Leo Nomellini, Lou Thesz Draw In Mat Test

San Francisco Chronicle – May 22, 1957
By Art Rosenbaum

Leo Nomellini was “saved” for the 49ers against last night at Winterland by failing to win the wrestling championship from Lou Thesz.

Thesz won the first fall and Nomellini won the second and just about then the timekeeper realized that the limit had been reached, and the match was called a draw.

The time allotted was 61 minutes. Thesz won the first fall in 34:59 with a flying scissors and body press after Nomo had knocked him groggy with head locks and elbow smashes.

Just when it appeared the audience, which paid $7,934, would see Leo’s heroics rewarded, Thesz came off the ropes to register the audience-crushing fall.

After a five-minute intermission, they went at it again and Nomellini applied what wrestling addicts declared was a seldom-used hold – a reverse short-arm scissors followed by a leg hammerlock.

This is known as a submission hold, and Thesz submitted in 17:10.

The two falls totaled 52:09 and the five-minute intermission made it 57:09. Another five-minute intermission was due which would have thrown the schedule off kilter, and so referee Al Stecher raised the arms of both contestants as the crowd cheered Leo and alternately booed and cheered the champ.

Nomellini was led into his dressing room by line coaches Phil Bengston and Bill Johnson of the 49ers, a positive indication that Leo’s head gear will be waiting for him this fall.

It was an excellent match and was their third draw. Thesz won once and Nomellini also won once on a disqualification, but the National Wrestling Alliance refused to recognize Nomo’s single victory.

In other bouts: Bobo Brazil and Enrique Torres defeated Mike Mazurki and Ray Stern in one fall; Lord Blears defeated John Swenski, body press, 19:42; and Kokichi Endo defeated Chico Gracia, judo chop, 14:39.

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