No contest: Argentina Apollo vs. Robert Soto

This is a match you won’t find on Youtube or anywhere else.   It has probably been erased.

This is a match from either the late 1950’s or early 1960’s.    Argentina Apollo is already a polished, muscular gymnastic star.   Roberto Soto, by contrast, was  very young, lean and muscular.  But as a wrestler he was no match whatsoever for the powerful Apollo.

Most of the commercial wrestling programs always had a “back & forth” between opponents, with the exception of some “squash” matches.    In this case, however, Robert Soto was pitifully outmatched.

From the get-go, it was obvious that Apollo was stronger not only in the leg department, but with his arms and hands as well.   Apollo  immediately put Soto in a variety of standard “normal” professional wrestling holds–and let go of him only because he wanted to.  No tap-outs’s!   Just a superior man vs. something who looked fairly muscular, but not strong enough!

The entire match looked like a lion playing with a little mouse.  Poor Robert Soto!    He succumbed to Apollo in every single encounter, no matter what.  Headlock, arm strength, full nelson–it looked more like a gym work-out for Apollo.

This was an opportunity for Apollo to demonstrate a full catalog of  his more unorthodox moves.   In one move, both wrestlers grasped each other’s hands.  Both twisted in opposite direction to see who had the greater hand and arm strength.    Apollo swung Soto’s arms upward, downward, and side-ways with ease.   Poor Soto winced and grimaced but to no avail.    Apollo then played a humiliating trick on Soto.  He forced both his arms to swing out, and then proceeded to kick his armpits with alternate left-right-left-right karate-type high kicks.  All the while, Apollo held each hand firm so his opponent could not escape.    Soto looked like he was going to cry.

Apollo then engaged in one of his classics:   he held both of Soto’s hands, and pulled him downward, while falling backward on his own back.   At the same time, he whipped both legs through and under each arm (held in position with his own hand grip) so that he was able to hook each leg with his feet.   With the right positioning and the necessary strength in his feet, which acted like giant fish hooks, he is able to suspend the opponent upside-down, his legs spread-eagled by Apollo’s mighty legs, and each leg snared by one of those powerful feet.   The opponent can only wriggle and suffer!

There are a few Youtube examples of this exclusive wrestling “hold,” which to the best of my knowledge has no name.  You can see an excellent example here.

In this (mis)-match, Apollo was so much stronger than Robert Soto that he humiliated him further by emulating a bicycling motion.  Poor Soto could do nothing, whilst upside down and at the mercy of Apollo’s legs and feet.

Finally Apollo released Soto from the hold.  Soto just crumpled to the mat like a beaten rag doll.

Apollo then picked him up bodily.  He had him stand, wobbly as he was–and  (oh no!) the concluding humilaiton:  he pulled him in front of himself…kicked each leg out from underneath Mr. Soto with a karate kick to the back of his knee cap area, and (as could well be predicted swing a mighty leg over the back of Soto’s neck, and clamped on that killer leg lock chokehold, which is described in detail elsewhere on this blog.    Hardly 3 seconds passed when Soto waved his hand in surrender for the referee.

The victory bell sounded.  Apollo bounced to his feet, upright, with hardly any sweat on his body.     He reached down to shake the hand of the vanquished Mr. Soto.  Unfortunately all that lay there was the mere remnants of a man.  Mr. Soto look more like a puddle on the mat–so defeated, so humiliated, so disgraced.   He was still unconscious from the leg chokehold–so Apollo simply bounded out of the ring, fully confident but not at all smug or self-congratulatory.   He was not that kind of person.

More to come–if you want.

 

 

 

A Spectacular Finishing Move….

One of Apollo’s finishing moves was spectacular.

He’d maneuver to a spot right behind his opponent, upright. (He would be facing the opponent’s “derriere.” Apollo would place a hand on each shoulder blade in front, to temporarily hold the opponent
steady and firmly in front of him.

Then quickly–one, two!–Apollo would swiftly kick the opponent behind each kneecap First the left, then the right. He’d kick him in that vulnerable, soft fleshy area called the “kneepit,” which is physiologically right behind each kneecap.

They looked like karate kicks right behind each kneecap.

The result was inescapable and inevitable. The opponent would be forced to slump to his knees: first onto his left knee, after he was kicked into his knee area from behind;   then his right knee, after being kicked  behind that kneecap

 

Apollo was scientific and methodical when implementing this move.

No need to rush.

There was no defense possible when one is kicked “ONE-TWO” like that–especially when kicked by someone’s feet as strong, powerful, and flawlessly  on-target  as Apollo had.
Escape was impossible.

No opponent–no matter how large or tough–could stand when he had each leg  kicked from behind  by Apollo’s duo karate kicks.

 

Once (I remember) an opponent who sort of knew what was coming, was forced to drop to the mat on his right knee.   He resisted when Apollo kicked him behind his left knee, standing up on one leg awkwardly.   Apollo was already half-pivoting to the front, but seeing that the job was only half done, quickly kicked him behind the left knee three times in succession!    The opponent howled with frustration and collapsed fully onto the mat, on his knees.

A few  other guys may have known this move was coming. They might try to squirm away but to no avail. Apollo just kept anyone easily in his grip on the top of his shoulder blades. Remember–all it took was a few seconds. Then: LEFT-RIGHT. It makes sense. When your knee is kicked “forward” this way, you have no where else to go, but to drop down on that knee, forward, onto the mat. When each of your knees are kicked in succession, you’re a goner.

What followed was the “finisher.”

Apollo would drop to his opponent’s side on the mat. He’d then rapidly droop one muscular leg over the back of his opponent’s neck.

The opponent’s head looked like a tiny helpless grape caught in a nutcracker.

Apollo would then slip one foot in-between his own V-trap, then up & over the opponent’s head. Apollo would stretch out the opponent’s arm.

The closest one can see this in today’s Youtube videos would be to look for “MMA triangle leg hold knockout.”

Apollo,  by contrast to those MMA fighters, closed in for the submission whenever he wanted.

We’d always  hear a tremendous holler of pain by the humiliated quarry, followed by the ringing of the referee’s bell signaling “I surrender!’ Obviously this simple but inescapable tangle of feet, legs, neck & arm caused excruciating pain, of the type when a wrestler knows he had better “give” or else face a torn ligament.

As a child, I saw Apollo repeat this finishing move dozens of times, with a 100% “surrender” rate. No one escaped. No one could wriggle free. Once Apollo was positioned immediately behind you your “kneepits” where he’d be able to kick you to the mat almost effortlessly with his swift one-two kicks–it was all over.

A few moments later, the loser’s scream and the “surrender” bell signaled that the complete triangulated
web was woven. The loser may just as well have been an oblivious fly caught in a patient but strategically woven spider’s web. It kept one’s attention frozen, and heart pounding.

And all this–without Apollo hardly using his hands or arms. Pretty good trick for a wrestler, isn’t it?

Do you remember this finishing move? Corrections and (accurate) elaborations are welcome.

There’s more to come. Next will be a description of Apollo’s ‘legal” neck strangle, using just his feet.
Is any part of his foot touching the windpipe? Stay tuned…

Argentina Apollo – An Introduction

This blog (hopefully with videos) will be devoted to a biographical description of a lesser-known deceased professional wrestler, Argentina “Vittorio” Apollo.

Argentina Apollo always wrestling barefoot.   Some of his moves seemed to combine some type of French leg wrestling, along with a bit of savate (French foot fighing), as well as foot wresting attacks and  traps that Apollo invented himself.

There is an excellent Wikipedia entry on Apollo, as well as a Facebook page which apparently is managed by his son,  However, there are very few detailed descriptions of this unique wrestler’s leg-and feet focused wrestling, and his many astounding moves which must have aroused a generation of young, eager viewers glued to small b&w television sets.

Most videos of Argentina Apollo are apparently lost.  There is a small collection on Youtube, which I’ll try to embed on this site, or at least link to.    However, a great many of Argentina Apollo’s incredible wrestling tactics may just be dim memories.  One great hope is that a few liked-minded readers will send in comments with recollections of their own.   Suffice it say that Argentina Apollo–a handsome, entirely masculine athlete but with movements worthy of  powerful ballet akin to Nureyev, was in a class of his own.

Over the next several months, I’ll describe in great detail some of his more exotic wrestling moves.  In most, he was able to make his opponent submit in a humiliating fashion, toying with his opponents like a cat playing with a frightened mouse.   Some of his other “closing” moves might sound semi-erotic.   You can read into these descriptions any way you wish.

Below is an except from an anonymous avid fan from a mainstream classic wrestling message board:

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“Can anyone point to another wrestler even vaguely like Argentina Apollo? He was unique. I used to wait all week to watch him on a television match. Do you remember one finishing move, where he’d position himself behind his opponent; swiftly karate kick him in one-two fashion behind the kneecaps–so the opponent crumpled helplessly to the ground on his knees. There is just no way to stand up if someone does this to you! Apollo would then swing one tightly muscled leg over the back of his opponent’s neck, raise his near arm upward, and slide a strong bare foot into an opportunistic space between the opponent’s head and Apollo’s other leg, like a slithering squid tentacle. Hardly any pressure was required to generate humiliating pain. Every opponent submitted within a few seconds. This end-game move was so predictable, but nobody could put up a defense. Once Apollo was standing behind you, the swift one-two kick behind each knee spelled doom: you were on your knees and “dead meat” for Apollo. Dozens of opponents were conquered this way, yet I’ve never seen this finishing move on any available DVD or tape…”

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That’s true!  This poor fellow’s fantasies can never be recaptured on any DVD or videtape. However, we’ll recount here some of those hazy memories of youth in as much details as possible…

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Where did Apollo learn his wrestling moves?   They were not even close to another wrestler he is often compared to, the gnarly Antonino Rocca.  Absolutely not.  They were worlds apart.  Would anyone want to voluntarily wrestle with Rocca?  Of course not.  There was nothing vaguely magnetic about him.    With Apollo, however, one faced the ultimate danger: coming face-to-face with domination/humilation fantasies that society frowns upon, and which young TV viewers are not supposed to know about.   Apollo’s most humiliating implication was that he didn’t even need to use his hands to defeat you utterly and completely.  No–he just needed those perpetual motion feet, flickering and flashing on the ground.  What on earth is he doing?   Both feet in parallel first point left, then right, then left, then right.  It looks like no wrestling move anyone else employed.  Nor judo, nor karate, nor any of the manly martial arts.  No, this is 100% trademark Apollo.  He was the only wrestler to ever move this way.  The skill died with him.   Now, you are back with him, laying on a fantasy ring floor.  It suddenly becomes apparent how dangerous those feet are.  They are large.  They are muscular. They are quick.   One swift kick and you’d be unconscious.   No, they don’t kick. They circle around you, looking for opportunistic humiliating.  They are going to grab you and hold you in some humiliating wrestling hold. Nothing can stop them.  You wouldn’t be quick enough.   Finally the moment comes.  You’re pinned down on the mat.   You are trapped between his ankles.  You struggle to free yourself but of course that’s just a ridiculous notion.   Your neck is held tight as if in a ring of steel.  Apollo has you between his ankles.   You wriggle like a fish caught on a dreaded hook because you desired the delicious worm.   The next momentt comes.  Apollo methodically tightens his “foot collar.”   He cleverly pushes one foot towards the other–which is planted firmly on the mat–while your head is trapped between them.  Then Apollo pushes the opposite foot.   Each alternate move squeezes your head until it feels like a walnut between a nutcracker.  Your neck is trapped, too.  The flow of blood is reduced, too.  Apollo knows this, but keeps his foot grip tight.  Slowly you start to lose consciousness.  Just before you do, Apollo whips his body around!   Both feet slide completely across your neck and ears and face.   Apallingly they make full contact with you face, too.  Is an audience seeing this?  That would be horrible.  Why?  Because you secretly enjoyed it.  There is a part inside you, invisible but emerging, which wants this kind of human foot trap.    You want to stay there.  But the spasm of pain wakes you up.   Both feet whip around your ears, almost pulling them off.   You’re in agony!  All you see are those two feet, still, flickering and darting about–possibly pointing back at you–as if a signal that once again, you’ll be the target of their skill and strength.   There is naught you can do (a child of 7 or 8 years of age?) in this fantasy world you were thrust into completely by accident…..