Olde Timey #8
Another week, another Olde Timey Tape Review from your olde friend, Phoebus Apollo. For those of you who don't already know the drill -
The Olde Timey Tape Review: Digging back through the annals of wrestling history in true Orwellian style, rewatching footage from a time of classics, a time of forgotten memories. The Flying Von Erich's, Dick the Bruiser, Ernie Ladd, Lou Thesz, Harley Race, the "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, the Iron Sheik, Abdullah the Butcher - these are among countless others appear who appear in these records. It's a time when anything could happen - and a time when anything did.
It was a better time.
(Or so they tell me.)
Disclaimer: The following recap is in "Recap-A-Pinion" format. This means I watch the program and type at the same time, with any further changes being grammatical or spelling. The point of the recap in this format is to try to keep the impression "live", so you get a glimpse of this old wrestling footage.
That said, let's get on with the "action"...
It's timey for Olde Timey!
Okay, here we go. Today's show starts out with Argentina Rocca vs. Hans Schmidt. Joe Louis, heavyweight boxing champ, is the special guest referee. I seen Rocca on a earlier Olde Timey, I think. I may be wrong. But I recognize him as the same person who wrestled Von Hess with amazing "footwork", so to speak. Either way, the fight didn't quite get started and they where off to commercial break. The tone of this broadcast, apparently older than most (black and white, shakey low-resolution pictures), so I hope for things to be more leisurely now than they where the last review (which was a utter flop). Oh, I want to note that they did have a brief interlude during the beginning displaying some random clips of the fight, with trumpeting gladiator music.
Okay, the match starts. They lock up in the middle of the ring, Hans takes over Rocca with a snapmare takeover, they get up and lock up again, Schmidt just pounds Rocca down to the mat, Rocca takes over Schmidt, and they lock up once again. Wristlock into a extended armbar, no, fling into the corner. Schmidt applies a hammerlock, and I'd like to note that Rocca is wrestling with his bare feet, Rocca being known for poking you in the eye with his toe. I don't see that kind of eccentric display today though. Schmidt still retains control by keeping Rocca on the mat with a firm headlock, Rocca gets up, but Schmidt flips him back over his side onto the mat. Rocca gets up and garners a little crowd reaction, sitting on the mat with his feet flaying upwards then flipping up to face Schmidt. Commercial break.
Nothing exciting, but this kind of casual review is only what I could've wished for in light of last week's Olde Timey. Rocca was more active and catering to the crowd the first time I seen him, so this is different. The announcer annoys me by describing every flip as a "mare". Then again, he's no better than me, who describes everything as a "bar" or "lock". I really need to refine my proper wrestling vocabulary.
We're back. They lock up, Schmidt backs Rocca up into the ropes then springs him out with a armdrag takeover, and now Schmidt has a big bear hug/waistlock on Rocca. Rocca gets out, and now Rocca uses his dancing feet fancy to keep Schmidt wary. They lock up again, and Rocca smacks Schmidt in the face with his feet from a standing position. That's gotta throw your fight skills, when someone sticks his toes in your face. He does it again, smacking Schmidt. Rocca gets a submission hold on Schmidt's leg (as you can tell by my lack of description I still need to bone up on my wrestling vocabulary). Schmidt gets up and gets a armbar/wristlock on Rocca down on the mat, then flips up over Rocca to his opposing side to apply more pressure, Rocca flips up over Schmidt for a reversal and Schmidt is too close to the ropes. Rocca gets up with some bouncing, and comes in to a scoopslam by Schmidt and a barrage of punches and kicks and thrusts into the corner. Rocca gets a knee to Schdmit's face and they both size each other up. The camera is off-focus here, Schmidt takes down Rocca and I guess he tries to pin him, can't quite see with the camera, and then he pulls Rocca up into the corner, delivers a few punches, and commercial break.
I can only imagine what this is like, going into a wrestling ring to have some guy smear his heel on your skull. I can see why the promoters might bill that as a distracting wrestling maneuver - hell, it is distracting, I mean the guy freaks you with his toes!
They come back, and Schmidt is still beating on Rocca. Rocca is bounding around but hasn't got any real crowd support. Schmidt is grabbing Rocca by the neck and throwing him into the corner, as he did just a little bit ago, and Rocca is on his knees. Taken down twice and apparently the referee pushes back a aggressive Schmidt standing ready to knock his block off, remembering he's Joe Louis, a heavyweight boxing champion. This distraction gives Rocca the opportunity to land about 5 high leg drops, the crowd finally gets into the match, and he applies his "Argentina Backstretch", which is a elevated backbreaker or "Torture Rack" for those of us uncreative enough to describe it by any other means. Hans Schmidt taps out, and Argetina Rocca wins the match. Commercial break.
That was a good match. No quicker than I'm saying this, and we get to another match between Rocca and Schmidt? Oh, this must be 2 out of 3 fall. Well tell me this information then! I need to know this kinda stuff. Rocca is aggressive for the first few seconds while Schmidt launches a counterattack. Schmidt gets Rocca on the mat and applies a form of chin-press? Did I hear the announcer right? You know, that actually DOES look like a chin-press. Hmph. The holds have shifted but I can't quite tell from this camera angle where Schmidt is holding Rocca. Rocca gets back up, they get into the ropes, and the ref breaks it up. Rocca gets another series of dropkicks which is totally disorienting Schmidt. Schmidt retreats to the corner to get away from the fury. Schmidt has Rocca's legs in a sharpshooter fold, holding them there with his hand, and leaning up on his knee in the small of Rocca's back. There, that's a adequate description, I do say. Rocca is too close to the ropes. Schmidt grabs Rocca in a headlock and just batters him with several blows while walking around in a circle, and he does it again. He gets Rocca in the corner and pounds him in several places. He drags him down for a pin, but Rocca kicks out. Schmidt pushes Rocca into the corner, backs up, and Rocca rushes up and jumps up on top of Schmidt. He takes him down and rushes him again. It was a good display of moves, which (as always) I seem to find some way to miss in the act of typing. A 2 count, some exchanges, and Schmidt just pounds on the small of Rocca's back while he holds Rocca in a headlock. Again. Schmidt is more or less just pounding on Rocca. He just dragged Rocca out of the ring twice to pound on him, and the ref is getting irate with Schmidt. Two backbreakers on Rocca, make that three, and a pin for the three count. Second fall goes to Schmidt, and commercial break.
Well, that was a little predictable. From a brief "coming up next", I think I can tell what's going to happen next here - the problems between Hans Schmidt and the guest ref will culminate in Louis knocking Schmidt's block off and Rocca getting the win. Will that happen? Let's wait and see.
We return from commercial break. Schmidt approaches Rocca, and his concentrated blows on the back, and Schmidt picks up Rocca and backs into the ref, who more or less nudges Rocca over and Rocca falls in Schmidt's arms on top of Schmidt for a unexpected pin and three count. Schmidt and the ref don't engage though, but Schmidt is mad. Hell, I would be too. First some guy freaks me in the face with his stubby feet, then some obnoxious special-guest boxing ref messes up my match? Ha, frustration personified. But hey, I called it closely, eh? Commercial break.
We return to the next match, Little Jim Londos vs. Primo Carnera. Carnera was once the heavyweight boxing champion, and he has a large physical stature in comparison to the small Jim Londos. You can tell the difference starkly just from their presence in their respective corners. This is 2 out of 3 falls? Again? Must've been a trend of the times to have 2 out of 3 falls. The ref has the suspended old announcing mike, even. Max Baer is the special guest referee for this match. Why special guest refs and why 2 out of 3 falls? Oh well. The introductions are still going, okay, the match is starting. Londos and Carnera square off, and wow, the size is stark. This is David vs. Goliath here. Ha, Londos got all his power from drinking raw olive oil in his youth! Amazingly useless trivia. Carnera holds Londos with a headlock, they get into the ropes, and the ref breaks it up. Carnera gets another headlock on Londos, which just makes his size difference apparent. Oh, this is cold, Carnera is turning so the ref can't see his hold and is constantly slapping his finger and thumb in Londos' eye. That's just to fire up the fans there, a big guy doing such a obnoxious thing to the little guy. Londos backs up, and gets fired up by doing a little jaunt around the ring. Carnera resumes the headlock, Carnera tries to take Londos down but for some reason Londos throws the mighty guy down. Londos gets Carnera in a Boston Crab (modern equivalent - Walls of Jericho), and Carnera taps out. Score one for the little guy! But this contest is two out of three, like last time.
Second fall, Londos leans low as he approaches Carnera, Carnera places that little guy in the headlock, again. He takes Londos down to the mat, and several mugs are thrown to the crowds showing contempt for the big guy. Londos gets on top of Carnera and elbows him but Carnera gets his legs wrapped up around Londos and applies plenty of pressure, then turns over for a leaning body scissors. He works his way out and after a few holds Carnera gets the leaning body scissors on again (by leaning body scissors I mean he has two legs around the midsection of Londos from one side of the body). The ref is checking the fair use of fists, but Landos taps out from the hold.
Okay, short commercial break and we're back. Londos gets a nice leglock on Carnera, leaning forward on the left leg while sitting on the right. The audience looks on. Hmph. Landos stands tall, for as tall as he could stand, leaning on Carnera's leg. Carnera whips Landos out of the ring, the ref begins counting even though he isn't fully outside the ring (just outside the ropes, still on the mat). Those same body scissors on Carnera but Londos reverses... nope, that's reversed and Carnera gets his legs wrapped up and... Londos begins turning Carnera for the Boston Crab! Can he get him around? He tries, but just can't. He's still trying. Wait! He got him around... no, yes! No! Too much for little Jim Londos. Carnera just smacks Londos a couple times. They get into the ropes, come back into the middle of the ring, and Carnera has Londos in that same headlock. They are squaring off with only 30 seconds on the clock for the draw time. Headlock is still on. They lock up again... and there is the bell.
Well, the match wasn't bad at all. Ending in a draw though? I would've preferred seeing a end to the match. As far as I can tell, that is indeed the end of today's Olde Timey Tape Review. These matches where old, and back then the time limits where stricter, the matches where less convoluted, but they where also longer. It was a akward time for wrestlers and fans. I can tell that from this footage here. Anyways, that's it for this week!
For more classic wrestling, tune in to ESPN Classics, Saturday mornings on 7:00AM EST.
I'll try to get Xavier to post the feedback from this commentary along with his normal mailbag post. I'm seeking some stories from you olde timers, so if you have a rather outdated wrestling memory, feel free to get in contact with me! Until next week...
- Phoebus Apollo