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WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino has died at age 82

WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino has died at age 82”

Bruno Sammartino, one of professional wrestling's longest-reigning champions, died on Wednesday at the age of 82. The promotion would bring in huge men such as Killer Kowalski, Bill Miller, George Steele and Gorilla Monsoon and build them up as unbeatable monsters capable of ending Sammartino's title reign, but none of them could do it.

Sammartino struck a cord with those who could relate to his struggles, including Peter Gene Hernandez, whose father nicknamed him "Bruno" by his father due to the resemblance to Bruno Sammartino.

Mr McMahon tweeted: "One of the finest men I knew, in life and in business".

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.

Sammartino was born in Abruzzo, Italy before moving to Pittsburgh, PA as a teenager.

Sammartino, who started his wrestling career in the late '50s, wrestled for Vince McMahon Sr.'s World Wide Wrestling Federation in the '60s, '70s and '80s. On January 18, 1971, Ivan Koloff ended Sammartino's run as champion, however he did not hold the belt long.

He began lifting weights and set a world record in 1959 by bench-pressing 565 pounds.

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In 1980, Sammartino once again broke box-office records for the sport at that time when he faced his former protégé, Larry Zbyszko.

Sammartino and Hulk Hogan - the biggest long-term money-making draws in WWE history - tagged together in the Legend's final match. He also wrestled through a legitimate broken neck to finish out a big-money title feud against Stan Hansen in 1976.

Sammartino finally accepted an invitation for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, which he entered on the eve of WrestleMania 29.

Paul Levesque, a top WWE executive better known in the ring as Triple H, helped the company make peace with Sammartino. He was the most vibrant and spirited person I met that week, and he shared with me invaluable wisdom about the business and life as a whole.

"Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man".

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said Sammartino was one of the city's greatest ambassadors.

"I grew up watching Bruno".



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