Sunday, March 22, 2015

WWF-Bob Backlund v. El Olympico-1980

Bob Backlund v. El Olympico-Ten minute Exhibition match
May 7, 1980-Hamburg, PA, Fieldhouse Referee:John Stanley


This was billed as a strictly scientific ten minute exhibition match. Vince McMahon and Bruno Sammartino, on commentary, got over the idea that El Olympico had done well in other places and now, he wants to try and fight the best, in the WWF. This was a different and unique match with takedowns mostly telling the story. Whenever a takedown would occur, Bob would usually break the hold and stand back up. Bob did just about all of the takedowns, as El Olympico was made to look inferior. I do not know who would book a scientific match with a luchadore against an amateur expert.

This started with a handshake from both men and they tried feeling each other out with lockups. Bob hit an O'Connor roll/waistlock takedown. Olympico put on a full nelson that Bob countered with his legs and strength. 

Bob locked in a stretch submission, grabbing a leg and arm barring an arm. Vince and Bruno put over how big it would be for Olympico to beat Bob here. One fan yelled “kick him in the balls” rather audibly. Olympico grabbed a leg but Bob countered with an explosive monkey flip.

Olympico hooked a headlock that was met with a back suplex and a pin attempt but the ref stopped it. No pins allowed for Bob. Olympico finally got in a wrist lock drag into a headscissors on the mat but Bob got out. They locked up and Olympico almost punched him but he thought twice since it was illegal.

 However, in the next exchange, he hit him with an open hand shot that he argued was legal and it was allowed. Olympico seemed to be getting frustrated by this point. Bob locked in a figure-four leglock and then a great stalling back suplex. 

Bob hoisted Olympico up for a possible atomic drop, which would have been illegal in this match, but Olympico hooked the top rope and it was broke. 
Finally, Bob tried for a Boston crab but could not get him. The bell rang and they shook hands.

Through my research, I have Olympico debuting in the WWWF/WWF, in June 1972, in North Dartmouth, MA, against Juan Caruso. He lost more matches than he won and wrestled between 1972 and 1980, and some of those years he did not work the territory. His most notable opponents include Mr. Fuji, several times, George Steele, and Blue Demon, on several occasions including once in MSG, in 1972. Also, Olympico put over Greg Valentine in Valentine's MSG debut on April 14, 1975. While wrestling in Madison Square Garden, he had to wear an open mask because the building did not allow full masks for competitors.

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