Bruno Sammartino is very special to me in so many ways, but here's one that I'd say is rather unique. The very first time I ever attended a wrestling card at Madison Square Garden was on January 18, 1971, the day Bruno's seven-and-a-half-year WWWF title reign was ended by Ivan Koloff. I wasn't there as merely a fan, though. This date marked my debut as a pro wrestling journalist, reporting for the inaugural issue of my own newsletter, Wrestling Results (what an imaginative title!).
This 14-year-old, seated four rows from the top of MSG, watched the matches, jotting notes on a manila envelope that also served as the carrier for the night's program. Later, I would translate my scribble into a match report that would appear in Wrestling Results' February 1971 issue (cover price: 25 cents).
Here it is, just as it appeared more than 42 years ago:
Ivan Koloff defeated Bruno Sammartino. This was the main event in which Ivan Koloff (6', 298 pounds) from Russia challenged Bruno Sammartino (6', 265 pounds) from Italy. Bruno started quickly with a couple of fancy take-downs. When it came to a battle of strength, the two titans proved to be equal. Sammartino had the edge in the match and the fans loved it. Suddenly Koloff went on the offensive and got Bruno down to the mat. He then climbed to the top rope and dove down on Bruno and easily pinned him. Bruno Sammartinio held the championship ever since May 17, 1963 when he defeated Buddy Rogers in 48 seconds. He lost the belt in 14:55 before 21,106 stunned fans.
Wrestling Results (1971-1974)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated (1987-)