FINALLY.... THE ROCCO HAS COME BACK TO THE WOS THREAD!
Mark 'Rollerball' Rocco
that is, total legend, even amongst the talent of late 70s WOS Mark could be considered one of the top hands, tremendous natural athelete who played the vicious heel to perfection. Marks work is crisp, very intense, he cuts a blistering pace and can mat grapple, trade brutal potatoes and even fly with anyone. Often mentioned in the same breath as Dynamite Kid (who idolized him, and DK hated everyone!), it has been said that DK took all Roccos stuff and did it in front of bigger crowds thus getting the kudos but the style came from Rocco, even the brutal out of the ring brawls were groundbreaking for WOS and Mark can make a double countout seem the most natural conclusion in the world. Also, his attire, natty mustache and bronze skin make him stand out from the paler, more homely looking types in WOS.
A second generation wrestler Mark had a 20 year career first winning the junior heavyweight title in 77, a legendary series of matches with Marty Jones, feuding on and off for years with Dynamite Kid but his best known work is with Satoru Sayama (aka Sammy Lee aka Tiger Mask) first in WOS then a series in NJPW as Tiger Mask v Black Tiger(sayama says Mark was his best ever opponent)
For the purpose of this thread I'll start of with a match against the ubiquitous Marty Jones, no less an authority than WILLIAM REGAL claims these two and this series of matches both invented and mastered the classic british style, this one is from 76
part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBNqjf0qdrk
part 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj0J0htySuM
we start off at slow deliberate pace, some nice matwork that to my eyes looks to incorporate Brazilian JJ grappling (I swear Mark goes for a kimura at one point and Jones pulls butterfly gaurd), an even back and forth Rocco gets frustrated and tries to start a showboating/cartwheel contest which is fun until Jones almost takes his head off with a dropkick. This does nothing but PISS Rocco the fuck off and now hes out for blood, starts throwing vicious punches and goes to work on Jones' left arm with cranks, Rocco is all over him like a cheap suit, wont let him catch his breath and Jones has to dig deep and match him for big shots while being sneaky and letting Rocco make mistakes. The crowd are quiet and polite to begin but breathless by the end, wonderfully worked match.
bonus- on this topic, might have mentioned it before but Regals first appearance on Cabana's podcast is a great little history lesson for WOS and british wrestling in general