Sunday, December 11, 2016
Antonino Rocca vs Karl Von Hess, 30 June 1961, Comiskey Park, Chicago (NWA Chicago)
Back to the black-and-white classics, I am struck by hairy, inked, and evil Karl Von Hess (42, 5'10", 220#) in this match against Antonino "Argentina" Rocca (37, 6', 227#). Rocca is barefoot, and his balletic moves are campy and sometimes sexy, his airplane spins and "Argentine backbreaker" (torture rack), for instance. But it's the older wrestler's blunt brutality that thrills me. I like the way Von Hess slugs, knees, and scratches his opponent, scoring up points towards his eventual demise. Rocca, in turn, teases and taunts the Nazi brute, egging him on, the way a lion-tamer or bullfighter prods the animals to roar or charge. He baits the heel until the moment is ripe for taking him down, and the crowd is ecstatic.