Saturday, March 7, 2009

The New Living Legend

Larry Zbyszko made his pro wrestling debut in 1973. Over the next several years, Zbyszko wrestled mostly solo as a good guy, under the tutelage of the legendary Bruno Sammartino, although he did win the tag team title with Tony Garea
In the late 70's, the student turned on the mentor as Zbyszko engaged in a long-time fierce fued (in and out of the ring) with Sammartino. This was vintage wrestling. There was a great storyline, great wrestlers and (seemingly) real animosity.
After the culmination of that feud, Zbyszko moved on to the NWA, then the AWA, back to the NWA, back to the AWA, to TNA and finally to the indies. Zbyszko won a variety of titles and was one of the best heels in the business. He also became a very popular announcer during various points in his career.
Despite all of his success in the ring, Zbyszko will always be linked with Sammartino. The two have 'buried the hatchet' while at a convention a few years back. Still the question lingers as to whether there ever was a real feud or if it was just a very well played storyline.
It's things like this which made wrestling interesting to me. These men either really disliked each other, but managed to put on great matches or they fooled everyone into believing there was legit heat and maintained that story for some 25+ years. Either way, I salute the professionalism of both.
Larry Zbyszko and me in Tampa, FL-January 2005.

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