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Thread: ROGERS / SAMMARTINO - THE FACTS BEHIND THE WWWF TITLE SWITCH ON MAY 17, 1963 AT MSG

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    Nature Boy Buddy Rogers

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    ROGERS / SAMMARTINO - THE FACTS BEHIND THE WWWF TITLE SWITCH ON MAY 17, 1963 AT MSG

    Bruno Sammartino was known for spouting alot of bullcrap, including the nonsense that he told Buddy Rogers before the WWWF title switch at MSG on May 17, 1963 that "we can do this the hard way or the easy way." The fact of the matter is that Sammartino became the second WWWF World Heavyweight Champion thanks to fate striking Rogers with an illness that cut down his ability to wrestle a normal schedule, let alone the rigorous schedule of a defending champion.

    After Buddy was hospitalized three times in April of 1963 for chest pains, McMahon and Mondt made a command decision to make an emergency title switch. Between Antonino Rocca and Bruno Sammartino they went with the younger Sammartino who was 28 years old at the time. The match was scheduled to be concluded quickly so as not to risk the health of the 44 year old Rogers any more than necessary. Rogers carried out the title switch and put over Sammartino as was agreed in order to preserve the integrity of the nascent WWWF. The real hero of that match was Nature Boy Buddy Rogers.

    The original plan was to have Rogers hold the title for a year or two while the nascent WWWF was getting on its feet and then put over a successor. That successor probably would have been Bruno and the match would have most likely been a two out of three fall hour long bloodbath which would have been preferrable to a 48 second stinker that they were forced to put on.

    This is what TIM HORNBAKER had to say about the situation regarding Rogers' health on page 188 of his book "NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE MONOPOLY THAT STRANGLED PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING."

    "Buddy's life took a sudden twist after the loss to Thesz. In Ottawa, for a contest with Bulldog Brower on April 16, 1963 Rogers felt an overwhelming pain in his chest and went to a hospital. The intense stinging he felt had grown in the weeks and months prior, culminating in a sudden need for medical aid. He braved a flight the next day to Pittsburgh where he was booked in a six man tag match at the Civic Arena, but a doctor refused to grant authorization after a pre-bout check up and Rogers' admission of sustained chest pains."

    "On the morning of Thursday, April 18, Rogers was thoroughly examined at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, then went on to Cleveland where he was scheduled to wrestle WWWA Champion Dory Dixon. Unable to compete in Cleveland, Rogers was hospitalized for the third time in three days. He stayed in Cleveland through the weekend, missing a match in Boston on Saturday."

    "Booked in Ottawa on April 23rd Rogers pulled out and was replaced by Jolly Cholly against Bobo Brazil. The morning of the program the 'Ottawa Citizen' reported that he had suffered a heart attack Sunday at a Cleveland hospital. In fact, no one was quite sure what happened, but a heart attack seemed to be the simplest explanation. Buddy's prognosis was grave, and for the resilient grappler, the health scare frightened him to the core. He was in absoluttely no condition to wrestle, and doctors wanted him stabilized and resting. Pressured to return to grappling, Buddy was back in the ring less than two weeks later, but in a restricted capacity."

    "The news was devastating to Capitol Wrestling. McMahon immediately changed course and hastened the push of Sammartino. The newfangled plan certainly required Buddy's assistance. It was essential that the wrestler's illness was kept quiet, and that nobody outside a small circle could know what happened. Only a few media outlets had mentioned his medical condition since mid-April, and that was the way McMahon needed it to avoid a detailed evaluation by the New York State Commission."

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    On Vacation

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    Re: ROGERS / SAMMARTINO - THE FACTS BEHIND THE WWWF TITLE SWITCH ON MAY 17, 1963 AT M

    Love it.

    The 60's my fav decade for the wrestling.

    TONS....of big names.

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