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The Golden Age of

Day Date Time
Wednesday Oct. 29 9 a.m.
Thursday Oct. 30  2 p.m.
Friday Oct. 31 5 p.m.

The Golden Age of Wrestling on iNDEMAND

It was the era of big matches on TV and even larger than life superstars.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, one of the hottest programs during the infancy of  television was professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling had stars that were so big they were even colorful in Black & White.

This Pay-Per-View shines the spotlight on the biggest stars of the early television era.

Pat O'Connor (left) and Nature Boy Buddy Rogers set attendance and box office records that stood for decades with their June 30, 1961 NWA World heavyweight championship match. Defending champion O'Connor is  shown with the title belt.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Pat O'Connor
National Wrestling Alliance World heavyweight champion)
Nature Boy Buddy Rogers
ing United States heavyweight champion)

One of the candidates for Match of the Century was the June 30, 1961 showdown for the NWA title that drew 38,622 in Chicago's Comiskey Park, which set an all-time attendance record that stood for 20 years. The gate of $96,302 also set a record that held up for decades.

Nature Boy Buddy Rogers was the controversial top box office draw that was wrestling's most colorful attraction of the era. He may have been wrestling's first "cool" villain with his finely tuned tanned physique, bleached blond hair, and arrogant strut. His look and style was the forerunner to another "Nature Boy", Ric Flair. He was also considered one of the most exciting wrestlers of the era and innovated many moves and bumps that are considered standard today. He was the biggest star of the nationally televised wrestling cards out of Chicago.

Rogers held the second most important belt in wrestling, the United States heavyweight championship.

The only feat that Rogers had not accomplished as a wrestler was to win the sport's top honor, the NWA World heavyweight championship.

Pat O'Connor had successfully defended the title for two years since winning the belt from Dick Hutton. The New Zealand native drew well as champion and was considered on of the most popular wrestlers in the World.

O'Connor was a brilliant technical wrestler. He was a top mat wrestler and could also incorporate aerial moves like flying dropkicks and flying head scissors.  

The match itself lived up to the hype.

Their historic showdown is considered on of the greatest matches of all time. 

Lou Thesz (left) and Argentina Rocca were two of the top stars of the 50s with wildly different styles. Their rivalry outside the ring were almost as legendary as their matches.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Lou Thesz
National Wrestling Alliance World heavyweight champion)
Antonino (Argentina) Rocca

It was the ultimate contrast of styles.

About the only thing that Lou Thesz and Antonino (Argentina) Rocca had in common was that they though both laid claim to being the top wrestler of the 50s.

Thesz held the NWA World heavyweight championship for a record span between 1948 and 1956. He was the consummate wrestler who took his sport and his wrestling seriously. He took offense to performers who he considered gimmicks who could not wrestle.

Rocca was the consummate gimmick. He was the first wrestler to ever incorporate flashy aerial moves into his matches like series of dropkicks, slapping opponents with his bare feet, mid-air splits, squirming on the mat like a fish, and more.

Thesz was open in his criticism of Rocca.

Rocca countered with a claim of being the biggest box office draw of his era. He was the star that Northeast promoters built the big arenas around and Rocca started the legacy of Madison Square Garden with many sellouts.

The two get an opportunity to settle their differences in a showdown for Thesz' NWA World heavyweight championship.

Gorgeous George vs. Jesse James

Before there was Buddy Rogers, before there was Ric Flair, before there was Hulk Hogan, before there was the Rock…. There was the man who pioneered flamboyant ring style, Gorgeous George. George (pictured) innovated so many of the things we take for granted in wrestling today like bleached blond hair, ring entrances with music, colorful robes, and preening before his match. At the time, no one had ever seen anything like "The Human Orchid", and George became one of the first television stars ever. See why he was so ahead of his time.

Dick the Bruiser vs. Emil Dupree

If you like watching pure mayhem and destruction, welcome to world of Dick the Bruiser!

Dick the Bruiser (pictured) is believed to be wrestling's first monster, and was a star for three decades.

The former Green Bay Packer was known as the World's Most Dangerous Wrestler.

Here, Dick the Bruiser battles the ring announcer, the security police as he totally dismantles Bobby Brown.

See wrestling's original wildman. 

Fritz Von Erich vs. Reggie Parks

Fritz Von Erich was one of the most intimidating wrestlers of all time.

He stood 6-4 and weighed 275 pounds, considered huge by 1950s standards. 

He was a star football player at SMU and was most famous for battling Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte of Notre Dame.

Fritz was a powerhouse who had uncanny speed and quickness for a man his size.

He was also as vicious as any wrestler in the 50s.

His huge hands and incredible power enabled him to invent one of the most famous submission holds in the history of professional wrestling, the Iron Claw.

He would later go on to become one of the biggest stars of Texas wrestling history. He became popular not because he changed his style, but because he started brutalizing other wrestlers the fans hated. 

He also became a successful promoter and the patriarch of the Von Erich wrestling family.

Reggie Parks was a successful wrestler in his own right. Parks is well known today in the wrestling industry as one of the most prolific creators of championship belts. The greatest stars in history have worn Parks' belts to represent some of wrestling's most important championships.

The Golden Age of Wrestling on iN DEMAND

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