living Legend."

Early discussion of the deal claims that Sammartino will appear as part of several home video releases as well as on WWE television in one form or another.  Seeing as that the deal was reached at all indicates that he will be treated as he should be: with dignity and respect.  While some will continue to bash the legend for his years of holding out, I find it impossible to believe that the deal was made with even the smallest chance of Sammartino being dragged into the content that he has always been so strongly against.  Will we see Bruno singing "Santa Lucia" with Santino?  Absolutely not.  We will see him presented the way that a honorable elder statesman of the industry should be treated.

I've described my own personal feelings about Mr. Sammartino in these pages many times before, and I don't think that my happiness over this development is any big secret.  Although I planned on attending before the possibility of Bruno finally accepting was even discussed, this has made my ecstatic over my decision.  As the son of original Pittsburgh Bruno fans from his glory days and becoming a fan myself over the years, I can honestly say that April 6, 2013 will be one of the highlights of my wrestling fandom.  Sitting in MSG for the first time was going to be emotional enough, but now it feels as if my legacy as a wrestling fan will have come full circle.  On that night, I'm positive that we will be hearing one particular chant, but I want to take the time and say it in advance.  From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my family, Pittsburgh, and all of your fans all over the world...

Thank you, Bruno.

1 comment:

Loneman1 said...

It really is awesome that it is happening at MSG. This dude is LOOOONG overdue to be inducted, regardless of whatever kind of bad blood there may be between him and Vince. Speaking of bad blood and the speculation of what really happened behind the scenes with the McMahon family and Randy Savage, that is another HUGE oversight that needs to be rectified sooner than later. The fact that he was promoting the new Mattel figures shortly before his passing kinda gives me hope that maybe he won't be too far behind.....