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[1952-05-16-Kohler Chicago] Pat O'Connor vs The Mighty Atlas

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Pat O'Connor fights the Mighty Atlas in a two out of three falls match. Mighty Atlas draws the boos by stalling on getting inspected by referee Jack Dempsey and then taking forever to put his jacket in a garment bag. O'Connor starts quick with a series of dropkicks. O'Connor is able to twist out of Atlas's hip toss attempts and land on his feet, showing some nice athleticism. They work a series of rope breaks in which Atlas does the dirty break, but O'Connor figures it out. Atlas goes tumbling over the ropes when he misses his dirty punch. O'Connor does a flying headscissors into a headscissors on the mat. He does a nice job of moving around and varying the hold. O'Connor does a headlock with quite a bit of motion like something Bob Backlund would do. Atlas gets the advantage and works a hammerlock and argues with Dempsey as he catches him trying to cheat.

 

Mighty Atlas has a signature defense spot in his matches where the opponent tries to put him in his own finishing move, the full nelson. As usual, he successfully breaks it. Next, O'Connor traps him in an Indian Deathlock. After escaping, Atlas puts him in a headlock. They work a leapfrog sequence, but they botch whatever O'Connor was going to do next. O'Connor goes back to the Indian deathlock. After some knee lifts and the airplane spin, O'Connor gets the first fall.

 

The crowd boos as Atlas gets his neck massaged between falls. Atlas gets some nice uppercuts as the second fall is on its way. The match meanders with lots of grappling for position and going back to the headlocks, but then O'Connor does a quick sequence with rope running and dropkicks. After missing a dropkick, Atlas begins throwing him into the turnbuckles and O'Connor has some big bounces off them. Atlas gets the full nelson, and Dempsey stops the second fall.

 

In the third fall, Atlas tries to get the full nelson on again, but they both go through the ropes to the floor. As Atlas barely gets back in, O'Connor dropkicks him back out. When he get back in again, O'Connor finishes him off with the airplane spin. The ring announcer says O'Connor gets a shot at Thesz at a future show.

 

O'Connor is quite impressive from an athletic standpoint and is very quick. He had only been wrestling for a couple of years at this point. Although he had a great command of the moves, I didn't think that he was necessarily great at developing the structure of the match yet. He seemed to jump back and forth between moves and repeat holds. I preferred Thesz's match with the Mighty Atlas with its more dramatic ending.

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Pat O'Connor vs The Mighty Atlas - Chicago 5/16/52

Im a little burnt out on Japanese wrestling going to take a short break here and revisit some 50s American Wrestling. Jack Dempsey the famous American boxer is the special guest referee. Mighty Atlas does a half-strongman, half-stooging heel gimmick. Russ lets us know he is a real peacock at the beginning of the match. His stooging is not dissimilar from what you would see from a Gorgeous George or a 80s Southern heel. O'Connor at the time is a young star that Russ says has a bright future ahead of him, he would be vindicated. O'Connor is an impressive technical babyface. 

First Fall: Simple, but elegant. Atlas tries to cheat but to no avail as O'Connor is too good. Atlas preens too much and ends up eating two dropkicks right at the bell. I thought there was a chance for a quick fall. Atlas mostly goes for punches in the ropes. He misses one wildly that sends him sailing over the top rope. All Heeling 101 but very effective. O'Connor shows his combination of agility and technique varying his holds using a headscissors, headlock Full Nelson and a Inverted Indian Deathlock. Atlas breaking out of the Full Nelson was the only strongman spot thus far. He does have mighty big arms I must say. Where I left them O'Connor was hiptossing him out of headlock attempts nothing that will blow your mind, but the elementary elegance is refreshing. O'Connor goes for the Banana Split but comes up with an Inverted Indian Deathlock applies very well but too close to the ropes. Atlas builds the most momentum thus far with some European Uppercuts that rock O'Connor over the top rope to the floor and he plays a little King of the Mountain as Russ cries foul. O'Connor vaults over the top rope and lets Atlas have it. Airplane Spin FU! I wish instead of Cena going for the Super FU when the first FU didnt work he did the Airplane Spin FU :p That of course is the finish as it should be O'Connor 1-0.  

Second Fall: Per usual, a short fall but given the time left in the video I thought O'Connor might've had a good chance for the clean sweep. Very nice reverse back heel trip by Atlas to avoid the Full Nelson. Atlas lands some clubbing blows. I like how O'Connor registers and then ROARS back with a beautiful strike combination more of that in wrestling. They do a real Slam Bang finish which each man leaping for moves but missing only for Atlas to apply his finish, what else but a Full Nelson. He grabs the Fall to tie this up. Fun sprint fall. 

Third Fall: Hot finish with Atlas trying to win the match by applying a Full Nelson again immediately but O'Connor says if Im going down youre going down with me and he dove through the ropes and they both take a nasty tumble. I bit on the countout finish as means to protect Atlas but he gets back in only to eat a dropkick and fall back to the outside. He gets back in, dropkicked, ricochets off the ropes into an AIRPLAN SPIN FU for the win!

Nothing to write home to your mother about, but solid wrestling nonetheless. I think much of Atlas, he was fine. O'Connor against the right opponent looks like he can put on a marvel. ***1/4

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