WWE Hidden Gems – 1973

We journey onward to 1973, which brings us two matches. We open with World Champion Pedro Morales facing George Steele and then Johnny Valentine faces Lou Thesz. Should be quite the contrast in match styles, so let’s go to the ring.

1. Pedro Morales v. George Steele

We get commentary which is nice, it’s Vince McMahon which is not so nice. George is yelling at the crowd, in English no less which is funny since later on he only spoke broken English. The crowd noise means only one thing, the champ is here, as Pedro makes his way to the ring. The match starts and Pedro goes on the attack sending George out of the ring instantly. The ref orders Pedro to allow George back in, and Steele gets in the ring. Steele charges and Pedro nails him, but George comes back with his foreign object to take down the champ. Steele pulls him up and nails him with it again, then stomps a mudhole in the champion. Steele sends Pedro in to the ropes and catches him with a big slam and the object right to the head again. George has a mid match snack of the turnbuckle as Pedro has time to get up. Pedro catches Steele with forearms to stagger the Animal. Stalling from Steele, as Pedro tries to advance and Steele backs away. Armdrag from Pedro sends Steele to the corner and Pedro clobbers him. Steele bails to the apron for a breather, and slowly returns to the ring. George catches Pedro with a side headlock and smashes the object in Pedro’s face sending Pedro to the apron. Pedro sent into the turnbuckle hard multiple times. Pedro finally blocks one and Steele eats the metal post then sent to the other side and into the post. Back to the first one goes Steele, splitting Steele wide open. Steele staggers into the ring and Pedro unloads on the open wound. The referee stops the match due to Steele’s wound and Pedro wins. After the match Steele drives the object into Pedro’s face but Pedro fires back and Steele wisely bails out and runs to the back.

1. Pedro Morales over George Steele ***

A violent match, may not have had a lot of hold but lots of fire from both men and a raucous crowd. Quiet the brawl between the two, but again a cheap finish hurts it. Why not have Pedro win via pinfall instead of ref stoppage?

2. Lou Thesz v. Johnny Valentine

Johnny is the father of Greg The Hammer Valentine and a fantastic worker in his era. Valentine’s career sadly ended in the plane crash that injured Ric Flair back in 1975. No commentary for this match, as it’s a hard cam way back and very dark. A lockup and Valentine gets him in the corner where he works over Lou, A standing armbar and Lou makes the ropes breaking the hold. Back to the corner but Thesz comes back with about a dozen forearms and a Thesz press for two. We go to a test of strength, which Valentine is winning and we clip to Valentine pounding Thesz on the apron, and back in they go to the corner where they slug it out. Thesz wins that one and unloads on Valentine. Thesz with a series of jabs in the corner staggers Valentine and the ref pulls Thesz back. We clip forward to Thesz with a hammerlock on the mat, clip again to Valentine with a headlock on Thesz. Shoulderblock gets two for Valentine, and Thesz is woozy. Valentine slams Thesz and a second is countered into an amazing head scissor takeover. Belly to back suplex from Thesz and both are stunned, Thesz rolls over and covers Valentine for the win.

2. Lou Thesz over Johnny Valentine ***3/4

A fantastic match, even without audio, both are amazing workers. Wish the Network had more Valentine matches, as he was amazing in his time. After the match we get alternate angle footage from the handheld camera, which is cool to see. Closeup and you can see the family resemblance of Johnny and Greg.


1. Pedro Morales over George Steele ***

2. Lou Thesz over Johnny Valentine ***3/4

Well, 1973 certainly gave us two good matches. As I expected they were both at opposite ends of the spectrum, but both were great. Possible the best year so far as we head into 1974.

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