So, is Thesz the Godfather? The Granddaddy of them all? I started watching matches to find out.
The Don Leo Jonathan match from Chicago was a decent watch. DLJ was a fun big man and not really spoken about enough as we all know. I loved the way he pinched Thesz' cauliflower ears during the ref's explanation. That set the tone for a World of Sport style bout where there's plenty of needle and finally they start with the forearm smashes. That's been my favourite style of Thesz match so far. I don't find his matwork super impressive, but I do love the way he retaliates to inside moves. I think the crux of it is that because he's a hooker he knows dirtier moves than the heels and more ways to hurt people. DLJ was spry for a big man, but I don't think that matwork was truly his game. Still, he gave it a decent shake.
Next up was Thesz vs. The Mighty Atlas. Atlas had this neat little moustache and gave a much better all-round performance than in the Snyder bout. It was all shtick, but effective shtick for the era he worked in. Thesz didn't appear to have any misgivings about working this style of bout despite his grumblings in later years.
Interspersed between longer bouts are the numerous shorter clips of Thesz from YouTube. Highlights against Rocca, Gene Kiniski and Mr. Moto. There's not much to be gained from watching these unless you've seen a lot of Thesz and know what you're looking for. To me it was just a blur of holds. I did enjoy the short Vic Christy bout from Los Angeles where he gave Christy quite a bit of offence for what was essentially a squash. The Moto bout was filmed like a movie and had plenty of unusual angles for a filmed match.