Message from Bruno Sammartino’s representative confirming that he will not be a part of WWE’s Hall of Fame: “We understand that word has broken on the Internet regarding “The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino being inducted in to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. Since word has broken publicly, I can confirm that we have been contacted. I have been asked by Bruno Sammartino to announce that he will NOT be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.”
Long-time professional wrestling photographer Bill Apter’s response:
I received your friend/representative Sal Corrente’s message (above) a few days ago and wanted to take some time and get my thoughts together about this very sensitive topic.
This is not the first time the WWE(F) has approached you to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. I know this for a fact because, and this will probably surprise you and many others. I worked in a freelance capacity for the Hall Of Fame when it was just a formative thought in Vince McMahon’s mind.
I was asked to procure personal memorabilia from the Legends that I was in regular contact with due to my work with the wrestling magazines throughout the years. One of those persons of course was you and when asked you were adamant that you would do anything for me because we had become professional and personal friends. This request however was outside either of those boxes. You were totally polite and professional and said “no.” There was no further discussion.
I respect you for “sticking to your guns” and turning down this recent offer to be inducted in 2013. However your legion of fans — some who are getting way up there in years — do not want to hear anything from you except the word “yes” when it comes to the WWE Hall Of Fame.
Realize, in my estimation, the majority of those fans don’t know about or care about the reasons, they just want to see their idol on the worldwide stage of the WWE Hall Of Fame.
Bruno, they want to reminisce, to applaud, to honor the “Living Legend.” They want to chant, “Bruno, Bruno, Bruno” again and bring back those “goose bump” chills they got when they (over 20,000 strong at Madison Square Garden monthly) cheered you on against your evil opponents.
You are a proud man and do not want to be part of what the world of Pro Wrestling has become. That is totally understandable. But where else can the millions of his fans get to see you honored? The WWE has the long reaching TV universe that can do this and make your fans happy.
In my opinion Bruno perhaps it is time to reconsider. Will people call you a “hypocrite?” The majority won’t and I feel confident of that. Am I saying do it for the fans Bruno? Absolutely. I would want to be right there in the front row and I would be chanting, “Bruno, Bruno, Bruno” along with everyone.
Actually I would probably start the chant!
Keep in mind I know all about your feelings, the politics, and so much more that makes you say “no” as we have discussed this many times. I’ve never really spilled my feelings out though until now.
In 2009 you accepted induction into the World Wide Wrestling Association Hall Of Fame. It was a pleasure to see this happen and I was honored to be there. Take a look back at this video interview (below, with me pictured with WWWA Promoter Dino Sanna) we did just before you went out to accept the award.
Thank you for your years of making the fans happy Bruno and everything I wrote is because I’m a Bruno fan too (and I think you know that)! You were part of my formative years as a fan and and it became my honor to be so closely associated both professionally and personally throughout the years.–Bill