|The Living Legend|
Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated via WWE.com
The feud is over.
In the most epic resolution of all out-of-character wrestling feuds possible, Bruno Sammartino has finally buried the hatchet with WWE and will accept an invitation to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. In a class that already includes Mick Foley, Bob Backlund, and Trish Stratus, Sammartino is by far the biggest name, and will continue to be the biggest name unless by some last-minute deal that will include Randy Savage. In a related note, damn, how is it that Foley and Backlund are still going to end up overshadowed, even as they enter the Hall? A propos, I guess.
Anyway, for fifteen years, Sammartino WAS the (W)WWF. He was their top star, their rock of a Champion, and the name most people would associate with New York wrestling pre-Hulk Hogan. He's a name that may not mean a whole lot to neophyte fans, but to the longtime wrestling fans who grew up with the company even as far as the early '90s, Sammartino's name was always uttered in hushed tones, even if the young folk like myself only heard of his legend from our parents and other historians. The man was the longest reigning WWE Champion of all-time, his reigns were a combined 11 years in length.
Sammartino and Vince McMahon had a falling out over the image of the company, particularly during the Attitude Era. In the Jon Robinson story on this linked above, he claims to be okay with where the company's going now (which is odd given that it's taken a turn for the more lascivious in the last six months coinciding with The Rock's return), which has paved the way for Sammartino's return into the WWE family.
There is now an official acknowledgement of the news on WWE.com. Say what you want about the company, but they are very much ahead of the curve when it comes to dealing with news leaks. I assume we'll get a video package on RAW tonight. Either way, this is about as huge news to come out regarding the WWE Hall of Fame as possible outside of a physical venue being constructed. While I am usually between apathetic and amused at the HOF announcements (depending on how big a fan I was of the guy getting in), I can honestly say that this is a transcendent story.
(And if we get a confrontation between CM Punk and Sammartino out of it? That would be interesting to say the least...)