Story: Bruno Sammartino is a legend among legends, with one of the most epic runs in pro wrestling history, when he towered over the Northeast as WWWF champion for almost eight years, an incredible accomplishment. He was so beloved by the crowds that they would attack anyone who opposed him and he would turn away some of the most infamous, skilled challengers of his era. Sold out arenas and thrilled fans were Bruno’s claims to fame as he became an icon in the business and had some of the most memorable feuds with wrestling’s top villains. In this episode of Timeline, Bruno guides through most of the 1960s, when he was on top of the world.
Entertainment Value: I was impressed when Kayfabe Commentaries was able to land Bruno Sammartino, especially for a Timeline episode about this time period. As an aside, you should check out Sean Oliver’s books to learn more about these interviews and the workers involved, as he has a good Bruno story to share about this shoot. This was an insane get, having Bruno walk the audience through multiple years of his time as a top of the card talent and champion, as this is living history told by the undisputed best person to discuss the era. This is like Hulk Hogan detailing the mid 80s or Steve Austin going in depth about his prime years atop WWE’s roster, the first hand account of being at the apex of the sport, simply a treasure trove for fans. The interview runs almost two and a half hours, so the focus shifts often to cover the time span involved, but Bruno is on point and shares his memories and knowledge in clear, straight forward fashion. He doesn’t go on unrelated tangents or dodge questions, he just shares what he knows and that is what makes this such a pleasure to watch.
When you hear people talk about Bruno, they often describe him as old school, class, and always a professional, which is reflected in this interview. He does not address gossip at all, sticking to facts instead and what he either witnessed first hand, or heard from a trusted source. So if you’re looking for dirt or for the legend to bury people, this Timeline won’t scratch that itch. I appreciate the serious, focused approach taken with the interview and as always, Sean Oliver hosts with great skill, letting Bruno pace himself and only prompting when follow ups are in order. Despite the long span of years discussed, Bruno is able to cover a wealth of topics in depth and with a good amount of information, so the pace is never rushed or seems like topics are being skimmed over. I think this is one of Kayfabe Commentaries’ finest releases and this Timeline episode is highly recommended.
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