BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #50 - Whatever Happened to Bruno Marciano?
I’ve made it to 50 Hot Takes on Hardway HQ.
I take this as a major accomplishment, being able to write a single article series based around the obscure, abstract, and wild world of professional wrestling, mainly on the independent level. It has been an interesting journey, and I’m proud to get here.
By getting to #50, I wanted to go deep into a topic on which I never heard anyone in the tri-state area independent wrestling scene go into before. I know it will be very niche, but as Rhett Butler said in Gone With The Wind, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Over the past decade, I have had this question on my mind regarding one independent wrestler, immensely talented and on the cusp of greatness. In 2010, he was, in my opinion, the brightest star in the New York and New Jersey wrestling scene. He was scientific, ground-and-pound, and powerful all rolled into one bad-ass performer. I thought the sky was limitless for him.
And then, one day, he was gone. Like a ship in the night, he just passed all of us by, never to be seen again.
For years, I have inquired on his whereabouts, and in truth, no one really seems to know. So, I have decided to dedicate this Hot Take to one simple question:
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BRUNO MARCIANO?
I first came across Bruno Marciano at the legendary ACE Arena on 725 Sip Street in Union City, NJ. It was Saturday May 16, 2009 during an Action Zone taping for the ACE website.
In the main event, ACE’s conquering hero Dan Maff, who had recently returned to pro wrestling after a long sabbatical, had an ACE Heavyweight championship defense.
Bruno was his opponent.
Marciano was among some of the great talent that migrated over from the New York Wrestling Connection out of Long Island. Some really talented guys like Stockade, Tony Nese, Alex Reynolds and Benny Martinez started coming over in ‘09 to help shape the next generation of ACE wrestlers.
The one guy I was not familiar with was Bruno. After his match with Maff, I would become one of his biggest supporters.
Both men tore down the house in front of the Union City Faithful, unleashing a fury of wrestling holds and strikes. Unbelievably, Marciano took “the Bayonne Bad-Ass” to his limits, surviving until a Burning Hammer was dropped from the ceiling and took Bruno out.
His efforts endeared him to the ACE fans, locker room, and management.
From that point on, Marciano’s confidence grew in every match he wrestled. He had a banger with Eddie Kingston at Anarchy. He had another war with Maff for the ACE Heavyweight title at Fallout in October. He upset “the Good Guy” Azrieal in November for Rise 2 Power. Fans began to anticipate Marciano’s matches.
He gained a new nickname from ACE’s commentators Fallon and Jon Harder: “The Intense Italian”.
Then, at Worlds Collide in December, Marciano made a massive imprint on ACE history. After defeating “the Feline of Lucha Libre” Black Zemis, “the Magnificent” Giovanni Marranca, Pinkie Sanchez, Mike Reed, and Benny Martinez in an Aerial Assault match, Marciano faced Bandido Jr. for the ACE Diamond Division championship.
Twelve minutes later, Bruno tapped out Bandido, and won the championship!
In ACE, the Diamond Division was an ever-evolving division. Whoever the champion was brought his own flair and style to the championship, and his opponent reflected the change. Marciano, unlike his high-flying predecessors Envy, Azrieal, Mike Donovan, Shawn Walker, and the aforementioned Bandido, evolved the division around technical wrestling.
“The Intense Italian”, without many of us realizing it, not only transformed the Diamond Division championship, but American Championship Entertainment itself.
Bruno would hold onto the title for seven months, having critically acclaimed classics in 2010 with Josh Daniels in January, former champion Donovan at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in February, and Sami Callihan in April. He always found a different way to defeat his opponents, whether by submission or pinfall. People said that Bruno had “a thousand ways to beat you”. And indeed, he did. He was very versatile.
He even found a way to get the ACE Nation to call for a combination strike, “the Four or the Five”. Bruno would back his opponent into the buckle, and with a tad disrespect, paint brush them with a four fingered backhand to the mouth, and then follow up with a vicious palm strike to the melon.
In May, Marciano became embroiled with the biggest group in the company, the ACES, and found himself in a battle with Heavyweight champion Maff, Rob Vegas, and ACE Owner Mike Morgan. At Crossroads VI, thanks to shenanigans from the ACES, Vegas cheated to beat Bruno for the Diamond Division championship.
Rumors were abound that Maff had used his influence to make sure Marciano would no longer hold a championship in ACE. However, that only fueled “the Intense Italian” stronger.
After another classic match with Bobby Fish at Mercury Rising in July, Bruno set his eyes on one thing: the ACE Heavyweight championship.
In August at Anarchy, the third match in their trilogy was even more violent than the others. Both men were out for blood. Marciano would take an epic beating, but keep coming back for more. THE ACES, be damned, tried their hardest, and ultimately, Maff forced Marciano to pass out to the Front Chancery to retain his title.
Bruno, undeterred, got back on the horse, winning a #1 contenders match against ACE legend Mo Sexton in September, but Mr. Morgan, intending to throw another obstacle in his path, made Marciano get his title shot as a part of a triple threat match, involving Maff and Bobby Fish, who was fresh off a stint in Pro Wrestling NOAH and looking for revenge from July.
Bruno came within an eyelash of the championship, but thanks to interference from the ACES yet again, Marciano was taken out of the in-ring action, and Maff pinned Fish to retain.
Again, even more focused, Marciano was on the winning team of a six-man tag at Rise 2 Power 2010, forming a union with Ed Scanlon and Jorge Luis Rivera to take down Tom Scanlon, William Wyeth, and Maff in the main event.
The fans were clamoring for it. Bruno Marciano seemed destined for the ACE Heavyweight championship. Hell, I was praying to see it happen.
In January 2011 at Redemption, Marciano was on the losing end of an Aerial Assault match, however not taking the fall. It felt like he was purposely being held back by the ACES from the championship he so richly deserved. But the ACE Nation knew the time was upon us.
Little did we know, on January 15, 2011, that was the last time we’d see Bruno Marciano in an ACE ring.
Even more wild, by the end of the month, Marciano would leave wrestling…
FOREVER. FOR GOOD. PER SEMPRE.
I have tried for over a decade to find out where Bruno Marciano went. I keep asking the same questions. Why did he leave wrestling? Where did he go? Is he alive?
The truth is, no one knows. I literally feel down wondering this, as I have the ultimate question to ask regarding this man.
What if Bruno Marciano stayed in ACE and finally unseated Dan Maff as ACE Heavyweight champion? What if Bruno continued on and made his name in Ring of Honor, Japan, or even WWE? What if Bruno made independent wrestling his world and made everyone in it revolve around his style of wrestling?
There are so many unanswered questions to ask and to ponder about. But to his fans in NYWC and ACE, they are left without an answer, as am I.
I truly wish Bruno Marciano finds this article one day and reads it. He had a lot of fans on the independent wrestling scene. He was a true diamond in the rough. With his no-nonsense style, he was a modern-day throwback in many words.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, Bruno Marciano….THANK YOU. You were, and are, missed from independent wrestling. You had unlimited talent, and the scene was your oyster. You were gone far too soon, and, to me, you will always have that “What If?” hanging over your career.
Thank you, Bruno. #BANKONIT