CBS KDKA in Pittsburgh reports that WWE Hall of Fame inductee Bruno Sammartino is the first to be inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday. Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to induct Sammartino.
This week Sammartino also spoke with NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in Pittsburgh about changing his mind and entering the WWE Hall of Fame. You can listen to the complete audio at the above link. Here are some highlights:
Why he stayed away from the WWE and the Hall of Fame for a long time: “It became an embarrassment for me. And, I was very turned off, which is why I turned down the Hall of Fame for the past 20-something years. They contacted me about seven months ago and assured me they are doing a very strict drug programming and also the nudity, vulgarity, and profanity was all gone.”
How WWE’s association with doctor Joseph Maroon was also a factor in his coming around to WWE: “They hired Dr. Joseph Maroon. I know him well. He operated on me three different times (to save Bruno from paralysis). I had no circulation going to my lower extremities and my nerves were going to be damaged. At that point, there was nothing they could do for you, and you would be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. It took three different surgeries – a couple of surgeons wouldn’t even touch me after the MRIs – so he put me back on my feet. And, here I am doing road work and pumping iron. He became in-charge of their Wellness Policy for concussions and overall physicals to make sure these guys are fit to go in that ring. When I heard about it – because I quit watching wrestling for 20, 25 years – I started watching it after Paul Levesque (Triple H) contacted me.”
Sammartino will also be part of a song recording for the song “Strong Like Bruno.” The song is part of a program to inspire youth to not take a day off from hard work.