We’ve moved ahead a few year from the 1958 footage reviewed in the previous issue. Now in 1965, the WWWF continues to evolve as fresh talent continue to find their way into the northeast to intermingle with the already established stars of the area like Bruno Sammartino, Smasher Sloan, Miguel Perez, Argentina Apollo, and others. Here we have a pair of complete episodes of TV from 1965 from Washington DC, hosted by Ray Morgan.
A quick reminder that for this specific review, I’ll be the one doing the review with comments from HeelsInc scattered intermittently throughout the write-up in blue font. As these reviews progress all additional comments made by the secondary reviewer will be posted after each match/segment and not in the middle of a match in order to avoid confusion. Bear with me for the first few reviews as we were getting things sorted out.
WWWF “Heavyweight Wrestling From Washington” TV 5/9/65
Announcer Ray Morgan introduces this piece of TV as “the second half of the card”. We’re back at the Capital Arena in Washington D.C., by the way.
1. “Cowboy” Bill Watts vs. Tomas Marin
Watts mauls Marin straight from the bell and eventually sends him to the floor. Watts continues to just eat Marin alive as he prepares for a rematch against WWWF Champion Bruno Sammartino at MSG. Marin tries a dropkick or something bus misses, and the Cowboy drops a knee in his throat… Watts plants Tomas with a bulldog (or as Ray Morgan calls it, a Bulldozer). The Cowboy picks Marin up at the count of two and hits a second bulldog, and this time he mercifully ends this in 5:06. Total squash as the now heel Watts prepares to challenge Bruno. Marin would work as a WWWF enhancement talent for at least a decade. (HeelsInc writes: That may have been the first time ever that my stop watch matched the announced time of the fall. I guess “wrestling time” and distance has not been invented yet.)
2. Chief Big Heart vs. Tony Newbury
They announce this as Big Heart’s return after a 5 year absence. Tony tries an attack but the Chief chops the crap out of him. Lots of stalling by Tony follows. More chopping from Big Heart, Newberry comes back with a couple of grounded rest hold time moves. The Chief makes the big comeback and locks in a bow and arrow hold for the submission in 8:30. He’s an Indian, bow and arrow… Get it? Ugh… As for Newbury, he’d have more success later as Geeto, one half of the Mongols tag team.
3. Argentina Apollo vs. Bob Boyer
Boyer worked an Indian gimmick at one point in Indianapolis, but since there’s already 87 Native Americans in the WWWF at this point, he’s just good old Bob Boyer. You may remember Bob from the Best of the WWF video where he gets piled on by Andre the Giant amongst a host of others during a Battle Royal and has to be stretchered out. Now we rewind Boyer’s career 20 years as he takes on the whirlwind of the Argentine Pampas. Apollo gets a chance to show off all sorts of his athletic abilities and agility as he escapes and applies holds on Boyer. Crowds pretty dead compared to the 1958 footage I covered (in all fairness none of it is as exciting as that stuff was), but Apollo does get pops for a lot of his unique offense. (Haha, Morgan does a PSA for the President’s physical fitness program in the middle of the match)
Both men become entwined with their legs and both are seemingly in pain. The referee tries to break the leg hold as they roll into the ropes. Apollo asks the referee to let them break the hold instead. lol… Some more fun stuff from Apollo follows. Apollo gets Boyer down, Bob does the old tap on the shoulder routine and Apollo releases thinking it was the referee… lol… Something so simple. A crisscross spot follows with Apollo landing a body press for the win in 14:05.
4. Chief White Owl vs. “Mr. America” Steve Stanlee
Stanlee wants to get things going fast, but White Owl is ready for him and Stanlee bails to the floor. Back inside, Stanlee manages to take over with some typical heel tactics. It’s a little back and forth between the two, Chief gets Stanlee tied in the ropes and unloads with chops. Stanlee uses some more dirty tricks, but Owl comes flying back with a pair of dropkicks. Surprising considering the Chief isn’t in the best of shape. The guys struggle for control and the bell sounds for curfew after 6:00 of a blah match. (HeelsInc comments: Both of these guys look super old and out of shape.)
– After a break, Ray Morgan interviews some older gentleman named Jimmy, I assume a fan from the crowd, not entirely sure. It’s just a quick hello and goodbye as Ray plugs the upcoming local show and bids us goodnight.
BJack’s Final Thoughts: Watts was just so damn good. There were certain workers who were simply light years ahead of the game, and Watts was dead on as a heel here, a precursor to Stan Hansen. Apollo, another one, unique in style, similar to fellow countryman Antonino Rocca. The guy could just move around with such grace and ease, he’d finish a move before you could wrap your mind around what you just saw. A freak of nature, in a good way. Great to see Apollo in his prime here, he didn’t land a lot of his flashiest stuff, but the stuff he did do here was still cool. I honestly didn’t mind the Chief Big Heart match either. I mean it was the usual cliché chops and bow and arrow stuff, but he knew how to work the match and keep the psychology going, it made the match watchable. Growing up in the Great Lakes area I had heard tales of Chief White Owl for years, and now that I’ve seen him, I’m not so impressed. But it was the 50’s and 60’s after all. The “main event” of this show was supposed to be the big competitive match, but I enjoyed the other three matches much more. I’d recommend checking out the first three matches, and just shut it off before the Stanlee/Owl match.
HeelsInc’s Final Thoughts: I’m not so sure I can recommend anything from this show. Nothing was very exciting. Apollo did have a couple pretty cool moves but nothing super exciting. Everything else was just punch kick. I realize that its the 60s and lots of moves weren’t invented but these guys seriously did nothing at all.
WWWF “Heavyweight Wrestling From Washington” TV 12/2/65
– Ray Morgan the announcer at National Arena in Washington D.C.
1. Tarzan Tyler vs. Pedro Rodriguez
Tyler wears a sparkling black and silver Tarzan style singlet to the ring, which he removes before the match. Quite hilarious as he tries to remove the singlet, every time he tries to lower it past his waist, the fans whistle and hoot like he’s a stripper. This pisses Tyler off as he makes several attempts to remove his garb while the fans continue to whistle. Really fun stuff for the times. Pedro looks good early with a monkey flip and such. Tyler, known as “The Boot” in some regions earns his name here, as he kicks and stomps Rodriguez like 50 times while on the offense. Pedro takes another shot on offense, but Tarzan finishes things with a BRAIN BUSTER, which ends this in 9:15.
2. Smasher Sloan vs. Tomas Marin
Sloan takes Marin down early with a hold, but Tomas comes back with a series of hip locks. Sloan regains control quickly and works a bunch of rest hold crap on the mat, this goes on for a while. Marin comes back again with a really crappy looking leg lock thing for a little while, but nothing gives. Both men are back up, Sloan in control, he drops a knee, and it’s all over in 13:07. Well that sucked. (What I hated most about this match is that they did so little that both men were still fresh into the 12 minute mark. Neither of them were showing any signs of being worn down. Sloan then got in some quick offense before getting the victory.)
3. Hector Serrano vs. Angelo Savoldi
Savoldi is the heel here. Lots of holds and counter holds by these two as the match gets going. Headlocks, head scissors, things pick up with Serrano moving around nicely, some kneelifts to Savoldi who sells them by jumping 6 feet in the air, lol… Savoldi gets in some basic heel heat, punches, and all that type of stuff. Serrano makes another comeback, moving pretty fast. Angelo catches Hector running off the ropes and picks him up into a scoop slam and gets the win in 6:10. Not a bad little match, certainly had a lot of movement in it compared to most during the timeframe.
4. Miguel Perez vs. Tony Newbury
Miguel is the father of future star Miguel Perez Jr. of Los Boricuas “fame”, amongst other things. Father Perez is hairy, but not quite as hairy as his son. Perez formed a LEGENDARY team with Antonino Rocca during the golden days of the sport. (Referee Jack Davis looks to be in better shape than most of the wrestlers we have seen tonight.) Rocca looks good here early on, but eventually does a spot where he hits four consecutive dropkicks and they looks just terrible, each one worse than the one prior. lol… It was bad… (haha, I’m pretty sure one of them hit Newbury in the thigh!) Anyway, Newbury gets in his offense as needed to stretch the match out, Perez works a leg submission for a while, this thing goes back and forth. Newbury lands a backdrop, which looked like they botched a spot… Soooo, they go right back to the backdrop spot and Perez hooks a sunset flip bomb for the win in 5:00.
– Before the show closes Arnold Skaaland joins Ray Morgan for an interview… They greet each other with hellos aaaaand it’s over… OOOOOOOOOOO-kay… (What a pointless “interview”)
BJack’s Final Thoughts: The fan interaction with Tarzan Tyler before his match was extremely fun to watch, because you don’t realize how far back crowd participation goes, this was probably my most favorite thing on the show. It’s the simple things like that, just fans having fun with a heel, and Tyler being the veteran that he was knowing to play towards the fans. the Tyler/Pedro match was a lot of nothing, probably 2/3 of the match was just Tyler stomping his opponent. This was my first chance to actually pay attention to a Smasher Sloan match. Had read a lot on him so I was eager to actually watch him here… And now that I have, I hope to never have to again. That was 13:00 of my life I’m not getting back. Savoldi versus Serrano was a nice change of pace based on style, but was still nothing to write home about as two preliminaries got a chance to shine. Hector (Don) Serrano was a very underrated wrestler and he’d continue to make people look good all the way into the 1980’s. I was happy that I got a chance to watch a singles match with Miguel Perez, but again this thing wasn’t all that much. Perez started off looking sharp, that dropkick sequence was embarrassing to watch as a wrestling fan, but that finish was pretty damn cool. Perez actually hooked his legs under the arms of Newbury before he followed over with the sunset flip, turning it into a quasi sunset flip powerbomb. Nothing on this show stood out to me as “must-see”, except Tarzan removing his garb and the fans reaction. If I HAD to recommend watching the show, I’d say stick to the last two matches, they’re shorter and have more activity in them.
HeelsInc’s Final Thoughts: I’m with you on this one Jack. Overall another pretty boring show, particularly the first two matches. My favorite match was Serrano versus Savoldi as it had the best pace to it and most action.