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Could WWE Book A Modern Day Bruno Sammartino?

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Bruno Sammartino
Credit: Sports Illustrated

On April 18, 2018, at the age of 82, Bruno Sammartino passed away, taking away one of the greatest legacies of any WWE (then WWWF) performers in history. I wanted to write about it, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t there for it. At least not the important part.

But write is what I do. It’s what I am good at. (Shut up, you!) Bruno Sammartino essentially gave us the gift of the modern day WWE, and the only gift I can give is this.

You don’t have a receipt, you can’t return it. So check it out…

The Legend That Is Bruno Sammartino

Bruno Sammartino was WWWF Champion (at times called Heavyweight Champion, at times World Heavyweight Champion) for a combined 4,040 days. Four thousand and forty. Typing it out, and reading the written words really drives home the length of his reign. That’s over eleven years, and my own daughter is only nine. Bruno Sammartino held the WWWF Championship for a longer period of time (combines) than my daughter has been alive.

Bruno’s first reign started on May 17, 1963, and ended on January 18, 1971 when he lost the championship to the late, great, Ivan Koloff (who also deserves to be in the WWE Hall Of Fame, but that’s another article). His 2,803 day long reign legitimized a championship that, before him, was held for 22 days by Buddy Rogers. That belt was awarded to Rogers (yes, another fictitious tournament in Rio de Janeiro) due to a dispute with the NWA, but the actual number of days is reported differently than what WWE reports. Still, even adding a few months doesn’t change much.

Bruno was the second champion, and his 2,803 reign is a thing of record. Legitimate record. Many sold out houses. Entire cities coming out to see him defend his championship. Bruno Sammartino is the reason a “world title” is so important today.

Take a look at those “other” reigns, including Bruno’s:

  • Bruno Sammartino – 2,803 days
  • Bob Backlund – 2,135 days
  • Hulk Hogan – 1,474 days
  • Bruno Sammartino AGAIN – 1,237 days
  • Pedro Morales – 1,027 days
  • CM Punk – 434 days

That’s right, Bruno holds two of the top six reigns, and Backlund’s can actually be considered two shorter reigns put together (look it up). There is 668 days between Bruno’s first reign and Backlund’s first reign. That’s almost two years.

But let’s take Bruno’s longest reign, 7.67 years in length, into consideration for a moment. Yes, it’s the greatest reign ever put together. But this is 2018, and we have to ask the question: Could you do it now?

Think about the time frame of seven years ago. Seven years ago we watched WrestleMania 27, hosted by The Rock and headlined by John Cena challenging The Miz for the WWE Championship. The Miz would retain, holding that title for a grand total of 160 days. To many, that felt like a long reign.

And you could argue that it was.

But you have to go backwards over two years to find a reign longer (Triple H’s 210 day reign in 2008). You also have to fast forward a year to get to CM Punk’s 434 day reign.

Think about those numbers: 210, 160, 434. In total those three reigns are 804 days long. Bruno’s first reign alone was 3.4 times as long. For someone to surpass Bruno Sammartino’s reign today, they’d have been champion at WrestleMania 27, WrestleMania 28, WrestleMania 29, WrestleMania 30, WrestleMania 31, WrestleMania 32, WrestleMania 33, and WrestleMania 34. They’d have had to survive a title unification, a brand split, The Rock’s return, Brock Lesnar’s return, The Shield, The YES Movement, The Authority, Roman Reigns, potentially eight Royal Rumble winners, and ten Monday In The Bank cash-ins.

TEN Money In The Bank Cash Ins??? That’s ludicrous, and is basically irresponsible booking.

In this day and age of weekly episodic television, brand splits, the internet, social media, and co-branded PPV events, it’s impossible to even fathom such a reign. At the time of this writing, Brock Lesnar has been WWE Universal Champion for 387 days. He would still have another 2,416 days left to go, or 6.6 years. That means making it past WrestleMania 41 as Universal Champion.

WrestleMania 41.

Had Brock Lesnar retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31, We’d still be waiting until after WrestleMania 38 for him to lose!

There is but one man on the current WWE roster capable of such a feat, a man who talks with his actions and is such a throwback–yet believable today. That man is Cesaro. And as his biggest fan, I can’t imagine him winning the WWE Championship today and holding it beyond WrestleMania 42.

Brock Lesnar?

In fact, there’s only one man in the modern day WWE who could have done it, and as much as you hate this, it’s Brock Lesnar! Had Brock Lesnar retained his championship against Eddie Guerrero at No Way Out on February 14, 2004, his 152 day reign (which started on September 16, 2003) would have had to continue until May 19, 2011. A full 30 different WWE Championship reigns happened during that time, including 8 over 100 days, and John Cena’s 380 day run.

(For those of you hating the suggestion of Brock Lesnar because he’s lazy and doesn’t do much, know that he does more in the ring than Bruno Sammartino did. And Bruno’s finisher was a Bear Hug.)

The title of this article is “Could WWE Book A Modern Day Bruno Sammartino?” The answer, quite simply, is no. And they don’t have to.

That’s why Bruno was, and should still be considered, the man.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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Levin’s SmackDown Live Review

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You figured the aftermath of the Extreme Rules pay-per-view would be “must-see” television on SmackDown Live. With Jeff Hardy demanding a rematch for the United States Title with Shinsuke Nakamura and a potential confrontation with Randy Orton, the show was very much something I was looking forward to.

Let’s not forget WWE still had to wade through the waters of A.J. Styles’ win over Rusev. Would the company continue to book this feud moving forward? There was Carmella and her stooge James Ellsworth and the Asuka “situation.” Would the Empress of Tomorrow exact her revenge?

And if that wasn’t enough, Daniel Bryan has officially signed his new deal with WWE, which means he could be booked as a contender for Styles’ WWE Title. Where did The Miz fit in all of this, while he was busy playing softball during the MLB All-Star festivities and missed the show on Sunday night?

I waited anxiously for answers. Was I satisfied with the results? No exactly. Here are a few thoughts about SmackDown Live.

A.J. Styles vs. Cien Almas

The two superstars meet for the first time in WWE and does well for himself. The two crossed paths in Japan, renewing an old rivalry. The former NXT star has shown in recent weeks he could be part of the blue brand’s title picture. Almas was able to answer the WWE champion’s arsenal.

If WWE is going to push Almas toward the main event picture, this was the showcase he needed. Almas may have submitted to the calf crusher, but this is a feud I would love to see moving forward.

It also remains to be seen when WWE may book Styles to finally drop the company title.

The Demise of Rusev Day?

More like the beginning of the end of the relationship between Rusev and Aiden English. After watching the exchange between English and Lana, discussing how bad Rusev’s sidekick felt about costing him the WWE Title at Extreme Rules, I hope this does not lead to a confrontation between both performers.

This would be a huge blow to Rusev’s chance to remain in the main event picture. It may also put an end to the “Rusev Day” phenomenon.

Becky Lynch vs. Mandy Rose

While I am huge fan of Lynch, maybe even a slight crush on the Irish lass, the continual weekly bouts with Lynch and Sonya Deville have to stop. There is no movement in the women’s division. If anything, moving Sasha Banks to Tuesday nights might be the best thing for this division while Charlotte Flair is still out of action.

I will say this, the match between the two women may have been the best we have seen, with Rose showing she can hold her own with a former women’s champion. But still, “Make this stop!”

Now, Lynch sets her sights on Carmella and the SmackDown Women’s Title.

Paige and Carmella

I love Paige. Leave it to the SmackDown Live general manager to stir the pot. Lynch gets her shot at Carmella in a non-title match. If she beats the champion, she gets another match at SummerSlam. It makes you wonder what the heck the company is doing with Asuka.

Samoa Joe vs. Tye Dillinger

Seriously! Dillinger is a classic example of moving to the main roster too soon. Joe should be part of the main event picture. You have to wonder when that might happen as WWE has yet to fully push the wild Samoan.

If Joe is not used effectively, where he deserves a chance to face Styles (see a theme here?) but his health and a crowded title picture may screw him out of a match.

The Miz Eulogizes Team Hell No!

The best part of Tuesday nights is the appearance of the “A-Lister.” Offering a eulogy for the demise of Daniel Bryan and Kane, who suffered a broken ankle in the loss to the Bludgeon Brothers was class Miz.

Oh, and congratulations on winning the MVP of the celebrity softball game on Monday night. Sorry, back to the moment at hand. We even got an N’Sync reference which was classic.

The Miz remains the class of Tuesday nights.

After proclaiming Bryan’s career is dead, you know what happens next. The setup for SummerSlam has begun.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Kofi Kingston vs. Eric Young

There was a time when Eric Young was one of the best in the business and one of the more underrated wrestlers. Now, he is the leader of Sanity. I’m not sure if I like this faction, but they are growing on me.

Kofi Kingston could be part of the main event picture, but he is mired in the current situation with The New Day. I’m still waiting for WWE to dissolve this trio and give Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods their own angles. The match between Kingston and Young could be a solid mid card feud, but that won’t happen.

A wheel barrow neck breaker gives Young the win.

Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (for the United States Title)

In the opening segment, Hardy said he was BROKEN because he did not have the United States Title around his waist and invoked his return title match clause. It was a good match, but not great.

Hardy takes the fight to the champion immediately. But this match slows down as expected. Nakamura continues to play the role of villain well, getting heat from the fans in attendance (who were mostly quiet until the Bryan-Miz segment). I’m curious what this match would be like if Hardy was healthy.

He admitted he has been banged up for some time prior to the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

Insert Randy Orton. The Viper beats the hell out Hardy until he defends himself. Ultimately, Orton stakes his claim as the top heel on Tuesday nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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WWE Possibly Doing an All Women PPV? Yes, Please!

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So, rumor’s been going around that WWE’s planning to do a PPV strictly for the Women’s Divisions of RAW and SmackDown and all I can say is: FINALLY! WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR TICKETS?!

Ever since the start of the Women’s Revolution, it’s become more and more obvious that the women need a show of their own because as the Women’s Divisions grow on the Main Roster, there’s less and less room for them on the PPVs and TV and it’s a problem that’s not going to get better with time.

A major promotion doing an all women PPV isn’t new. TNA has done them before for their Women’s Division, however, WWE has never before invested the time in exploring such a thing, or had a big enough Women’s Roster to do it with, now they have both.

Why? Well, the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Divisions have a lot of talent, but are still seriously outnumbered by the men’s roster and so don’t get as much TV time as they should and when they do get TV time, if they aren’t involved in the title situation, they’re usually in a multi-person tag match.

So, what are WWE’s options here?

1. A Regular PPV. They could just take an already existing PPV like Unforgiven or No Mercy and just have an all-female card. Problem is making it feel special instead of WWE just copping out.

2. A Brand New PPV. This is the one I like the best, instead of resurrecting an old PPV: Give the women a PPV of their own that is named for them. The name I’ve been kicking around today is ‘WWE: Revolution’ and having the poster be of the two Women’s Division rosters.

3. A Network Special. This is the one I can honestly see WWE doing in the spirit of the UK Tournament or the Greatest Royal Rumble. One idea that a lot of fans seem to like is ‘Queen of the Ring’, which would, of course be an all women’s version of King of the Ring.

One issue I can see arising from doing an all women PPV is having enough matches to fill a three hour PPV/Special slot plus the Kickoff Show. There’s about twenty women between RAW and Smackdown, now that sounds like a lot, but WWE had a card of about 35 people divided up into twelve matches, including the Kickoff Show, and there was still a lot of talking to make the time stretch and that was with seven title matches. So how would they fill in the gaps for the Women’s Division when each division only has one title belt to compete for?

1. Include NXT. The NXT Women’s Division is looking really good right now and a good case could be made to include the NXT Women in an all women WWE PPV/Special.

2. Include some legends. If WWE were to do something like they did with the Women’s Royal Rumble and bring back some past Women’s Division stars and Legends and set up some dream matches it would not only generate a lot of interest in the show but definitely fill the roster up.

3. Have Title Tournaments. This would really only work if WWE was planning on introducing secondary and tag titles to the Women’s Divisions. The finals for those matches would be great additions to a Women’s PPV.

4. Include the Mae Young Classic. I doubt very seriously that this will happen, but it would be a great addition if this PPV goes off to maybe have the Mae Young Classic final match on the card.

Again, it’s only rumored that WWE’s considering a Women’s Division PPV, but I think it’s an idea whose time has come and is long overdue. Since 2015, the revamped Women’s Division has shown that they are more than capable of carrying a card, never mind a PPV on their own and it’s time they were given the chance to prove it.


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Ring Riffs: The Undertaker Vs. Giant Gonzales (WrestleMania IX)

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Welcome to Ring Riffs! Where we take the absolute worst of professional wrestling and wrap it up in a neat little episodic package for your entertainment…and my own sense of masochism.

I have made my (small) claim to fame as a wrestling writer, both as professional wrestling fanatic and a glutton for punishment, as I – like most of us – are willing to wade through the muck and mucus of embarrassing skits, negative 2 star matches and backstage scandals to embrace those special, singular moments that made us fans in the first place.

I intend to wade through the muck for all of you. Consider this dying for the sins of wrestling. Again. And again. And horrifyingly again.

Ring Riffs is my video love letter to everything absolutely horrid about professional wrestling. We are all aware that, like any form of entertainment, there is the best of wrestling and the worst of it. We nerd-rage over matches and moments that are beneath our expectations of what wrestling should be – but over time, those terrible moments become inside jokes and memes for us to point and laugh at, wondering exactly what life-altering drugs were ingested by those who believed their ideas would get over with the wrestling fanbase.

So here we are, and here I am, ready to exploit the bottom of the barrel when it comes to wrestling matches. There is an entire galaxy of terrible matches for your entertainment…and for my punishment for the evil things I have done in my life.

In Episode #4, I took a look at what made the WrestleMania IX match between The Undertaker and Giant Gonzales was such a fascinating mess of truly epic proportions. Epic may be the understatement of the millennia.

Don’t forget to “like” the episodes and subscribe to the Ring Riffs Channel! It helps The Chairshot, and helps me continue to do what I do.

***WARNING***If you are easily offended by words, or if you are generfally a good parent who doesn’t want their children exposed to potty-mouthed anger, viewer discretion is advised.

Subscribe to the Ring Riffs YouTube Channel to keep new episodes coming!

Join the Ring Riffs Facebook Page.

Follow @RiffsRing on Twitter.

Love Wrestling. Love Life. Love Each Other.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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