Much has been speculated and reported on WWE Superstar Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque reaching out to legendary professional wrestler and former WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino on his willingness to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.Sammartino, who to this day has not shied away from his disdain towards the current WWE product in general and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in particular, allegedly (and respectfully) declined Levesque’s overture.
A part of me stands up and applauds Sammartino’s stance. He is a man of strong conviction, principles and values. He certainly doesn’t need any public validation or endorsement of his legendary career. I would encourage anyone interested to visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruno_Sammartino for a quick history lesson on Sammartino and you can get an idea at how large a star and how important a person Sammartino was to professional wrestling.
That said, there’s another part of me that wishes Sammartino would accept an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
In 2012, professional wrestling is a far cry from what it once was when Sammartino represented the industry with incredible class, grace, dignity and popularity. That era of professional wrestling was simply amazing and while it can probably never be duplicated it can be used as a point of inspiration and change.
Sammartino – knowingly or unknowingly – has the ability to remind the world of what professional wrestling once was and can be again albeit on a different stage with more intricate components.
Somewhere along the way, the business made a few bad turns and the lion’s share of what is purporting itself to be professional wrestling (or sports entertainment) is garbage.
I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to stay that way – it can change. Understand that the audience for professional wrestling has changed as well and the industry has to be sensitive to that and recognize that.
Ultimately – at it’s core – professional wrestling is a form of art. Good vs. evil. But the stories leading the fans into making an emotional investment have to be clear and entertaining. Sadly 75% of them are not even close to the mark. There has to be a careful blend of entertainment to go along with the athleticism. As WWE Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Ross says so profoundly, ‘there needs to be sizzle to go with the steak’.
Sammartino can remind and educate the decision-makers and fans of that and help shape the business for the better. What better platform could there be for him to make a difference and deliver that message than the biggest stage with the largest audience than the WWE Hall of Fame?
NOTE: We look forward to talking to you about this and whatever else is on your mind on PRO WRESTLING INSIDER on sportstalkNETWORK.com Thursday night at a special time of 9p EST