Bestia Salvaje vs. Kato Kung Lee, hair vs. hair, 3/13/92
I can't get over what a good worker Bestia Salvaje was in 1992.
This was a minor match, a veteran losing their hair to continue Bestia's push as a top rudo, but it's hard to imagine anyone getting a better match out of Kato Kung Lee this late in the game.
Without the mask Kato looked like a regular Joe. He reminded me of a bit part actor in an old movie, the kinda guy you could cast as a newspaper man in one film and a heavy in the next and if he had a speaking line he'd get paid a little extra. What I'm trying to say is that within the mask he was never gonna draw, especially in that outfit, but Bestia gave him a fair shake. It would've been easy for Bestia to nab a scalp here, but I guess he had the dreaded respect for the business as he made Kato look like he still had deadly hands.
The interesting thing about Bestia was that he was a new breed of rudo. He had the kind of attention to detail that all the great rudos have, but he also had moves. A fucking boatload of moves. And he liked to use them too. Normally I'd think that was out of place in lucha, but somehow Bestia put it altogether. Some of his other trappings weren't too good for his health, but I wish he was still around to impart some wisdom to today's move happy rudos. Later on he became a sleazier rudo with the women and the suits, but here he was a hard working "youngster" who you figure just happened cross over onto the wrong side of the tracks and be broken in by some rudos. I'd love to know what the story was with his nose. Legend has it W.C. Fields got his nose from constantly fighting with other street kids. I wonder if there's a similar worked story for Bestia.
[He was actually 30 here and had 10 years experience under the belt, but lucha is deceiving like that. I always forget that Fuerza made his debut thirty years ago and so on.]
The match is nice, though nothing outwardly special. Kato had his head shaved while lying on the mat, which I don't think I've seen before and his second, Ciclon Ramirez, was wearing a fucking awesome get-up and taped Kato's wrist between rounds. Again with the details. That has to be the greatest thing about lucha. Almost every exchange was picture perfect "neat."
The more Bestia you watch from '92, the more you realise how disappointing the Dandy vs. Bestia title match was. Dandy completely peaked with the Casas feud. Bestia would've overtaken him if he'd been perhaps a bit more charismatic or a tad less ugly.