Rocca, Thesz Wrestle To Draw Before 10,400

Los Angeles Times – September 11, 1952
By Don Snyder

Nobody would have guessed it, but last night’s rhapsody in black and blue at jam-packed Olympic Auditorium wound up in a one-all draw. However, it was Argentine Rocca who emerged the hero and the champ; Lou Thesz, the chump.

A bellowing gathering of 10,400 and some odd fans, some very odd, made more noise than inside a popcorn popper as they chunked in a gross gate of $33,434.75 to jeer and cheer and modern he-men of wrestling to their tie.

The first fall seemed as endless as Figueroa Blvd. It lasted 4m. 6s. It started on a note of silence and the battle appeared very gentlemanly. They were even caught once shaking hands in a headlock.

But it was after a half-hour of persecuting each other with painful headlocks, toelocks and other locks which keys don’t fit that friction appeared. Thesz took a slap at Rocca which Rocca and the fans didn’t like at all. Neither one shook hands any more.

Rocca, who is known for his aerial maneuvers, left his airplane in the hangar. He never did go up all night.

Anyhow, Thesz survived four body slams, picked himself up and won the first heat with what was described as a Graeco-Roman pile-driver. This maneuver was made possible by hoisting the South American and throwing him for a loop.

The bare-footed Latin returned the compliment 12m. 13s. later when Thesz fell apart. Argentine put one of his naked tootsies in St. Louis Lou’s face, then took him for an airplane ride, bumped him for a backbreaker and Thesz was down and out and loser of the fall.

With only two minutes remaining, Argentine, who by now was the obvious hero because of Thesz’s unfair slaps, called for a 10-minute overtime. The fans agreed in thundering cheer. However, Thesz’s manager, Ed (Strangler) Lewis, refused to allow such a thing. But Thesz, in order to save his face which was in a pretty puny state by now, agreed.

And so for 10 minutes, Rocca used the world’s heavyweight champ as a basketball. He dribbled him all over the square, but couldn’t connect for even a free shot. Time, like a Del Mar plug, ran out and that was the end of the old fall game.

The outcome set the stage for a roaring outdoor rematch in the near future, in case you had not guessed by now.

A man identified as an unidentified fan won the semi-windup. After Mr. Moto had out-tricked and dirty-tricked George Becker into defeat, the intruder, dressed in his Sunday suit, dashed inside the ropes and beat old man Moto over the bean.

In other one-act preliminaries, Rito Romero flying-drop-kicked Killer Karl Davis for a field goal, Bobby Becker picked up Kola Kwariani’s big body for a victory slam and Pepe Pasquale made Lone Eagle feel all the lonesomer by pinning him.

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