Today In Pro Wrestling History (Jan 18): Ivan Koloff Defeats Bruno Sammartino

Today in Pro Wrestling History: On January 18, 1971, at Madison Square Garden, Ivan Koloff achieved a historic victory by defeating Bruno Sammartino to win the WWWF Championship.

Today In Pro Wrestling History (Jan 18): Ivan Koloff Defeats Bruno Sammartino

Today In Pro Wrestling History January 18

Before this match, Sammartino had held the title for an extraordinary 2,803 days, starting from May 17, 1963, when he won it from “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers. This reign is still the longest in WWE history and reflects Sammartino’s unparalleled popularity and draw as a champion​.

His loss to Koloff was met with an overwhelming silence from the audience, a reaction that has since become part of wrestling lore. Due to concerns over a potential riot, the announcement of Koloff as the new WWWF Champion was never made over the venue’s PA system.

Before this match, Sammartino had held the title for an extraordinary 2,803 days, starting from May 17, 1963, when he won it from “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers. This reign is still the longest in WWE history and reflects Sammartino’s unparalleled popularity and draw as a champion.​

Want More? Choose another story!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, X/Twitter, Instagram, Threads, YouTube, TikTok, and Flipboard!
Pro Wrestling Stories is committed to accurate, unbiased wrestling content rigorously fact-checked and verified by our team of researchers and editors. Any inaccuracies are quickly corrected, with updates timestamped in the article's byline header.
Got a correction, tip, or story idea for Pro Wrestling Stories? Contact us! Learn about our editorial standards here.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us provide free content for you to enjoy!

Be sure to follow Pro Wrestling Stories on Twitter @pws_official and Facebook @prowrestlingstories to keep up with the latest!