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…..

4 thoughts on “Argentina Apollo – An Introduction

  1. The fact that this guy got into the ring in flip flops and a short white jacket over his white trunks was very cool. Had a dark hairy body which made the white trunks look great on him. Too bad there are not many matches of him left to see…..

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  2. My understanding is that many/most of his matches were in a local arena where they had a shortage of old-fashioned recording tape. They re-recorded repeatedly, erasing his older matches.

    If you have a long memory, and as a child watched him for years–you’d remember some of his wrestling
    moves vividly. A great many involved humiliating his opponents with just his powerful legs and feet, in highly inventive combinations. His style fell into no category one could ever find. If there is enough interest, I’ll try to recall some of his matches and describe his moves in interesting detail, which hopefully will not offend anyone’s sensibilities.

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  3. I recall the taped matches from the old Armory in Washington DC. I think that is where that one match that is posted online vs Bob Boyer was taped. The match was called by the regular announcer Ray Morgan who tried to make the matches sound real. Apollo was certainly a Rocco knock off but way better looking….

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  4. 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!–he’d swiftly kick the opponent behind each kneecap First the left, then the right. He’d kick him in the vulnerable, soft fleshy area called the “kneepit.”

    The “kneepit” is the shallow depression where the lower thigh makes an inward angle with the upper calf. Technically, it is your posterior biceps femoris popliteal fossa/

    The result was inescapable and inevitable. The opponent would drop to his knees: first onto his left knee, then his right knee, until he was on both knees in front of Apollo.

    There was no defense possible when one is kicked “ONE-TWO” like that–especially when kicked by someone’s feet as large and powerful as Apollo had. This strangest of karate moves almost appeared in slow motion.
    Escape was impossible.

    No opponent–no matter how large or tough–could stand when he had his legs when he was kicked from behind and out from underneath him by Apollo.

    A few guys may have known this 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.” This may be difficult to picture unless you’ve actually seen
    this on television.

    Apollo would drop to his opponent’s side on the mat. He’d then lazily 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. We’d then 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–the toes of each foot aimed directly at the this vulnerable spot–it was all over. You may as well be kicked left-right with a wedge-side of a steel sledgehammer.

    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…

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