WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino dead at 82

Wrestling icon Bruno Sammartino dies at 82

Sammartino was a staple at Madison Square Garden during his time atop the then-WWWF with his legendary clashes against some of the most dastardly heels in professional wrestling history.

After his career as a wrestler, Sammartino remained close with the WWE, serving as a commentator and mentor, before his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.

Nicknamed "The Italian Superman", the powerful Sammartino was the second-ever WWE Champion, defeating Buddy Rogers at Madison Square Garden in 1963 for the belt.

"Devastated to hear the passing of a true icon, legend, great, honest and wonderful man", professional wrestler Triple H also tweeted.

Our thoughts are with his family and fans during this painful time.

- Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 18, 2018This photo is from the first mention of Bruno Sammartino I can find in our archives, from a 1958 story in the Pittsburgh Press titled "Pittsburgh Hercules". He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Carol, and his three children. Bruno also famously accompanied his son, David Sammartino, during the first ever WrestleMania in 1985.

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Tommy Dreamer posted: "Bruno Sammartino is a wrestling Legend".

"I join all other Pittsburgh residents in saying "Thank you, Bruno" and we will miss you." . 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.

The same year, he would be inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame.

The pair hid in a mountain called Valla Rocca before they eventually made their way to the United States in 1950. My condolences to Bruno's friends, family, and countless fans.

He retired in 1981, a year after he defeated his former protégé Larry Zbyszko inside a steel cage at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York, in front of more than 35,000 people.

I didn't even know that Sammartino was in poor health, so this is a shock to me. Bruno would usually get an overpowering victory in the deciding match of the series, typically via a bear-hug finishing move that would prove he was more powerful than the vanquished beast.

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