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Satoru Sayama y Gran Hamada vs. Perro Aguayo y Baby Face (4/13/80)

May regret this but I'm going to try to use Parv's grading system on this set.

 

These four guys are a good mixture of well known individuals (Hamada, TM), people we have seen in other 80's set (Babyface), and a lucha guy that is well known (Perro). Perro sets the tone for the match right away bum rushing Hamada and sending them to the outside. Good vicious brawling in the opening onset. Perro casually walking to the outside and facing Hamada was great and Perro overall is my MVP of this match. Another cool moments happens when Hamada tags in, wants to go after Perro, and he casually walks and steps out of the ring. Hamada responds by spitting at him and the heat is on. Hamada has a great combination here where he fends off both Babyface and Perro. Sayama looked crisper on his stuff here than what I have seen of early 80's TM. Babyface was the worlds most loyal henchman always letting Perro wail away but standing there by his side and lending a hand. First fall finish with Sayama/Perro seemed a little botched but they covered it up nicely. Second fall Perro/Baby are able to get their revenge and even things up. Third fall has the premise that the rudos have dominated this whole match. Hamada really comes into play here firing back with just enough stuff to give the viewer a sense of hope before Perro slings him to the outside. Hamada's bleeding now but not giving up. His posting of Perro after slinging him out the ring ignites the crowd and myself as a great revenge spot. You can see both Perro/Babyface losing a sense of control they have had for most of this match and Perro saying fuck it and fouling on Hamada on the surface may seem cheap, in the confines of the match it made perfect sense. I have no idea where this will rank overall of course but if this is a middle of the road match in the set, we are in for a wild ride.

 

 

 

(****)

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Andre the Giant y Cien Caras vs. Alfonso Dantes, Herodes y Sangre Chicana (1981)

 

Prematch promo from Andre is amusing with him saying he is 7 feet 2 inches tall. Ok then Hulkster. Opening is a wild scene with Chicana defiantly standing in front of Andre chewing gum. Andre charges ahead and Sangre wisely takes a powder. Some big shit also was happening in the crowd with someone being carted away by the police. We start off with both Dantes and Sangre grabbing a leg resulting in Andre spanking Sangre. Dantes tries his luck again and gets sit on. Herodes grabs and hammerlock and Andre dead lifts him up. He then does it to both Chicana and Herodes ot the delight of the crowd. Where t the fuck is Caras with all of this happening? Andre is doing some amazing power man stuff and the crowd is eating it all up. He pulls Chicana one foot up from out of the corner onto his feet. Finally, Cien enters the match. Cien gets worked over a bit but its more Andre to the rescue. He steps on Chicana. Andre in another funny moment places caras in front of him to kick any oncoming intruders. I am really alarmed at how incompetent they are making Caras look with Andre having to bail him out at all times. Fall ends with Andre/Caras as the victors. Finally the rudos get a little advantage on Andre only for Caras to trip them up. Caras gets fouled behind the refs back and Andre lines all three in the corner for a battering ram spot. He sits down on Herodes and bearhugs Chicana for the victory. Match is perplexing because I have a couple of major problems with it. One, it follows the same pattern and is not that short. Andre dominates against three guys, Caras gets outgunned and worked over, and Andre makes the save. Second, I will need more clarification on how big name the rudos and Caras where at this time. I know comedy can be a part of major wrestlers in lucha but it didn’t work for me in how stupid the rudos were made to look. I can see some people really digging this as a vacuum type match with Andre showing his dominance and I did laugh at many spots, but the overall match lacked a certain depth and was too long for what it was trying to accomplish.

(**)

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My wife and I are watching this together, sporadically. Wife is translating the commentary.

 

We loved this Chicana guy :lol: and the match was a blast.

 

It's got me psyched for the rest of this set, as I am a Lucha Noob and this is literally the third Lucha match I've EVER seen.

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I used a personla pick on the match. I thought Andre was awesome. SOmetimes we need a little comedy and ANdre is great for that stuff. Plus, I love the rudos reaction and frustration as they actually control Caras for large portions of the match but when Andre is in, it is a practice in futility.

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My wife and I are watching this together, sporadically. Wife is translating the commentary.

 

We loved this Chicana guy :lol: and the match was a blast.

 

It's got me psyched for the rest of this set, as I am a Lucha Noob and this is literally the third Lucha match I've EVER seen.

You have a wife who not only watches wrestling with you but enhances the viewing experience. :o Dude you hit the jackpot there. The occasional mystified comment and borderline toleration of your viewing are the best most guys can hope for.

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My wife and I are watching this together, sporadically. Wife is translating the commentary.

 

We loved this Chicana guy :lol: and the match was a blast.

 

It's got me psyched for the rest of this set, as I am a Lucha Noob and this is literally the third Lucha match I've EVER seen.

Oh good, now your wife can point out commentary nuances for each match that you can post. I'm sure she'll love that.

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Centurion Negro vs. Gran Hamada (2/14/82)

I really enjoyed seeing Lou Thesz ref this match and both guys upping their matwork game to impress them. That was something Phil talked about in the podcast previewing the set and I agree. How much Centurion Negro is out there? He looked really good here I thought being dominant but interesting and feeding into Hamadas underdog tendencies. Only saw a 6 man of him opposite black Terry on youtube. The opening fall with the leg work he was doing I thought was really good and interesting variations on some stuff. Everything looked very firmly applied and not relinquished. The double underhook suplex being utilized by him as neutralizer was also one of my favorite themes of the match. The third fall ratchets everything up with dives to the outside and multiple pin attempts and positioning but this would have seemed pretty hollow to me if they hadn't laid the grown work on front end of the match. Overall very enjoyable and I dig Hamada as the best underdog in the footage we have seen.

 

(***3/4)

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El Canek vs. Don Corleone (2/14/82)

 

I don't think I have ever seen Canek before. I forgot to mention it in the last match but I love this arena and the look of this show. This one starts mat oriented like the last match but was more explosive and active than the previous match. Canek would get submission moves but not do a ton with them. Corleone was having to push the action in the first fall and came off with some good transitions. His flipover leg grapevine maneuver especially impressed which he then transitioned into a STF type hold. Lou alls for a rope break and we get a little shoving contest. Canek takes advantage with a dropkick and gutwrench suplex. A couple of flash elbows and we have the finish to our first fall. Canek starts the second fall where we left on in the first working over the arm. Canek delivers a weird piledriver where he executes it like a tombstone. Thesz pulls Canek off of a submission he had on Corleone when he reaches the ropes. This fall has been way too one sided. Beautiful bump by Corleone on a back drop. Corleone fires back with a flurry and hits tonight favorite move, a double underhook suplex to even it up. Third fall is a little back and forth before a deep surfboard by Corleone. Corleone giving that up and going back to that STF type submission was super. Canek makes his comeback here and powerslams and dropkicks to the outside. Big dive for Canek. Thesz is out of position for a nearfall. Atomic drop gets a nearfall to the chagrin of Bob Backlund. Canek then hits a german and wins the matchup. I liked the previous match better as the work seemed more focused and it built up better to the third fall climax. Corleone impressed though.

 

 

 

(***)

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Tatsumi Fujinami vs. El Canek (6/12/83)

 

Another match that starts with a firm mat base. Canek went for a bow and arrow which was a neat variation and different from the last match but Fujinami wasn’t game so he turned it into a pin attempt. Canek then does this odd hold where he has the legs grapevine and his hands are interlocked under Fujinami’s righ armpit. Fuji pushes the pace with some dropkicks. Canek does two really cool diving elbows including one to the back of the head of a standing Fujinami which is a variation I have never seen before to win the first fall. So far Canek has been a lot more lively to me in this match than the previous one. Second fall starts off with Canek hot as he hits the flying elbow. He does a weird sell job out of this though that I didn’t quite get and Fuji takes over with an enzuguri and floatover suplex. Backdrop suplex evens it up and this second fall felt a lot like the brief second falls we see in CMLL today. Fuji starts the third fall by attacking Caneks leg and peppering it away. Canek hooks in an abdominal stretch. One thing I have liked about this match as a soon as a match starts to feel a little boring, Fuji will escape and pick up the pace. The tone of the third fall is more vicious to even within the confines of wrestling holds like their arm drags. Butterfly suplex and fisherman suplex are both busted out by Canek. Fuji now locks in his own bow and arrow and ab stretch as payback spots. Canek comes back with a figure four and they do the roll to the outside with the hold still applied spot which seemed very revolutionary in 1983. Canek suplexes him back in and Fuji selling of the leg is majestic. Fuji accidently dropkicks the ref and Cnaek sends him to the outside. Awesome looking tope from Canek responds that feels built up to. Finish is pretty blah with the ref just declaring Canek the winner but we do get a fairly heated brawl and exchange on the outside to what I can only guess would continue this feud. I liked this better than the previous match based on the fact that I thought Canek was a lot better in this match.

 

(***3/4)

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Kevin von Erich, Mascara Ano 2000 y Halcon Ortiz v. Coloso Colosetti, Pirata Morgan y Herodes (9/23/83)

 

There is something bizarre about the first trios on the set involving Kevin Von Erich. He starts us off with a mat based section against Herodes which I never would have guessed would be the case but it was interesting nonetheless. Kevin may have missed his calling as a heel because he shoves Herodes down and has the most prick look on his face. He fires off a dropkick and Herodes retreats. Mascara and Colosetti have the next exchange and it is fine if not particularly inspiring stuff. This gives way to Pirata vs. Halcon. Pirata is the person I am most looking forward to on this set. With Dandy, Satanico, and Santo, I feel like I have seen a ton of their greatest stuff in the 90’s so I know what they can do. I have seen some great Pirata stuff but I feel there is more untapped potential in my viewing than in the other three individuals. Their first exchange ends in a funny moment as the ref gets taken out by Pirata. Halcon ends up on top for most of the exchanges. We get a switch up in the parings as Kevin and Colosetti are next. Kevins high standing elbow had great air on it. Kevin also drags his face against the mat while in a head scissors. What a dick. Herodes and Ano have a fast as shit exchange followed up by Pirata and Ortiz continuing doing their thing. Pirata looks a little better this time but gets monkey flipped to the outside and takes a sick bump. I’m loving the snippets of the different pairings we get throughout this match. The two bruisers Halcon and Herodes go at it. Kevin fires off dropkicks and another high elbow to pin Herodes and Halcon gets the victory roll on Pirata to end the first fall. Rudos start off dominating the second fall playing the numbers game and clobbering their counterparts. However, Kevin is able to fire off and now that team is dominating. Pirata finally gets one up in a exchange with Ortiz. He pins him on a front flip senton. Tempers are really flaring up with Devin and Colosetti. They continue wailing away on each other on the outside between falls and Kevin gets posted. Halcon looks out of gas on the third fall basically relying on Pirata to bump for him into the ringpost and to the outside. He does do a nice dive onto Pirata though. Kevin is able to get the top rope crossbody on Colosetti to win the match. Pretty anticlimactic final fall even with the spot the match had been building to with Kevin vs. Colosetti. Kevin steps over him in another dick spot from him in this match. Good intro to trios matches and I really liked the constant mixing of the pairings. I don’t think Kevin of course understands the dynamic of tecnico vs. rudo tendencies in lucha but they covered for him well.

 

(***1/4)

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MS-1 vs. Sangre Chicana (9/23/83)

 

Obviously probably the odds on favorite to be #1 for the set and a match I had seen and really liked before. On this watch, this felt like one of the greatest matches of all time. When I watched this a few years ago, I don't think I had the maturity and conflict in my real life to fully resonate to the match. Tons of people will talk about the components of the match but I will comment on the thing that makes this match one of the best. The element of depth. How far was each man williing to reach below to pull out a victory. How far was MS-1 willing to sink in those first two falls to ensure victory. Chicana's sell job is awesome throughout with a glazed look on his face. In the past two years of my life, I have faced greater triumphs and depths. There have been moments where you feel that same glazed over feeling. Everything becomes a blur and yet you soldier on because achieving the task at hand is worth it in the end. Chicana exemplified this. Him raising his arms at the end of this match felt like a religious rebirth. The ending didn't see them hug and congratulate each other. As satisfied as Chciana was at the victory, his hatred for MS-1 didn't subside. This match is a masterpiece.

 

 

(*****)

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Ok so with my good friend soup's urging, i'm going to post my thoughts here as well. I do want to note, similar to James, these are some of the first Lucha matches I've seen in their entirety (I did watch some of the last CMLL show and of course have seen youtube clips before - oh and that video game AAA Lucha Libre). I started the podcast but want to re-listen entirely after I watch some of the matches - one of those "applied learning" scenarios where I can get some real practice in.

 

Satoru Sayama y Gran Hamada vs. Perro Aguayo y Baby Face (4/13/80)

 

In thinking back on this match, the story I mainly followed was Perro vs. Hamada - which pretty much starts when the opening bell hits with some great kicks and just keeps going. Those two tell a great story with the other guys pretty ancillary (Baby Face was good at holding Hamada for Perro though). I recognize that to be fair to Lucha I need to understand that some of the falls are just kind of "meh" and that's how it goes (like the crossbody into an armbreaker out of nowhere by Sayama). I loved the bump Hamada takes off the turnbuckle to the floor inbetween the second and third falls. And then they really ratchet it up with the blood and him getting his revenge (even though Perro hits a big plancha). The arm drag sequences and some of the more planned out stuff in the middle of the match are crazy when you realize this is 1980 (and watching 1979 WWWF). I went a solid *** with an asterisk that this may need revisiting once I have more to reference.

 

Andre the Giant y Cien Caras vs. Alfonso Dantes, Herodes y Sangre Chicana (1981)

 

Throwing this out there - WTF is up with the mirrored camera angle where Andre will be on the bottom right and then they'll switch and he's on the bottom left? Trippy man. Andre is great here with awesome comedic spots and the rudos really play along well. I was also quite amused when they would be working over Caras and at time the ref would walk Andre back and at other times he would just be like "fuck it" and come in and break up their hold. So far on the set the refs have been pretty lax on this so I have subtitled the set 80's Lucha: SPRING BREAK NO RULES. I was very entertained and was happy this made it **1/2.

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Centurion Negro vs. Gran Hamada (2/14/82)

 

Parv will make a note about the ref's shirt - mark it down right now. We get a good 6-8 minute of trading leg work on the mat to start.The double arm overhead suplex into a double-arm submission was pretty sweet and then we get a big back body drop for the first fall for Negro. hoping there's a call back later to all that early leg work.Hamada's turn to shine in the second fall - working a solid neck vice (but then goes back to the leg for a sec too). He also takes some big back drops but reverses to his feet on the last one and hits a back suplex for the second fall. Ah ha, this is also how he pinned Perro in the first match so I'm sensing a Bob Backlund-Atomic Drop-esque mediocre finisher here.I really liked Negro's first sequence in the final fall where he finally works a bridge pin attempt and after a kickout quickly jumps on top of Hamada for the lateral press. I've noted the realism in how this one has been worked so far. Camera almost misses a big dive from Negro and man is it muddy and dangerous outside. Hamada reverses a second flying headbutt and dumps Negro so he can go for his dive and it almost seems like Negro spikes him to the pavement. Selling is very liberal here. Negro kicks out of the back suplex finisher this time (!). Cool crossbody into a sunset flip barely gets the three for Hamada. Another thing I like - guys kicking out *just* after the three count. Negro did a nice job there. Really liking Hamada so far. All that mat work led to nothing though but the third fall was worth the wait. ***

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Ore often than not, the matwork in lucha doesn't lead anywhere. If that is going to drive you crazy, be prepared to see it time and again on the set. There are a couple of matches where the limb work does lead to the finish and it really stands out.

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Espectro Jr., Satanico y MS-1 vs. Mocho Cota, Sangre Chicana y La Fiera (9/30/83)

 

Have to hand it to MS-1, he is relentless if nothing else. This time him and his lackeys attack all three members at the onset and lay down another impressive beatdown. I know Mocho Cota is someone to be on the lookout for based on the pre set podcast, and he was impressive here and incredibly lanky. He hits a gusher and the rudos clearly take the first fall. The build to the tecnicos comeback is awesome and the pop on the first punch is amazing. The work with them rushing the ring and taking over was really neat and I do love how they will fight fire with fire and throw back nasty punches and do 3 on 1 beatdowns. Satanico of course was a awesome as a prick person on top hitting kicks and also as a person begging off. Match was probably too short overall to be a true classic but as a standalone on a set like this, it was a lot of fun and certainly deserves a spot.

 

(***1/2)

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MS-1 vs. Sangre Chicana (9/23/83)

 

Obviously probably the odds on favorite to be #1 for the set and a match I had seen and really liked before. On this watch, this felt like one of the greatest matches of all time. When I watched this a few years ago, I don't think I had the maturity and conflict in my real life to fully resonate to the match. Tons of people will talk about the components of the match but I will comment on the thing that makes this match one of the best. The element of depth. How far was each man williing to reach below to pull out a victory. How far was MS-1 willing to sink in those first two falls to ensure victory. Chicana's sell job is awesome throughout with a glazed look on his face. In the past two years of my life, I have faced greater triumphs and depths. There have been moments where you feel that same glazed over feeling. Everything becomes a blur and yet you soldier on because achieving the task at hand is worth it in the end. Chicana exemplified this. Him raising his arms at the end of this match felt like a religious rebirth. The ending didn't see them hug and congratulate each other. As satisfied as Chciana was at the victory, his hatred for MS-1 didn't subside. This match is a masterpiece.

 

 

A+ (*****)

Chad gives it the 5 stars! I have to watch this this week, Im just getting going on disc 1

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Soup, to answer your question about Centurion Negro, we have some early 90s Monterrey stuff and then there's a big gap before he shows up again in indy footage from the 2000s. In that Black Terry Monterrey trios he has the most awesome heated exchanges with Jose Luis Feliciano.

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Sangre Chicana vs. Ringo Mendoza (10/28/83)

 

Refreshing to see Chicana in a traditional title match right after the blood feud with MS-1. This is a match where he clearly feels like the superior worker to Mendoza and leads him to a good match. I can also see this match having some huge proponents because the targets of Chicana's neck and Mendoza's back play into the strategy of multiple falls. Chicana emphasizes the back in everything he does in the third fall. The finish is a letdown and I actually could have had 5-6 more minutes of this but overall it was very good and showed great versatility for Chicana.

 

(***3/4)

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Atlantis y El Hijo del Santo vs. Fuerza Guerrera y Lobo Rubio (11/25/83)

 

Add Lobo Rubio to the guys I have never seen before. I love seeing young Santo as he looked really young and spry in the 1990 stuff I have seen so this being seven years before that is a mindbender. Santo does a roll up rana into a headscissors that I haven’t seen before but looks great. He follows that up by climbing up Rubio and taking him down with another headscissors. Rubio retreats to the outside but that is not safe as Santo headscissors him back in. Awesome. Even with the shitty sound, the crowd was going nuts for this exchange as Atlantis and Fuerza try their luck. Atlantis twists up Fuerza till he is on his head literally. Fuerza is momentarily on top with a wicked quick exchange but Atlantis comes right back with an armdrag sending him to the outside. I again appreciate the mixing of pairings as Rubio gets outmatched by Atlantis. Santo and Fuerza then go at it. This long term rivals seem more cautious with each other and do some beautiful chain wrestling. Dropkick to the outside wins the duel for Santo and we restart with the original pairing in the match with the tecnico getting better of everyone so far. Wrap around the world armdrag by Santo to Rubio This is a clinic. Fuerza tries to amp up the aggression vs. Atlantis but gets outclassed again by the quickness of Atlanits. Ditto for Rubio. Santo then does an armdrag to Fuerza which has to be seen to believe. I can’t even describe it was like a back arm armdrag. Tecnicos then lock on their submissions and win the first fall without hardly breaking a sweat. Segunda Caida starts out with Rubio and Fuerza given a run at Atlantis and Santo and failing. Rubio gives a great rudo move of telling him to calm down which pops the crowd huge. Finally Rbuio catches Atlantis with a punch and the rudos take over. Atlantis gets out and Fuerza offers santo a headshake. When Santo declines, he gets a swift slap in the face. Awesome move by the rudos as Atlantis is laid on the top rope and Rubio gives Fuerza an assisted dive on top of him. Rubio comes down with Santo with a double axehandle from the top and the rudos are dominating now. Santo gets posted on the outside. Rubio hurls Santo to the outside in a power press position and Santo sells his legs well. That ends the second fall when the tecnicos can’t answer the bell. The onslaught continues on Atlantis on the outside and back in the ring. Fuerza gives Santo a ton of stiff strikes but now Santo fires back and him and Rubio have a heated exchange. Fuerza comes in with some stiff right hands and kicks to Santo. Atlantis comes back in for revenge. Fuerza fouls Santo but the ref doesn’t see it. He eats a tilt a whirl suplex from Atlantis twice. The heels then have some miscommunication and the tecnicos double up resulting in them hitting their huge dives on their foes on the outside. The rudos are counted out and Santo/Atlantis are victorious. This tag is an excellent template to the tecnico and rudo style as the tecnico’s showed great flash and grace in winning and the rudos just clobbered them when they were on top. Finish was completely satisfactory. Great intro to lucha choice.

 

(****)

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As per usual, going in totally blind, not read any ratings but do have certain guys I'm looking out for from listening to various recent podcasts.

 

Lucha 1.1

Satoru Sayama y Gran Hamada vs. Perro Aguayo y Baby Face (4/13/80)

 

Here we go then. Nice big crowd. Pretty cool stiff opening to this. I could swear the commentators are speaking Japanese. Faces in the crowd are awesome. There's one guy in a suit that looks like he's been lifted straight out of an All Japan crowd and plonked in Mexico. I like the guy with the moustache who is wearing his hat at a jaunty angle. And the cop.

 

So far, absolutely no concerns about getting into this, it's just pro wrestling. Interesting boots on Perro.

 

I really like the dynamic that is developing here. Hamada and Perro seem to be the ones with real issues and Baby Face works like hired muscle doing a lot of the dirty work. There is a cool mix of brawling, matwork and throws on display which I can get into.

 

Sayama moves like a cat, and I like that. I don't really understand what is happening with the falls at this stage, but it doesn't feel like it matters too much. What happened with the finish here? Going to rewind it to see if I can figure it out. Has to be that massive kick to the balls, instant DQ.

 

Pretty hot opener.

 

B

 

Key for rough star-rating conversion, here

 

 

Lucha 1.2

Andre the Giant & Cien Caras vs. Alfonso Dantes, Herodes y Sangre Chicana (1981)

 

Andre's face looks oddly skeletal here in the pre-match interview. Oh, he's got a shiner. The camera starts zooming in and for a moment I thought it was going for a shot of "little Andre", but no they want to check out his massive hand. I am drawn to love whoever these interviewers are.

 

Three on two handicap match here. The ref is channelling Uncle Fester. Big ass stuff from Andre to start. A lot of spots here to get over his SIZE and STRENGTH. A little gimmicky.

 

Arm wrench by Chicana on Caras. So was Herodes the Lucha version of Hercules Herndandez? Big headbutt by Andre. Dantes in. Seres of big butt splashes by Andre.

 

This situation where guys can seemingly come in and out without tagging is going to take some getting used to. This one has no real flow, still hasn't felt like it has got going.

 

Dantes goes back to the arm on Caras. Andre takes over and now the faces start working Dantes's arm. Caras misses a dropkick. Herodes does some comedy punching on Andre's stomach before being thrown out of the ring. Comedy bump off Andre's ass by Chicana.

 

Uhh ... so what happened with the finish here? He submitted to the bearhug by Caras? Random. Oh no, it continues. So that's fall number 1. 1-0 to Andre and Caras. Wasn't into this first fall. No flow. Far too disjointed. And gimmicky.

 

So they can do regular tags too. FIP sequence now with the heels working over Caras. Chicana taunts Andre. Is that wise Sangre? Andre catches him and snaps him over his knee. Chicana holds one of his legs and the three heels hold Andre to give him some punishment. Not for long, Herodes gets tripped by Caras going for a shoulder charge. BLANTANT LOW BLOW REF! That's put Caras out of action for a while. 3 on 1 comedy stooges spot with Andre now. Andre sits on Herodes and the ref is very very slow on the count. Come on Fester!

 

So what's that 2-0 now? Yes and the win. Andre bearhugs Chicana for good measure.

 

Even allowing for the fact that 90% of this match was designed to get over the message of "this man is a giant", it was too all over the place for my tastes.

 

D+

 

Lucha 1.3

Centurion Negro vs. Gran Hamada (2/14/82)

 

Now hold the tape. Someone tell the ref it's vertical stripes for wrestling, he can't be much worse than Fester from the last match. He looks a hell of a lot like Lou Thesz if it's not him, but I feel like I'm seeing Thesz everywhere at the moment (see Titans 4 podcast fans). Negro controls with matwork to start. I am drawn to the dude wearing all black in the crowd sipping his coffee. He sees someone he knows across the way and gives them a "cheers" with the coffee. Awesome guy. That same Japanese fan seems to be back: he's wearing a scarf today and seems to have brought a hot date with him.

 

Hamada finally breaks free only to fall prey to an arm wrench and a head scissors. I notice that several people in the crowd are drinking that coffee: there's a vendor at this arena making a killing somewhere. Cameraman is wearing a bright luminous yellow jacket. Fine moustache sir.

 

Things heat up now and this has been a pretty compelling mat sequence from Negro. I say that, I spent most of the time looking at the crowd. It's enough to get him the first fall. Hamada has been out-wrestled so far. Negro goes back to the arm. Makes sense. Explosive dropkick by Hamada sends him bailing. I have to say, Negro has a great colour scheme going on with the yellow and black.

 

Hamada takes over control now with some matwork of his own. Arm drag, Hamada eats a backdrop. Flying bodysplash from the second rope. Back suplex. That's enough for 1-1. Thought the matwork in this fall dragged. Pin felt like it came too soon.

 

I hope the pace picks up for this third fall. Negro switches up now to focus on the leg for a bit. Double underarm suplex! Keeps it locked in and goes into a birdge. That was quite neat. Snapmare. NASTY variation on the chickenwing now. Now idea how to call what Negro is doing now but it looks painful. Couple of nearfalls now. Yet another crazy submission hold from Negro. This stuff is cool.

 

Hamada takes a big backdrop to outside and Negro jumps out after him. Dropkick gets 2 but Hamada has hit foot on the rope. Another backdrop. Some awkwards spots now as Negro seems to fluff a buritto of some sort and then takes a strange bump to the concrete. Hamada dives out after him now. Huracanrana. Belly-to-back suplex. Still only 2. Negro comes back with a dropkick and a huracanrana of his own. Interesting bridging suplex now from Negro, risks pinning himself with that!

 

Sunset flip from the top by Hamada gets the 3. Hmmm, I was hoping the third fall would heat up a bit more than that. I liked a lot of Negro's matwork here but he had some awkward moments in the high spots. Second fall wasn't very good.

 

On balance ...

 

B-

 

Lucha 1.4

El Canek vs. Don Corleone (2/14/82)

 

Bit of a career change for Don Corleone here. I'm saying the ref is definitely Lou Thesz now. He should know better than to wear that shirt. He's been good as a ref so far though. Love this venue and watching the nighttime fall on it.

 

Lots of matwork early on here. Corleone controls mostly with a camel clutch and a reverse chinlock. The camera work is good here. Canek comes back with arm wrenches. Corleone seems to be going for a variation on the Texas Clover Leaf. Gets a bit argy bargy with Thesz. Canek hits a drop kick and a gutwrench suplex. Sick looking flying clothesline, elbow drop gets a 3. Canek did well do get the first fall after losing out to Corleone for most of it.

 

Abdominal stretch by Canek now. Works the arm now with knee drops. Match meanaders a bit here. Piledriverrrr? No, something else (no idea how to call it). Unusual. Backdrop by Canek. Big Ernie Ladd legdrop get a 2. Corleone comes back with kicks and punches now. Really stiff looking right. Dropkick. Butterfly suplex! That gets 1-1.

 

I didn't think Canek's matwork in that second fall was much cop and I can't tell if that piledriver thingy was planned or a botch.

 

Corleone starts the third fall with a running knee. Razor's Edge? No, a very very painful looking stretch. Surfboard now. Canek starts to bridge out of it. Corleone goes back to a type of camel clutch. Leg grapevine thingy now. I am hopeless at calling matwork, I don't know the names of any moves ok. Gorilla press slam by Canek now and he starts a comeback. Big dive to the outside. Then he takes a backdrop. The outside is not concrete but wood!! Planks of wood!

 

Corleone slams Canek from the top now and hits a splash for 2. Atomic drop. 2 count. German suplex by Canek for the finish.

 

Hmmm, there were positives here. Corleone did some cool shit during his matwork. I thought Canek's matwork was boring. Some good bombs. Once again, the third fall didn't pick up enough for my tastes. I want a hotter finish. About the same as the last match. Good but not great.

 

B-

 

Lucha 1.5

Tatsumi Fujinami vs. El Canek (6/12/83)

 

This ref didn't get the memo about the diagonal stripes. Matwork in the first fall felt like it drifted. I honestly don't think El Canek is a very compelling matworker. Too tentative for too long this first fall. Abdominal stretch by Canek. "He has it hooked in real good too" [/Monsoon] Dull, dull, dull this stuff by Canek.

 

Fujinami hits a slam and a dropkick. Misses a second and Canek gets an elbow for 2. Two AMAZING elbows from Canek gets the 3 for the first fall. Well that was awesome but the 10 minutes before it were like watching paint dry.

 

Second fall and early on Fujinami hits an inzuguri. High vertical suplex ("Brainbuster! brainbuster!"). Back suplex gets 3. That was short.

 

Third fall and my expectation now is that we don't get a change up in the gears. Last two matches had no discernable change of pace for the third fall or move from matwork to strikes and throws. Let's see. Test of strength to start. Canek starts with the armwork. Butterfly suplex! Gets a weak 2. Fisherman suplex! Gets a two. He didn't bridge into the pin a la Hennig but rolled over to a lateral press. Head scissors from Canek now.

 

I may need to retrain myself. I want to see progression from matwork to strikes to throws, but they don't work like that. He just did two suplexes which got two nearfalls went right back to the matwork.

 

Deep abdominal stretch by Fujinami now. Reverse chinlock. I still want them to pick things up a bit in this stage in the match. Figure-four by Canek. Fujinami quickly makes the ropes. Big vertical suplex by Canek. Fujinami is still selling the leg from the figure four. He starts busting out the strikes now. Hits a one-legged dropkick. Canek blocks him to the outside. Dives after him.

 

Just as the match gets going, it slows down again. This is a bit too stop-start. What happened there? Canek wins? Why? Fujinami must have been DQed but for what?

 

This one meanadered too much for me. Canek's matwork is average at best although he does some cool suplexes and those elbows were awesome. Honestly a bit confused by the finish.

 

C+

 

Lucha 1.6

Kevin von Erich, Mascara Ano 2000 y Halcon Ortiz v. Coloso Colosetti, Pirata Morgan y Herodes (9/23/83)

 

Kevin von Erich and Herodes to start. What has Halcon got written across his ass? Why is Mascara Ano called "2000"? Did he have like a futuristic gimmick? Was he a Terminator before Terminator? I guess we can only speculate. Colosetti has the best facial hair of anyone so far. He looks cool and villainous, like he'd take you out with a rapier and swoosh his cape as he leaves.

 

Oh yes, the match ... Early exchanges do a good job of introducing everyone. Awkward exchange between Ortiz and Morgan. Colosetti's little "charge" thing cramps the style established by his cool goatee. I am getting more used to the idea that when someone leaves the ring, it's like tagging out. But it's still quite chaotic and hard for me to keep track of what is going on. First fall comes seemingly out of nowhere.

 

I do like how heelish the heels are here, especially Colosetti. They get von Erich isolated and work him over. Snapmare by Heredos. Triple teaming. Colosetti with some kicks. Kevin wins back advantage. Where the hell are his partners? Ortiz takes on Morgan now. Neckbreaker! Bodyslam. That gets 3.

 

Colosetti posts Kevin. And the heels heel it up to draw some heat. "Three Kings of the Mountain". Kevin posts Colosetti's leg. And now the faces have control of the ring. Ortiz and Andre 3000 get in the refs face now.

 

Ortiz finds himself in the wrong corner but Pirata acidentally knees Colosetti on the apron. He posts his shoulder and Ortiz throws him out and dives after him. Herodes and T-1000 take over. Kevin hits a flying cross body on Colosetti for a piss-poor third fall.

 

There's a theme with these third falls being a bit disappointing now. Some nice dynamics here. The heels all looked good and played their roles well.

 

C+

 

Lucha 1.7

MS-1 vs. Sangre Chicana (9/23/83)

 

First look at MS-1 here. Chicana is bloodied almost immediately after MS-1 suckers him before they even get into the ring. Fierce brawling now. MS-1 is really intense. He weirdly reminds me a bit of Paul Orndorff at his absolute best the way he's laying in the kicks and stomps. There's a real desperation about the way he's working. Big splash from the top by MS-1 for the first fall.

 

Massive punch on Chicana's bloodied head. Knee to the face. He's just a bloody mess at this point. Turnbuckle. Head smash into the edge of the apron. Headbutt. A woman in the crowd smokes a cigerette. Chicana gets in his first offense for about 10 minutes and the crowd go apeshit. Big "Chicana" chant. He's still somewhat out of it and his face is a bloody mess. Second fall via count out? The moment when he starts the comeback is amazing, they built to it so well.

 

Third fall and where can this match go from here? MS-1 swings and misses. Chicana jabs him. MS-1 is now totally covered in blood himself. Big dive to the outside from him onto Chicana. Both men look half dead by this point. Dropkick by Chicana. Big dive by him now. Back in and Chicana is hanging from the top rope just to keep himself up. MS-1 looks like he's lost a pint of blood. The ring is just a total mess. Chicana barely gets across to cover for 2. Bodyslam by MS-1. Goes for the big splash from the top again but misses. Chicana covers again. 2 count! MS-1 covers. 2 count. Half a suplex from MS-1. Misses a somersault from the top now! Big submission hold from Chicana now. He's shaking his head. Submission? Yes. Chicana is so out of it he can barely stand up.

 

Pretty awesome match. Chicana's sell job throughout is pretty amazing. He's caught on the hop right out of the gate and never quite recovers. He's almost out of it from the start but somehow finds it from somewhere to fight on. MS-1 is just a sick, desparate man doing what it takes. This is sent over the top for me by the way it built to the moment of that comeback from Chicana.

 

Post-match MS-1 has to suffer the humilation of losing his Terry Taylor locks.

 

A*

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Yeah, I went and read your posts afterwards and they are actually more or less the same. You have to account that because you believe in the ****1/4 rating and other such aberrations, so your letter grades and mine are actually slightly out: where you say B+, I say B.

 

I have no time for the 1/4 grades, you know that. It's either **** or ****1/2. Yes, I realise I go 3/4 though :P

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[Warning: boring ratings theory below]

 

I should mention, given that I'm generally accused of being completely arbitrary on the 1/4 star point, I switched to the letter system because after rating 100s of matches I found that I never once gave out ****1/4 or ***1/4 and then never **3/4, **1/4 or *3/4 or *1/4. So these grades are all redundant to my mind, they don't come up. For me the grades are just bands that represent certain things which help me order them. I don't need those steps in between. So as not to clutter up this thread, I've updated my key now with grade descriptors, so you can see my rationale.

 

Maybe you should move back to stars though Chad cos it might get confusing for people. Me and you are closer than it looks even though it looks like we're a grade out all the time.

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Lucha 1.8

Espectro Jr., Satanico y MS-1 vs. Mocho Cota, Sangre Chicana y La Fiera (9/30/83)

 

Anyone ever play Final Fight? This is like all of the goons from that come to life and fighting each other.

 

No real clue what's going on in the first five minues here but it's fun as hell. Newly bald MS-1 does a good King of the Mountain thing early on. Christ! That mask is scary! Espectro Jr could give the kids nightmares.

 

MS-1 and Espectro are like Team Evil here. Cool. They are doing a real number on Mocho Coto. Pretty soon he's busted open. And now we get a comeback. Chaos here again, stuff happening all over the place.

 

The faces start triple teaming Satanico now. Then Espectro's in trouble. Hard to know where to look with this much stuff going on. There's a big kick to the balls. I don't know what's going on. Arghhh too much chaos.

 

Cota rips off Espectro's mask and his hair! I honestly couldn't tell you what is happening. So the faces have won?

 

B-

 

Wild, but also alienating in that I have no fucking clue what I just saw. Bit too random for my tastes. If someone asked me "what was the story of that match". My answer could only be "well a bunch of shit happened". I'm not sold on the idea that that's a great thing. If this exact match happened in a US ring, I'd say exactly the same thing. I can imagine there'll be people who'll really love this, but I'm not one of them.

 

Lucha 1.9

Sangre Chicana vs. Ringo Mendoza (10/28/83)

 

Ringo Mendoza looks like a real thug. Much more technical style of match now from Chicana. After some early mat stuff there's a nice neckbreaker. A little later there's one that sort of misses. I've never seen someone "miss" a neckbreaker before. Still Mendoza is clearly targetting Chicana's neck here.

 

Very "scientific" stuff this. Chicana targets the upper back and shoulder area with his holds. Mendoza is trying to bend and twist Chicana's neck. That's the story of this match pretty much from start to finish -- as stories go it's a very mildly diverting one, but little more than that.

 

If you're going to work 3 falls, my preference is to make each fall standout in some way. Here all three were worked in the same pace and gear. No real transitions to speak of. And I like transitions. Will be lower-middle.

 

C

 

Lucha 1.10

Atlantis y El Hijo del Santo vs. Fuerza Guerrera y Lobo Rubio (11/25/83)

 

More great 80s-looking punkish thugs here. Rubio wouldn't look out of place graffiting the subway in the background of Turtles.

 

Cool headscissors sequence to start. A lot of trips and flips and things between Gurrera and Atlantis that I won't pretend I understand.

 

This is all very fluid. Constant motion. The armdrags are unusual. They seem "airy" in someway, not seen those before.

 

Faces seem to be just too good for the heels here. Santo seems to hit what I can only call a reverse armdrag. Not sure I understand the physics, but I've never seen one before. The move actually defies science.

 

El Punko Rubio has a go now and we get more floaty armdrags. Both Atlantis and Santo look really good in this match.

 

I don't mind this variety of super-duper smooth fluid matwork, it's all rather artful.

 

Heels have had nothing in this match so far. They can't get anything going at all. Santo seems to glide rather than jump. A very graceful worker.

 

Heels finally get a bit off offense going and work over Atlantis. I feel Fureza allowed him to tag out far too easily though. Cut the ring off, basic strategy.

 

Rubio starts working over Santo now. He's the power man in this match. Nastily throws Santo to the floor over the top rope. Sick sick bump!!! Shit! The heels have been properly vicious in this segment.

 

Santo vs. Rubio now and Santo hits a nice kneelift and as Rubio charges him just trips his leg. Awesome. Have loved Santo in this match. Cool backbreaker on Fureza by Atlantis now. Rubio breaks it up.

 

Some real highflying stuff from Santo and Atlantis now in a sequence which is a little too choregraphed for my tastes. It's enough for a countout win though. Spectacular finish.

 

Dug the hell out of this. Strong finish to the disc.

 

A

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