Long before Hulk Hogan stepped into a ring, Bruno Sammartino was the heart and soul of WWE. His seven year reign as champion remains a record and a further three year reign just pushed him more with constant sellouts and huge adulation. In 1980, Bruno took Larry Zbyzsko under his
wing, a promising rookie and they soon had a good mentor/protege relationship going to push them more.
Zbyszko wanted to show his stuff and asked a match with Bruno, the bout going clean until Zbyszko suddenly attacked his mentor and smashed a chair right over his head. This set up a wild feud of Bruno going at it against Zbyzsko who clicked as a heel and did fantastic business. The highlight was their encounter in a steel cage at Shea Stadium, a massive sellout and a terrific match with Bruno winning. It launched Zbyzsko's career, gave Bruno another major run at the top and proved WWE had a great base in the Northeast that Vince would use to build his future.