Bruno Sammartino WWE 2013 Hall of Fame: Wrestling Observer Newsletter report

Bruno Sammartino WWE 2013 Hall of Fame: Wrestling Observer Newsletter report
(Wrestling Observer Newsletter)

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More than 25 years after Bruno Sammartino left his announcing position with WWF, mad at what pro wrestling had become, he signed a deal on 2/1 to return for induction into the company’s Hall of Fame on 4/6 in Madison Square Garden.

Sammartino, 77, who had been a staunch critic of the Hall of Fame, between the people selected for it, the lack of an actual physical structure, and the process of how people were put in, was approached months ago by HHH and asked about going in. He was negative about it, but described the conversation with HHH as pleasant.

HHH was persistent for months and listened as Sammartino explained his issues, both personally and professionally, to him. The issues were deep seated, dating back to 1976, when he never got any of his promised 3% cut of the closed circuit revenue in the Northeast for his Stan Hansen cage match at Madison Square Garden when he came out of the hospital with a broken neck to do the bout (Vince McMahon Sr. after the fact told him that Bob Arum, who was co-promoting the event, headlined by Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki from Tokyo, had decided against it), to issues with merchandising over the years.

There is some irony in this because in the 80s, after Sammartino retired, he filed suit against Vince Sr., claiming that he found out he wasn’t really getting his contracted 6% of the gate and 5% at Madison Square Garden. At the time, the suit was settled by Vince McMahon Jr., who gave Sammartino a job as a television announcer, making a six-figure salary working roughly every third week of tapings.

Even before that, McMahon Sr. had him blacklisted and nearly forced out of the business after he got a big initial push as the Italian Strong Boy, one of the strongest men in the world when he first got into pro wrestling. But after establishing himself as a draw for promoter Frank Tunney, McMahon Sr. wanted to build the promotion around him. Originally earmarked as an Italian ethnic star, he became almost a mythical figure due to his longevity at the top and that, in the end, he vanquished every heel foe that he was put against.

Nearly 30 years later, after problems between Sammartino and the current Vince McMahon, which peaked in the early 90s with Sammartino an outspoken critic of steroid issues, it was the next generation heir apparent who smoothed things over and working out a deal.

Sammartino approached this as a purely business decision, giving HHH a price that he thought would be turned down. In a number of conversations, he spoke of the deal as something he didn’t expect to happen. There was a long period before there was any answer from WWE, with him figuring that Vince McMahon likely nixed the deal due to price. The WWE could obviously afford the price, in line with what one of the company’s top stars would earn for a WrestleMania payoff. Really, it was a question of ego and precedence more than anything. There has been bitterness for decades on both sides between Sammartino and McMahon, but McMahon’s history is always to work harder and do what it takes to make deals with those who are the most outspoken against him. There has always been the complaints of people who worked for rival groups but refused to ever say anything bad about McMahon, who would see people who would lambast him be brought back with more fanfare and with deals that some big names who never said anything bad could never get a whiff of. It’s simply one of the unique things about McMahon.

The only question in the end was would he see the price as setting a bad precedent for the Hall of Fame, although there is no living omission left who from a credibility standpoint would make close to the difference in how it was viewed. The other question would be if he would view meeting the price as somehow, after all these decades, that he had to meet the terms of one of his most high-profile critics. But the situation years back with Bret Hart established McMahon has little problem with that.

Unlike everyone else who had entered the Hall of Fame, nobody had ever asked a deal anywhere near that level. At that point, the ball was in McMahon’s court, even though HHH was the point man. They decided it was worth it to them as a business decision, and ultimately, that’s what this is, with those close to the situation saying it was a win/win. Sammartino got a significant deal, and WWE will be rewriting its rewritten version of history, portraying him as something of the Babe Ruth of the business, a role they had previously decreed for Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and even Shawn Michaels all in the last ten years. The WWE gets whatever goodwill there is from an older age group that has fond memories of Sammartino. They get to present a moment where the Madison Square Garden crowd will go crazy, and ultimately, they take a step in their Hall of Fame no longer being considered a joke by most serious historians.

McMahon and Sammartino have not spoken, with HHH as the intermediary in the deal. HHH said that he is hoping to get the two of them together to mend fences in April.

Rumors were around a few weeks ago that the deal was done and I actually expected an announcement on the 1/21 Raw. But lawyers on both sides were struggling over different points and it wasn’t signed until this past Friday, and WWE released the information through ESPN Monday afternoon, before Raw.

From a public perspective, Sammartino claimed his issues with the WWE were that he didn’t want to have any part of the company that had taken wrestling into the gutter with vulgarity and the scantily clad women, along with the drug issues that led to a terrible death rate.

HHH from the start had told him they had cleaned up the product, that in his viewpoint when he got more power, he wanted to make the product similar to the product Sammartino headlined. HHH portrayed himself as a student and fan of Sammartino’s era, noting his own trainer being Killer Kowalski. Kowalski was arguably Sammartino’s leading long-term career opponent and someone who always spoke of Sammartino in positive terms.

While this was a business deal, a major breakthrough was also the sheer coincidence that Pittsburgh neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon, who Sammartino credits with keeping him out of a life in a wheelchair due to successful back surgery several years ago, was later hired as the head of the new WWE medical team. In doing wonders for his own quality of life, Sammartino viewed Maroon in high regard when he spoke of changes that had been made when it came to health of performers and drug testing.

Maroon is not without controversy. While a first-class surgeon, he has many critics when it comes to his role when it comes to the heavily political field of concussion research. Maroon created the Impact testing after a concussion used by the WWE as well as the NFL to establish whether athletes are healed enough to go back in the game. The WWE adheres strictly to Maroon’s policies, but in that field, there are a number of political factions who debunk the work of the so-called experts in different factions. But Maroon and HHH impressed Sammartino on the drug testing, the overall Wellness policy, and the PG guidelines of the product.

There is no question the WWE has, after decades of tragedies and deaths, enacted the most all-encompassing health program ever in the profession. They have a drug testing program. From all accounts, the company is cleaner when it comes to drug usage, both recreational and performance enhancing, than probably any period in modern history. But to say it’s clean is naive. In 2007, one drug bust of Signature Pharmacy netted a solid percentage of the roster as clients during a period when the drug testing program was, with a few minor modifications, identical to what it is today. The bodies are not like they were in the late 80s WWF, or late 90s WCW, when use was rampant. At the same time, one would have to be incredibly naive to believe the roster is clean, particularly when even those on the roster in recent weeks have made comments about several of the biggest stars and physical changes before their eyes or freakish physiques that people are very skeptical about as being natural. But the nature of the talk is also different from 15 or 25 years ago, when it was acknowledged the vast majority were obviously using, as opposed to skepticism regarding some.

The company doesn’t test for Growth Hormone or doing any blood testing, and that’s not a knock, because I’m not convinced the current Growth Hormone testing is nearly what it’s cracked up to be since it has caught so few in others sports where use is rampant. In the major sports where testing is as extensive or even more extensive than WWE, revelations of star athletes using PEDs while being heavily tested and beating tests come out regularly. The fact that certain steroid monster types of the past for the most part don’t exist also has to do with more emphasis on performance than in the past, when emphasis was on look first. The huge bulky and massive physiques that could only do slow moving matches aren’t looked favorably upon as in the past. That’s not necessarily an indication things are cleaner because you don’t see a roster of 280 pound jacked up guys, as much as guys are lighter, for performance, but being 235 and staying lean and hard while on the road doesn’t lead to any less temptation, just different eating, training and methods that have to allow you to avoid the drugs that make one pop dirty.

Even with the current program in place, a significant percentage of talent were shown in records from raids to be using not just Growth Hormones that the current testing wouldn’t catch, but other PEDs that it should, but somehow didn’t.

Sammartino had said during the negotiations that if the deal didn’t come through this year, that he was not open to it any time in the future. He had told his sons that if something was to happen to him, that it was his wish not to be inducted after his death and they had agreed to respect those wishes.

The deal that ended up being structured was for Sammartino to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and also being a part of their promotion in some form going forward. In particular, he was asked to be a part of DVDs involving his era, including a 50th anniversary History of WWE release scheduled for late this year. He would also do voice overs of some of his matches. There would likely be a Sammartino DVD release. He will also appear at times on the WWE Legends Round Table show on 24/7 Classics on Demand.

The deal in the end was a major coup for HHH, because he put together a deal that most in the company had long given up on when previous attempts to mend fences went nowhere. In all media publicity, this was not portrayed as a WWE deal as much as HHH putting together a deal, publicly positioning him for his eventual role running things.

While privately portraying it as a business deal, publicly, in an ESPN interview, he said, “Being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden is the biggest thing in my life. Anytime that people feel that you accomplished enough to enter a Hall of Fame, of course, this is a tremendous thrill for me. I had a lot of my success due to appearing at the Garden. I wrestled there over 200 times. It’s where I won the title, and it’s where I picked up 630-plus pound Haystacks Calhoun.”

The company’s willingness to meet his price was in a sense an attempt to buy legitimacy for their Hall of Fame, as well as create a special aura for this year’s ceremony. While in reality, of the truly biggest top-tier historical names in history, a large percentage are not in. Names like Lou Thesz, Frank Gotch, Strangler Lewis and Jim Londos, all of who should be in the inaugural class of any American pro wrestling Hall of Fame, are never spoken of, but all are from a far more distant era.

It was also the Sammartino and Randy Savage omissions that were the most mentioned as to why the WWE version had no credibility.

Whether Sammartino was the most important star in company history depends upon your framework. But he was the biggest star in the company starting when he won the newly-created WWWF title from Buddy Rogers on May 17, 1963, in Madison Square Garden with an over the shoulder backbreaker in 47 seconds. Even though he lost the title in 1971, by his own choice, in most of the cities on the circuit, with the exception of New York, where Pedro Morales drew great numbers 1971-73, he remained by far the biggest star for his occasional appearances. He was asked back for a second run, which was agreed on to be one year, but ended up being three-and-a-half until he made it clear he was done as a full-timer. But in reality, he was the most popular wrestler in the Northeast from that first win over Rogers until his retirement in 1981. He was undeniably the wrestler was most associated with Madison Square Garden, the site of the ceremony, headlining it nearly double as many times as anyone else in history.

Sammartino noted to us that he was shocked at the reaction, the standing ovation, from the crowd in Atlanta after the video announcing his induction was played, noting that virtually nobody in that crowd would have ever even seen him wrestle live and he rarely had appeared in the city.

It was a big week for Sammartino because the city of Pittsburgh decided to build a life-size statue of Sammartino on the site of what was the old Pittsburgh Civic Arena, since he headlined so many shows there in the 60s and 70s. The city has erected statues of several of its sports heroes, notably Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, Mario Lemieux and Franco Harris.

In addition, Sammartino was named to a second Hall of Fame this week, as he will be inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame as part of the Arnold Fitness Expo on 3/2 in Columbus, OH in an exclusive ceremony where only the media and maybe a few dozen VIP’s will be allowed to attend. Among those attending will be Arnold Schwarzenegger, who Sammartino had trained with and judged bodybuilding contests with in the 70s.

Sammartino will be inducted with former Ohio State football star Archie Griffin, NBA legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, former Mr. Olympia winning bodybuilder Franco Columbu and former world gymnastics champion Blaine Wilson.

A documentary on his life that is just about completed, as they are waiting for final release forms to be signed, has five or six outlets showing interest, including CBS and HBO. The much talked about movie which has not been filmed, does have the script completed. Paul Guay, a lifelong wrestling fan from California who wrote the movie, “Liar, Liar,” and later was on the WWE creative team, finished it and there are two studios that have shown some interest. WWE has also talked about producing the movie as part of the WWE Films division, but that is all very preliminary talk.



Bruno Sammartino and Triple H comment on WWE 2013 Hall of Fame induction

Media Man Int and Wrestling News Media continue to bring Australian and international pro wrestling fans the hottest news on the planet...

Monday afternoon, WWE's website released comments from Bruno Sammartino and Triple H on how Bruno's 2013 WWE Hall of Fame induction was finally agreed upon.

"Triple H contacted me and started telling me all the things that had changed and everything that was going on with WWE," Bruno said. "I started watching it after talking to him and when I saw it, I was very, very impressed."

Hunter said, "I love the history of this business. Without the history, there is no tomorrow. To look back on the history of WWE, one of the most important figures in the long story of where this all came from wasn't recognized. And that was Bruno."

True pro wrestling fans know that Bruno Sammartino is to professional wrestling what Babe Ruth is to baseball.

The legendary pro wrestling icon is the longest reigning WWE (then-WWF) champion of all time, with two title reigns spanning an eye-popping 11-plus years. And his legacy of headlining Madison Square Garden more than 200 times is what turned the Italian-born grappler into a worldwide sensation.

So it’s only fitting that Sammartino will be the main attraction at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony on April 6 at MSG.

Bruno Sammartino is being named to the WWE's Hall after decades of spirited feuding with WWE top brass Vince McMahon.

“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Madison Square Gardens is the biggest thing in my life,” Sammartino said in an exclusive interview for ESPN Playbook. “Anytime that people feel that you accomplished enough to enter into a Hall of Fame, of course this is a tremendous, tremendous thrill for me. I had a lot of my success due to appearing at the Garden. I wrestled there over 200 times, it’s where I won the title, and it’s where I picked up 630-plus pounds of Haystacks Calhoun.”

And while Sammartino had turned down the WWE’s previous offers of inducting him into its Hall of Fame due to a well-documented feud with the wrestling organization’s CEO and chairman Vince McMahon over a wide range of issues -- from Sammartino not liking the vulgar direction the product took during the Attitude Era to Sammartino’s criticism of drug abuse by members of the roster back in the '80s - it was WWE executive Paul Levesque (aka Triple H) who stepped in and finally changed the legend’s mind.

“In talking to Paul Levesque, I made it clear, I’ve had issues with WWE and wrestling in general, because there were other organizations,” Sammartino said. “I didn’t like the direction they had taken. It was bothersome to me. I’m an old-school guy. I spent 25 years in this business. But after talking to Paul, and him explaining to me the changes they’ve made in their program, and how they’ve hired a doctor like Dr. Maroon, who is a world-renowned neurosurgeon, who also operated on me, and now that he has been put in charge of the company’s wellness program and their drug testing, that impressed me. I know what kind of a man he is, and he is a giant in that field, so I take my hat off to WWE because they took such huge steps to make things better for the wrestlers themselves and making sure they are healthy to perform. That was very, very important.

“But as Paul explained to me, WWE made a lot of other changes. There’s no more profanity, there’s no vulgarity in the current product, and that stuff had bothered me as well. When Paul first spoke to me and told me all the changes, I started watching it again, and I was very convinced that they are doing amazing things. I see the wrestlers and all the changes they made. There’s no profanity, there’s no vulgarity, and it’s a family-friendly program. That’s what it used to be, and that’s a huge role in the whole factor.”

In finally inking the deal with Sammartino, WWE sees this as an opportunity to not only celebrate everything he has done for the business but also add legitimacy to its Hall of Fame.

“From a legitimacy standpoint, it’s important for us to get Bruno in,” Levesque said. “He’s one of the biggest names there has ever been in the business. So for us to not have him in there, for the legitimacy of the whole thing, it was a major issue. For me, the more important thing was that nobody deserves to be recognized for being a big star and paving the way for the stars of today more than Bruno. Everything that we have today in the business, Bruno was a cornerstone of that foundation. He truly is a living legend.

"I take my hat off to WWE because they took such huge steps to make things better for the wrestlers themselves and making sure they are healthy to perform. That was very, very important" Sammartino said.

“As we started getting into Hall of Fame season, it’s almost like this storyline wrote itself. To have Bruno Sammartino brought into the Hall of Fame in Madison Square Garden, a building he sold out more than anybody in the world, that’s a remarkable achievement. It was an opportunity to honor Bruno, but it was also an opportunity for our fans.

“There has been this bad blood between Bruno and the WWE for years, and we’re not trying to hide any of it, but I just felt like we are at a point where a lot of it can be resolved. Our wellness program and the way our programming is now, a lot of people are unaware of it, so I felt like if I could get Bruno on the phone and I could run down a list of those things that he didn’t like, I could show him how we changed. We’re PG, family-friendly entertainment with a wellness program that is truly based on the wellness of our performers. We want them to be healthy and live long, productive lives. So I just felt that if Bruno knew about those things, he might feel differently, and eventually, that’s what came to be.”

While Bruno has accepted the WWE’s offer to make an appearance at the Hall of Fame, he still hasn’t had the chance to speak to Vince McMahon, as Levesque is organizing a sit-down so the two can resolve any lingering issues face-to-face.

“Clearly, Vince knew about this right from the get-go, and when I said I wanted to reach out to Bruno, Vince was probably thinking, ‘Well, good luck with that,’” Levesque said. “So Bruno and I established this relationship, and as we came to an understanding on all of this, Vince asked me, ‘Hey, do you think I should call Bruno? I’d like to talk to him.’ At the same time, Bruno said, ‘Do you think I should have a conversation with Vince?’ And I said no to both of them. I didn’t think it was right to do over the phone. They had bad blood for a long time, and we’ve all kind of buried the hatchet here, and it’s a new beginning and a fresh start and everybody is in a great place with this. But going back to what Bruno said about being old-school, I think we should all get in the same room together and the two of them should look each other in the eyes and shake hands. This should be in person. I don’t think it’s right to do over the phone. They both agreed to do that, and while it hasn’t happened yet, Hall of Fame is probably where we’ll make that happen. Vince and Bruno will see each other for the first time in years and officially, in person, look each other in the eyes and bury that hatchet.”

As for trying to keep the announcement a secret, “it’s not ‘Mission Impossible’ or anything like that,” Levesque says, laughing. “But to me, Bruno getting into the Hall of Fame in Madison Square Garden is the biggest induction we’ve ever done, and rightfully so. He deserves that. So to just have it leak out there, that would’ve been wrong. This is a huge moment in time, and a massive moment for our fans, for Bruno and for WWE. This is the history of our business. Without Bruno Sammartino, we aren’t where we are today.”

The Media Man agency would like to thank all parties for helping make the Bruno Sammartino induction possible. Very well done to Triple H and Sammartino for talking through the issues that existed, and resolving them.

Wrestling fans, both hardcores and casual fans are rejoicing, and this massive news will make this years WWE Hall of Fame off the charts and WrestleMania week will be like nothing seen ever before.

WWE's history is now almost complete. Join with us... Bruno, Bruno Bruno... Triple H, Triple H, Triple H.

What a great time to be a "sports entertainment" fan, which many of still prefer to call it on its foundation "professional wrestling".





Longest Reigning Champ Back After Twenty-Five Year Break From WWE

Nearly fifty years ago, Bruno Sammartino became the WWWF Champion for then promoter Vincent McMahon Sr. Thereafter, in two separate stints covering more than 11 years, Bruno held the coveted Championship Belt for what is now the WWE. Today, the WWE announced that Bruno Sammartino will be inducted into in the WWE Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at Madison Square Garden.

Over a quarter of a century ago, Mr. Sammartino disassociated with WWE over the direction it was taking as "sports entertainment" instead of an arena-based professional wrestling product. The vocal former Champ also spoke out on steroid use in professional wrestling by appearing on many high profile shows like The Geraldo Rivera Show, The Donahue Show and The Larry King Show.

For years, Sammartino rejected the Hall of Fame invitation for the many publicized reasons. However, since that time, through relationships with both Dr. Joseph Maroon and Paul Levesque, Bruno has learned that WWE has evolved and is impressed with WWE’s Talent Wellness Program and its family-friendly content.

In 2009, the WWE hired world-renowned Neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon as Medical Director, to head their Talent Wellness Program. Maroon additionally, hand-picked a team of Concussion, Orthopedic, Cardiology and Internal Medicine doctors from UPMC in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, from the hometown healthcare system that Sammartino is a patient of. Unbeknownst to the WWE at the time, Dr. Maroon had previously successfully performed an extensive invasive surgical procedure on Bruno to relieve extensive spinal cord compression that had left the Champ immobilized and unable to walk. After the surgery and without the aid of any pain medications, Bruno devised his own physical rehabilitation program and regained the ability to walk seven miles daily.

Needless to say, Bruno became a fan of Dr. Maroon’s and even agreed to be part of a book authored by Dr. Maroon titled "The Longevity Factor". Bruno followed the famous surgeon’s wellness advice provided in the book, and began to take fish oil on a daily basis. Knowing the effects of taking hundreds of hits to the head (many with metal chairs), Bruno was further impressed by Dr. Maroon’s co-invention of the worldwide baseline IMPACT concussion testing, which was developed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Dr. Maroon serves as a concussion specialist to the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was not hard for the WWE to establish credibility thereafter with Bruno when they began taking major steps to test its talent for concussions, as well as use of performance-enhancing drugs, disease, heart problems, and overall wellness. Bruno was contacted numerous times by Triple H, but he still declined to discuss the Hall of Fame. Bruno ultimately conceded because Killer Kowalski (Brunos most long time respected opponet) trained Triple H, which enabled Bruno and Triple H to develop their own “old school” friendship.

The final factor that convinced Sammartino that the time was right to enter the WWE Hall of Fame was when his fans all over the world overload Sammartino with letters asking him to reconsider for the fans’ sake. The 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is being held in New York’s Madison Square Garden, where Bruno appeared an unprecedented 211 times, picked-up the 625-pound wrestler, Haystacks Calhoun, and won the title on May 17, 1963, nearly 50 years ago.

Sammartino walked 6 miles this morning after eating a bowl of oatmeal. He has never used steroids, performance enhancement drugs, HGT injections or transfusions. With a big smile on his face, Bruno said "my mother will be proud that I will not need to have Lance Armstrong or Hulk Hogan help with my speech. Good conquers evil - it just takes a lifetime to see the final score.”

Sammartino remains the childhood hero of many world leaders, movie and sporting superstars and a whole lot of people who are just inspired by seeing a weakling become a physical success and role model. The Champ was bullied as a kid, but later in life beat adversity, sickness, war, Japanese Giants, a bear, an orangutan, all challengers and all evil, all due to a mother’s love.

Currently, a documentary on Bruno’s personal life is being bid on by distributors, and a feature film is being evaluated by a major studio. A life-sized statue of the Champ is planned for 2013 in Pittsburgh PA.



Bruno Sammartino, "The Living Legend" to Enter WWE Hall of Fame

February 4, 2013 STAMFORD, Conn., February 4, 2013 – WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced today that Bruno Sammartino will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at Madison Square Garden.

Sammartino, nicknamed “The Living Legend,” is a two-time WWE Champion and the longest reigning WWE Champion in history, holding the title for a combined 11 years. His first title reign began on May 17, 1963, where he defeated “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers at Madison Square Garden. After losing the Championship in 1971, he regained the title on December 10, 1973, defeating Stan Stasiak at Madison Square Garden, holding the Championship until April 30, 1977. When he retired from the ring, Sammartino became a color commentator for WWE’s syndicated Superstars program and stepped back into the ring on special occasions. After his departure in 1988, Sammartino was openly critical of WWE, and for many years declined the offer to be inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame, citing concerns with WWE’s content and culture.

“For my fans around the world, I am pleased to be joining the WWE Hall of Fame, especially at Madison Square Garden,” said Bruno Sammartino.

“Having sold out more than 200 shows at Madison Square Garden and being the longest reigning WWE champion in history, Bruno Sammartino is truly ‘The Living Legend,’” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO. “This is an extraordinary and historic moment to have Bruno take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.”

Tickets for the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are currently available through all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. All tickets are subject to service charges and facility fees. For more information on Bruno Sammartino, please visit
About WWE:
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WWE Hall Of Fame Discussions Begin, Would Bruno Sammartino Be Inducted?
(Wrestling Inc)

WWE Hall of Fame discussions have started. According to a source, Bruno Sammartino remains at the top of the list. Others that key officials have discussed include Mick Foley, Triple H, The Freebirds, Regis Philbin (in the celebrity wing), Bob Backlund, Larry Zbyszko, Sid Vicious, Earthquake John Tenta and Paul Heyman. The feeling is the timing isn't right for Heyman, since he is penciled in to be a major part of one of the marquee WrestleMania 29 matches and as a heel, it would create an awkward atmosphere.

Vince McMahon has not commented on the suggested entries, but should be deciding who is going in within the next several weeks.

According to a source close to Bruno, he has not closed the door to a possible induction. He apparently would agree to be inducted ONLY if the money is right, which be believes is about respect and to rectify "past financial injustices." Bruno feels that WWE has not been fair with him in the past with royalties related to the marketing of his merchandise and action figures, and that the situation must be addressed before he would consider being inducted.

Bruno is also adamant that any deal that he makes to enter the WWE Hall of Fame is made independent of any financing or distribution deal for the potential theatrical film to be made of his life. He would like for that movie to be made, but is financially "very comfortable" and would not be heartbroken if it is not.

Bruno is said to be open to talking to Triple H at any time, and has always been open to take his calls. The source also noted that Bruno has never told Triple H not to call him and never will.