Volador vs. Pirata Morgan, mano a mano, Monterrey 1991
Now here's a hidden gem for you: a disgustingly bloody Pirata Morgan bout.
I haven't seen a Morgan bout this good in ages. With Morgan, you can draw a line in the sand between the stuff that's good and everything that came after. Fortunately for us, this was during the period where he could rightly lay claim to best in the world, at least in the world he moved in, and still looked as dashing and cavalier as his namesake rather than the inhuman looking wreck that's a tribute to needles and ink and God knows what else.
Don't be put off by the fact that it's mano a mano, this was more rounded and complete than a lot of apuesta matches. It had all the elements you want from this sort of bout: pre-match interviews as the wrestlers wade through the crowd with kids, and grown men, trying to mug the camera and get on TV; a dark, dingy arena where there's trash everywhere, and blood... not only on the canvas but all over the filthy yellow floorboards. As a parent, I couldn't notice the kids running around everywhere getting that shit on their shoes. How bloody was the match? It was gross. Maybe not stomach turning; but I used to work in operating theatres when I was younger and dealt with blood on a daily basis and it was still gross. Mostly because it was so dirty and... unhygienic. Not so much the stock stuff like Morgan licking his hand or blowing blood like red mist, but the ref getting Volador's blood all over his white shirt, and the television announcer getting in the ring at the end with his mic cable and wiping his hand on Morgan's cut to show the viewer's at home Morgan's claret; as though he needed to with blood streaming out of Morgan's socket as though he'd been stabbed through the orbital bone.
Some people will find the heel ref a distraction as he kept hooking Volador's arm to stop a punch and distracted him while Morgan threw a cheap shot to the small of the back, and there was a bunch of shit with a ref bump and second ref that was straight out of the WWF, but none of it could take away from the fact that this was the type of seedy wrestling that people wax lyrically about when it comes to their love for Memphis brawls or lucha brawling. And it was full of the kind of moments that people like me love to cite when describing what makes lucha special, like Morgan repeatedly attacking Volador's second, Misterioso; the kid who tried to get in the ring after Volador's tope; and the father trying to get his toddler to wave to camera while Morgan bled heavily in the foreground. I also loved the way the fans would toss Volador off them whenever he was thrown in their laps, and how Morgan and Volador kept brawling as the show went off the air. Nothing's ever settled with a mano a mano bout, but the way the crowd gravitated towards them and quickly dispersed as the punches flew was yet another product of a bygone age.
This will be right up some people's alley, and I gave you fair warning if it's not, but crucially, it's another piece of prime Morgan that ought to remind you of how good he was in case, like me, you had forgotten or needed reminding.