Satanico vs. Sangre Chicana, NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship, Arena Puebla 9/24/83
Ever wondered what a luchador does the night after a legendary hair match? Take a booking for a title match of course.
This was very much a "house show title match" in that the fans were left short changed by the finish. I imagine a lot of matches from the 80s that look awesome on paper were booked this way. The really great thing about the footage is that it was a handheld shot from ringside; so you got a lot of close-ups of not only the work but the wrestler's features, instead of the fourth generation lucha footage we're used to where you can barely make out what people look like. That was almost enough to put it in the Smithsonian given 1983 was probably the most significant year of Sangre Chicana's career and also bang smack in the middle of Satanico's prime (Satanico being the greatest worker to make tape in these past 32 years.)
Sangre looked a bit like Richard Gere in close-up. This wasn't an off the charts performance from him; but if anybody deserves a night off after a hair match, Chicana would be up there after the beating he took at the hands of MS-1. Chicana was never the greatest mat wrestler around, so the bout played out a bit like a mano a mano. There was a bit of mat work to start with, and some fantastic submission attempts deeper into the bout, but mostly it was built around some pretty heavy collisions involving a guy who didn't really come into the bout at 100%. He stayed down for a long time after Satanico hit a plancha, and there was a guy shining an industrial strength TV lamp on him as he grimaced on the outside. The match flirted with greatness, but never quite got there. It was like a 3 3/4 star match that you could convince yourself was a 4 star bout but ended just as it was getting good. The highlight for me was seeing the detail in Satanico's work in close-up. I love Satanico's grappling stance and could watch him tie up with motherfuckers all day long, and would probably love to visit the gym when he's training guys, but it's his selling that separates him from the rest. No matter the match situation, he's always "on." It doesn't matter whether he's in peril or completely in control, he makes every moment convey something. After the bout, which as I said ended prematurely, they squared off for a bit and Chicana caught Satanico with a right hand flush against the jaw. The handheld guy scrambled for an interview as Satanico was leaving and he was biting on a towel between his teeth and clutching at his jaw while rolling off a promo. Did he cop one for real or was it just selling? Who knows with a master like Satanico.
I thought the bout finished too soon after Chicana's tope and was ultimately too short. If it had gone on for a bit longer I would have no hesitation in calling it a 4 star lucha libre bout. It's still a really good bout and an even better historical document, but incomplete in terms of its three act structure. I was really into the submission attempts and jeopardy they were creating there and the match was getting really good before they cut it short, so a wee bit frustrating as you can probably tell from my tone, but you can't escape from what it is -- a 1983 handheld between Satanico and Sangre Chicana. How this remained hidden for so long in that one guy's match list is a bit of a mystery, but I guess people figured it was their '89 bout, which was foreshadowed quite nicely, incidentally, by the punches at the end. Satanico nailing Chicana when he's turned to greet the fans was vintage Lopez, and if you're not going to finish with a result at least they loosened a few teeth and left a sore taste in each other's mouths. Still wish these two had met in a hair match instead of Chicana being suspended for throwing some chairs. Seems like one of the great lost opportunities from this era of lucha libre wrestling, but I guess you can say that about a lot of rudo vs. rudo match-ups.
Anyway, enjoy this the way you'd enjoy old game footage from champion seasons past and you won't go wrong. Just try not to be let down by the too-soon finish and the blow off you'll never get to see. The sooner you do that, the sooner you'll no longer pine for the footage we don't have and the stuff that was never taped, because to be honest, a lot of it probably wasn't that great. Kinda like that girl you won't to date in high school but never could.