~ For the second time, the professional wrestling hall of fame has come knocking. Once again he slammed the door in their faces.
~ Once, he was the undisputed king of professional wrestling. In the 60s he and his peers packed such hallowed arenas as the Boston Garden and The Madison Square Garden. The names of he and his peers are virtually unknown to the wrestling fans of today.
~ There are some of us who do remember the likes of Chief Jay Strongbow, Ivan Putski, Baron Scicluna, Haystack Calhoun, Stan "The Man" Stasiak, Lou Albano, and of course George "The Animal" Steele. Yes, before Cyndi Lauper had him in her video, and before he managed, he was a wrestler.
~ The unquestioned king of the ring, however, was one Bruno Sammartino. Professional wrestling today is an R-rated theater. Sure, it was theater back then too, but there was a marked difference.
~ "You never heard vulgar language from the wrestlers then," said the 69 year old Sammartino from his Pittsburgh home shortly after he had rejected his second offer from the hall of fame.
~ "I have completely divorced myself from the wrestling world," he explained. "I don't believe in it. I would wonder where my principles are if I accepted." The reasons for his divorce from the sport that made him rich and famous are that it has become a drug culture and it has shameless disregard for its young fans. These young fans' senses are assailed with profanity and sexual exploitation.
~ Vince's father ran the show back then and built himself a tidy fortune. Bruno and his ring buddies and foes also were well taken care of, earning nesteggs of their own.
~ This isn't Vince's father's wrestling today. Vince has turned his father's baby into a multi-million dollar juggernaut. The purses are richer now, the stakes are higher, and the audiences are considerably larger.
~ Among those fans however, you'll never see a certain former wrestling champion. Somewhere they are trying to remove their hall of fame from a certain place that the sun never shines, compliments from Bruno Sammartino.
Bruno Sammartino's quotes above were taken from an article by Joe Fitzgerald of the Boston Herald dated Feb.26, 2005.