From The Fans: When Bruno Sammartino finally got his revenge on Ivan Koloff
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 08:04
'From The Fans' are columns & opinion pieces submitted by Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online members and readers on current day wrestling & MMA topics. They do not reflect the opinions of Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online staff. Submit your columns to
By Doug Heimowitz
I was at the December 15, 1975, cage match at MSG between Bruno Sammartino and Ivan Koloff. As such, I wanted to add a little flavor to that match as it was my most memorable match ever. (A close second was Bruno vs. "The Lariat" Stan Hansen at Shea Stadium).
The Garden was absolutely electric the entire evening. When they came out to build the cage (a twenty minute endeavor in those days), nobody left their seats to go to concessions or the bathrooms. There was just a constant building buzz.
Bruno was introduced to the loudest cheers I ever heard him receive, and I have been to about 40 Bruno bouts over the years. Bruno beat Koloff ragged for the first 5 minutes until Koloff turned the tide and about 8 minutes in, Koloff came off the top rope with the big Red boot across Bruno's chest, the move he used to win the title in 1971.
As Koloff disdainfully signaled for the cage door to open (and I will never forget this), you could hear a pin drop, just dead MSG silence. Nothing, no sounds out of 18,000 people. Amazing. Could Koloff do it again? Then as Koloff got 75% of his body through the ropes as he moved to leave the cage, Bruno grabbed him by the leg and pulled him back into the ring. It went from dead silence to absolute mayhem in seconds.
Bruno beat Koloff from pillar to post for the next five minutes, constantly throwing him into the walls of the cage. The word deafening does not do justice to how loud the Garden was when Bruno left the cage. You could not hear yourself think. I have been to the Garden for over 50 WWWF/WWF/WWE cards and also Knicks and Rangers playoff games. I have never heard any arena so loud for so long.
As we were leaving the Garden that night, people were sobbing tears of joy. Bruno had decisively avenged his worst ever defeat. That's the way it was.
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