Deadly Finishing Maneuver

Ox Baker was a classic Heel who legit frightened (and fascinated) me as a child.  He was big, ugly, hairy, and cruel looking with his thick Dad-Bod, bald head, and those long whiskers.  As a boy, I was intimidated by any big, loud adult male let alone a massive, violent Heel!

And Ox would utterly dominate his jobbers, allowing them zero offense and really beating them down — then finishing them off with his cruel Heart Punch that, we were told, temporarily stopped their heartbeat!

I found this classic Ox Baker squash match from 1977 on an old DVD under my stairs.  I recently uploaded it to YouTube if you want to watch the whole match.

I seem to be on a Bear Hunt lately, because I’m really into Ox’s big hairy torso and ponderous mid-section as he works over jobber Blackie Guzman.  Call me a perv, but I really want to press up against that daddy’s Bearhug right now, and I’d love to be Scissored in between those blue tights with the white strip down the sides!  Maybe it was Beardrooler’s artwork that gave me this craving for bear meat in tights.

Speaking of bear meat, when they filmed the movie “Escape from New York” in 1981, they needed to find a brutal monster to punish young Kurt Russell in a shirtless fight to the death.  Of course they chose Ox Baker to play Slag because he is like the dictionary definition of a vicious manly gladiator!

In this scene, the mostly male audience cheers wildly as this spectacular man-beast enters the ring.  We get the sense that the crowd is wildly aroused at the sight of his powerful body, so I was too!

The Kurt Russell character (Snake Plisskin) is forced at arrow-point to get in the ring with this monster.  We worry for poor Kurt because he’s so darn handsome and his lean torso is just not as massive and thicc as the Ox he will be fighting.  This young man is in trouble, wrestling fans!

If you’ve seen Escape From New York, you may recall that their fight scene is all too brief, with Russell not suffering nearly enough abuse.  They also cut away frequently to show what other characters in the film are doing during this fight — and I’m all like, Damn it, keep the camera on Kurt!

But in those days, it was a delight to find even a few minutes of shirtless in-ring fighting in a movie or television show.  We didn’t have as much easy access to wrestling content back then, so I got wood for even a glimpse of some rasslin, especially when a heartthrob like Kurt Russell was involved…

Anyway, back to the Blackie Guzman squash match.  Ox now clamps on a Double Vulcan Death Claw which sinks the jobber to a submissive kneeling position.

Back in 1977, I was a youngster and our local TV channel aired  the Big Time Wrestling show with Ox on the roster.  So I may have seen this very match 42 years ago (I vividly recall several hot wrestling scenes that excited me back then, but not this particular match…)

When you’re a kid and you watch wrestling, you still believe it’s real.  A lot of people still thought the wrestling was real back in 1977.  So I believed that Ox was truly paralyzing this poor jobber with that Shoulder Claw when, ironically, this is probably one of the most gentle and harmless wrestling moves in the sport.  The dude is literally getting a shoulder massage!

Ox begins hammering the jobber’s chest, yanking him back by the hair to expose his ribs.  The commentator then begins to tease Ox Baker’s Heart Punch:

“Ox Baker uses as his submission maneuver that deadly Heart Punch. When I say ‘deadly’ I mean it, because three times in the past, three wrestlers have met an unfortunate end thanks to Ox Baker’s Heart Punch. A  man by the name of ‘Enrique Torres’ comes to mind as one who succumbed to that Heart Punch in the ring.”

Wait — did he just say that Ox Baker actually kills his opponents?!  As a gullible youngster, I was shocked by this I’m sure — that Ox was so sadistic, he actually murders his jobbers in the ring while the fans watch in horror!  WTF !?

As mentioned, I still believed that pro wrestling (including the Heart Punch) was real when this match aired.  And of course I trusted the words of a grown-up — especially a guy on television wearing a necktie.  So the possibility that this brute was going around sadistically stopping the hearts of his vulnerable young opponents — and that the officials in charge of pro wrestling carelessly permitted this cruelty — utterly shocked and fascinated me.   We had no way to easily fact-check statements like this in the pre-Internet age to verify if Ox actually killed three men…

But now that we have the entire history and news of the whole planet at our fingertips, we can investigate these wild claims.  Several websites that you can easily Google tell the rest of the story.

First, it was not THREE men who died after enduring this move — there were only TWO:  Alberto Torres (not “ENRIQUE” Torres) in 1971 and Ray Gunkel in 1972.  It seems the commentator was exaggerating — to put Ox over as a vicious frightening monster.

Second, Torres actually died of a RUPTURED PANCREAS (a pre-existing medical condition) several days AFTER wrestling Ox.  He did not die of heart failure caused by the Punch.

Finally, Gunkel in fact died of a heart attack hours after wrestling Ox Baker — but he had arteriosclerosis resulting in a BLOOD CLOT.  He was just as likely to die climbing stairs or mowing his lawn.

But regardless of the truth, Ox Baker was packaged and sold as sadistic monster who will at least maim his opponents — and possibly kill them right before your eyes.  Just imagine the anxiety and fascination, the total adrenaline rush, that this dreadful possibility would elicit in an impressionable young viewer!  It’s no wonder I can’t quit you, pro wrestling.

BTW, while gathering these other examples of Ox’s dreaded Heart Punch, I found this interesting clip from 1974 — not long after Ox “killed” his two victims.

We see him relentlessly Heart Punch and then stomp on Ernie Ladd until the audience riots.  As I mentioned, many people sill thought that wrestling was real back then, and it truly looks like Ox is planning to murder his third victim, so of course the audience tries to rescue the poor guy.  As a youngster, one would hear about wrestling riots and fall further under the spell of this strange, violent, and dramatic gladiatorial spectacle.

Anyway, back to the Blackie Guzman squash match.  As Ox continues working on the ribcage, the commentator continues his verbal masturbation over the deadly Heart Punch:

“The Heart Punch is just that — that punch thrown directly into the heart.

Ox Baker has got it all mapped out though — knows exactly the position, exactly the spot, the EXACT SPOT to throw that punch in…

“Besides that, he’s got his FIST TAPED!  So he throws that TAPED FIST into that EXACT SPOT on his man’s heart. And 100 percent of the time, that results in a win.

Then we witness the Heart Punch we’ve all been waiting for, which ruins Blackie Guzman as he rebounds off the ropes.  I’m sure I was on the edge of my seat at this point, worried for poor Blackie and watching in rapt attention to ensure he didn’t die.

“And that what’s happens whenever Ox Baker throws that Heart Punch on a man. The man goes down and the count goes in, and Ox Baker’s hand is raised.”

And that’s the story of Ox Baker’s “deadly” finishing move and how it stirred up feelings of fear, hate, anxiety, and excitement back in the Golden Age of wrestling.  I’m sure many modern viewers may be bored by this slow-paced action.  Admittedly, neither wrestler is conventionally attractive or especially enticing to look at, but they turn me on anyway.

As someone who grew up in that era, getting worked up every Saturday afternoon over these sleazy, violent, homo-erotic displays of in-ring sadism, this squash match and the other Heart Punch clips are very triggering and exciting to watch.   It’s still sexy to me, damn it!

And here’s an interesting footnote.  Immediately after the Ox Baker match, they announce a Tag Team bout coming up after the commercial break.  And on the screen, they post this suggestive cartoon drawing depicting four shirtless men in black boots down on the floor, their bodies entangled in a writhing knot of limbs and gaudy yellow flesh, the background painted a fiery red color.  You better believe I did not touch that dial!




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8 Responses to Deadly Finishing Maneuver

  1. Dino says:

    I often fantasized about getting smothered by his hairy gut. Big, hairy thick men get me going and Ox had that “man belly” that would do it for me. Like you I could not wait for the Saturday afternoon wrestling shows on tv and if they said Ox was going to wrestle I instantly popped a boner until the match was over. Great post about Ox and his wrestling style.

  2. Phil says:

    I really appreciate this post. I was always attracted to Ox as a kid. His girth, his chest, and his viciousness turned me on. And still do. The heart punch was icing on the cake. He was so convincing that I was terrified. Maybe I still am.

  3. outfitter says:

    Other than his imposing size, what I remember most about Ox Baker was his menacing eyes. I mean, look at them…all sinister and evil! I swear, the guy was the only wrestler I recall who had handle-bar eyebrows!

  4. Mike says:

    It’s not just “being a kid” that made wrestling what it was back then. Then it was often pure hand to hand combat, fighting (and who can forget the pre-HIV bloody 1970s). Now it’s acrobatics and “high flying” which I find boring. Good lookers like Adam “Hangman” Page and pretty Roderick Strong and their matches are “meh” because they’re cartwheeling or doing backflips 90 percent of the match – not an Ox Baker in sight.

  5. admin says:

    Mike, I agree with you. I want to write about modern-day wrestlers and matches from this decade, but the wrestling action is so “meh”. They run, and kick, and somersault and jump over the ropes, and I yawn. I’d rather see an Ox clawing into someone’s shoulder meat, holding him captive for 10 minutes. I find myself turning more and more to old 1970s and 80s footage or to the wrestle-porn sites just to have something to blog about that won’t bore you or me.

  6. ringwrecker says:

    How about grapplers like Timothy Thatcher, Tom Lawlor, Drew Gulak, and Zack Sabre Jr? They certainly are not high-flyers and usually spend most of the time rolling around with their opponents, which excites me very much.

  7. Mike says:

    There are some bright spots for sure, you just need watch for them. Here’s a match that took place yesterday just filmed yesterday with muscle boy Ross Von Erich (who was perfect in the past with his speedo trunks and smooth face) taking on an 80s style heel who abuses him most of the match. The crowd loves the squash and even in those long knit (?) tights, Ross keeps adjusting his junk. I’ll take it!
    Tune in to the 33:00 mark.

  8. Dino says:

    I agree with Mike. Watching Ross get brutalized and then covered for the pin was hot. I like the beard but he needs to go back to the Speedo’s. Still a hot match to watch and Ross sells his pain well.