5. Bruno Sammartino

QUIZ TIME! Who was the first ever WWWF/WWF/WWE Champion? NOT BRUNO SAMMARTINO, YOU CRAZIES! I know wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too many people who believe this is true. It’s not. However, it might as well be. Buddy Rogers “won” the inaugural championship in a tournament in Rio de Janeiro which actually never happened. On May 17, 1963, Bruno defeated Rogers in 48 seconds to begin his first reign as champion; a reign that would last until January 18, 1971. Sammartino would win the championship back in 1973 and held it for another four years until he dropped it in 1977 due to medical issues, or, as Kurt Angle calls it, a broken freakin’ neck. All things told, Sammartino is a two-time World Champ and three-time Tag Team Champ and has five, count ’em, FIVE Match of the Year performances. The Italian Superman was a figure beloved by all in the 70’s and 80’s and remained at the top of the card for most of his career. At 82 years old, Bruno is unlikely to be returning to the ring. Me personally? I think Bruno still has one more Bear Hug left in him.

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