You know what to do…
How did they calculate such a high number? Were they running more than one monthly show at MSG during the 8-year reign? Two shows a month gets them there, but was he always the headliner if that was the case?
Most of the stories had the exaggerated statistic of him headlining 211 times in Madison Square Garden and selling out 187 times. Later, after the 2013 Hall of Fame ceremony, that number changed to being his 188th sellout.
The number isn’t close to accurate, but he did both headline and sell out Madison Square Garden more than any wrestler in history. He told me that he and Georgiann Makropolous came up with the number, estimating he regularly worked the building for 18 years, once a month, and sold out 90 percent of the time. This was long before research was done and real records were available.
His actual record of Madison Square Garden matches is listed here. He did 160 matches in Madison Square Garden, and was only pinned once, which ironically was his most famous match ever, and the most enduring match of that era, with Koloff.
Of those, 140 of those shows you could say he main evented. When he was champion, every match he was in was the main event. During the Morales and Backlund runs, his match had equal billing with the championship match as the main event. Often his match was a bigger drawing match than the championship match. For those who would watch the Madison Square Garden shows live, or on the MSG Network in the late 70s, some of the fondest memories would be right before the final match, when the ring announcer, where it was Johnny Addie or Howard Finkel, would announce the next show.
When Sammartino was champion, the anticipation was who would be the next contender, although usually that was obvious, or in the case of a disputed ending earlier in the night, what the special stipulations would be next month.
But after he lost the title in 1977, because he was not there every month, the announcement of his appearances would be louder and more dramatic.
Finkel was the master of this, and he’d run down the card, and then the championship match, and you thought it was over. He’d subtly stop, and then say that there’s one more match, and he’d announce that name of the heel, who was always one of the top guys. “And he will face,” as his voice boomed, “BRUNO SAMMARTINO!” The place never failed to explode.
Pay records from Madison Square Garden from the Backlund era showed that every show he appeared on, he was paid the most, always $6,000, which was more than Backlund, who would get $5,000, or Andre the Giant, who would get $3,000.
Legitimately, his match was the true main event a minimum of 130 times. Not all attendance figures are available, but he had 60 verifiable sellouts, and logically, there are probably a few others, but not more than 65.
June 10, 1991
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan
This week’s guests are Davey Boy Smith, The Mountie, The Berzerker & Mr. Fuji, and Gary Strydom
SI.com Week in Wrestling
Brock Lesnar Update
There are no current plans for a Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley match.
Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter
ESPN.com Article on Bruno Sammartino
* the Andre battle royal….it'd be a cool image to see Taker winning and doing his bowing pose to the trophy after the match
* tag partner….a face is feuding with two or even three heroes leading up to Mania, leading the face to request Undertaker's help for Mania. Taker gets to stand on the apron for much of the match and get the hot tag to get his routine in.
As to when he'd hang it up, it would be kind of cool if Wrestlemania 37 was in Los Angeles, so Taker could make it 30 years after his Mania debut, and in the same city at WM7.
The SmarK Rant for NXT – 08.22.12
Next week is the finals of the NXT title tournament, but this week is the far more exciting FACE TO FACE segment. Nothing like a Jinder Mahal interview to make you long for a Jinder Mahal match.
Taped from Orlando, FL
Your hosts are Byron Saxton and William Regal.
Where does he rank for you on the all time jays list? On the one hand, no rings. On the other he did seem to bring a bit of legitimacy back, and even if the team wasnt doing good, you knew you were getting a show with him at the plate. In otherwords, canada barry bonds.
Monday Night Raw
Date: November 17, 2003
Location: SE Texas Arena, Beaumont, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re past Survivor Series and that means we’re on the way to Armageddon to end the year. Eric Bischoff is back in full control of the show as Steve Austin’s team lost last night. I’m sure we’ll NEVER see him again. Goldberg is still the Raw World Champion too, having dispatched Evolution on a bad ankle. Why do I have a feeling that the HHH feud is far from over though? Let’s get to it.