Bruno Sammartino honored with the key to Jersey City, N.J.

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April 05, 2013

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — One night before his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, Bruno Sammartino received a very special honor in a city where many of his greatest battles were fought.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy and other dignitaries gathered at City Hall to present Sammartino with the key to Jersey City. Many of The Living Legend’s famous bouts took place in the city, on the banks of the Hudson River.

“In the ’60s, I used to come to Jersey City, at the Armory and Roosevelt Stadium,” Sammartino recalled. “I’m not just saying it because I’m here today, but the fans here were always so great to me. They treated me so well and were so supportive.”

Sammartino was also presented with a proclamation from the City Council in recognition of his amazing in-ring career, as well as a statue from the Jersey City Detective’s Benevolent Association.

“This isn’t just from me and the nine council people, but from more than 250,000 people of the great city of Jersey City,” Mayor Healy said.

Everyone in attendance within the cavernous hall recollected their childhoods while recalling their favorite moments from Sammartino’s career. Tales of his battles with Buddy Rogers, Killer Kowalski and Gorilla Monsoon echoed off the building walls while Bruno listened and smiled, jumping in on occasion to add a few details.

Detective Jerry DeCicco of the Jersey City Police Department remembered The Living Legend’s battle with “Classy” Freddie Blassie at Roosevelt Stadium, a baseball stadium that stood in the proud city from 1937 until 1985.

“Blassie hit him with a low blow, almost causing a riot,” DeCicco said with a laugh. “Thanks to the extraordinary work of the JCPD, Blassie got out before he could get hurt.”

Mayor Healy’s favorite moment involved a bet Bruno had made with Dr. Jerry Graham over whether Sammartino could do 10 pushups with Graham on his back. The Living Legend only made it to three or four before Graham walloped him with a chair.

One night before he is immortalized in the WWE Hall of Fame, it meant a lot for Sammartino to come back to a place where he made so much history.

“Every time I wrestled here, we packed those arenas,” he said. “That makes you feel great.”

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