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.
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.
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.
Beyond The Mat: That Time My Two Favorite Shows Met And It Wasn’t Awful
Tiffany MC checks in on Beyond The Mat, where The Miz guest stars on Supernatural!
Sometime Friday afternoon, it was announced that ‘Supernatural’ the longest running show in CW history, would be ending its unprecedented run after its upcoming FIFTEENTH season. For those of you who don’t know what ‘Supernatural’ is about: Supernatural is a show about two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who travel around the country hunting supernatural creatures in a 1967 Chevy Impala. It doesn’t sound like much but this show has outlasted several better known CW shows, like ‘Smallville’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and its spinoff, ‘The Original’, it even outlasted its original parent network, the WB Network. Dubbed, ‘The Little Show That Could’, Supernatural went from being a perennial part of the Cancellation Bubble Crowd, to a staple and institution of television, that other sci-fi genre shows looked to for inspiration on how to last on TV.
On top of that, the show became infamous for its dedicated fanbase, dubbed ‘The SPN Family’ or just ‘The Family’ and that fanbase became famous in its own right through the acts of charity they and the show’s cast and crew participated in, from the WSHES scavenger hunt, to helping raise awareness of mental health and social issues.
What does that have to do with wrestling? Well, on the surface, nothing, except for one thing: Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin. Miz actually guest-starred on Supernatural during the eleventh season in an episode called ‘Beyond the Mat’, playing a struggling professional wrestler who has a chance to make it to the big time, in exchange for his soul. Miz didn’t take the offer and paid for it with his life.
When I first heard about this episode and who would be in it, I was extremely nervous and skeptical. Most wrestling fans know how non-fans view wrestling and wrestling fans: A bunch of uneducated morons spending good money to watch a fake sport with fake athletes. I was honestly afraid that this was what was going to happen in ‘Beyond the Mat’. To my immense relief, that didn’t happen. Wrestling and wrestlers were shown in an extremely respectful way, showing how hard they worked to try and make it in the indies. They did poke fun at wrestling fans a little, but no more than what wrestling fans do.
The episode itself wasn’t much to write home about, just a typical Monster of the Week type of one off, and many non-wrestling fans panned it, but those of us who love professional wrestling enjoyed it, including watching Jensen Ackles trying to do the Ric Flair strut and fall out of the ring trying to get through the ring ropes, which has to be seen to be truly appreciated.
Miz himself did a pretty good job in the episode, but I can’t say I was overwhelmingly wowed by his performance, but I would guess that he had some input in the portrayal of wrestling and why the moves actually looked good.
There will never be another show like ‘Supernatural’ in terms of longevity, storytelling, fan interaction, and outreach beyond the show, but it also has shown its ability to showcase a different form of storytelling in a respectful way, even the kind that most people scoff at.
Joe’s Lucha Libre Weekly: News & Analysis (3/24/19)
Lucha? Joe has you covered!
Joe Dinan keeps you up-to-date on the world of Lucha Libre in this week’s Lucha Libre News & Analysis!
Just a correction from last week. I said LA Park was going to be at Dos Leyenda, that was clearly false as he worked an indie show that date. I got confused with him showing up at Puebla on Monday where they did a smaller version of Dos Leyenda and honored two other legends. Just as they like to put on a variant of the Day of the Dead show for each
The story for this show which was very close to a sell out, which surprised some experts. Niebla Roja and Angel de Oro defeated Terrible and bestia in a hair vs hair match. It went two out of three falls as you’d suspect. During the last fall where it came down to Angel and Terrible, Terrible legitimately hurt his shoulder and dislocated it. Terrible went through anyway to the finish which was soon after. The crowd was into it towards the end. Los Guerrero’s retained their tag team titles by defeating Caristico, Volador, and Dragon Lee. Negro Casas made his in ring return also on this show. It had a lot of star power on the show but it just felt like a spiced up normal Friday show. In Mexico CMLL lost big to AAA in the Television ratings. Not sure how much that matters in Mexico.
Arena Puebla/Arena Mexico Tuesday
Well naturally the big news on this show was the return of LA Park. I do not believe he’s been around since a little after the Day of the Dead show. I know his son showed up once a few weeks ago, however. So Park teamed up with Volador and Hijo Del LA Park vs Los Guerrero’s. It was branded as Family vs Family and they were given a lot of time. Park looked super impressive for a man of his age or just in general. If you hadn’t heard in the Observer Awards he won 4th place in the best wrestler in the world, coming behind Tanahashi, Okada, and Kenny Omega. Maybe some match making for AEW. So Park fooled the ref by taking his own mask off and throws it to Ultimo Guerrero to trick him for the DQ. This worked because a few moments ago the ref got distracted and Gran Guerrero and Euforia punted Hijo and Volador in the groin to try to get the win. They’re going to run the match back next week. On the Tuesday show, Dragon Lee faced off against Mephisto for the welterweight championship and after a 1000 day plus reign Mephisto lost his title to Dragon Lee. I don’t know what it means because titles mean less in Mexico than anywhere else, proven by the fact that Fenix is never gonna defend his Mega Championship in AAA.
There will be a Parejas Increibles tournament in April and Angel de Oro and Niebla Roja are the first team announced for that. The main event of this Friday show is Caristico, Volador, and Diamante Azul facing Los Guerrero’s. Angel de Oro and Niebla Roja will square off with Terrible and Bestia again in a post hair match show down but Titan with be added to the former and Mr. Niebla to the latter. There is a lightning match with Cavernario and Forastero so that should be good.
As we all know by now the big news coming out of Rey de Reyes that made it to America is the Young Bucks winning the AAA tag team championships. So here’s how it all went down. Cody showed up early in the show to announce the working relationship with AEW and AAA. Then Konnan came out and said anything you do here has to go past him. It almost felt like they were positioning AEW as the babyfaces and AAA as the heels in their own promotion. Maybe it’ll just be Cody being babyface because towards the end of the show, the Lucha Bros beat Texano and Rey Escorpion and afterwards Konnan came out jawing with them. The lights went out and the Young Bucks were in the ring to almost no reaction. It seemed like Konnan was in the Bucks corner. So I don’t know what they’re trying. So the Bucks beat a tired Lucha Bros. The crowd didn’t react for a few reasons. It was a long show, the Bucks weren’t announced, and the fact is the Bucks do not have that level of popularity in Mexico. If AAA would have promoted them somehow as the best tag team in the world it might be different. But it also might have hurt the surprise. It all depends on the follow up. I presume they’ll face each other at Double or Nothing for the AAA world tag team titles.
The rest of the show went like this, Aerostar won the Rey de Reyes tournament. The team of Psycho Clown, Maximo, and Mamba defeated Jeff Jarrett, Killer Kross, and La Mascara in a cage match with Super Porky at ringside. Averno, Chessman, and Super Fly defeated Pagano, Drago, and Puma King in a spotty hardcore match. Super Fly got power bombed by Puma King and smashed his head on the side of the table. He had to be taken out but he ended up being okay. The match before saw Poder de Norte taking on Perros del Mal, Taya, Joe Lider, and Daga. Daga turned on them in this match leading to the victory of Poder de Norte. There was a growing alliance with Taya and Faby on this show. They both ran in to protect each other during a beat down. Which leads to the Reina de Reinas match where Shani retained over Keyra, Hiedra, and Chica Tormenta. At the end of the match Faby confronted the heel ref but then got beat on by Chica and Keyra. Taya made the save. After Daga turned on Perros del Mal, Taya was getting beat on and Faby made the save. So I smell some kind of tag match in the future. And finally, Big Mami and Nino Hamburguesa retained the Mixed tag team titles over Villano III Jr and Lady Maravilla. The story here was Nino didn’t want Big Mami to keep hurting Maravilla and at the end of the match he carried her out.
AAA has put out the billboard for I think their next show on April 5th and the top of the card looks like this, Psycho Clown and Dr. Wagner Jr vs Blue Demon and Rey Escorpion. Pagano and Joe Lider vs Texano and La Mascara. Maximo, Mamba, and Pimpinela Escarlata vs Poder de Norte. Lady Shani, La Hiedra, and Nino Hamburguesa vs Lady Maravilla, Keyra, and Villano III Jr. We also have a 5 way match for the Latin American championship seeing Drago face Hijo Del Vikingo, Myzteziz Jr, Aerostar, and Argenis. Drago is the champ going in.
Here & There
Garza Jr has signed with WWE and he will start NXT in April. Of course there has been word he was going to WWE for a while now but there was something that wasn’t disclosed that prevented it. But now that he’ll be going there I imagine he’ll work NXT and 205 Live just like Ultimo Ninja is doing. I suspect Garza might keep his name because of the connection they can make with Hector Garza. Though that might be giving WWE too much credit.
So in addition to knowing that Bandido will face Dragon Lee and Ishimori for the Jr Heavyweight Championship at MSG, we also know that Rush is going to face Dalton Castle at MSG. Rush defeated Bandido at the Ring of Honor anniversary PPV, but what I’ve heard Rush took most of the match and won.
I believe this Saturday on MLW TV it will be LA Park vs Mance Warner. Park and his son will also be in the Battle Riot amount others. It’s going to be a busy WrestleMania weekend, Bandido faces Will Ospreay at Wrestle Con on Thursday. I’ll likely go to that. For me there will be an extra show since I’ll need to fit AAA in, but on Friday I’m going to Stardom and then MLW Battle Riot, and of course I’ll be at the New Japan G1 Super Show on Saturday. I will not be at NXT or WrestleMania. NXT’s secondary market is very high and WrestleMania looks to be a very average show and since it’s at Giants Stadium, it’s overly expensive.