Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Pittsburgh Legend Bruno Sammartino
I know this might seem like chaos having little or nothing to do with Pittsburgh's art scene, Bruno, who came to Pittsburgh as a boy is an iconic legend with a truely American life story.
Broken kneck, multiple back surgeries, knee surgery. This guy paid the price of greatness.
Check out this second interview. I swear I didn't put this up as a joke. This is a great story and Bruno is a great man.
He mentions the conflict in the interview, between wrestling's identity as just a staged circus act, and his desire to be seen as a serious athlete demonstrating fantastic strength, speed, agility and skill.
"Sammartino made his professional debut in Pittsburgh on December 17, 1959, pinning Dmitri Grabowski in 19 seconds.  On December 23, he defeated Miguel Torres, for the local Spectator Sports promotion, in Pittsburgh. He soon became extremely popular. The name of the local TV wrestling program was Studio Wrestling and it was broadcast on WIIC-TV Channel 11. The host was Pittsburgh personality Bill Cardille.
In 1966, Sammartino bought the Pittsburgh-based Spectator Sports promotion. The promotion was a stopping point for national stars such as Gorilla Monsoon, The Crusher, Bill Watts, George Steele, and Bobo Brazil, as well as featuring local talent like Johnny De Fazio, Frank "Carnegie Cop" Holtz, Hurricane Hunt, Tony "The Battman" Marino, and John L. Sullivan (who later gained fame as Johnny Valiant). Although there were no major problems, Sammartino sold the company in 1971. He was later asked by the new Buffalo-based owners to help with the booking of Pittsburgh area shows. The local TV show was canceled in 1974, and the promotion shut down. The Pittsburgh area then became part of the WWWF territory."