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[1976-08-07-WWWF-MSG, NY] Bruno Sammartino vs Stan Hansen (Cage)


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Bruno Sammartino vs. Stan Hansen

WWWF Championship - Madison Square Garden

Steel Cage Match

August 7, 1976


A young Stan Hansen is working an earlier variation of his Lariat gimmick here, with bright green trunks and bleached blonde hair, sans cattle rancher gear and a loaded elbow pad for added effect. Chris Hero's gimmick in 2009 was very reminiscent of this look and honestly its a good one to recycle. I couldn't find the matches leading up to this one, and essentially the story boils down to the fact that Stan Hansen broke Bruno Sammartino's neck with the loaded Lariat. Now Bruno gets his chance for vengeance in a Steel Cage Match at MSG.


Bruno is hesitant to step in the cage as Hansen is already waiting inside, but Sammartino cannot ignore the cheers of the crowd as they urge him to get in. So of course Hansen does jump Bruno with a knee as he crawls inside the cage, but Bruno moves and Hansen misses an elbow drop. Crowd goes nuts as Bruno gets his shine on with big punches and smashes Hansen into the cage. He chokes Hansen on the ropes but Hansen fights back to get the upper hand. Back-and-forth gritty brawling ensues with Bruno raking the eyes sending Hansen into the cage head-first for a second time. Both guys continue to kick and punch and beat the snot out of each other. Sammartino chokes Hansen with his foot across the throat. Hansen desperately sends Bruno to the ropes to try for the Lariat but Bruno gets a huge big foot to Hansen's gut instead. Bruno chokes Hansen out with his foot again but the Bad Man from Borger comes back only to miss an elbow drop. Hansen landed on his back and Sammartino quickly goes to work and locks in a Boston crab. Bruno rakes his fingers across the eyes and then opens up with a series of right hands. Hansen kicks Sammartino in the chest and gingerly tries to escape through the door but Bruno grabs his tights and pulls him back in. Now both guys choke each other out. Hansen gets the better of the exchange and goes to climb the cage and is pulled down by Sammartino. Bruno gets tired of Hansen's running so he stomps him hard with a low blow. Bruno sends Hansen into the cage a number of times before Hansen elbows Bruno and tries to walk out of the cage again. They fight for advantage as Hansen tries to climb out from the top of the cage, but get crotched in the ropes and sent into the ring post instead. Hansen is cut open, so naturally Bruno rakes the cut and follows up with a series of right hands. Bruno has a clear advantage. Bruno pulls the loaded elbow pad from Hansen's arm and hits him with it several times! Hansen is knocked senseless again and gets his foot tied up in the ropes. Bruno continues the onslaught even as Hansen is trapped and bleeding! Bruno actually releases Hansen from the rope, only to give him one last big right hand to Hansen's bleeding skull. Bruno stands tall and walks out of the cage as the decisive winner.


Post match, Hansen swings at a ref but misses and does a face-plant into the cage.


Great back-and-forth brawl here. Effective use of the cage both in terms of violence and the escape tactics. Hansen stood toe-to-toe with the Champ but Bruno came ready for the fight of his life, throwing the rule book out the window and doing whatever it takes to get his revenge. It was only when he felt defeated that Hansen tried to escape. Pure desperation. In comparison, Bruno never tried to escape and stood tall. We got the ultimate payback when Bruno beat Hansen senseless with the loaded elbow pad and turned him into a bloody mess. Really enjoying these Bruno Sammartino matches and Hansen shined even at this stage in the game. ****1/4

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  • 1 year later...

Wild wild brawl where plenty of punches are thrown. Hansen tries to hit the lariat any chance he gets. I agree the match could've benefited greatly from some form of extended heat section on Bruno, but as it was it was a wild spectacular fast paced fight, the sort you can back to 40 years later and enjoy.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1976-08-07-WWWF-MSG, NY] Bruno Sammartino vs Stan Hansen (Cage)

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