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Verne Gagne vs. Billy Goelz (Chicago 6/21)

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This was a seriously great match; naturally, these 1950s bouts have a high degree of intensity and struggle over basic holds, so it feels like you are watching a shootstyle match built around hammerlocks and headscissors. Then you also have Billy Goelz in the match, who looked like a master grappler in the vein of a Blue Panther or Ken Joyce, adding all these cool little touches. Such as turning himself into a turtle, constantly going for Verne's arm from any position, breaking Verne's arm over his own leg to keep control etc. The running and leapfrog spots where also fantastic, honestly. Verne is a former football guy, and Goelz would do these awesome bumps where it looks like Verne just ran right through him. At 20 minutes this also a pretty trim match, and they show a great sense for the subtleties of wrestling; Verne lands a big flying headscissor after being controlled by Goelz that gets a huge reaction, and the battle fiercely over the pinfall just as the time runs out. Excellent, pure wrestling match.

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A fantastic technical bout. The vicious hammerlock that starts out the bout sets the tone. They are really grinding in the holds but always looking for an escape or counter. Then when they run the ropes, it looks wild and violent with Gagne's drop kicks being particularly good. Great match...I haven't seen enough of this era to call it a classic but, it really is timeless stuff by two greats.

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