WWE WrestleMania 29: What Type of Involvement Will Bruno Sammartino Have?

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2013

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

Generally speaking, the WWE's Hall of Fame inductees don't play much of a role at WrestleMania. They are usually introduced and given a nice round of applause after having been honored the night before. The WWE has a major asset on its hands in Bruno Sammartino this year, though, and it should utilize him to the fullest extent possible.

Sammartino is arguably the greatest professional wrestler of all time and most would agree that his induction is long overdue. Sammartino is the longest-reigning WWE Champion of all time, and his two title runs lasted in excess of 11 years. Sammartino was the top star of his era and he is one of the men who really put professional wrestling and the WWE on the map.

The relationship between Sammartino and Vince McMahon has always been contentious and that led to Sammartino leaving the WWE on bad terms in 1988. Sammartino has said on many occasions, including in a recent interview with Ring Rust Radio, that he didn't like the rampant drug use in the WWE and he wasn't fond of the direction in which the product was heading.

Things are obviously much different in the WWE these days and Triple H made it his mission to show Sammartino that. The WWE currently has a stringent substance abuse policy and its programming is PG as well. The WWE has come a long way in terms of cleaning things up and creating a family environment. Sammartino was obviously impressed by the efforts as he broke his boycott of the WWE and agreed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Sammartino admitted in his interview with Ring Rust Radio that he has had absolutely no contact with McMahon throughout the whole process. Triple H has brokered the entire deal and it appears like they have become very close friends. Triple H has made no secret about his desire to get Sammartino in the Hall of Fame and the immense respect he has for "The Living Legend."

It is all but official that Triple H will face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXIX in a rematch of the encounter they had at SummerSlam. Lesnar won that match and nearly sent Triple H into retirement in a storyline sense. Lesnar returned several weeks ago and attacked McMahon, though, which reignited the fire inside The Game. He issued a WrestleMania challenge to Lesnar on Monday and it's only a matter of time before he accepts it.

Although it may seem unlikely, I would love to see Sammartino get involved in the storyline in some capacity. I'm not suggesting that he should accompany Triple H to the ring at WrestleMania because that would obviously look out of place. A backstage segment of some kind at the event could most definitely build anticipation for the match, however.

A good portion of the fans who will be watching WrestleMania are aware of the bond that Sammartino and Triple H seem to have. I would love to see a segment with Triple H preparing for his match against Lesnar in the locker room. Sammartino could then walk in and impart some words of wisdom to Triple H. Sammartino is one of the best ever and Triple H has always looked up to him. A moment between them would be quite powerful.

That alone would add a lot to the Triple H vs. Lesnar match, but if the WWE really wants to spice things up and Sammartino agrees to do so, then it would behoove everyone to involve Lesnar in the segment as well. Perhaps Lesnar could interrupt the pep talk by decking Sammartino. This would lead to a huge brawl between Triple H and Lesnar prior to their bout.

Obviously the WWE won't want to do anything to crazy with Sammartino as he's 77 years of age, but he's probably the toughest 77-year-old man on the planet, so I'm sure he could take a fake punch. There's no guarantee that Sammartino would be interested and the WWE may not want to chance something happening to Bruno, but there is no denying that it would generate nuclear heat for Lesnar.

It seems like a lot of fans are complaining about Triple H vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania for any number of reasons. The fact that it's a rematch is certainly a major issue with some. Also, there are fans who simply didn't enjoy their match at SummerSlam as it resembled a fight more than a wrestling match. Another criticism is that the result is predictable as Triple H is bound to get revenge for his loss.

All of that may be true, but there are ways to create a buzz. If Lesnar were to attack Sammartino, then it would make things even more personal than they were previously. Sammartino is an absolute legend and Lesnar taking him out would be the ultimate sign of disrespect. This would lead to Triple H entering the match with the vim and vigor needed to put him over the top.

When push comes to shove, Sammartino's most likely WrestleMania involvement entails little more than him coming on stage and waving to the crowd. Provided the creative team can get everyone on board, though, an altercation between Lesnar, Sammartino and Triple H would add a great deal to a feud that many fans are lukewarm about.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter and listen to him on Ring Rust Radio.