Bruno Sammartino Talks His Last Meeting With Vince, MSG, Reaction To His Induction And More

Bruno Sammartino Talks His Last Meeting With Vince, MSG, Reaction To His Induction And More
I spoke with 2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Bruno Sammartino for an interview last week. In the first part of the interview below, "The Living Legend" discussed the last time he was at Madison Square Garden, winning the WWWF title nearly 50 years ago, his last meeting with Vince McMahon and more.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of our interview, where Bruno discusses upcoming films based in his life, if he'll meet Vince McMahon before the Hall of Fame, WWE under Triple H, current stars he enjoys, appearing on RAW after WrestleMania and much more. You can get more information about Sammartino on his official website at

Wrestling INC: The reaction since the announcement has been made about your induction has been overwhelming across the board. You haven't been on TV in a full-time wrestling role since 1988. Were you surprised by the reaction, not just by the press, but also the younger and older fans?

Bruno: I'm not surprised, I'm shocked. [Laughs.] I think shocked is more the word. Honestly, when I left the business, in time, some people might remember you and some might say they knew the name. But, people move on and there are new interests and all kinds of different things go on all the time.

So, it surprised me how people have not forgotten. But, all this times and all these years I've been totally out of the picture. Then, when I started negotiating with Paul Levesque, who is better known as Triple H, we got together and I finally agreed to do this. When they announced it, I was hoping there would be some positive reaction. But, never in my wildest imagination did I think that it would be the way it's been.

It's unbelievable. My phone hasn't stopped ringing during the last two weeks and I cannot tell you how many interviews I've done. Not only throughout the United Stated with radio shows, magazine and television shows, but overseas.

I did one or two and I got one coming up from London on Thursday night. It's just been unbelievable. Paul Levesque, Triple H, he told me they were just flooded with calls and e-mails and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, I'm pleasantly surprised. But, I'm really quite shocked. [Laughs.]

Wrestling INC: You're synonymous with Madison Square Garden, the most famous arena in the world. You've sold out the Garden 187 times. When was the last time you were at the Garden?

Bruno: Oh, gosh. When I officially retired in 1982, I had made the last appearance then. But, then, when I came back [to WWF] as a color commentator in I believe it was September of 1984 and stayed during color commentating until 1988. I was asked to put on the tights -- which I wasn't thrilled to do. Believe me when I tell you. [Laughs.]

But, my son was in the business then, too, to I agreed. So, I appeared in the Garden a number of times. Maybe three or four times, somewhere around there. That was '87-'88, that was the last time I ever appeared there.

Wrestling INC: Have you been there as just a spectator or anything?

Bruno: No, I have not been in the Garden for at least 25 or 26 years. I have not been in the Garden at all.

Wrestling INC: This May, it'll be the 50th anniversary of you defeating Buddy Rogers at the Garden for the WWWF in 48 seconds. There have always been a lot of stories about that match and that he didn't want to lose to you. And that you basically told him in the ring that he was going to go down to you that night. Was that how it happened?

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