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.

A Curious 10 Minutes

Another match with the unfortunate Mr. Soto took an even more curious tone.

Let’s fast-forward towards the near-end of the match.   Apollo has already put Mr. Soto through all of the mostly-scripted punishing holds and humiliating positions.

Mr. Soto appeared exhausted.  Apollo appeared bored.   So bored that he almost seemed slightly annoyed or even angry.   Was this opponent getting to be too predictable.

Apollo slipped quickly behind Soto.   He held both shoulders, each in one hand, and once again swiftly kicked Soto from behind into the back of his knees.   Predictably Soto slumped forward onto his knees.   He was almost waiting impatiently for that patented leg-lock chokehold–no doubt so that he could rush home to his wife & children.

Instead, Apollo grabbed both of Soto’s wrists from behind.  He placed his feet flat against Soto’s back and straighten his legs.   Soto howled.   His arms were held tight behind him.   The strain on his back muscles and arm muscles must have been awful.   This in itself could have been a valid submission hold.

But no.

Apollo positioned himself further behind Soto.   Both of them again were on the mat, Soto in front of Apollo.   Apollo inched himself further back, back, back–until Soto was flat on his back.  Apollo’s feet were know on the top of his shoulder blades.    Apollo yanked hard again.   Soto howled in pain again.   Apollo yanked.   Soto howled.

This wasn’t enough for Apollo.   A look of nasty, psychological foulness swept across his face.   Apollo twisted Soto’s wrists outward, in a bow-like position.   (Most people don’t remember how strong Apollo’s arms were, in addition to his legs and feet.  They were tremendously strong.)     Soto lay there in confusion.  He didn’t know what to expect next.

Very gently, very craftily, Apollo slowly lowered both feet on each side of Soto’s face.  Soto, although still held motionless by his wrists and helpless on the mat, burst out in a furious abreaction.  He was full of rage, upset, anger–he even let out muffled screams!   He obviously just wanted to tap out and get the h*ll out of the arena, except for the minor fact that he was still flat on his back, his waisted held captive, and the clearly stronger man doing something perversely wrong to him.   Soto wriggled and jiggled and slithered but of course there was nothing he could do.

Over the next few minutes one could catch him–what? Crying?  Sobbing?   In this manly sport?   It was more as if he were sobbing but trying not to let anyone know.

Soto’s body floundered again, like a fish out of water.   Slowly, slowly, he was forced to quiet down.  Apollo kept both feet firmly on Soto’s face, in a manner practiced as if this were some rare Oriental wrestling move he had done many times before, but in complete privacy.

One could see Soto’s breathing slowing down.   Was he actually going unconscious, as if chloroformed in a  sleeper’s hold?    So it seemed.   The referee was baffled.  Apollo just kept a neutral look on his face, with just the slightest hint of an evil tight smile.

Taking mercy on his opponent, Apollo slipped a traditional leg lock sleeper hold on Soto, so that the official records could show that Soto was counted out in a ‘normal’ manner, befitting such a young muscled wrestler.

But those who saw the match, as I did, knew our eyes weren’t lying.   Apollo perceived a strange weakness in his opponent’s psyche, one which Soto did not wish to admit nor allow others to witness.

That evening, Soto indeed went home to his wife and children.   The matrimonial bed must have been quiet that evening.   The husband: desperately trying to both understand and forget what had just happened.     The wife: oblivious.

When Apollo went home, wherever that was, that wicked sly grin must have stayed on his face all night long.   He had added an additional notch on some measuring stick–one which showed that he could do things no wrestler could either before him nor after him.   He was unique.   He was a champion.  For a great many men–more men than you might like to think existed in this world–Apollo was unstoppable.




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