Tony Salazar vs. Herodes (3/2/84)
This was the first time for me to see Herodes in a single match let alone a mano a mano grudge match. For those of you who don't know, Herodes is considered one of the great forgotten workers of the 80s. This recent discovery sheds some light on that claim and is set up on the disc by a classic brawling trios similar to other blood feuds over the years. Herodes and Salazar bleed heavily in that match, giving the audience a taste for the gore to come.
This wasn't a luchas de apuestas match as far as I'm aware, but that didn't abate the hatred. Salazar was a former lucha golden boy who was a twenty year vet at this point and Herodes was equally well established having worked a "Tijera de Oro" gimmick on his way up, a "golden scissors" shtick where he claimed to have taken the hair of numerous men. The two had crossed paths the previous Autumn with Salazar taking Herodes' hair, so there was bad blood between them.
The opening falls where okay. I can see people possibly having a problem with their length, but as a relatively long time lucha fan, the length of the falls isn't as important to me as the rhythm and timing and what they actually do in those falls. Here they were going for a "technico gets off to a hot start" take on the opening caida with Herodes having to work his way back into the match. They didn't quite pull it off as neither man was the most polished performer, but Salazar busting a gut in the opening fall set the tone for a high stakes grudge match.
First impressions of Herodes are similar to what others have said: he looks like a shorter, stockier version of Harley Race, especially with that beard. I'm not sure his strikes were really that good as there were a lot of lunges and he didn't lay in his shit as much as I would've liked, but for a heavyweight he was a super fun bumper and this match really turns on Salazar's bulldogs on the outside.
The blood in this match is gruesome. Seriously. Salazar looks like he's been shot in the face. They do this long close-up of him trying to stop the bleeding with the palm of his hand and it looks like something out of a Peckinpah film. When Herodes blades, there's so much blood on his hand that he could coat the ring with it. Herodes was attracted to bullfighting in his childhood; the pair of them look like they've been gored.
With all the bleeding and the heavyweight tope and planchas and sentons this match got seriously good. I thought they went a beat or two too far with the nearfalls at least in terms of how I was feeling the rhythm, but that may be because the crowds are so poorly mic'ed that I wasn't sure if the crowd was still with them. It's not the first time on this set that I've felt a fall could've ended at a better point, but I was cool with the finish. It's true that you don't often see a ref take the crowd's word for a DQ, but since this was a mano a mano it didn't demand a proper payoff and since Salazar had lost the trios for the technico side with the same foul it was cheeky of Herodes to think he could make Salazar pay from the irony of it all.
So, this got hot in the third and ended up being pretty great. Herodes' not really a Cota or a Satanico and I thought for large stretches of this that because he was the one selling that he was out on his feet, Salazar was more responsible for the match being good, but still this was a cool find.