Bruno Sammartino - Backstage Incidents

Backstage Incidents

  • In the late 1960s, Sammartino was involved in a fight with former PA Athletic Commissioner Joe Cimino. Cimino was new to his post and intervened in a match finish involving Bruno. Bruno took a shot at Cimino in the ring and the argument continued backstage. Bruno ended up in a screaming match with Cimino on Pittsburgh's local Studio Wrestling program. Cimino suspended Bruno for a month. Sam Muchnick mentions the incident in his book, Wrestling Babylon.
  • In his autobiography, The Cowboy and the Cross: The Bill Watts Story: Rebellion, Wrestling and Redemption, Bill Watts tells of witnessing a backstage incident between Sammartino and Gorilla Monsoon. Watts wrote that Monsoon "soon found himself in deep water" when messing with Sammartino. He did not go into further detail on the incident out of respect for Monsoon.
  • When Bruno was about 51 years old, he was involved in an infamous backstage fight with a former football player. Six men were backstage at a wrestling show in an area that was restricted. When Sammartino spotted the men, he told them that if security saw them in this area, they might get in trouble. Dave "Rooster" Fleming, a former CFL player with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, stuck his hand out to Sammartino. When Sammartino went to shake his hand, Fleming began to squeeze hard. Sammartino asked him what he was doing to which Fleming replied "You're nothing but a washed up old man." Sammartino responded "Not too washed up to take care of you." Upon hearing that, Fleming took a swing at Sammartino but it was blocked. Sammartino then punched him and knocked him down. Sammartino soon found himself fighting the other five men at once. At this time, the Iron Sheik was in the showers after his match and heard the commotion. He immediately jumped in next to Bruno and the two wrestlers proceeded to "clean house" according to Bruno.
  • July 26, 2004 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh was the site of the infamous "who snubbed who?" non-confrontation with Ric Flair. Flair denigrated Sammartino's wrestling ability in his book. Flair claims Sammartino refused to shake his hand at the event; Sammartino says Flair saw him coming down the hall, turned, and rushed away.

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