Top Ten In-Ring Workers of All Time- Number Ten
When it comes to the profession of professional wrestling, the fans go a very long to deciding who becomes the biggest face of any era of wrestling. At times, a superstar's ability with the mic is what gets them over with the fans. Other times, their in-ring work pushes them to the top because the fans' their ability to tell a great story in the ring. While there are many extremely popular names to become superstars even with a lack of great in-ring ability, a lot of the best names did their best within the squared circle.
We will ranking the top ten in-ring workers of all-time over the next few articles. Even as big as superstars like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, John Cena, and Goldberg became; they will not be included in this list. They became huge because of either their great mic work (Hogan and Cena) or the story pushed with their amazing physiques (Warrior and Goldberg). Let us begin with number ten on our countdown.
He holds the record for the longest World Heavyweight title reign in World Wrestling Federation (then World Wide Wrestling Federation) history at just seven years and eight months, Bruno Sammartino gained his popularity and quick rise with his in-ring abilities during a time when cutting promos were held to a minimum and one's ability in the ring mattered most. He began his record-long reign by defeating the original "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers in a mere 48 seconds.
Sammartino would end hold the WWWF title only two times, but the two reigns would span eleven years. He would have amazing feuds against the likes of Gorilla Monsoon, "Classy" Feddie Blassie, Killer Kowalski, Gene Kiniski, and George "The Animal" Steele. He would lose the title for the first time against Ivan Koloff; stunning the crowd into such silence that Sammartino thought he hearing had been damaged.
He would begin his second reign by defeating Stan Stasiak in 1973. He would successfully defend the title against the likes of "Superstar" Billy Graham, Nikolai Volkoff, and Bruiser Brody. After a neck injury in a match with Stan Hansen, Sammartino rushed back to action after only two months away to help with a poorly drawing card. His neck injury and other ailments becoming too much of a burden, Sammartino would willingly give the title up to Graham-- who won by illegally using the ropes as leverage with his legs to gain the pinfall. Sammartino would retire from professional wrestling in 1978.
However, he would return in 1984 to help promote the wrestling career of his son, David. During this run, he would go on to have memorable feuds with up-and-coming names such as "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Sammartino's final match in WWF would come when he teamed up with Hulk Hogan to defeat King Kong Bundy and One Man Gang. He would continue doing commentary for WWF until his official retirement in 1988. After many years of criticizing the WWF/E product and Vince McMahon, Sammartino was finally inducted into WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 in Madison Square Garden-- the arena where he had his greatest matches and dominated the WWWF for so long.