David Sammartino

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David Sammartino
Birth nameDavid Lugogo Sammartino
Born (1960-09-29) September 29, 1960 (age 58)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
FamilyBruno Sammartino (father)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Bruno Sammartino, Jr.[1]
David Lugogo
David Sammartino
Dave Sammartino
David Bruno Sammartino
Billed height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Billed weight252 lb (114 kg)[1]
Billed fromPittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Trained byBruno Sammartino

David Lugogo Sammartino (born September 29, 1960) is an American personal trainer and semi-retired professional wrestler. He is the son of WWWF/WWF World Heavyweight Champion, Bruno Sammartino.[1]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Bruno was against David going into professional wrestling, as he did not want him to experience the various horrors he went through when he started. He wanted David to get a college education and pursue a different career. Not taking his father's advice, David headed south and began training and wrestling with a few smaller independent wrestling companies, making his debut as a 20-year-old in 1980. Throughout 1981, Sammartino picked up where his father left off the year before, feuding with Bruno's former protégé, Larry Zbyszko, on the independent circuit.

World Wrestling Federation (1984–1985)[edit]

Sammartino joined the World Wrestling Federation in September 1984, with his father as his manager.[2] He received a big push while teaming with his father, he most notably was also pushed in singles matches, competing as a face, before converting to a preliminary wrestler. WWF's owner, Vince McMahon, was using David in order to get Bruno to wrestle, as he still drew huge crowds. His most notable appearance with the WWF was at the inaugural WrestleMania event in Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York on March 31, 1985. Accompanied by Bruno, Sammartino wrestled Brutus Beefcake in the fourth match of the night. The match ended in a double disqualification after Sammartino was thrown out of the ring by Beefcake and slammed by Beefcake's manager Johnny Valiant, prompting Bruno Sammartino to assault Valiant.[2] This led to a series of tag team matches that brought Bruno out of retirement in an effort to get David's career advanced.[2] Bruno said later this was his least favorite time of his career.

When Bruno was involved, David was often in the main event or in a high-profile match; when Bruno wasn't involved David would be wrestling preliminary matches.[2] Frustrated, David quit the WWF several times and was only brought back with the assistance of his famous father.

In one of his final WWF appearances, Sammartino was involved in a confusing and controversial finish at the Philadelphia Spectrum on November 22, 1985, quickly submitting to a bear hug by jobber Ron Shaw in a match that Sammartino was booked to win.[3] The alleged changing of the finish by Sammartino (Shaw and the referee apparently were caught by surprise) has caused this to be known as the "Phantom Submission Match". Sammartino later said that he did not enjoy his WWF run and that he had no desire to get to know Vince McMahon. He called McMahon "arrogant" and he did not like to see him abusing those who worked for him.[citation needed]

Various promotions[edit]

In 1986, Sammartino left the WWF and joined the American Wrestling Association.[4] There he was also being used for his surname by AWA's promoter Verne Gagne, by putting him in three championship matches against AWA World Champion Stan Hansen. On February 4, 1986 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sammartino unsuccessfully challenged Hansen for the championship.

Sammartino left the AWA and returned to the WWF in 1988, where he was once again used as a preliminary wrestler.[2] Sammartino's second run in the WWF was short, as he only wrestled there for a few months before being fired from the WWF after he was arrested for punching a fan, who spat at him in New York.[2]

In 1990, Sammartino began wrestling for Herb Abrams Universal Wrestling Federation in California. David also competed for All Japan Pro Wrestling in 1988,[5] before leaving the company in 1990. Sammartino, occasionally teamed with Joe Malenko In AJPW.

Sammartino returned to wrestling in 1995 and competed for NWA New Jersey, where he challenged Tommy Cairo for the NWA North American Championship twice. Both matches in the losing side for Sammartino, and he left the promotion, shortly thereafter.[6]

Sammartino re-emerged in 1996 in World Championship Wrestling, competing in the promotion's cruiserweight division.[7] Sammartino was only used in two matches in WCW.[7] On the December 16, 1996 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Sammartino challenged Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, but was defeated.[7] The other match was a dark match, defeating preliminary wrestler, Rex King.[7]

In 2000, Sammartino defeated Jimmy Cicero to win the New York State Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship in New Rochelle, New York.

In 2010, Sammartino appeared at an International Wrestling Cartel event called "IWC Night of legends" defeating former rival Larry Zbyszko.[8]

In June 2010, Sammartino teamed with Zbyzsko, against Frank Stalletto, and Lou Marconi at Deaf Wrestlefest 2010 in a winning effort.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Sammartino is currently semi-retired and has worked as a personal trainer since 1996. He sometimes appears in "Legends" events, where he wrestles along with other veteran wrestlers. He had a strained relationship with his father, Bruno. Sammartino took steroids during the mid-1980s. Initially, he denied it, but Bruno revealed it when speaking about the problems his son had, adding that David had been drug-free since early-1990s. David later confirmed his PED use.[citation needed]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • New York State Wrestling Federation
    • NYSWF Heavyweight Championship (15 time)
  • North American Wrestling
    • NAW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[9]
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
  • Southern Championship Wrestling
    • SCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Cawthon, Graham (2013). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 1: WWF 1963 - 1989. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1492825972.
  3. ^ "1985 ring results". The History of WWE. Retrieved September 21, 2007.
  4. ^ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=916&view=&page=4&gimmick=&year=1986&promotion=41&region=&location=&arena=&showtype=&constellationType=&worker=
  5. ^ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=916&view=&page=4&gimmick=&year=1988&promotion=6&region=&location=&arena=&showtype=&constellationType=&worker=
  6. ^ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=916&view=&page=4&gimmick=&year=1995&promotion=202&region=&location=&arena=&showtype=&constellationType=&worker=
  7. ^ a b c d Cawthon, Graham (2015). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 5: World Championship Wrestling 1995-2001. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1499656343.
  8. ^ a b http://www.cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=916&page=4
  9. ^ a b Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  10. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 of the PWI Years: 480 David Sammartino". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States: Sports and Entertainment publications LLC. May 21, 2003. p. 60. June 2003.


External links[edit]