Bruno Sammartino Talks His Last Meeting With Vince, MSG, Reaction To His Induction And More

Bruno: Just about. [Laughs.] Yeah, that's how it happened.

Wrestling INC: What was Rogers' reaction after that match?

Bruno: Well I don't want to say we were bitter enemies -- we didn't like each other very much before. Ever. Afterwards, there were obviously bad feelings. Very bad feelings. We never spoke again.

We never spoke for many, many years until -- I don't know if you remember Georgiann Makropoulos, she used to write a lot of wrestling stuff. There was a convention one time in New York where they invited some wrestlers from yesteryear where we signed autographs and so forth.

I didn't know it at the time, I don't even think Buddy knew it at the time but we were both booked there. We, of course, did not speak or anything. But, Georgiann went to him and he then went to me and she said, 'Please, it's been all these years. Can we bury the hatchet more or less and we'll take a picture and I'll be between the two of you.'

She had been the president of Roger's fan club and then she became the president of my fan club some time later. So, I told her, 'Well, I don't want to keep holding grudges. If he's willing, then fine.'

It was funny, because Georgiann went and got him, got me and she stood in the middle. We took a picture, but we never spoke a word to each other. [Laughs.]

Wrestling INC: I know you've had so many great moments in the Garden. If you could pick one moment or match -- is that even possible?

Bruno: Well, it is kind of impossible. But, as far as meaning and what meant the most to me, it was, no doubt, that match with Rogers. That made me the number one guy, I was going to be the headliner after that, you know? So, that was the big break, if you will.

But, of course, a lot of wonderful things happened in the Garden. It was in Madison Square Garden, for example, that I was the only guy when he was legitimately well over 600 pounds to pick up Calhoun. I mean, I remember that night as special. I thought the roof of the building was going to pop off with the way the people went absolutely crazy.

It was at the Garden that [I had so many things happen]. I held the title for almost eight years the first time and then I lost it at the Garden. But, then I came back and took it again for another four years.

I also had a terrible thing happen to me there when I broke my neck [by Stan Hansen] in 1976. I came within a millimeter of being paralyzed from the neck down.

But, the Garden was a lot more than that as far as these wonderful memories. It was how much they contributed to my career. As you said, the Garden is the most famous arena in the world. There are arenas throughout the United States that are bigger and maybe even more beautiful, I haven't seen all of these new arenas.

But, you go anywhere around the world and nobody will know about any of them. But, if you mention Madison Square Garden, and everybody knows the Garden. Everybody. So, if you headline the Garden, you were automatically a headliner in other parts of the world that you went to.

So, with headlining the Garden as many times as I did, because of the publicity you got from the Madison Square Garden -- you know, I went to Japan, Australia, South America, the Philippines -- anywhere I went, I was really well known and I was strictly brought in as the headliner because of the publicity I got out of Madison Square Garden. So, the Garden did a awful lot for me. [Laughs.]

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