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Charles (Loss)

[1990-06-04-Hamada's UWF] Negro Casas & Blue Panther & Fuerza Guerrera vs El Hijo del Santo & Super Astro & Kendo

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They executed a pleasing build from flashy exhibition in the first fall to something far grittier and meaner by the third fall. I appreciated their discipline in having the tecnicos dominate while the action was loose and stylish and the rudos dominate when things turned ugly. The cool stuff looked really cool. The nasty stuff -- like the rudos crotching Santo on the post and Casas repeatedly kicking Super Astro in the belly -- looked nasty. So yeah, this was pretty darn satisfying overall, my favorite match to date from Hamada's UWF.

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I acknowledge all the good stuff in this match, and I thought it was an effective way to get the lucha style over in Japan. But in spite of the good exchanges and nice moves, this didn't seem like it was laid out all that well. It was more of a showcase of everyone's athletic ability than a really good wrestling match. Odd as it is to say, that's not a total detriment, since they're doing a "spot show", but I do think it keeps this just as a good match, and nothing more. I liked the Joshi match that preceded it better, but otherwise, I agree that this is the best Hamada's UWF match so far.

 

I think it's interesting that bumping gets over so much more in the U.S. and Mexico than Japan. An impressive bump gets almost no crowd reaction in Japan. It's a fanbase that is by far more interested in offense.

 

It seemed like Kendo was too good to not be seasoned, and I never saw him in lucha footage, so I checked LuchaWiki. Check this out, it's very interesting:

 

Kendo lost his mask to Blue Panther in May 1988 at the Auditorio Fausto Gutiérrez Moreno ("Auditorio de Tijuana"). This was a big match, and he definitely was paid well, but without his mask, his popularity went down big time. He'd do the same jumps, taunts, and tricks, but without the mask his charm was gone. Seeing that his career was going downhill, he (along with Ultramán, whose case was exactly the same,) asked the commission for permission to get masked again but both petitions were rejected.

 

However, his luck changed in 1990 when he was sent to Japan for a tour with Gran Hamada's Universal Pro. He put his mask back on and got over HUGE. The Japanese crowds loved him and would continuously cheer his name while clapping. He came back to Mexico with renewed spirits and got masked again as Kendo Star (his cousin, Salsero, would later wrestle as Kendo Star too), but people knew it was a fraud so he was stuck in the undercard. A few weeks later, Kato Kung Lee II was born. Benjamín Mora (Tijuana promoter) got real mad since he knew it was Kendo and he was the one who booked the Kendo vs. Panther mask match, so KKL II ended early. At the same time,El Celestial also appeared in the UWA. This was Black Man I, who, funnily enough, suffered the same fate as Kendo after losing his hood. Everybody in Mexico and Japan thought that Celestial was Kendo, so, by Kendo's request, the Japanese magazine Weekly Gong broke the story that Kendo was Kato II. This had everyone confused, so they had Celestial and Kendo together in a photo spread to prove they were different luchadores, and Black Man I finally admitted he was Celestial.

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Really fun, crowd-pleasing spotfest, but not quite as well put-together or even well-executed as the joshi match. I get not having the rudos do as much spectacular shit but the match kind of bogged down for a bit after the awesome between-fall attack on the ring floor. Things perked back up with the rowboat+impactante spot that I really thought was the finish. However, Casas comes back to counter Super Astro's little springboard-headbutt move and Boston crabs him for the victory. Actually I thought Astro was the star of the match (not that anyone was bad) from a work standpoint--loved seeing the fat little guy fly and take some crazy bumps like the whip into the crowd. Kendo was clearly the star from a charisma standpoint, though he was definitely much better working the crowd and being on offense than selling or bumping for the rudos.

 

I just got cross-eyed reading that Luchawiki excerpt.

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Thought this was headed to surpass the joshi match with the first caida which I thought was the perfect showcase style pairings and sequences. Match lost a good bit of steam for me as it tried to become more serious and intense. Everyone was working well but something still seemed a little off. Good match nonetheless.

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Santo and Casas to start. The person taping match seems to be way too excited as jumping all over the place. Crowd likes chanting for the good guys. Santo with a nice series of moves on Panther. Dives look great. Everyone has a reversal for a move and the crowd loves it. Kendo bringing the humor. Really good match in my book as I enjoyed them doing all the spots. Rudos heel it up after the match by attacking everyone.

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Kendo was the most popular wrestler with the drunken fans. I thought he was a silly little comedy worker who dragged it down. For the first coupla caidas it was fun action between the others. It had a bad patch at the start of the 3rd. The fans were very supportive but the chanting did get annoying.

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Hey, guy recording this show on your camcorder: don't quit your day job. Unless your day job is recording Japanese indy shows on your camcorder, in which case, definitely quit your day job. Then again, if this guy has had a day job of continuously recording Japanese indy shows for 23 years, he ought to be commended for that, and it seems extremely unlikely that a man can hold a job recording Japanese indy shows for 23 straight years without getting better, so maybe I should cut the guy some slack.

 

Anyway, it's late and I'm getting loopy. I enjoyed this more than the Joshi match because I enjoyed the story more. This kind of feels like a showcase match that got out of hand and turned ugly. It built to a spirited third fall, and the crowd was with this the entire way, and they kept the crowd without needing a bunch of nearfalls. I liked this.

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The most interesting part of the match to me was that Kendo was so over with the crowd. I thought that he was a native the way they were chanting his name and popping for everything he did.

 

Other than that........same old story for lucha and me. I didn't see psychology, grittiness, storytelling, or anything else anyone who commented saw. I saw armdrags, backflips and somersaults that led nowhere in particular. By the time the rudos attacked everyone in the place after the match (this after they'd just won clean), I'd long since given up. I keep looking for that magic match which will allow me to begin appreciating the style, but I haven't found it yet.

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Wasn't a ton for me to grab onto here, but I enjoyed the match and am starting to feel a bit more comfortable with the style. I liked the handheld for this too. I'm not always a fan of it but for whatever reason it worked for me.

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Was not a Kendo fan myself. I saw little charm in most of what he did. But he could take a drop toe hold and make it look OUCH! Perfectly good trios match but nothing special.

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