Video Of The 1971 Bruno Sammartino Ivan Koloff Title Change

Ivan Koloff vs. Bruno Sammartino

Yes, this is the match from 1971 where Ivan wins the title. The one Bruno talks about in all of his interviews. I was under the impression that footage of it didn’t exist because the WWWF didn’t film it. But somebody outside of the company (probably a fan) did, and it was uploaded to YouTube back in 2008. I don’t recognize the voice doing the obviously added in commentary, but he did a decent job aside from the constant references to it not being Wrestlemania and being the greatest match of all time.

Here’s Bill Apter writing about the night on, but the story sounds much better coming from Bruno himself. That’s no disrespect to Apter, who’s pretty well been everywhere and seen everything. It’s just that Bruno is such a great interview subject. If you’ve never listened to an interview with him, you should. He’s got an amazing memory for old stories and he clearly loves telling them. I suggest springing for a subscription to the Observer/F4W and searching the archives for the ones he did with Dave and Bryan.

Koloff came off the top with a devastating knee drop to do what no other challenger had been able to do all those years before. In a matter of seconds, referee Kroll made the three count and raised Koloff’s arm, declaring him the new WWE Champion.
Kroll made sure he posed Koloff with his arm up in victory for me. I looked around the arena. You could hear a pin drop. It was dead silence as the new champion left the ring with Albano behind him. Bruno was now sitting up in the middle of the ring with Skaaland just above him, asking if he was okay.

I remember seeing Bruno’s fan club president, Georgian Orsi, sitting in the front row, crying. Many other fans wept as well. I felt like we were all at a funeral as Bruno left the ring. No one knew what to say.

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