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Billy Goelz and other 50s finds


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#21 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 04:57 AM

As predicted, Enrique Torres vs. Ted Christy was more shtick than mat wizardry. One thing I've noticed so far about 50s wrestling is that champion caliber wrestlers like Torres are booked to look exceptionally strong. They hardly ever sell for the heels and rarely go off their feet. Instead, they spent most their time making the heels look like buffoons. Christy was a fun buffoon, though. He reminded me of Mick McManus' tag partner, Steve Logan. He even did the same wet hair trick his slicked back sides. Torres didn't really break a sweat here, but it was entertaining enough.

 

Also fun was getting to see Joe Blanchard in a swift 15 minute time limit draw with Pierre LaSalle of Rougeau family fame. The only thing I'd seen from Blanchard previously as snippets of his awesome feud with Fritz Von Erich. He looked solid against LaSalle even if they didn't really hit the mat as hard as I'd like. It was more dancing about playing heel vs. face, but they made a go of it. 

 

I'm still trying to crack Edouard Carpentier. In theory, he's a wrestler I should like since he wrestles like a masked tecnico, but there's something that's not quite clicking. I still can't put my finger on it. I did like the match I watched against a thick set Mike Gallagher, but again it was a heavy offensive showcase with Carpentier barely putting over Gallagher's stuff. Carpentier was definitely one of the more dynamic and striking workers of his time but just how good he was remains elusive. 



#22 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 05:41 PM

Well, I saw Carpentier sell for Killer Kowalski, so I guess that shows you how big a deal Kowalski was in this era. But Kowalski... I just don't know... I've never seen him look any better than wooden.

 

Alberto & Ramon Torres vs. Art Mahalick & Mike Sharpe is from the mid-60s but a hot bout with some great action. The Torres brothers are perhaps a little bit too dominant down the stretch, but if you like the Guerrero brothers then the entire Torres family are worth checking out. 

 

I'm not a fan of Dick the Bruiser, but I can take him in small doses. Five minutes of him vs. The Beast was some rowdy old fun. 

 

I think the next thing I'm going to do is go through the wrestlingfilms channel in chronological order. That will include a lot of 30s and 40s wrestling, but I think I'll keep everything together in this thread.  



#23 jopiela

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 06:00 PM

I hope you enjoy going through the matches, it's my channel.  Let me know if you have any questions on the matches or films.  Just a note, the Enrique Torres match was against Ted Christy, Vic's brother.



#24 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 05:11 AM

Thanks for the correction. It's a wonderful channel and I hope you continue updating it. 

 

Vic Hill vs. Jack Gacek was awesome. I've always loved 30s cinema and judging by this I'll love 30s graps too.

 

The Miller Brothers vs. Fabulous Kangaroos featured two legendary tag teams but was a bit generic for my liking. Stuff like cutting off the man and face in peril segments. Others might see that as vintage tag wrestling, tho.

 

Jose Sevilla vs K.O. Koverley was a bit looser than Hill/Gacek but they did some really cool mat spots. Jules Strongbow vs. Hardy Kruskamp was especially intriguing after watching Strongbow do the ring-announcing at the Hollywood Legion Stadium, as well as commentating and the backstage interviews. He was a big guy and a power wrestler cum slugger, but I was impressed by his intensity. He really stuck to his man and gave him no leeway.

 

Vincent Lopez vs. Man Mountain Dean was pretty much classic pro-wrestling in that it was basically a slug fest. The footage may have been slightly speed up in the transfer but there's no denying the intensity of the performers.

 

The first thing that stood out to me about Ali Baba vs Red Brannigan was how Brannigan really did look like an Irishman and Baba, even if he wasn't really Turkish, fit the bill. It never ceases to amaze me how much more global wrestling was in the early days when people really did seem like they were coming from all over the world to compete in overseas territories. It makes professional wrestling seem like a sport with a global reach. Baba seems like an interesting story. Watching him bodyslam a guy into "submission" is a finish that probably wouldn't  work these days but is an awesome way to get over one of wrestling's most basic moves. 



#25 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 03:50 PM

Ilio DiPaolo vs. "Big" Bill Miller was a really good heavyweight match. They pretty much did everything you'd want from two big men. A little bit of technical wrestling, a bit of strength stuff, some roughhousing, you name it. A really good match. 

 

Chief Don Eagle vs. Walter Palmer surprised me. I'd only seen Don Eagle against Gorgeous George and that clearly wasn't an indicator of his in-ring ability. He had a slightly idiosyncratic grappling style but I love little quirks like that. Palmer I had seen against Thesz and was stoked to see him again. A fine wrestler indeed. This was another quality match w/ Don Eagle really catching my eye.

 

Next up was Jim Londos vs. Bronko Nagurski. This is a really famous match that most people would have at least heard of. It's a match I've known about since I first discovered people talking about wrestling on the internet but it's taken me this long to watch it. That's not a bad thing as I'm sure that I appreciate it more now than I ever would have in the past. Anyway, it's truly sublime. From the opening moments where they'd fighting to get into a referee's hold up until the decisive moments, it's an epic wrestling match. They just keep fighting and fighting and wrestling each other. There was a thread about the perfect wrestling style elsewhere and for me this may be it. 

Following up that is hard to do but Doc and Mike Gallagher vs. Dick Beyer and Bobby Brown is a fun match. The Gallagher brothers are your typical goon squad types but clever with it, and it's always fun to see Dick Beyer flying about pre-mask. It's not a match where you get to see him wrestle much but he had his babyface act down pat.

 

Last up was Donn Lewin vs. Leo Garibaldi from the Los Angeles territory. This was a complete surprise. I knew that Garibaldi was good but this was a phenomenal bout. Lewin was a New York boy that they'd brought in for television and they gave him a two fall showcase against one of their local stars, Garibaldi. Super competitive, fast paced wrestling match with exciting holds and nonstop action. When you consider the premise of the New York boy being brought in to showcase some new, out of state talent, it was sensational. This was just the bee's knees. A top 10 contender from the 50s stuff I've watched. 

So there you go, five great matches in a row. This channel is on a roll. 



#26 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 10:25 PM

Next up was Ilio DiPaolo brawling with The Masked Marvel in quite a gimmicky sort of bout. The Marvel was unmasked at the end and the commentator rather sheepishly recognised him as "Bull Wright," a journeyman type the crowd didn't seem to remember or care about much.

 

Following that was an old silent film from the mid-30s with "Mexican Champion" Vincent Lopez taking on Man Mountain Dean in a classic big man vs. wrestler bout. They duked it out in entertaining fashion. This match was also historically important as Lopez won Lou Daro's Los Angeles version of the World Heavyweight Championship amid some pretty intense politics -- http://www.wrestling...lewisbio25.html

Doc and Mike Gallagher vs. Johnny Barend and Billy Red Lyons was another look at the Gallagher stooges. Doc Gallagher's head was completely shaved here. He looked like he'd been in a hair match somewhere south of the border but the commentator said it was because he delights in going into steam rooms in the various athletic clubs around the country, and when the fellas all look at his fine physique he says "I'm 67," which the old boys get a kick out of. Alrighty then. I was interested in getting a look at Billy Red Lyons here as his friend the Destroyer likes to put him over in shoot interviews, but this isn't the type of bout where you can get a good look at the babyfaces as they're really just foils for the bigger name heels. The match was decent without anything really spectacular happening.

Lindy Lawrence vs. Jacque LaMonte was the first ladies match I've seen from the 50s. Now I'm not going to lie, I thought it would be a bunch of hair pulling and cat fighting. That was just the stereotype I had in my head. Instead, it was a serious wrestling match with real holds and tremendous intensity. They did end up pulling the hair, but they did it while fighting for holds and that made it seem like the match was on a knife edge. Like Lewin vs. Garibaldi, this would make my personal list of the best matches from the 50s. 

June Byers vs. Cara Combs was closer to my stereotypical idea of 1950s female wrestling. It was actually a bit of a disappointment considering these two are far bigger names than Lawrence and LaMonte. This was Moolah level stuff for the most part, but the jury's still out and I'll try to keep an open mind about upcoming ladies stuff. 

 



#27 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 09:00 PM

All right, here we go...

 

June Byers vs. Penny Banner was slightly better stuff from Byers, but it was just highlights so who really knows. Lindy Lawrence vs. Lynn O'Connor was another solid performance from Lawrence. The match wasn't as good as the bout against LaMonte but the focus was on wrestling and not hair pulling, fortunately. The commentator drove me nuts, though. I think he broke some kind of record for how many times you can refer to a wrestler by their full name. And when he wasn't mentioning them by name he was using their nicknames, "Gorgeous" Lindy Lawrence and the "Battling Ballerina" Lynn O'Connor. The full monty was using both and boy did he go for the full monty a lot. 

 

Ilio DiPaolo vs. Sato Keomuka was another gimmick match for DiPaolo. This time a Judo Jacket match. Eh. 

 

Right after that was Ed "Strangler" Lewis vs. Dick Shikat from 1932. Shikat looks very much like a German wrestler and works like one too. You can see a lot of Horst Hoffman in him, or a lot of Shikat in Hoffman. This was the first time for me to see Lewis wrestle, so I don't have much to go on, but aside from a powerful looking headlock and a sharp side headlock takedown he didn't really show me much. Admittedly, it was only the highlights of an hour plus match (the commentator actually referred to "high spots" at one point), but Shikat appeared the more talented of the two. Good match but not as good as the Londos/Nagurski fight.

 

The clips of Ramona Isabella & Ethel Johnson vs Babs Wingo & Marva Scott were interesting as they were a troupe of Black female wrestlers who toured around the country wrestling each other. I also saw a clip of an old women's match between Olga Baranoff and Hanka Kavetzka but that was very much your cliched slapping and hair pulling.

 

Clips of Abe Coleman vs. Lou Plummer, Jim Londos vs. Ray Steele and Man Mountain Dean vs. Howard Cantonwine all look good, especially the first two match-ups. Man Mountain Dean is the undiscovered fatboy worker of the 30s. 

 

Next, I watched some old damaged film of the 1920 Earl Caddock vs. Joe Stecher fight. I believe this match marks the end of the catch-as-catch-can era of professional wrestling and that there has been much debate over the years as to whether it was a work or shoot. I'm not smart enough or well-read enough to enter that debate, but work or shoot it reminded me of shoot style, which should come as no surprise given that catch was one of the foundations of the UWF style. Much of the fight (at least what is shown in the film) is Stecher going for his body scissors hold and Caddock fighting his way out of it and Caddock trying to pin Stecher's shoulders to the mat. In newsreel form it's intriguing but I can't imagine what two hours of it was like. 

Finally, we have the complete opposite -- The Beast vs. Argentina Rocca. Well, you might think it's the complete opposite but my God does Johnny Powers go to great lengths on commentary to put this over a legitimate sporting contest even when the Beast is doing comedy spots. The Beast has to be on the short list for hairiest men in (wrestling) history. I'm not a fan of Rocca but the Beast has a knack of making mediocre stars tolerable and there's a novelty to his bouts that hasn't worn off yet. Go the Beast.



#28 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 08:36 AM

Ida Mae Martinez vs. Terry Majors was fairly typical heel vs. babyface stuff, but Ida Mae was a plucky babyface and I started to get behind her as the match wore on.

 

Next up was a clip of Argentina Rocca taking on a young Johnny Valentine. Unfortunately, it was mostly a showcase of Rocca's biggest offensive moments in the bout and we didn't get to see much from Valentine.

 

Ricki Starr vs. The Zebra Kid also showcased Starr over his opponent. I've always been interested in Ricki Starr, particularly his run in England in the 60s, but I wonder if the novelty wore off after a while. It would be interesting to know if he had many variations on his standard match structure. The Zebra Kid is even more intriguing. It's impossible to know if he was any good from watching this footage, but like the classic luchadores his mask creates an almost instant folklore.

 

You know what was good? Dick the Bruiser vs. Pepper Gomez. I saw them work a grudge match where their styles fit each other perfectly. It was simple kick/punch stuff but with plenty of intensity.

 

The Original Sheik of Araby vs. The Mighty Jumbo, on the other hand, was the most cartoonish thing I've seen on the channel and proof that promoters have long peddled this sort of wrestling. 

 

Rita Martinez vs. Maria Gernaldi was another semi-decent women's match. It's noticeable that all the girls who wrestled out of Hollywood have the same type of haircuts that the starlets had during the 50s. The commentator makes a point to refer to them as "beauties" over and over again as well, creating even more thinly veiled attempts at sex appeal. 

More Argentina Rocca, this time tagging with Miguel Perez against Jerry and Eddie Graham. Worth watching to see the Graham brothers in action as well as Perez, but the appeal of Rocca is lost on me. You can also see Rocca and Perez in six man action against the Graham brothers with Haystack Calhoun and the Original Sheik of Araby joining the fray. Again, pretty legendary workers but only a few minutes of clips.

 

"Dropkick" Murphy & Nick Lutze vs. LaVerne Baxter & Hardboiled Haggerty is this kind of primitive form of tag wrestling where there are no tags and all four men are in the ring at the same time like a tag team version of a Fatal Four-way. It's a good thing this form of tag wrestling didn't take off as it looks like an ugly battle royal for the most part. There are some neat and inventive spots and Murphy is a bundle of energy, but it's ultimately a bit too weird. Kind of like watching wrestling without corner posts and ropes or in a circle instead of a square. 

 

Midgets! Sky Low Low & Billy the Kid vs. Brown Panther & Red Feather. The minis were obviously there to be laughed at and provide the same kind of entertainment as clowns in the circus so I'm not exactly hoping for a minis classico or anything. The heels' gimmicks were a bit racist too, making this an inauspicious start to the minis footage.

 

Lastly, Gene Kiniski vs. The Mighty Ursus. I don't get the appeal of Kiniski at all. Yeah, he's a big strong guy who dishes shit out, but I don't see why he was seen as a champion calibre wrestler. Ursus was a Mexican strongman and so this had a lot of strength holds, and Kiniski powering his way out of holds, but it was nothing special. I kind of wanted to see Kiniski to manhandle Ursus a bit and show me he was a badass, but he's not been the type of guy to ratchet up the intensity thus far. 

 



#29 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 06:42 AM

Here's the next batch of matches:

 

Skull Murphy & Brute Bernard vs. The Bavarian Boys, Rudi Jacobs and Harry Wenzel was two gimmicked tag teams well before the days of The Killer Bees and the Bolsheviks, and so on. The match was deathly dull despite the fact that the Bavarians were German wrestlers and anybody who knows me knows that Euro wrestlers pique my interest. It's not really a knock on the wrestlers as such, it's just that matches where the heels are overtly cheating is not high on my list of what I want to see from Golden Era pro-wrestling. 

 

Nick Lutze vs. Pio Pico from 1937 is a wrestler vs, boxer match long before the Japanese ever thought of it. Proof positive that there's nothing new under the sun. Ali Baba vs. Dick Lever was amusing since the footage was sped up and the voice over narrator had to try and follow the action as best he could. 

 

Moose Cholak & The Mighty Atlas vs. The Fabulous Kangaroos, Roy Heffernan & Al Costello, was interesting. It was another wild brawl but Cholak made it memorable by working the Navy boys in the crowd and doing this weird spot where he tried to make a moose sound and charge at his opponent. The Gallagher Brothers vs. Bobo Brazil and Billy Red Lyons was more of the same with cheating heels and the babyfaces suffering injustice after injustice. No doubt it was what the paying customer wanted to see, but it means very little to me today. 

 

Bronco Nagurski vs. Vincent Lopez from 1937 was the most excited I was during this footage. Nagurski looks like he was a fine wrestler. I read a piece by Steve Yohe recently that said that Lopez couldn't really wrestle and perhaps that was the case here. He hung on for dear life during the hook-ups but Nagurski ended up knocking him silly. I don't know how much Lopez was selling as they carried him away, but if it was acting there hasn't been a better sell job on a TKO since 1937.

 

Next was some film of Don Evans vs. Jim Corbett and Primo Carnera vs. Laverne Baxter. I didn't like the smart ass narrator on this newsreel. In the first match he shat all over kayfabe by explaining the psychology behind wrestling and in the second he shat all over Carnera's boxing career. Whether Carnera's boxing career is something that deserves to be shat over, I couldn't say. but Carnera was tried pretty poorly here and it definitely wasn't a star turning number from anyone involved.

 

Sweet Daddy Siki & Sailor Art Thomas vs. Lou Albano and Jack Owens was the first time I have seen Captain Lou Albano wrestle. I guess I can tick that off mybucket list. He wasn't too bad actually, but this bout was all about Sweet Daddy Aki looking like a Sweet Daddy. Afterward, he had a medallion on and was presented with a gift from the official Sweet Daddy fan club. It was a personalized Sweet Daddy shirt that the members had chipped into have made. Siki cut an awkward response and suddenly the Kangaroos showed up to take a look at the jersey and tear it into shreds. Sweet Daddy couldn't string together a coherent promo after his shirt was torn but it was an awesome segment nonetheless.

 

More clips from the 30s and 40s. The most interesting clip was a compilation of newsreel stories about wrestling from France, the US, Germany and Australia. Early French wrestling was interesting to say the least. Following that was a match between Pat O'Connor and Jack Wilson. I'd seen this before, but O'Connor is a New Zealander like myself and a pretty wrestler to watch. The best thing about it was the promo the commentator cut between falls about the NWA World Heavyweight belt. That was awesome.

 

Howard Martin vs. Angelo Poffo wasn't notable for Poffo as such as it was for his manager Bronco Lubich. Yeah, that same Bronco Lubich who was a ref in Wiorld Class. He had a black suit and bow toe and tried interfering with his cane ala Sir William. Almost surreal if you've watched any amount of World Class. 



#30 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 04:50 PM

I decided to watch Bobo Brazil vs. Fritz Von Erich again. This was different from a lot of the Fritz we have on tape. Usually, he's the one in control of the bout, bending the rules and abusing his opponent, but Bobo beat him from pillar to post and he had to sell a lot. I'm not sure if that's because Bobo was a bigger star than Fritz in the Buffalo territory or because Bobo knew which side his bread was buttered on (i.e. offense, attack.)

 

I also rewatched the Millers/Kangaroos tag, partially because I'm more familiar with the Kangaroos now, but also because the guy who runs the channel says it's one of his all-time favourite tag matches. I liked the match, and thought it was one of the better Southern-style tags from its era, but it's not a style of wrestling that I gravitate toward. Fans of the Southern style would most likely enjoy this early example of the style done right.

 

Bob Orton Sr. vs. Adrien Baillargeon was Orton's debut in the Buffalo territory and put over his technical brawler style nicely. 

 

Next up was Lord Leslie Carlton vs. Juan Zepeda from Los Angeles. Carlton played an arrogant aristocrat similar to Lord James Blears and mixed technical wrestling with brawling and rule-bending, making him an outstanding prototype of Lord Steven Regal. But even better than Sir William was his second -- a man-servant from Calcutta named Singh. By time Regal came along, the Empire had well and truly crumpled, but Carlton's gimmick still had some bite to it. This entire segment was tremendous, beginning with a fun TV match and continuing in the locker room with a wickedly entertaining interview. Carlton and Singh do a poor job with their accents, but if you can excuse that the adlib they do throughout is brilliant. The segment tells this brilliant little story of what Lord Carlton thinks of American wrestlers and American wrestling crowds and why he's come to the United States. Carlton fires off some of the best lines I've heard in a long time. Superb character work. Really clever stuff. Definitely one of the the best things I've seen from the 50s:

 

Coming off that high was an action-packed and entertaining six-man match between Dory Dixon, Art Thomas and Bobo Brazil vs. Buddy Rogers, Magnificent Maurice and Johnny Barend. Dixon is a guy I'm interested in since he was a notable figure in lucha. He was a real live wire in this and had an interview afterward where he claimed Rogers was running scared. Some nice action in this. 



#31 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 08:19 PM

Next up was an Ilio DiPablo marathon of sorts. It's basically Ilio kicking ass and taking names in the Buffalo territory. There's some fun stuff against the Miller Brothers, Dan and Ed, that I believe sets up the Bill Miller match that was discussed earlier in the thread (or possibly another match between them.) Marvel as Ilio puts big Man Mountain Cannon in his airplane spin  and watch 'im knock "em dead as he out slugs ex-prize fighter. Killer Joe Christie.

 

See, I'm getting into the spirit of the some of the corny voice over commentary on these 50s shorts. Like the Lou Klein vs. Gene Dubuque bout where the commentator tells more jokes than a stand-up comic. Don't let it get in the way of a solid look at both men, though, especially Dubuque, who went on to become The Magnificent Maurice. Klein would later team up with Red Bastien in a successful run as half-brothers.

 

Also in this batch of the footage was a look at an early all-in tornado tag team match. I'm glad wrestling shifted away from this sort of tag wrestling as it was pretty much organized mayhem.

 

Lastly, was my first ever look at Mildred Burke in her prime from the Lipstick and Dynamite short. The match that's shown is Mildred Burke vs. Mae Weston from 3/20/47; a nice mix of brawling and technical wrestling. Burke has the most incredible physique of any female wrestler I've seen. There's your legit women's champ right there. Worth watching if you've never seen Burke. Definitely the real deal. 



#32 conker8

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 03:59 AM

Can't wait to read your thoughts on the last Lord James Blears match. He is a new favorite of mine.



#33 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:34 AM

The next match was Argentina Rocca vs. Killer Kowalski from Chicago. When I first saw what was next, I immediately thought: "that's like 10 Hail Marys for penance." Then I stated thinking maybe it could go the other way and they'd surprise me, and sure enough that's what happened. It was Rocca's first match in the Chicago territory so he couldn't coast along on star power alone. He needed to make an impression on folks and he did it by dancing around like a barefooted MMA fighter and peppering Kowalski with kicks to the face. Kowalski responded by trying to ground Rocca with powerful looking headlocks, crunching sidemares and vicious looking kneelifts. Not adjectives I'd usually associate with Kowalski, but he was as good in this bout as I've ever seen him. The booking stopped the bout from being truly special, but it was far more entertaining than I expected and the first time I've really liked a match from either man, and that's a win right there. 

 

Bearcat Wright vs. Bulldog Bob Brower had some fun brawling. Brower did a gimmick where he'd get a look in his eye and lose all control of himself. They had to get some cops to pull him off Wright at the end of this one. Also from Buffalo was Fritz Von Erich vs. Big Ed Miller. This was heel vs. heel and pretty much two big guys beating the crap out of each other. A bit slow at times, but I loved the finish where Von Erich tried to put the claw on a bleeding Miller and Miller fought out of it and began kicking the crap out of Fritz until the ref called the bout off. Again there were cops involved. At least I think they were cops. They might have been security guards. In any event, I like how Buffalo has cops with nightsticks breaking things up.

 

The theme of heel vs. heel continued with The Gallagher Brothers vs. Johnny Barend and the Magnificent Maurice. Apparently, Barend and Maurice had split after a falling out between the two and this was their first match teaming together after Maurice had made some save in a match Barend was losing. Anyway, it doesn't take long for them to fall out again and Barend ends up fighting three guys. Note that Maurice and Barend's manager here is Ernie Roth doing an early gimmick of his called Mr. Kleen. 

 

Next I watched the Wrestling Workouts show from Hollywood. What a strange format for a wrestling show. WW was mostly made up of workers doing workouts with each other and practicing their offensive and defensive moves. That's interspersed with short newsreel footage of the workers having actual matches. Sometimes tempers flare in the workouts, and occasionally they set up matches later on, but mostly they're a fun way to see your favourite grapplers working holds and a chance to see more folks like Blears and Joe Blanchard.

 

The Mighty Atlas vs. Mr. Moto is not exactly a battle of my two favourite guys, but they managed to work an entertaining twenty minute, no fall contest. There were some cute spots in this, like Moto hurting his hand trying to chop Atlas' flexed muscle and Atlas taking Moto down by his fu manchu beard. Mostly strength holds in this one but never boring. 

 

Finished up with The Crusher vs. Hank Lane. Poor Lane didn't stand a chance. 



#34 Indikator

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Posted 19 January 2017 - 10:54 AM

Can you even fathom that Mighty Atlas Morris Shapiro worked a lot of really small time shows in Upstate New York in the 1930s when he was still in the army? They really put an emphasis on that background as if it were a more modern gimmick like Sgt. Slaughter. I assume that the style was rather scientific, as all the places with lots of local wrestlers and few touring wrestlers were. Well, if they were able to avoid the carny problem, which means that their training wasn't that good from a modern perspective and that they basically just knew one or two holds and otherwise were pretty much lacking.

You mentioned Mighty Ursus Jess Ortega, I expect that he was from the Argentina circuit and he quite possibly never wrestled in Mexico. Recently I found the shipping papers of the boat that Ramon Cernadas and Hombre Montana (Leon Finkelstein, not Harry Finkelstein who was also Harry Lewis) used to get to America at the very beginning of 1951 from Buenos Aires.

 

Keep up the good work



#35 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:13 PM

June Beyers vs. Betty Hawkins was more catfighting with terribly unfunny voice over narration. So many bad puns, and Beyers still hasn't shown me much. 

 

Dick the Bruiser and the Crusher vs. Johnny Diamond and Jim Eskew is a squash match from the Bruiser's WWA promotion. The most interesting thing about it is that it has these two commentators that are EXACTLY like those local basketball commentators you get on games that aren't nationally televised. It was kind of amusing to learn that type of commentary existed back in the 60s when so much of the commentary from this era is colour stuff with terrible jokes (makes you appreciate Russ Davis more, actually.)

 

Nick Bockwinkel vs. K.O. Matt Murphy is a short squash match but the post-match interviews with Jules Strongbrow show you how thoughtful Bockwinkel was with his promos even in his youth. 

 

Next up were a couple of Gallagher Brothers' bouts (vs. Billy Red Lyons & Frank Townsend and Guy & Joe Brunetti.) The Gallagher Brothers are a team that I think a lot of people would enjoy if there was more interest in this era. Solid stooge types that have fun shtick and draw a ton of heat. I just wish their offense was a bit more interesting. 

 

Argentina Rocca & Perez vs. Karl von Hess & Skull Murphy was another showcase of Rocca's leaping ability and "leg-based" offense. I have to admit, I'm getting used to the Rocca show and it's becoming clearer why he was such a big draw in the 50s. The biggest, in fact. 

 

Dick the Bruiser vs. Bob Orton Sr. was like vs. like (aside from the height difference.) Slow, grinding bout. Bruising at times but too much like for like. Finish was a weird upside down bear hug. 



#36 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 07:36 PM

First up is a squash match from Buffalo between Bearcat Wright and Cyclone Smith. Can't say I've formed an opinion about Wright one way or another. He does have long, spidery limbs, which gives him the potential to be an interesting submission worker, but we'll see.

 

Nick Lutze & Tiny Roebuck vs. Vincent Lopez & El Pulpo was more chaotic tornado tag wrestling. The more tag wrestling I watch from the past, the more I'm convinced that tag wrestling didn't come into its own until the 80s.

 

Ilio DiPaolo vs Fritz Von Erich was disappointing given the names involved, but I haven't really enjoyed watching most of Fritz' matches a second time. Too often they're slow, plodding affairs instead of the out and out vicious brawls he was capable of. Magnificent Maurice vs. Fritz is another example. It's heel vs. heel, which the Buffalo territory seemed to run a lot of, but instead of being a kickass heel vs. heel bout it drags on forever until the curfew. Mind you, Fritz isn't new for me so maybe I'm bored of rewatching him. And I'm not that high on the Buffalo territory, either. Reggie & Stan Lisowski vs. Bobo Brazil & Yukon Eric was another slow brawl from the same territory. I suppose what I consider slow others would describe as drawing heat. I guess I don't like traditional heel vs. babyface match-ups that lead nowhere. 

 

Benito Gardini vs. Bobby Bruins was fun. Gardini was a comedy worker with just enough grappling know-how to remain credible in the ring. Fun worker. Almost like a slimmed down Italian Super Porky who's serious about notching up wins but is outmatched all the time. 

 

I really enjoyed Cowboy Karl Davis vs. Terry McGinnis, which was a short film from 1940 (I believe.) Karl Davis would go on to do either a killer or crippler gimmick, but the awesome thing about this was that he was working like a "killer" already while playing a cowboy. Can you imagine how cool it is to see a cowboy work like a killer? And Terry McGinnis played a great fighting mad Irish man. Great finish, and McGinnis did a tremendous job of losing it after the bell. Neat short.

 

Next up was Chief Don Eagle vs. Marquis de Paree. I really like the way that Don Eagle moves in the ring. It's so stylish. de Paree was a great foil for him and helped make him even more mesmerizing. Loved the war dance. LOVED the deathlock finish. I am now a Chief Don Eagle fan.

 

I'll tell you this -- Dick the Bruiser has never been as intense or as vicious as he was in squashing Emile Dupree. Not since his days on the football field was he that mean. If he worked like that all the time, he'd be a legend who lived up to his name. Bad ass. 



#37 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 07:37 PM

Next off the rank was my boy Chief Don Eagle making short work of Don Noble. I've read a lot about what a sensation Billy Two Rivers caused when he showed up in the UK, and I guess this is the closest I'll get to watching a Native American wrestler work at a time when Western films and "Cowboys and Indians" were at the height of the public imagination. Again, the Chief looked good.

 

Riki Starr, Argentina Rocca & Miguel Perez vs. The Fabulous Kangaroos & Dr. Jerry Graham was a comedy reel as you might expect with Starr involved. The star power looked better on paper than the action they produced in the ring, but it as only a short reel. Another short clip saw Mark Lewin's brother, Donn, make short work of Crybaby Bob Corby. Can't beat a good crybaby gimmick.

 

Argentina Rocca vs. Karl Von Hess was the bout that followed the famous Rogers vs. O'Connor title fight. That's a tough act to follow and it was a fairly tepid effort. Mostly a showcase for the ever-popular Rocca, perhaps designed to send the fans home happy after Rogers won the belt?

 

Killer Kowalski vs. Pete Managoff was a slow heavyweight contest with some poor overdubbing that didn't capture the heat (if there was any.) I really want to like Kowalski. He has a few good holds and a few moves I like, but he's not vicious enough and doesn't stay on his man like I want to see from a man named "Killer Kowalski." He's more infamous these days for training Triple H, and I remember Harley Race called him the shits. I'm not convinced that he's "the shits" yet (Harley said the same thing about Gagne, too), but so far I've only seen the one good fight against Rocca.

 

George & Bobby Becker vs. Wild Red Berry & Tony Marelli is one of the better tag matches I've seen from the 50s. The Beckers are no-nonsense, hard-working babyfaces who prefer a good, clean fight but aren't afraid to dish it out if the other team get fresh, and Wild Red Berry and Tony Marelli are a pair of stooge heels par excellence. Think Sid Cooper, Jim Breaks, Tally Ho Kaye... they all belong to the same gentlemen's club for stooge heels. Wild Red Berry is one of the great heel acts of the era in my view. The Los Angeles crowd are almost fanatical toward him and it's just a regular tag bout like any other season. Great heat, great blue-collar faces from Brooklyn providing the foil for the LA razzle dazzle, great comedy spots, neat holds and wonderful commentary from one of the best in the business, Jack Little.

 

Los Angles vs. Chicago is a really interesting comparison in terms of footage. I might give LA the edge at this point, but it's close. 



#38 soup23

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 06:16 PM

Nuts that Rogers vs. O'Connor didn't close the show. 



#39 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 04:09 PM

I was impressed by Vic Christy vs. Hans Schnabel. Up until now Schnabel hadn't shown me much. I wouldn't have even acknowledged him as a journeyman based on the footage I'd seen. But he did a great job of working a 20 minute draw with Christy. I thought they struck a nice balance between working holds and playing to the gallery, and since Los Angeles had some pretty great crowds throughout the 50s, the latter was entertaining stuff. Add to that some more super commentary from Jack Little and you had yourself a brisk and enjoyable bout. 

 

Next up was The Sheik & Reggie Lisowski vs. Ski Hi Lee & Rudy Kay from Chicago. A really long match. Lots of basic cheating and retaliation. I suppose you could call them pro-wrestling staples if you were being nice. They did draw continuous heat. Ski Hi Lee was a big guy (as the name suggests) with huge mutton chops that didn't seem to match the decade that the match was from. He was a pretty awkward big man, but the kind of guy -- and I say this with love -- that I can imagine people pushing as "effective at his role" if he were around today. I'd say the main reason for watching this is to see a match with a younger Sheik. He was a pretty decent worker even if he wasn't doing anything truly spectacular. It's kind of neat seeing him in his pomp as opposed to the aging version with the graying hair and cut up forehead. He had that whole Shakespearean villain look going on. A bit like the Master from Dr. Who. 

 

Bobby Managoff & Pepper Gomez vs. Duke Keomuka & Danny McShain was more of the same albeit this time from Texas. There's only so much of this "wild" brawling that I can take, but crowds loved the all-in style and it was very much the style of the day.

 

Fritz Von Erich vs. Reggie Parks was a squash from Buffalo with nothing much more to add. Lord Layton vs. Pepe Pasquale was also a squash. I hadn't really clicked how tall Layton was. He was billed at 6'7, which was pretty big for an athlete in that era. 

 

Of more note was some rare footage of "Killer" Buddy Austin (vs. Dave Cox.) Austin was a heel of note in the Los Angeles and San Francisco territories during the 1960s. He also worked a lot in Japan and Australia. I can't say I've heard of him, but if you're more familiar with US wrestling history and the territories then this may be of interest to you. I didn't think he was overly special but I may be in a crabby mood from all this brawling.

 

The best thing about Rip Miller vs. El Bandito is that the ref is the legendary Gene LeBell. The match itself was fairly poor.

 

Phew. If that run of matches taught me anything it's that Schnabel vs. Christy was even more of a gem than I thought it was. 



#40 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 08:11 AM

It's been a long time since I watched some of these matches, so let's see what I remember.

 

Alberto & Ramon Torres vs. Art Mahalick & Mike Sharpe was a fun tag match. I think I've mentioned this before, but the Torres brothers strike me as a Golden Era version of the Guerreros. 

 

Sonny Boy Cassidy vs. Farmer Pete was an interesting clip. It was a midgets match between the "undisputed champ of the little men," Sonny Boy Cassidy, and the rugged Kentucky hillbilly, Farmer Pete. You can imagine how the crowd and the commentator treated this one, but there was some cool midget brawling on the outside and plenty of kneelifts to the gut from Cassidy, who at the end remained the "undisputed champ of the midgets."

I think I watched Hard Boiled Haggerty, El Shereef & The Preacher vs. Mr. Moto, Paul Diamond & Enrique Flores, but it can't have left much of an impression on me. One for the re-watch pile.

 

The Great Togo vs. Zach Malkov I definitely remember watching. The main takeaway I had from the bout was it's a shame that 50s Japanese heels were closer in spirit to Mr. Fuji than Masa Saito or Killer Khan. This was a long bout that was most fought in the clinch. It wasn't a bad match if you have patience for that sort of thing, and I would rate Togo above Moto, but these Hawaiian Japanese guys aren't the best workers.

 

Watching Woody Strode vs. Eric Pomeroy, I couldn't believe that this was the Woody Strode I've seen in a ton of films. It wasn't until the commentator mentioned that he'd recently starred in Spartacus as the gladiator that Kirk Douglas fights that it clicked for me that I've seen Strode in numerous films. Unfortunately, he didn't look like the greatest worker here. Perhaps he was better suited to film roles. I suppose time will tell.

 

Angelo Pollo vs. Jerry Christy was a squash match, but it's always interesting to see the Macho Man's dad and study how much of his act resembled his sons. 

 

The Sheik vs. Bobo Brazil promised to be the grudge match to end all of grudge matches but apparently it wasn't that much of a grudge as the match never lived up to those expectations.

 

Finally, we had Sandor Szabo vs. Louie Miller & The Great Bolo. This was an interesting gimmick match from the Los Angeles territory. It was basically a winner takes all match where Szabo had to defeat Bolo and his manager Miller within one hour or lose his purse. Szabo was an ex-champion of the world. For the first time since he appeared in this 50s footage, he looked every bit the grizzled vet. Instead of begging off, Miller went hard at Szabo to begin with in an effort to wear him down. Szabo dealt with Miller eventually and Bolo was next. Bolo wasn't the greatest worker in the world, but they ground out the storyline and worked through to a schmoz at the end. Interesting gimmick match. Jules Strongbow's expert comments added a lot to the presentation, and Szabo came out of the match looking tough despite the cheap finish. 






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