Arizona Republic – April 14, 1931
A couple of heavyweight tornadoes descended upon the ring of Phoenix Madison Square Garden last night, crowded more wrestling into about 25 minutes of work than is actually seen in a dozen bouts and sent the biggest crowd of 1931 into a frenzy of excitement unparalleled in the history of wrestling here.
The outcome: The Masked Marvel left the ring, his identity still shrouded behind the tight-fitting gauze that obscures his features from an anxious, yes, even clamorous crowd.
The Marvel is still masked because he succeeded in taking a two-in-three-falls verdict from George Kotsonaros in a bout that teemed with thrills, excitement and wrestling of a superlative nature.
What these two behemoths didn’t give the fans last night simply isn’t in the book or brain of man. Skill they had aplenty; speed of lightning was theirs; they had cunning and strength. In brief, their meeting was the work of a couple of finished products.
In three minutes and five seconds of actual mat work two falls had been determined. So rapid was the action that even ringsiders could not recall with any degree of accuracy just what happened in these two hilarious sessions.
Sixty seconds of milling in the first fall brought these things: an arm roll, one headlock, four reverse headlocks, five arm holds, quickly broken, one jackknife and a concluding “back-to-back” hold, the mystery hold conceived by the Masked Marvel himself and the first new hold perfected in wrestling in more than a year.
The suddenness with which the Marvel obtained this hold and pinned the Greek’s shoulders was perhaps of far greater surprise to Kotsonaros than any one else in the arena.
With the sounding of the gong, the two men jumped to the middle of the ring and began whirlwind attacks. Both sought the offensive and the speed with which they worked foretold an early ending, for it would have been humanly impossible for two mortals to long continue the pace they set.
After 30 seconds, George applied the first of a series of four reverse headlocks that had the young giant pitching headlong to the canvas. As he endeavored to obtain a fifth, the Marvel slapped on his back-to-back hold and had the Greek’s shoulders pinned in a flash.
The second fall saw action equally as swift, though the time lasted two minutes and five seconds. Every bit as aggressive as in the first fall, the two men were at each other even before the ring of the gong had died. At one minute, 35 seconds, Kotsonaros applied the first of a series of three reverse headlocks that had the Marvel dizzy. Then came the first of two crushing flying mares, the second of which sprawled the big fellow full length and gave Kotsonaros the victory.
When they came out for the third fall, the men were more cautious. Several times during the course of the 32 minutes of grappling, they flashed some of the speed of the first two falls but for no protracted durations. Instead, they settled down to “sane and sensible” grappling tactics. Both evidently were well-worn from the terrific paces of the first two falls, even though they lasted only a fraction more than three minutes.
For the first 31 minutes, there was little to choose between the men. First one and then the other would squeeze out of a tight hole. At the 31-minute station, though, Kotsy put on the first of a series of reverse headlocks. Four of these were applied in rapid succession. Then Kotsy sought to switch to the flying mare. As he turned, the Marvel grabbed him and crushed him to the floor, Kotsy underneath. The blow stunned the Greek and the Marvel gained the fall with a full body hold. The timers caught them in 32 minutes.
The preliminary also had its thrills with Spike O’Brien of Phoenix evening the score with Guy Steele of Willcox for the defeat suffered a week ago by taking two falls in three in a no-time-limit match. Spike won the first and third falls in 20 and 6 minutes, respectively. The second went to Steele in six minutes.
O’Brien is developing rapidly as was evidenced by the big improvement noted in his work last night. Steele is about as tough a youngster as has been seen hereabouts in a long time. And he has a good working knowledge of the game.
The local boy gave him grip for grip last night and came through the grueling encounter little the worse for wear.
His victory in the first fall came after a series of headlocks that left Steele helpless on the floor. Six of them were applied in succession, one of which O’Brien held for more than three minutes.
Steele’s victory in the second fall was recorded with a full-body slam while O’Brien took the third and deciding fall with another series of headlocks.