It’s Opera We Get Now

The Pittsburgh Press – January 17, 1936

Wrestlers Show Wares Here As Customers Render ‘Volga Boatman’

They’re giving us professional wrestling set to music here in Pittsburgh, with “Old Rockin’ Chair” done by Joe Savoldi and Vic Christy, and “The Volga Boatman” rendered by that bearded baritone, Sergi Kalmikoff, the current favorites.

The novelty was tried last night at the North Side Arena, but only a few of the faithful braved the weather to look in on the grappling operetta.

Savoldi pinned Christy with a body press after a flying dropkick in the main event.  The elapsed time was 55 minutes 56 seconds.  They featured the “Old Rockin’ Chair” number several times before the curtain finally dropped.

Kalmikoff took a decision in 30 minutes over Mike Mazurki in the semi-final, while the fans ably assisted his rendition of “The Volga Boatman.”  Their act was the funniest, if not the fanciest.

Dark and Handsome Sam Cordovano, former Georgetown University football hero, took the juvenile lead, and the victory, in his bout with villainous Dr. Freddy Meyer.  This one went 22 minutes 42 seconds and wound up with a flying tackle and an airplane spin.

A body press was the hold by which Sandor Vary, Hungary, flattened Pete Peterson, Norway, in 8:03 of the second bout.

Joe Tonti of Midland avenged his shabby treatment at the hands of Andy Meixner by winning in 17:02, with a series of flying tackles and a body press.

Kalmikoff was giving one of his best performances when a ringsider began his chant of the famed Russian song.  The fans on all sides took it up and, though Sergi evinced seeming embarrassment by it at first, he soon entered into the spirit of the thing and frequently added his own rich guttural to the chant.

He had Mazurki on his back during most of the 30 minutes, but the fans always asked him to ease up and he generously complied with true Russian grace.

Christy drew most of the feminine plaudits, but there were just enough he-men in the audience to counter-balance it for Savoldi in the windup.  A good part of the villainy was provided by the former Notre Dame fullback, but Christy passed up a few opportunities to get in his licks.

They put on the “Old Rockin’ Chair” several times.  It defies description, except to say that they lock the opponent’s legs under the arms, facing each other on the floor and then rock.

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