Exclusive interview: Bruno Sammartino and Triple H discuss WWE Hall of Fame

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February 06, 2013

You’ve heard the news by now. The most highly anticipated WWE Hall of Fame induction is now a reality. The longest-reigning WWE Champion of all time, Bruno Sammartino, will return home to Madison Square Garden on the night before WrestleMania 29 to take his rightful place as a WWE Hall of Famer.

(HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCEMENT | RETROSPECTIVE VIDEO)

It’s no secret that WWE has attempted to induct Bruno in the past, but the Abruzzi, Italy, native did not accept. For many longtime fans, the WWE Hall of Fame was simply not complete without the beloved Italian hero. One of those people was Triple H, who was responsible for reaching out to Bruno and cultivating a relationship with, perhaps, the greatest Superstar of all time. In an exclusive interview, WWE Classics spoke with both The Game and The Living Legend himself, who reminisced on his spectacular career and revealed how his stunning return to WWE was orchestrated.

WWECLASSICS.COM: It’s great to speak with you both. This is obviously an historic announcement, but let’s start off with the elephant in the room. Why now, Bruno? Why did you feel like this was the time to go into the WWE Hall of Fame?

BRUNO SAMMARTINO: Well, I guess the main reason would be Triple H. He’s the one who contacted me months ago and we got acquainted with each other. We had only met once, very, very briefly. I only really knew Triple H as a Superstar with WWE, but in person I think we only met for maybe 20 seconds.

TRIPLE H: I shook your hand once in Pittsburgh.

BRUNO: Exactly. It was a very quick introduction and that was it. But since then, Triple H contacted me and he started telling me everything that was going on with WWE. There had been issues and things that I was not happy with, but when I saw the changes, I was very, very impressed. Triple H was a very sincere guy and he was trained by someone who I had the most respect in the world for, and that was Walter “Killer” Kowalski. And then, of course, when he told me that it’s going to be in Madison Square Garden, that was huge for me, too, because of my history in the Garden.

(WATCH: BRUNO IN THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS ARENA)

WWECLASSICS.COM: Triple H, how important was it for you to make sure Bruno became part of the WWE Hall of Fame?

TRIPLE H: For me, it was huge. From a business standpoint it was huge and from a personal standpoint it was huge. I’ve always said I love the history of this business. Without the history, there is no today and there is no tomorrow. To look back on the history of WWE, one of the most important figures in the long story of where this all came from wasn’t recognized. And that was Bruno. It’s important to be able to allow the fans that do know who Bruno is to have the opportunity to pay tribute to him one more time. And to allow the fans that don’t know who Bruno is, or have heard of him and don’t really know that much about him, the opportunity to learn who he is. Arguably the biggest name ever in the history of the business is Bruno Sammartino.

WWECLASSICS.COM: What are your thoughts on Bruno’s previous reluctance to be inducted?

TRIPLE H: Bruno has had his gripes about the company in the past and they were completely justified. But we’ve changed, we’ve grown and we’ve evolved as a company. We’ve evolved as a business. And I felt like if Bruno knew those things and was comfortable with those things, I felt like he would want to be involved. [Wrestling] is in your blood. It’s who you are. And it was important for me for a lot of reasons to have Bruno back with WWE.

WWECLASSICS.COM: What about Madison Square Garden makes the induction so special?

TRIPLE H: Bruno sold out and headlined Madison Square Garden more than anybody in the history of the world. He sold it out himself. The times he wrestled there, the times he headlined there, it’s unbelievable. For Bruno to be back in the business again and for it all to take place at Madison Square Garden, it really was a fairy tale story that wrote itself.

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