Iconic Wrestler Bruno Sammartino Dead at 82

Bruno Sammartino

Bruno Sammartino, the WWE Hall Of Fame wrestler, has died at the age of 82.

Born on October 15, 1935, Sammartino grew up in Pizzoferrato, Italy before immigrating to the United States with his family, settling in Oakland, Pa.

Despite his success, Sammartino had a falling out with the company for more than two decades, but returned in 2013, when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Arnold Schwarzenegger at Madison Square Garden.

The City of Pittsburgh, where Sammartino lived during his adult life, took to Twitter to honor the legend: "We lost another legend today".

"The story of Bruno Sammartino is the story of the American dream". "Growing up in Pittsburgh, he was my father's hero, and sparked my dad's passion for the business that he passed on to me", Corey Graves added.

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Sammartino continued to wrestle into his 50s as Vince McMahon Jr. built the then-WWF into a nationwide phenomenon in the 1980s, developing feuds with much younger stars as Randy "Macho Man" Savage and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper while also serving as a color commentator during television broadcasts. After setting a world record in 1959 by bench-pressing 565 pounds, Sammartino caught the eye of Vincent J. McMahon, and became a sports-entertainer. For over seven years Sammartino consistently sold out Madison Square Garden feuding with villains such as Gorilla Monsoon, Waldo Von Erich, George The Animal Steel, Ernie Ladd, Freddie Blassie, The Sheik and many other well-known wrestling villains of the era.

Paul Levesque, a top WWE executive better known in the ring as Triple H, helped the company make peace with Sammartino. "Anybody who sees me in person will see the worst cauliflower ears I think you have ever seen", Sammartino once said, as reported by the Post-Gazette.

Some of the fondest memories of my childhood are of sitting in the basement with my grandfather on Saturday mornings and watching Bruno wrestle. He was an incredible performer, who made his Pittsburgh natives proud.

We at Wrestling Rumors extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sammartino family during this hard time. He carried himself with dignity, and was always courteous to his fans.

- Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 18, 2018One of the GREATEST of all time, Bruno Sammartino has left us.

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