Just been informed that Bruno Sammartino has passed away aged 82. He was one of the few wrestlers that I remembered from the U.S. Wrestline magazines of the 60's where he was always highly placed in the rankings, who went on to be a highly respected name in the promotions that supeceeded the Golden Age. From all the accolades on Facebook he was as successful as a coach and mentor as he was a wrestler.
Yes, Dave, I also remember him as the big US name in those magazines along with Verne Gagne.
Not sure we can claim him as an Anglo Italian but probably an Ital-American.
Sad news. The first wrestling magazine I had featured a mock cover of Thesz v Sammartino, Unification match NWA Champion v WWWF Champion.
Bruno was one of the first big US names I remember. When I first read "Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George", I learned about the various different organisations and title holders and his name was up there with being a huge draw in his era.
RIP Bruno. Little remembered fact - he was briefly recognised as Mountevans World Heavyweight Champion; his 1976 Shea Stadium match vs Stand Hasnen was transmitted on close circuit in this country (as a warmup for Ali vs Inoki) and Bruno was listed as World Heavyweight Champion in TVTimes in Jan '77.
This now leaves Dr X (Dick Beyer aka the Destroyer) as the earliest surviving holder of a major American version of the World Heavyweight Championship (AWA, 1968.)