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Billy Goelz and other 50s finds

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The best match I've seen the 50s has been Thesz/Gagne. The Thesz/Schmidt and Thesz/Rogers matches are MOTYC level. Maybe Gagne vs. Carpentier too.

this i agree with

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I've been watching some footage of Dick Shikat. What a wrestling specimen he was. I've said it before but he really was like a 1920s Horst Hoffman. There are outtakes of a grappling exhibition he did for some newsreel that showcase his beautiful technique. His matches seemed heated as well so it appears that he had a good sense of how to work the crowd. A fine wrestler if ever I saw one.

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I was really impressed by Dick Shikat when I was going through the 20's and 30's footage. Always struck me as weird that he wasn't in the WON HOF.

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Watched a couple of matches of the amazing hypnotist and wrestler, Dr. Lee Grable.

The first match was a short match against JTTB and journeyman, Ivan the Terrible, which didn't tell us a heck of a lot about Grable.

The second was a long main event tag match with Grable and Sandor Szabo vs. John Tolos and Hans Schnabel. On paper, it looked like it might be a bit vanilla but it ended up being fairly solid. Grable was the smallest man in the match but worked with a ton of fire and had some great forearm smash spots and energetic work off the ropes. The bout was a good chance to check out a young and handsome John Tolos years before the Blassie feud and a pretty decent look at Szabo too, whose suplex hold was heavily featured. I appreciated the steady commentary of Bill Welsh, who took the time to explain between falls the mechanics of the suplex, Szabo's background in wrestling and how the Szabo/Grable team came to be. There were some neat post-match interviews too where Schnabel (who sounded more like a longshoreman than a German heel) slyly explained that the suplex is, in fact, a chokehold or stranglehold, and another from the babyface team where Szabo expounded on some wrestling philosophy explaining the differences between tag wrestling and singles matches. I can't remember being overly sold on Szabo before but listening to him speak I began to like the idea of a Hungarian Greco-Roman wrestler coming to the States to work the catch-as-can style and his suplex was nice, especially the one on the larger Schnabel. Tolos was good in his role as a young heel and Schnabel was solid as the wise old head in the corner giving him instructions. Pretty decent look at everybody and a good match to boot.

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Worked my way through the available footage from 1930. Most of it is newsreel clips of the finish. The standard finish to a bout in 1930 was guys throwing each other, and knocking each other off their feet as many times as they could, to ear their man down for the body press. Some of the finishes were wilder and rougher than others but that was the general gist. The finish could come after an hour or more of wrestling, though, so the real gems from the 1930 footage are the longer clips of Gus Sonnenberg vs. Count Zarynoff and Shikat vs. Londos which show you what the body of the bout looked like. There wasn't a lot of matwork shown presumably because the men filming the bouts wanted to save their film for the standup portions which promised to be more exciting. There was a strong emphasis on the tie-up in 1930. We're used to seeing a tie-up or a lock-up to stand a bout but they constantly returned to it in the early 30s as a means of throwing their opponent and further weakening him. There were a lot of cool escapes to avoid being thrown and a lot of cool work leading to the tie-up especially in Londos/Shikat where they kept giving each other shots to the face and head before the tie-up. I also noticed quite a lot of European flair from workers like Count Zarynoff which was cool to see.

Also, I must add that Paul Boesch commentating over home videos of himself wrestling in the 30s is one of the treats in the 1930 collection.

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A few bits and bobs...

Black Guzman vs. Mike Sharpe was a match from the Los Angeles territory's Wrestling Stars of the 60s show. Guzman was the brother of El Santo and one of the pioneers of the fast-paced aerial style that most people associate lucha with. He was also a successful headliner in the Texas territory in the 40s and 50s. He was well past his prime in this footage but looked like a feisty customer. Sharpe was one half of the Sharpe Brothers tag team whom most people are familiar with from their work in Japan against Rikidozan. The match was a short affair built around the size difference between Sharpe and Guzman. You can pretty much imagine how the bout went. I usually like Jules Strongbow but he kept annoying me with the bullshit he span about Guzman being a former matador. He even made up some bullshit story about how a bull gorged Guzman's leg and forced him to retire. Creative liberties I guess but it added to a certain staleness about the TV product from the 60s. When you watch this stuff it really does feel like there was a downturn in wrestling after the popularity it enjoyed in the 50s.

Sonny Myers vs. Rudy Kay is a short bout from Chicago. The only notable thing about it is how much Russ Davis loves Rudy Kay. It seems like Kay was one of his favorite performers for some reason or another. He always gets excited when he commentates a Kay bout. 

Bobo Brazil vs. Duke Keomuka was the first time I've been able to get a handle on Keomuka. He was your typical stereotypical Japanese heel. Bobo Brazil is Bobo Brazil. Pretty much writes itself. Buffalo continues to be an uninteresting territory and 60s wrestling continues to be a massive step down from the peak 50s stuff. I wonder what the best US territory was in the 60s. 

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1 hour ago, ohtani's jacket said:

I wonder what the best US territory was in the 60s. 

 

Is there much (any?) footage from St. Louis in the 1960s? Sam Muchnick had a great rep as early as the 1960 for being a guy who treated wrestlers fairly and paid well. Fridays at the Kiel Auditorium generally meant 7000 to 9000 paying fans. So you had some big matches taking place there, like January 7, 1966  when Gene Kiniski defeated Lou Thesz to end Thesz’s last NWA title reign and take the belt.

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A new Lord James Blears match has surfaced pitting Dave Levin Blears against Tony Morelli and Angelo Cistoldi. It's a tag match so there's not much in the way of technical wrestling. Blears does a decent job as a fired up babyface brawler but that's not really a role that you want to see Blears in any more than you'd want to see Steve Regal do the same thing in 1993, to make an obvious comparison.

Also uploaded recently is an interesting Antonio Rocca showcase against Brother Frank Jares. This is filmed and edited to be pretty much all Rocca but they certainly made Rocca's offense seem cool. Jares bumps for Rocca well and they ramp up the sound effects to make the hits sound nastier. Better than most Rocca bouts even if it does come across as staged.

Little Beaver vs. irish Jackie is your typical midgets match. Some stooging, a bit of comedy, the occasional flurry of activity. It's tailormade for the audience and gets a good reaction. Beaver looked good when he went on the offensive.

Dick the Bruiser vs. Bil Melby is a solid affair. I'm pretty convinced that early Afflis is the best possible version of Dick the Bruiser. The only thing that would convince me otherwise is if he had a really hot feud somewhere. The bout doesn't really go anywhere since the ref has to constantly break things up, but you shouldn't expect anything different from a Dick the Bruiser bout.

I enjoyed Johnny Kace vs. George Kramer. Kace was a Mid-West star who reminded me of Dick Murdoch. Kramer was your average blue-eyed technician. Together they put on an enjoyable bout trying to outfox each other. From the sounds of things, Kace gave Kramer a bit more than he usually did on his television appearances. The reason I plow through this stuff is to find good workers like Kace so I enjoyed this gem.

Lastly, a few clips of Ricki Starr doing his act, a worker from the 30s named Joe Savoldi, and some footage of Londos. I'm not sure if I've seen the Londos footage before (it's hard to remember which clips you've seen when it's bits and pieces of a bout), but he's one of the all-time greats as far as I'm concerned. 

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I found a few more Kace matches online.

The first was a title defense against Jim Hady. Kace worked from underneath and showed a lot of ass, so I guess the information that the commentator gave me in the Kramer bout wasn't very reliable. Even though he worked from below, he was extremely active and left a big imprint on the bout. It was a nice minor league touring champ performance. This match was also notable for Fred Kohler appearing on camera. Finally, we got to see what the old boy looked like. 

Next up was a TV bout from the WWA territory. This was from the late 60s and Kace was a journeyman at this stage. He took on Blackjack Lanza in a bout that was really only notable for a young Bobby Heenan being in Lanza's corner, and boy did Bobby have amazing hair, but Kace had a firm grasp of his role and delivered a solid performance against a guy who wasn't all that sharp in the ring.

The last match was a mauling from Bobo Brazil. It's not that uncommon to see Bobo dominate and give little or nothing to his opponent but I was impressed with the way Kace sold. He had a ton of cool tricks and was constantly moving and trying something. Even though Bobo wiped the canvas with him, this cemented his position as a quality performer as he managed to make Bobo's holds interesting. I knew there was a little Dick Murdoch to this guy and he proved it here.  

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