by Daniel Johnson
Vittorio Apollo vs. Miguel Torres
I was recently on the Freakin’ Awesome Network (FAN) and came across an interesting thread regarding over 100 matches from Fred Kohler’s NWA territory based out of Chicago, Illinois that had been uploaded to YouTube by Chicago Film Archives. Needless to say I didn’t spend much more time on FAN and instead hopped over to YouTube to spend hours watching footage from the NWA of the 1950s and 1960s. This stuff is top notch and aside from featuring clear video, commentary is also provided by Russ Davis. Russ and his wife, Sylvia Davis are actually hugely responsible for these matches being around as this footage comes from the Russ and Sylvia Davis Collection, 1932-1970. To read more about this collection click here.
It is tricky to find a good point of entry for this 1950s and 1960s footage since wrestling was so different back then. This bout between Vittorio Apollo aka Vincente Denigris and Miguel Torres from the April 14, 1961 card at the Chicago International Amphitheatre may be better than most. I’ve heard some fans complain about wrestling from the 1970s and earlier claiming it is too slow and different from the current product to enjoy. Likewise while the amateur wrestling in bouts from this era by greats like Verne Gagne, Lou Thesz and Buddy Rogers may be loved by some (including myself) it would bore others to tears.
Apollo and Torres will shatter these preconceived notions of wrestling from the 1950s and 1960s that any such fans may have. It is a quick five minute bout and Apollo dazzles the crowd and hopefully modern spectators alike with his acrobatics. Some of what Apollo performs is so unusual that Davis has no idea how to call it. Actually, the majority of the moves Apollo pulls off Davis has no idea how to call. At one point Apollo has Torres in a submission, Davis refers to as as the Argentine hot squat. Another point this clip illustrates is that not all of this footage is incredibly politically correct. The Chicago fans boo Torres when he is announced as being from Mexico and later Davis says, “Torres is not used to getting up this early in the day to wrestle. It’s obvious.” Davis then does a cartoonish Mexican impersonation that would get WWE in hot water if one of their commentators did it today. Such were the times.
After a leap frog from Apollo off of the second rope, Apollo wins with what is described as a reverse body press. The influence of Antonino Rocca aka Argentina Rocca on the Argentina born Apollo is obvious and gets pointed out by Davis. Apollo would wrestle for well over a decade after this match gaining more fame under the name Argentina Apollo before retiring in 1975.
Categories: Wrestling Clips