Pat O'Connor At Long Last!

By Enzedlock

New Zealand Sports Digest, August 1956, Pages 60-62

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Page 60 N .Z. SPORTS DIGEST August, 1956 0' WRESTLING ‘ PAT O'CONNOR AT LONG LAST! Whal- ls Being Done To EnsureSuccess Of Visit ?. Asks e’ENZEBLECK” At long last, after something like one false alarm per season for the’ past four years, that idol of American mat fans and TV viewers, Pat O’Connor, seems set to pay the long-awaited visit to' his New Zealand homeland. O’Connor’s terms have been ac- cepted by the New Zealand Wrestling Union, and failing the slip ‘twixt cup and ii , he’ll leave the States on August 31 for a six Weeks campaign lere. What, then,’ is being done to ensure that the big boy from Raetihi is shown here to the best advantage, that the ex- pense involved in flying him and his wife (the former Re- member Ford of Wisconsm, U.S.A.) out here and back again, plus accommodation and a hefty guarantee, is recovered —-—and some ‘? v It is common knowledge that the quality of many of the matmen showing here this winter has been disappointing in the extreme, and that Who- ever “selected” the team at the start of the season did so a manner that caused hard words to be spoken, perhaps harder ones to be left un- spoken. One of the best friends of wrestling in Auckland has been very critical in his Press com- ments on this season’s crop and of wrestlingpin general. Berhaps his comments empha- 51se the thoughts of wrestling authorities 'in Auckland, the most remunerative mat centre in the entire Dominion, a city Whose sporting officials often do not see eye to eye with sports administrators else- where. ' Fon' INSTANCE, PAT O’CONNOR’S BIGGEST MATCH WAS EXPECTED TO BE AN OPEN-AIR ,BOUT AGAINST THE GREAT ZOE- RO AT AUCKLAND. BUT THIS AUCKLAND SCRIBE, WHOSE “’RITINGS BEAR THE HALLMARK 0F AU- THENTICITY, MAKES IT CLEAR THAT AUCKLAND- ERS WILL NOT BE HAPPY- ABOUT A CONTEST BE- TWEEN O’CONNOR. AND ANY OF THE BUNCH PER.- FORMING IN NEW ZEA- LAND THIS YEAR. In making such a statement, hOWever, I feel that the Auck- lander conceivably has over- looked the fact that, contrary to what he generally turns on in New Zealand, Dutch HOW- lett, or The Great Zorro, is a genuinely good wrestler «s . . possibly a great one. ' Unfortunately, he has con- centrated wholly on frothy, spectacular Showmanship at the expense of his true wrest- ling class. And while referees, police and wrestling authori— ties must take some of the blame for this, the largest share belongs to Zorro him- self. Now that he should be an absolute “natural" as an op- August, 1956 N .Z. > SPORTS DIGEST Page 61 Not of the “dime-a-dozcn” type . . . PAT O’CONNOR. ponent for O’Connor in a pig outdoor match, Zorro IS being written down by the afore— mentioned section of the Press as "not good enough.” Kostas, Too ‘2 The same in a lesser degree could be said about Al Cos- tello, who can wrestle when he wants to—and there are many who think he would prefer to wrestle than to W111 an Academy Award for the best actor of the year. Even the Greek, John Kostas, who created such a fine im- pression as an orthodox but genuine wrestler in his earher Page 62 NZ. SPORTS DIGEST August, 1956 matches, seems to be getting showmanship complex. pity. Behind Pat O’Connor’s visit is a stor that may never be told. Su cient is it that the New Zealander was not pre- pared to leave America until he received all the terms he wanted—~and he made sure he got them. After all, O’Connor is not one of the dime-a-dozen type we so often get wished on to the wrestling public in New Zealand. He is one of lthe showpieces of world wrest- lng. ' It has been suggested from up Auckland wa that the whole question 0 su ply of wrestlers to New ealand should be gone into and that a hard and fast arrangement should be entered into with the _Australian promoters to prov1de for a genuine change of wrestlers. , Unfortunately~and almost inexplicable It. is—wrestlers who go over big in Australia too “often become dead losses in New Zealand. Possibly they’re more discriminating in this neck of the wood. What next, then? What of sending a qualified man from New Zealand to seek out wrestlers? Expensive, yes, but certainly not as costly as importing duds on the say- so of somebody who hasn’t shown much nous in the past. A man of the capabilities of Lloyd Woods, manager—elect of the New Zealand Olympic Games team this year, could be ideal. Woods is a wrestling enthusiast—despite his size he is able to go on to the mat and work out with many of the wrestlers, And there are indications that he is going to be one of the chief executives in the Dominion of New Zea- land Wrestling’ Union, his role as chairman of the Am— ateur Committee pointing the way the breeze is blowmg. McGready ‘I Costello ? An. alternative, that Earl McCready, for about 14 sea- sons the idol of New Zealand’s wrestling public, should be American ‘booker" for ,the wrestling authorities seems to be frowned on these days. Al Costello, who knows the wrestling position in New Zealand, might be a good choice, although rumour. has it that the Australian is likely to take over a hotel here and give wrestling a spell. Whatever happens, New Zealand wrestling cannot stand another blizzard such as hit the sport at the beginning of the season and now is the time—~not- in four or five months—to make plans for the continuation of a Winter sport that has caught the fancybf so many thousands, and which should gather in even more with the forthcomin visit of Pat O’Connor, the oy from Raetihi.