The WWE has finally made their Hall of Fame a legitimate entity now that Bruno Sammartino has accepted to be included. The legendary former World Champion was considered the last bastion that the WWE would need to overcome before the wrestling world would take the HOF seriously. Sammartino is to be inducted at a ceremony in Madison Square Garden, a venue he sold out arguably more than any entertainer or figure in history.
Though on the surface it would seem the WWE has won a major war by getting Sammartino to take part in this year’s festivities there still a lot of lingering questions going forward. Sammartino has long fought against taking part in the Hall of Fame debauchery due to lingering problems Bruno has had with WWE CEO Vince McMahon, steroids, sex, the lack of a physical structure and the inclusion of people who have no established link to professional wrestling including the likes of comedian Drew Carey and former Cincinnati Red Pete Rose.
Sammartino went on record in a 2006 interview with the Pro Wrestling Torch voicing his opinion of the WWE Hall of Fame and whether or not he would ever take the recognition saying “No, absolutely not. End of the question. They offered the Hall of Fame several times and I had absolutely nothing to do with it. What kind of a person would I be to accept their Hall of Fame after I’ve been so outspoken against everything that they stand for? I would be the biggest hypocrite in the world.” So does that make Sammartino if, not by his own words, a hypocrite? And by Sammartino now admitting he is a hypocrite does that truly bring the legitimacy to the WWE Hall of Fame that they so long for?
The WWE has produced a number of press releases and Sammartino has done a number of interviews of late that details why he now chose to accept this “honor” including calling it merely a business decision. McMahon is all about doing what is best for business as has been showcased by his ability to rebuild burned bridges with former workers if it meant the WWE would profit. There has also been talk that the WWE will eventually build a physical structure for the Hall of Fame, something which apparently was a selling point for Bruno to accept the invitation.
While there are those who are touting that this move by the WWE and Sammartino is a great thing and that Sammartino is well deserving and it is way past time for this to happen, there are more who feel Sammartino has sold out. Sammartino said in the Torch interview “How can anyone take a Hall of Fame seriously? It’s a joke for God’s sake. How does one qualify for the Hall of Fame? Vince McMahon thinks about how would be good for the Hall of Fame. ‘Who can we get this year? Let’s see, so and so and so and so would be good selections.’ That’s a Hall of Fame?”
In a business that is primarily about money the WWE Hall of Fame is no different and it seems now too, that was a motivating factor for Sammartino. There is a documentary in the planning/developmental stages about the life of Bruno Sammartino which has struggled to find financing and there has been talk that the WWE is now interested in helping the project move forward. This is all about business and nothing more…
If the WWE Hall of Fame is a “joke” and its newest inductee is, by his own words, “the world’s biggest hypocrite” then how does the WWE gain any legitimacy by adding Bruno Sammartino and truly, how does Bruno Sammartino now live with himself?
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