Olde Timey #4
Another Phoebus Apollo tape review, from the days of yore. I'm too tired to give a full diatribe about the backdrop, but hey, back in these times announcers didn't need to give backstories to back up their wrestlers. They didn't need to take hours of backstage interviews or viginettes. In this time all they needed was a guy who could poke you in the eye with his toes from a standing position, or a heel who could steal your victory and title from you and still look "awe naturale".
It was a better time. (Or so they tell me.)
Todays' tape is good, one classic match on here. Enough with the jibba-jabba, on with my disclaimer and then the action...
Disclaimer: The following report is play-by-play commentary, I call it as I see it, and the only further editing is basic spellchecking and loose grammatical ends. I try to keep the impression as close to live and simple as I can as not to taint the broadcast's perfectly settled fermentation.
Without further ado, let's get on with the "action"...
More Pro Wrestling Classics.
Tom Beluncy is the medic for this match, as if we needed to know. The ref, for some reason, gets boos when he is introduced.
Oooooh. This is going to be a doozy.
NWA Heavyweight battle for the right to be called the "world's greatest wrestler" (may not be a literal stipulation, but let's just go with it anyways considering the contenders).
The "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers (NWA United States Champion) vs. Pat O'Conner (NWA World Heavyweight Champion).
I've got to say, I'm ready for what is shaping up to be one of the best matches in these old tape archives, and it hasn't even begun yet! Naturally, I'm interupted by a commercial break. For the first time in this Olde Timey Tape Review series, I actually don't welcome the time lapse this break gives me. Get me back to the match!
And we return. This match is 2 out of 3 falls. The bell rings, and they square each other up. Pat goes down for the ankle, Buddy backs up and they face off. They lock up, Pat holds Buddy up against the ropes but they both back away. Pat points to Buddy, Rogers squares up, ad they lock up again and it gets in the ropes. A punch in the gut from Rogers and O'Conner rebounds with a forearm blow. They get locked in a dueling double wristlock, Rogers wins out and flips Pat on the floor. The Nature Boy holds up the wristlock on the mat with Pat, Pat gets back up, they duel in the grip, and Pat goes back down. They break apart, O'Conner goes for the same wristlock and catches Buddy by surprise, and takes Rogers down with sheer force. Rogers flips Pat off the ropes, Pat brings Buddy down, and Pat puts this vicious armbar on Rogers, cranks it, yanks it, pulls it and tugs it, moves all over the mat, twists the arm, the crowd roars up, Rogers goes for the ropes but O'Conner gets him away before he can get the rope break, he sizes him back up and yanks around Rogers some more pulling him down, concentrating more on the hold than the twisting. Rogers gets a 1 count as his shoulders touch the match.
We're hit with a commercial break, again. Dell is America's favorite PC. You know that of course, since you are internet-savvy enough to reach this remote part of the wrestling web.
Back to the action. Rogers is working his way out of the armbar, Rogers gets his way free, bodyslams and hiplocks and rebounds off the rope too quick for me to recount, and O'Conner gets that armbar hold back on Rogers. Buddy works his way up, and my television reception begins getting fuzzy. Darn. Rogers slugs O'Conner, a few blows are exchanged, and Rogers gets thunked in the head by Pat while attempting to put on that oh-so-natural figure-four leglock. After a brief interlude they're back locked up in the center of the ring again. Rogers is yanking on the hair of O'Conner and shoves him down. Rogers applies a headlock, Pat works his way up and works Rogers into the corner, knocks him down and throws him, off the ropes, collision after collision, Rogers gets the knee up as Pat comes after him off the ropes and crack! Right to the numb-skull. He's out. 1-2-3.
Remember though, as we go to commercial, this is 2 out of 3 falls. Fall one goes to, Buddy Rogers.
The beginning of the contest for the second fall. The bell rings and another face-off. They lock up in the ring, and I think Rogers yanked on Pat's ear. It was too quick a motion for me to notice between the gesture and the typing. Rogers is in the corner, Pat goes to punch him, but the ref eases him back off as Rogers comes back out to the center of the ring for another face-off. Another wristlock in the ring, Rogers cranks Pat's hand to his back, and flips Pat around on the mat. Rogers keeps cranking on the one arm as Pat tries to flip the Nature Boy over his shoulders. Doesn't work, Rogers holds his grounds and Pat's looking alittle weak. Rogers persists despite some efforts by O'Conner to get back up. Rogers cranks up on the arm, Pat works his way up, pulls down the Nature Boy, and grabs the leg, applying pressure by holding the extended leg and twisting the foot like a crank. Rogers is on the ground squeeling, catches a off opportunity to liberally kick Pat in the face with the same foot Pat is yanking on, they get away from one another but O'Conner snaps back with that same hold. Rogers kicks Pat, breaks loose, smacks O'Conner but O'Conner whips back, flips the leg of Rogers, gets down and lays down to apply pressure on the knee. Rogers breaks free, O'Conner rakes the eyes. Buddy Rogers, stunned, begs off O'Conner, a blast to the face by Pat, another one, he flips Buddy, Buddy knocks him down, twice, O'Conner flips up, pushes Rogers into the ropes and gets a nice roll-up. One, two, three. Win by a reverse cradle hold. As you can tell by my distinct lack of description, I'm not brushed up on my wrestling holds and manuevers. Maybe next time. Commercial break.
Alright, the Nature Boy 1, O'Conner 1, this next fall decides the contest. We are half-way through the classic pro-wrestling footage, meaning there may be another match. Rogers struts around the ring with confidence, gets some heat, and they lock up. Rogers flips Pat off the ring, they bounce off the ring ropes opposing one another, crossing the ring at the center, Pat goes to catch Rogers, Rogers falls back and struts. And they tie up a little more, Pat gets knocked down, flips up, and the two clean collide with one another. They both get out of the ring but come right back in. Hard slam by O'Conners who is displaying plenty of agility. Another big slam on Rogers. Pin, but Rogers gets the foot up on the ropes. O'Conner waits for Rogers to get up, gets Rogers in the corner, hits him in the face, throws Roger to the opposing corner, big scoop-slam and a cover. Too close to the ropes, Rogers gets that foot up and the pin attempt fails. Rogers is dazed and confused, Pat gets him up in the corner and phases him with a blast to the face. Rogers is limp on the mat now, but too close to the coner for a pin attempt. Pat gets Rogers back up in the corner, punches him in the face, slams the back of his head in the turnbuckle twice, and rushes Rogers into the opposite corner, head first into the turnbuckle.
The match continues, but after this commercial break. Plenty of ESPN Classic commercials. If you like any form of sport or sports entertainment, on ESPN Classics you can find the older archived matches. 7 AM EST is this show, Classic Pro Wrestling. At 6 AM EST is classic Roller-Derby. I seen a bit of that in waiting for these old wrestling matches, and Roller-Derby was almost the same then as it is now in it's current incarnation, Roller-Jam. Talking about Roller-Jam in the presence of wrestling action like this is a sin though, so back to the action...
Rogers is getting mauled, socked, and falls flat on his back. He's lifeless there on the tarmack and O'Conner goes for the pin... too close to the ropes. Again, the foot up on the rope for the rope break. Rogers is wobbling and O'Conner socks him, goes for a flying dropkick... and misses clean! He falls hard after hitting the ropes with his outstretched legs, Rogers reaches for a hurt O'Conner for a pin. Rogers gets the 1-2-3 pin on an O'Conner gripping his ribs from the hard missed flying dropkick, which he did get tangled in the ropes for.
For the official word, 2 falls go to Buddy Rogers, the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, the United States Champion, and the "world's greatest wrestler". The fans bemoan the fact that a beaten Rogers got the accidental pin, Rogers is congratulated, and he wants everybody to know...
"To a nicer guy it couldn't happen!"
Classic. I've already decided I'm stealing that motto.
Von Hess vs. Tony Rocca. Von Hess goes straight after Rocca, gets him down on the mat, Rocca fends off Von Hess with... his foot? Rocca displays his agility and ability by getting a figure-four-esque leglock with his arms on Von Hess on the mat while using his outstretched legs to slap his toes in Von Hess's face. Okay, I wasn't expecting that. Von Hess gets taken down as Rocca grabs the legs and leans back, catapulting Von Hess. Rocca is taking down and basically taunting Von Hess with his feet, Von Hess locks up with Rocca, Von Hess backs up, Rocca takes down Von Hess by extending his feet inbetween Von Hess' legs, lying down and pulling back on the knees with the feet. Rocka playfully smacks the stomach of Von Hess with his feet as he holds down his legs with his arms, Von Hess bites Rocca's feet, and we go to a break.
I was a bit caught off-guard with that last bit there, I missed out a lot of the action. Hey, this is live commentary... up, live indeed, as we're back already.
Tony Rocca is up on Von Hess's shoulders? He's just sorta riding Von Hess, Von Hess takes Rocca down but Rocca immobilizes Von Hess with a strong head scissors. Von Hess looks like a vicious guy, but Rocca's strong legs appear to have him down. Nope, Von Hess gets up, Rocca pins Von Hess's head between his ankles as he stands above him, "ankle scissors", as the heavily tattoed and ornery Von Hess struggles to get up. He does gets up and goes to press down on Rocca down on the mat by hauling forward on his legs but Rocca pokes him in the eye with his toe. What's up with all this feet action? The colorful Rocca is a little more under control by Von Hess, but Von Hess gets another face full of feet, Von Hess approaches the taunting Rocca only to get tripped down, Rocca approaches Von Hess, gets him in the corner, and pokes him in the face with his toes again. Hmph. Von Hess aparently is getting mad at this taunting, knocks Rocca down, gets him close down to the mat, and Rocca appears immobilized. Roccca in the corner getting his eyes gouged, Rocca smacks Von Hess in the head, gets his ankles up around his neck and flips him over, then rolls around the ring attempting to trip Von Hess. Von Hess regains control as we go over to another commercial break.
Again, I must reiterate, I am not doing this match justice. I can't type that fast. If you like the show, I encourage you all to watch it or tape it. ESPN Classics channel, 7 AM EST, if you don't have the channel then ask your cable provider. Darn, into the diatribe about how to watch the show and the commercial break is over...
Rocca taunts Von Hess still, Von Hess holds Rocca by the midsection in the ropes, Rocca gets a hold of the feet and flips backwards over Von Hess's back, then while holding the legs does a bicycle motion with his legs. He ties up Von Hess's legs and holds back for more exotic manuevers, getting him in a submission hold while doing a headstand. Von Hess is obviously getting frustrated as Rocca retains control over the match. Von Hess gets ahold of the stray neck of Rocca and gets a headlock, gets up and holds Rocca in the corner, pressing him back, slaps him in the back of the neck and Rocca comes back determined. Von Hess punches, kicks, flips and slams Rocca... twice. Von Hess thought he had the pin and gets up entirely too quickly, flaunting a victory he didn't wait long enough to get! A series of flying dropkicks, high and strong by Rocca, knocks down Von Hess over and over, and Rocca gets the big Von Hess up on his shoulders for a Argentina Backbreaker (think Torture Rack). Von Hess quickly taps out.
Okay, and that's the match, that's the show! I didn't do that last match justice at all, and I need to brush up on my calls, otherwise, there you have it! Hope to see you all next week!
More incredible wrestling, definitely worth holding up my better health by not getting to sleep until 8:30 AM.
I'll try to get Xavier to post the feedback from this commentary along with his normal mailbag post. I'm looking for some stories and whatnot from you old fogeys so I can post some memories with the mailbag, so if you remember these days of yore, maybe you got a picture of you shaking hands with Rocca's foot, speak on up! Just don't speak too loudly, or your dentures might fly out of your mouth!