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[1980-03-24-WWF-MSG, NY] Bruno Sammartino vs Larry Zbyszko


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  • GSR changed the title to [1980-03-24-WWF-MSG, NY] Bruno Sammartino vs Larry Zbyszko
  • 8 months later...
  • 3 months later...

The crowd reactions for the opening armdrags were tremendous. Roaring. Bruno is in control for the majority just beating up and yanking Larry's arm off. Larry finally takes control after an eye-poke. and gate keeping Bruno from entering the ring. Ends with Bruno trying to rip Larry's head clean off his body while his foot is tied up in the ropes. 

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  • 1 year later...

Absolutely fantastic. Similar story and ending as the preceding Philly match, but the body of the match is completely different.

I love how they take the layout of the initial Championship Wrestling heel turn match and replace Bruno's hesitancy and care towards Larry with rage and competitiveness. It makes what could have been stretches of "rest holds" into something much more meaningful and entertaining. Plus both guys really play into the brutality and power of the stuff Bruno throws at Larry.

Love, love, love how Larry is able to take control by brawling. Bruno seems so focused on cranking on the holds he refused to lay into for their first exhibition and Larry knows the only way he has a chance is to beat Bruno down with kicks and punches and cheap stuff.

And the ending is magnificent. They end up outside where Larry slams Bruno's head into the mat (with an awesome sell job by Bruno) and then keeps beating on him as he comes back in. Eventually Bruno starts to "Bruno up" and Larry tries to recreate the circumstances of his control segment by running outside, letting Bruno follow and cheapshotting him again as he comes in. Repeat a few more times until Bruno finally catches Larry before he can leave the ring and starts his own beatdown. Unfortunately Larry gets his foot caught in the ropes and as Dick Kroll tries to separate them, he gets inadvertently shoved down leading to a DQ win for Larry.

Perfect storytelling, especially to continue the feud for more MSG shows. Bruno gets a measure of revenge, but Larry sneaks away with the victory and the fans want to see him get his shoulders pinned so they'll keep coming out for this.

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  • 2 years later...

Bruno Sammartino vs Larry Zbyszko
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, USA

This is the first match of their series at MSG. During the first few minutes I thought that they were merely running back their match from the Spectrum as the sequences were extremely similar. They again played it straight up to start with both going for legitimate wrestling holds with Zbyszko repeatedly coming off second best. His frustration steadily grew before he flung an elbow, gained the advantage, and from then on we had a fight on our hands. The Philly crowd at the beginning of the month were HOT but this almost had the sense of a gladiatorial spectacle which took the atmosphere to a whole other level.
In the middle there was a long stretch where Bruno was sent to the floor and Zbyszko kept kicking him back to the floor every time he tried to re-enter the ring. I think if they’d shaved maybe 3 or 4 minutes from this section it would have done a world of good, but perhaps the peak later on would have been as impactful if they had. Either way once Bruno made it back into the ring Larry was just wailing on Bruno in the corner and you could just see the comeback brewing. Unlike in Philadelphia, Larry could see it coming this time and we had a chase. Three times they circled the ring and Larry would dive in and then escape before Bruno could get his hands on him. The third time however Larry was a little too slow and Bruno caught him as he was diving through the ropes. Once he had him he went hell for leather just beating down on him. The referee got caught in the crossfire and we had a somewhat foreseeable DQ finish. Bruno wasn’t letting up though and it took the referee and Arnold Skaaland several minutes to pull him away and allow Larry to retreat to the back.
I would say the Spectrum match and this were roughly equal but I did think that Bruno’s comeback here had a little more juice. The slow build to his comebacks is something I’m really enjoying as he doesn’t go over the top as some others do. I like Martel and I’m not calling him out, but as a contrast he is visually very LOUD in comparison.

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  • 8 months later...

Boy, the MSG was really hot for this. I love storyline progression and here you can see Zbyszko regretting his betrayal, because this time Bruno is not holding back at all and he can't wait to punish his former student. A simple bearhug gets a lot of cheers and Zbyszko sold it like a star. Zbyszko hits and runs, getting momentum in a cheap way at every turn, even trying to prevent Bruno from entering the ring as a whole. Contrarily to what happened in their first match, this time Bruno is the one to snap and he beats the hell out of Zbyszko causing a DQ. This was a notch above the Allentown match and I like the fact that there is more to come from these two.

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