WRESTLING NEWS
Bruno Sammartino's Original WWE Title Belt Went Missing For 50 Years
By NICK MILLER
Before Bruno Sammartino started his nearly eight-year World Wide Wrestling Federation Championship reign in 1963, Buddy Rogers had held the title for a few weeks. Vince McMahon Sr. commissioned a new championship belt for Sammartino, so Rogers kept the previous belt which faded into history before being rediscovered a decade ago.
In 2012, the widow of wrestler Johnny Barend discovered the belt in her attic, and when WWE archivist Ben Brown received the news, he reached out to acquire the belt for Sammartino's Hall of Fame induction. However, by then, the title was already in the possession of championship belt designer Dave Millican, who told Brown that he wouldn't sell the belt, but he was open to trade.
From there, Brown went about gathering the necessary memorabilia for Millican and made his way to Memphis to trade for the title just days before Sammartino was set to enter the WWE Hall of Fame. The exchange was successful and Sammartino reunited with the original version of the WWE title on the night of the induction ceremony.