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JohnnyThompsonnum1

Best Technicians

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The strongest Wrestlers thread I made has produced a ton of great discussion and a ton of great stories. I figure might as well move on to technique.

 

Being born in the mid 80's and getting into wrestling in the early 90's, and then only really starting to pay attention in the late 90's, I missed out on a lot of greats of yesteryear. However, thanks to video footage, I'm able to watch quite a bit.

 

From a freestyle perspective, I am always blown away watching the late Dave Schultz wrestle. His technique is just unreal. Some of the moves that he does, makes it seem like he made them up on the spot. He definitely gets a vote from me. A man of 100's of moves, and I don't feel that is an exaggeration.

 

Chris Pendleton seemed to either severely major decision or tech fall about everyone that he wrestled. His technique was effective on everyone that he wrestled.

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In college, I would vote for Wade Schalles, Cael and Steve Abas. Their technique was so far above their competition it was almost unfair. I never got the chance to see Uetake but if it's true that he was John Smith before John Smith himself became the John Smith we know, he must've been someing else too.

 

In freestyle (Americans), I would vote for Dave Schultz and John Smith. Dave had the insane variety and inventiveness but to me, it is just as hard if not harder to do what Smith did: master a handful of moves so well that you can hit them on anyone repeatedly for your entire career and keep winning like he did. I also think John was the master of position. Not sure we'll ever see someone be in good position in almost any situation as well as Smith.

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Dave was the legend John and Cael were the finishers, but there were some amazing technicians thru out my time. Joe Gonzales, Gene Mills, Randy Lewis, Andre Metzger, John Azevedo, Ricky Delgatta, Mark Schultz, Kenny Monday, Nate Carr, Barry Davis, Kevin Darkus, etc...

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I didn't get to Uetake wrestle, but when I asked Port Robertson who the best wrestlers he ever saw he said Hodge and Uetake.

 

Gray Simons won the first college match i ever saw in the 1962 NCAA finals. Very smooth and totally dominated Mark McCracken from OSU

 

Ronnie Clinton and Bob Johnson 167 and 177 champs developed the high crotch according to Myron Roderick.

 

Wade Schalles and Randy Lewis were the best counter offensive wrestlers I've ever seen

 

Mark Churella, Mike Sheets, and Mitch Clark were the best with leg rides

 

Gene Mills stands alone with his half nelson from the knees series

 

Stan Abel (who i coached under) and John Smith are the two best technicians of the single leg. Both developed much of what they knew by studying film of others then improving on it.

 

The best riders i've ever seen who didn't use a leg ride were: Andy Matter, Rod Kilgore, Bill Cripps, opponents simply couldn't get away from these guys. They would have 6-7 minutes riding time in an 8 minute match

 

Melvin Douglas and Nate Carr probably had the best duckunders

 

Andre Metzger and Mark Schultz were the best at upper body attacks, they would throw you into the nickle seats.

 

Stephen Abas, Lincoln McIllravy, Mark Ironside, Ray Miller, Eric Larkin, John and Pat Smith, and Dave Schultz were great all around technically.

 

On bottom it is one thing to be able to get away from everyone, it is another thing when one of the best pinners of all time won't try to ride you because he was afraid of getting put on his back. Rod Kilgore had two switches one on the mat, and one standing. He had these when he came to OU. We learned them from him. Wade Schalles had pinned Rod in 28 seconds in the 1973 semifinals at 158. Two rounds later of consolations Wade walked over and said Rod would win the tournament next year, which Rod did. The 2nd year of the Oklahoma Open, Stan Abel flew in Wade Schalles so he would wrestle Rod. Wade was eligible to wrestle, but not at the NCAAs that year. Visiting with Wade i asked him his strategy, he said i'll take my chances with him on my feet, i won't try to ride him, because i might get put on my back with that switch of his. I've tried to teach both switches to high school wrestlers. Several have learned the one on the mat, but none ever developed the "feel" Rod had with the standing switch. When we'd wrestle OSU and Rod was on bottom when he got to his feet the OSU fans would be yelling "cut him" because by his junior year they knew it would be a 5 point move if he hit the switch. Wade beat Rod on points and didn't try to wrestle on the mat with him. Years later Wade and me were talking, he said I knew Kilgore had a better switch than anyone else, but i hadn't figured how it worked, so i wasn't going to go there.

 

Kyle Dake is the hardest wrestle to score on that i've seen in a long time. Cael Sanderson was the most technically skilled big man I've ever seen, that allowed him to be the most dominant.

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^^^Yes, best folkstyle technician I've ever seen, Gray Simons. I think we're at the point with all these "best ever" strings is that posters are mostly under 50-60 years old and just have not seen the fabulous guys from the 1950's and 1960's compete.

 

Gray Simons - slickest, quickest and best technician.

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I'm gonna say Uetake (1, 1, 1), Kemp (2, 1, 1, 1), Smith (DNP, 2, 1, 1), Neal (4, 2, 1, 1), and Burroughs (DNP, 3, 1, 1) all should be mentioned. Winning a world title in the same year as an NCAA title shows a ridiculous level of technical proficiency.

 

Kemp in particular seems to be one of the most overlooked greats. As a true freshman, he lost a split referee's decision in the NCAA finals to place second. After that, he never loses a college match again, and starts collecting world golds - winning his first world gold at the age of only 21.

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Okay good topic...my nomination :

 

I was privileged to see a lot of Greg Ruth and Russ Camilleri. Outstanding/amazing technical wrestlers (Apple, you may have seen a little more than I did -- RE Ruth).

 

I was fortunate to be able to practice with Camilleri. We rolled around a lot prior to a 'Great Western Wrestling Tourney'...in San Fran. I had been traveling with the All-Army team. We came down (from Ft Lewis) for the All-Service tourney,in San Diego. Lucky for me we made a stop in San Fran for this 2 day tourney.

 

I tell ya what........I learned more from Camilleri in those 2 days than I had in any of my (previous) year long seasons. No Doubt.

 

They were both FS and GR technicians. Multible national champs at those 2 disciplines. Camilleri....all the way to the early 70's. Both Hall of Famers.

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from wikipedia:

 

Larry ("Zeke") Jones (born December 2, 1966, in Ypsilanti, Michigan) is an American wrestler who won a silver medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, a world championship in Varna, Bulgaria, in 1991, and is currently the Freestyle Head Coach at USA Wrestling. He was a 6-time National Freestyle Champion, 4X World Cup Champion, Pan American Games Champion, and received the "World's Most Technical Wrestler Award" awarded by FILA, the international governing body for the sport.

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I did not get to see Greg Ruth wrestle, but Len Kauffman who lost to 11-6 told me he was very good technically. Kauffman introduced me to Camarellli a couple of years ago, and said he'd learned a lot from him. Wayne Wells was no slouch with his duckunder and high crotch. Wayne was just meaner than anyobody he wrestled. I was in the Army from March 1966 thru December 1969. Didn't get to see any high school or college wrestling, except on a visit to OU for a dual meet that Tommy Evans invited Len and me too.

 

I don't know how I forgot to mention Kemp, probably he was so dominant physically.

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This is a video of what many are calling the greatest technician of all time. I would agree this Simons guy is huge for 115 and very, very fast. As far as the greatest technique ever? I would disagree.

 

http://www.flowrestling.org/speaker/1067-Gray-Simons/video/70550-115-lb-Gray-Simons-Lock-Haven-v-Isadore-Ramos-SIU-Carbondale-1962-NCAAs

 

This is who I voted for. I can see how many would debate it, but in this match you see scoring from every possible offensive or defensive position, in the Olympic finals.

 

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JMO-Gray Simons was a great technician as a wrestler, but if anyone really knew his teaching skills, you would rate him among the finest coaching technicians. I would also rate Bruce Burnett as one of the finest freestyle technicians; as national coach for a number of years he studied the sport extensively. Incidentally, he is the master at breaking down a scouting report for would-be opponents.

But I'd put David Schultz as the premier technician for several reasons. He had great teachers of the sport while honing his skills in HS- Joe DeMeo and Gene Davis. Joe taught him lots of technique with an emphasis in Greco; Remember Dave was a multiple Greco champ early in his career before he went exclusively Freestyle. His weakest style was collegiate where he still made 2 finals, winning one. How could someone he size place 3rd at 180 lbs in the Worlds, 1982, without having superior technique. He was a master of certain positions; he was a beast on top, he could throw, one of the best front-headlocks, and he had a great outside single. He wasn't blessed with blazing speed, he had better than average strength (although like Gable, he could make the most of position and leverage to appear stronger than he looked).

One idiocentric trait of David was that he was very secretive about sharing his technique, mainly because he had not retired yet from competition, so he was protecting his edge. I asked him once to show me a particular move, and he ushered me into an adjacent room where no one was, and then showed me the nuances of what made it work by pointing out various little things. Coaches who witnessed matches next to David marveled at how he would pick up little things a wrestler was doing that made scoring possible, usually when watching an internationally accomplished wrestler.

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Rick Sanders was a great technician, but Fred Fozzard a fellow Oregonian was the first world champ for the US.

They both won worlds in 1969.

 

BigApple -- check your private messages. I just sent you one. They're in the toolbar toward the top of the page.

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Rick Sanders was a great technician, but Fred Fozzard a fellow Oregonian was the first world champ for the US.

My apologies Big Apple …Yes; Fred Fozzard also made U.S. wrestling history when he joined Rick Sanders as one of the first two Americans to win a freestyle world championship, as they both won gold at the 1969 World Championship in Mar De Plata, Argentina . Fred became a world champion despite the fact he had a form of Polio in his right arm.

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This is a video of what many are calling the greatest technician of all time. I would agree this Simons guy is huge for 115 and very, very fast. As far as the greatest technique ever? I would disagree.

 

http://www.flowrestling.org/speaker/1067-Gray-Simons/video/70550-115-lb-Gray-Simons-Lock-Haven-v-Isadore-Ramos-SIU-Carbondale-1962-NCAAs

 

This is who I voted for. I can see how many would debate it, but in this match you see scoring from every possible offensive or defensive position, in the Olympic finals.

 

I was expecting to watch one video with a technically proficient wrestler, and another who was quite sloppy.

 

I was right. Gray Simons seemed to use many techniques flawlessly and way ahead of his time. Randy Lewis, although obviously very good, looked sloppy and used similar movements to my junior high wrestlers.

 

Besides, that match should have only lasted about 30 seconds and ended in a pinfall win for Japan.

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Randy Lewis, although obviously very good, looked sloppy and used similar movements to my junior high wrestlers.

 

Looks like your junior high guys are on the path to making multiple world and Olympic teams.

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Randy Lewis, although obviously very good, looked sloppy and used similar movements to my junior high wrestlers.

 

Looks like your junior high guys are on the path to making multiple world and Olympic teams.

 

And making 3 NCAA final appearances, and while wrestling with a dislocated elbow, and having absolutely no use of one arm, STILL making All American status. I wish I had been as good as a "junior high guy" while I was in high school.

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