Commentators: Gordon Solie and Jim Ross
Referee: Tommy Young
Samoa Joe appears at the top of the ramp as his music plays. Gary Michael Cappettta inrtoduces
him. From the isle of Samoa…standing six foot two inches, weighing two hundred ninety
pounds…he is the Samoan Submission Machine, Samoa Joe!
The crowd reacts with a combination of clapping and boos, but the effect, combined with
Joe’s “Godzilla”-like music is one of morbid anticipation. Joe stoically tests the ropes when he
enters the ring then moves around to stay warmed up.
Joe’s nervous, Gordon.
It’s to be expected, Jim. It’s the biggest match in his career. There was controversy about
whether he even deserved to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime tournament. Does he deserve a
place amongst the greatest wrestlers of all time?
He has to erase those type of doubts from his mind. He’s in “The Living Legend’s” backyard.
Nobody’s sold out the Garden more times than Bruno Sammartino. He’ll have a home court
advantage for sure. If Joe is going to win, he’ll have to have the match of his life.
Both of these men are used to having a size and power advantage. But neither will tonight. Or
It’s hard to say. Bruno’s taking his time coming out, Gordon….
You have to think it’s playing on the youngster’s fear. After all, if you’ve never seen Bruno in his
prime…felt his strength…felt how the people in the crowd could seemingly will him to victory….
Well, we’re about to find out because here he comes!
Bruno jogs down the ramp and the crowd goes wild, already chanting his name and reaching out
to touch him. Bruno goes straight to the ring and enters.
Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, weighing 285 pounds, the Living Legend, Bruno
The crowd cheers and Bruno raises his arms to acknowledge them. Samoa Joe drops his
trademark towel into his corner and rolls his head to stretch his neck. Bruno claps his hands
twice and the audience immediately maintains a clapping rhythm. Bruno lets out a small smile
and looks at Joe.
Tommy Young calls for the opening bell and the two combatants start to circle.
They tie up…neither man is able to back the other one up, Jim.
Bruno’s strength is legendary, Gordon. He’s also amazingly fast. If Samoa Joe has any
advantage, it’s that he has, perhaps, more offensive moves.
Everything Bruno does, however simple it may be, is extremely effective.
As if to prove Gordon Solie’s point, Bruno takes Samoa Joe down with an armdrag and locks up
his left arm. Samoa Joe tugs and moves, but can’t get his arm free. He starts to stand, but Bruno
applies a little pressure to Joe’s shoulder and puts him back down.
Samoa Joe repositions himself on the mat. His face strains from the pressure on him arm. He
twists his body so that he and Bruno are on their knees facing one another. Samoa Joe uses his
free hand to smack Bruno across the chest. The noise sings across the Garden. Bruno’s face
turns mean. He lets Joe’s arm goes, hauls off and punches him. Joe reels backwards. He shakes
his head and hits Bruno with another chop. Bruno gets to his feet, pulls Joe to his, and punches
him again, sending Joe toppling backwards into the ropes. Joe chops Bruno as he bounces back.
Bruno punches Joe one more time, and Joe’s legs buckle underneath him. Bruno easily scoops
him up and rocks the ring with a thunderous bodyslam.
Bruno didn’t care for those chops very much, Jim.
You’d think that this match would have been a more scientific one for a time, but they’re already
bringing out the heavy lumber. At least Bruno is. I think Joe doesn’t get that he’s bringing chops
to a fistfight, and that’s not going to get it done.
Bruno gets on top of Joe and starts pounding away at his head. Joe seems genuinely shocked at
the power and fury of Sammartino. He reaches up and rakes Bruno’s eyes out of desperation.
Bruno stands up and covers his own face in pain, then turns around. Joe meets him with an
inverted atomic drop. Bruno grimaces in pain, but remains standing. Joe hurtles himself off of
the ropes and hits Bruno with a one-legged dropkick. As Bruno hits the canvas back first, Joe
hits the ropes to his side and lands a huge running senton.
…a combination of moves that leaves Bruno rolling around the ring in pain, Gordon.
Big men in Bruno’s day simply didn’t move that fluidly, Jim. That’s what Samoa Joe needs to do.
Set up moves at angles, confuse Bruno, and control the trainwrecks that it will take to set Bruno
up for his finishes.
Bruno sits up, still holding his chest. Joe smacks him on the back, kicks Bruno in the chest.
Bruno yells at the kick to the chest and is laid out. Joe hits the ropes yet again and drops a
kneedrop onto Da Brune’s injured chest. Bruno grunts. Joe goes for a cover. Bruno powers out
of the pin at two, throwing Joe into the air.
Kickout with authority.
It wasn’t smart though, Jim. Bruno’s chest is hurt and kicking out like that, while impressive, is
just exacerbating the problem. Bruno’s staggered into the corner, and Joe’s throwing a series of
chops and kicks at his chest, further weakening him.
Bruno starts to crumple in the corner. He fires back at Joe’s midsection, but Joe just takes a
small step back and pushes his foot against Bruno’s face. He does this three more times, then
comes off the opposite ropes and facewashes Bruno, who collapses into the corner. Joe then
stomps away at Bruno’s chest relentlessly, to the point where Tommy Young physically grabs
Joe and pulls him away.
Bruno gets to his feet, covering up as best he can. Joe moves Bruno’s arms out of the way
and chops Bruno hard across the chest. Bruno fires back with a right hand. Joe chops. Bruno
punches. A regular type of exchange, but the fans start going crazy, chanting Bruno’s name as
the two move center ring, still exchanging vicious strikes. Finally Joe unleashes a chop that
drops Bruno to a knee. He takes the opportunity to back himself into the ropes, but Bruno
springs up and unleashes a short, powerful kick to Joe’s midsection. He wraps his arms around
Joe and picks him up in a pendulum backbreaker.
The crowd is coming unglued, Gordon, they can’t believe the show of power they are seeing!
Bruno used this move to beat Buddy Rogers to become the longest reigning WWWF champion in
history. Joe’s never been manhandled like this in his career.
Joe’s squirming, moving, trying to undo Bruno’s hands. But Bruno, under the worst of
circumstances, is still as strong as any man who’s been in the squared circle. But he’s mad, and
Joe is beginning to fade. His arms drop as Bruno holds him, and his eyes start to close from the
pain. Tommy Young check his arm. As the arm drops for the first time, Bruno stumbles back a
step, but then holds firm. The arm drops a second time.
Referee Tommy Young checks a third time…the arm stays up! And Joe moves it awkwardly
behind Bruno’s head and…what’s he doing?
He’s flipped out of the move, and has Bruno’s head tucked….
Muscle Buster! He’s hooked Bruno into the muscle buster! But how can he possibly….
Joe deadlifts Bruno up into the move. Madison Square Garden seems to come to a halt as Joe
slowly moves to face the center of the ring. He takes two steps then drops. Bruno’s body hits,
folds in a gruesome fashion, jackknifing then being thrown into the air a bit before falling to the
mat like a rag doll. Joe’s chest rises as he attempts to get his own bearings. Bruno isn’t moving.
Young starts a double count. Joe’s eyes are open, but he seems unable to move himself even the
slightest bit off of the canvas. At the count of seven he is still flat on his back. Bruno begins to
stir, grabbing at the ropes and pulling himself up.
Blood is pouring from Bruno’s mouth….
Bruno is up at nine, Joe finally begins to move. Bruno staggers around the ring clutching his
chest. He backs into the waiting Joe, who starts to hook his rear naked choke. By instinct,
Bruno slips to the side, and lifts Joe into a belly to back suplex. They both hit the mat hard, but
Joe merely twists and hooks Bruno into the choke anyway, wrapping his legs around Bruno’s
Incredible! Joe’s fought through everything Bruno’s tried to counter him with!
Bruno stands up with Joe on his back almost immediately, but it’s obvious that he has almost
nothing left. With a final burst of power, Bruno tries to back Joe into the corner, but stumbles
and hits the ropes instead. The middle and top rope give way, snapping and sending the two
falling backwards all the way to the concrete floor, trapping Tommy Young beneath the two of
them. The audience gasps and rises to its collective feet. The only thing that can be heard is
murmuring. For over a minute people just stare at the human car wreck they’ve just seen. Joe
hit his head on the concrete on the way down, and a pool of blood comes from his head. Tommy
Young can’t even be seen in the pile. Bruno’s chest rises and falls, free of Joe’s grasp but still
After an uncomfortable couple of minutes, EMTs and Joey Marella rush to the ring. Joey
goes into the ring and looks a bit confused. Gorilla Monsoon comes down to ringside about a
minute later as EMTs are checking the men. Tommy Young is placed on a stretcher right away,
obviously the most hurt. Gorilla signals to Marella, who begins to count the two warriors out.
Gorilla shrugs, seemingly resigned to what’s happening.
There’s nothing else that they can do, Jim.
Absolutely right, Gordon. There’s still a match in progress, technically.
Joey reaches eight, when suddenly a hand reaches up and grabs the bottom rope. The crowd
stands again, almost not believing what they are seeing. As Joey starts to say “ten,” Bruno pulls
the rope and topples ungracefully into the ring.
THE LIVING LEGEND HAS ROCKED THE WRESTLING WORLD AGAIN!
The Garden is pandemonium! Marella raises his arm as they announce Bruno the winner, but
you can’t hear anything!
Never has a countout victory gotten such a response. After a time, as Joe is loaded onto a second
stretcher, something is wrong and the mechanism to lift and roll the stretcher isn’t working.
Bruno moves down next to Joe. With three EMTs on one side, Bruno takes the other and the
men manage to get Joe to the ambulance. Bruno steps inside to sit next to Joe. Nobody says