During a recent interview, WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino admitted that he “didn’t expect” the hug from Vince McMahon at the Hall of Fame ceremony and discussed their private meeting.
“The private meeting that took place was at MSG that evening (of the Hall of Fame). His son-in-law Triple H and Stephanie came to my dressing room and they asked me, you know, Vince is waiting in his dressing room down the hall and if I minded going over there. I went. Stephanie opened the door and I went in and she shut the door so Vince & I were alone.
“He was standing toward the back of the room. And as I came in I was waiting for him to make the first move to see what he was going to say before I responded. And actually as I walked in he looked at me and he smiled and said ‘Bruno, welcome home’. Just like that. And I said ‘Well Vince I’m glad to be home, but we both know the situation and what brought me back home. I have been very critical of you.’ I told him right to his face, ‘You know I have been very critical of you, but I also will recognize the fact that you have made drastic changes and for that I applaud you. But for all these years, I did not like what happened to the business that I spent 25 years in and the turns it took; drugs, nudity, etc.’ Vince said, ‘Well Bruno, I know you were always very outspoken about what you believed, I hope now you are satisfied of the changes. They are in the past, we want to go forward and we want to do a better and better product. And we are very happy that you are back.’
“He did say this to me, which I appreciate, ‘When it was the World Wide Wrestling Federation you were the main reason for this organization to become as big as it did. So we want this (HOF Induction) to happen and we’re thrilled that it has happened.’ And that was it. So I said, ‘Thank you. As long as things stay that way and keep moving forward with improving the product. At this stage of my life there is not much I can do to contribute, but if there is something, especially with young talent, I’d be willing to do that. As long as the product gets better and better.’ And that was it basically.”