Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
goodhelmet

DISC 7

Recommended Posts

DISC 7

Cien Caras vs. Siglo XX (4/12/87)

El Hijo del Santo vs. Negro Casas (Mask vs. Hair) (7/18/87)

Mogur vs. As Charro (Mask vs. Mask) (9/18/87)

Blue Panther/Sergio El Hermosa v. Super Astro/Solar (10/17/87)

El Dandy, Magico y Super Astro vs. Gran Cochise, Javier Cruz y Javier Rocca (11/11/87)

Arandu vs. Guerrero Negro (Hair vs. Hair) (1988)

Kung Fu v. Javier Cruz (3/88)

Pirata Morgan, Hombre Bala y Verdugo vs. Atlantis, Angel Azteca y Ringo Mendoza (3/88)

El Hijo Del Santo vs. Espanto Jr. (4/10/88)

Kato Kung Lee vs. Kung Fu (Mask vs. Hair) (4/29/88)

Atlantis vs. Emilio Charles Jr. (8/12/88)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Arandu vs. Guerrero Negro (Hair vs. Hair) (1988)

 

This was a shitload of fun. I'm not sure that it was technically good, but if there's been one match on the set that screams "fuck yeah" then this is it.

 

Arandu's hair was out of this world. It was like Mocho Cota's afro on steroids. The building was ready to come unhinged at the prospect of him losing it. Every time they went to the outside the heat was amazing. It was like there was this push to the front to get at the wrestlers. At one point some woman tried to start a fight with Arandu's manager and this was all sorts of commotion at ringside. Her preening Arandu's hair and strutting her big ass was gold. You don't see valets in lucha too often. During the TV boom they'd accompany the workers to ringside and pose with them before the bouts, but this chick was clearly Arandu's woman and together they were like a superior version of Fit Finlay and Princess Paula. Guerrero Negro didn't do much more in this than bleed, throw a couple of great looking punches, and a whole lot of shitting looking spin kicks, but Arandu's bumping and selling (and hair) made up for his lack of bite. After Arandu's valet was accosted, the match swung back and forth a bit before Arandu struck one between the goalposts. The reaction was like stirring up a hornet's nest. One false step and the crowd may have rioted. Instead the TV crew entered the ring and interviewed the seconds over the foul, treating it like Zidane getting sent off in the World Cup final. Fans begged for the result to be overturned while others threw rubbish in disgust. Arandu's afro perm could be seen bobbling between the officials in the ring, goading Negro over his loss, while Negro knelt in the ring receiving his hair cut like he was receiving the host. Once his hair had been cut and he'd made the customary lunge at Arandu, the biggest mass of humanity you'll ever see in a lucha match descended upon the ring and tested the thing to its absolute limits. It still amazes me that they allowed people into the rings after the matches in the 80s, but that was a different time and a different place.

 

If this is what Monterrey was like in the 80s it was wild.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kato Kung Lee vs. Kung Fu (Mask vs. Hair) (4/29/88)

 

One of the best things about lucha is that you can take two guys who aren't that good technically like Lee and Fu and put them in a mascara contra cabellera match where big moves and basic timing are all they need to draw heat. Sure, a Satanico or a Sangre Chicana will add all sorts of detail and craft a masterpiece, but the goofiest of shit gets over in the cauldron of an apuestas match.

 

I'm a fan of Los Fantásticos, especially Black Man, who sadly seems absent from the set, but their karate schtick wouldn't ordinarily make for the best work in the brawling environment of a hair vs. mask match. What they did here was use elements of their trio formula to put the exclamation mark on falls and employed their karate to deliver some wicked looking shots. Kung Fu had a pretty good match with Javier Cruz on the same disc. Cruz was a kid who I really got into when I was going through the 1990 stuff, who then fell completely off my radar. Kung Fu wasn't the greatest worker and Cruz didn't have a big enough personality to really put that match over, but the important thing was that the crowd bought Kung Fu as a rudo. There's a great image in this match of Kung Fu walking around with his mask pulled down below his eyes and he may or may not be bleeding, it's hard to tell, but his eyes pierce through the grainy haze of degraded, handheld video footage. The crowd throw rubbish at him and he throws it back, prompting members of the publico to challenge him to their own apuestas matches.

 

The real highlights were in the third caida, where Kung Fu delivered a vicious looking kick to Lee's head when he was backed up in the corner and Lee responded with a chop to Fu's face, like some kind of quasi-lucha shoot match. Their big moves were on point and while the match could have done with more obvious blood it had all the basic drama you need. Unfortunately, they went for the shittiest finish imaginable denying the crowd something they could really pop for, but this was still an example of how simple and successful the apuestas formula is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

El Hijo del Santo vs. Negro Casas (Mask vs. Hair) (7/18/87)

 

I think this was the only match to make Jeff Bowdren's Top Matches of the 80s list, and since improving Bowdren's list was the original impetus for the 80s sets, I thought it would be interesting to see how it holds up. The verdict?

 

It holds up well. It's not a violent match like Santo vs. Espanto the year before, but the work is excellent and if anything I like it more than when I first saw it a decade ago or more. Back then I was framing it against cruiserweight matches and junior heavyweights, now I can appreciate it as a lucha match. The degree to which they struggle over holds is surprising, although not that surprising as the Espanto match shows that it was a Santo staple at the time, but still there were a lot of details that I didn't pick up on as a lucha neophyte.

 

Probably the most interesting thing for me ten years later is watching 80s Casas. We don't have a lot of 80s Casas as he mostly worked for UWA and the indies, and of the Arena Mexico appearances he made only one of them has been preserved if memory serves me. I don't think he'd been to Japan at this stage as he hadn't adopted the Choshu look yet, and it was evident throughout that he was Casas without really being Casas. That's true of just about all the 90s stars on the set, but Casas would have such a dominant personality by '92 that it was fascinating to watch it in the formative stages. Also of interest was how much Santo had grown into the role of Son of Santo. When you compare this to his Arena Mexico debut where he's so nervous and has that overly long opening exchange with Lobo Rubio, it's amazing how much he'd grown in confidence. His dives here were exquisite. I often bitch and moan about formulaic Santo, but when he hits dives like that the whole world stops for a second. Man are those a thing of beauty.

 

Pirata Morgan, Hombre Bala y Verdugo vs. Atlantis, Angel Azteca y Ringo Mendoza (3/88)

 

There's been a lot of brawling trios on this set, which isn't surprising given the viewing committee's tastes, and there's been some straight filler that I'm not sure would've made the set if more footage was available. There's also been a lot of matches that were only ever meant to set up hair matches which we don't have. That's a bit like putting all those great Satanico/Dandy trios matches on the 1990 yearbook and not having the hair match. The reason that I'm saying all this is to emphasise that *this* is a trios match that I thought was a really high quality trios match.

 

Naturally, not all of the viewing committee were sold on it, which probably makes me an outlier on all things lucha, but let me state my case. A really good trios match should have a little bit of everything: brawling, either matwork or quick fire exchanges, bumping, stooging & selling, a bit of comedy and dives. Of course there are plenty of good trios matches which are predominantly one thing over the other, but I always appreciate a trios that shows the depth and variety of lucha libre wrestling. Add overlapping falls, the right rhythm and pacing and clever finishes and you've generally got a great trios. Everything clicked here for me. I liked the early rudo beatdown on the technicos as well as the technico comeback, which was the right mix of Ringo being a credible enough asskicker to deal to the stockier rudos and Atlantis and Azteca having the skill to both confuse and embarrass the rudos. I really loved Ringo in this match. All of his punches and brawling were great, as were his spinning kicks, no matter how tired they got in the 90s. He was probably a loving family man, but he was one guy I don't think you'd be wise to mess with. You could probably argue that the Azteca fake out spot didn't work so well, though the editing didn't help. To me the only real weak point in the match was the Azteca pinning exchange after Atlantis had done his always brilliant three on one spinning back breakers sequence. No matter how many times Atlantis does that sequence I always mark out like it's the first time I've seen it. Azteca needed to follow it up with something as spectacular or better, similar to the moonsault move that Atlantis does to end the fall, but that's splitting hairs on a great trios. Azteca was still a little green here, but his arm drags were as sensational as ever. Atlantis was out of this world good and really '88-91 marks his absolute peak in my opinion.

 

It's pretty rare that you get a trios match where all three technicos are good and add to that a solid rudos act and you've got something really good. The match reaches its zenith with an incredible tope from Atlantis, which tomk described as vertical and will live long in the memory of people who watch this set, before the footage cuts out right before an almighty uppercut to the groin area. How the match ended we'll never know. Maybe it's still going on somewhere out there in space.

 

El Hijo Del Santo vs. Espanto Jr. (4/10/88)

 

I didn't love this as much as I love their masks match and the '92 title match, but I'm glad we have another match in what is probably Santo's Garvin feud to his Casas Steamboat rivalry.

 

As we've seen with a lot of this 80s stuff, there's a fantastic atmosphere with the ring being flooded with kids before the bout and later on they're sort of loitering about climbing back in it when Santo and Espanto are selling on the outside and running around during the stretch run. There's one kid who jumps a feet in the air every time Espanto kicks out of a nearfall and actually a section of the crowd seemed to be right behind him despite being largely pro-Santo. These two had wrestled so many times from '85-88 with Espanto losing so many times, including every year in their annual hair match, that I suppose to some people he was the underdog in this feud. He entered the match as champion having finally wrestled the UWA's World Lightweight Championship from Santo the previous summer and was determined to stay that way by the night's end.

 

I wasn't overly thrilled by the matwork, which involved a lot of jockeying for position and ultimately led to a sort of macho battle where both guys would arm drag the other guy to the outside. The needling I liked, but I don't think the wrestling was top draw. I might change my mind on a re-watch, but that was my gut feeling this time round. The third caida was fantastic, however. I loved how Espanto fought his way out of Santo's submissions and how he managed to kick out of each of Santo's pin attempts, even when Santo would really sit in them. Espanto's submission finishers were awesome. I don't know that he had to cheat to win, but the final submission he got Santo with was a beaut. There's nothing like a little bit of controversy to end a lucha match, but a lot of folks seemed legit happy. You'd think they were swarming the ring because their guy had beaten the touring champ.

 

What this did highlight for me is just how much we're missing in terms of UWA not taping this stuff. You look at the lists of title defences right through to the early 90s and it's either awe-inspiring or heart breaking. There's nothing you can do about it I suppose unlike the Televisa situation, but I don't think we can even begin to capture what an amazing decade it was for lucha libre with the footage we have. Which is all the more reason to enjoy discoveries like these.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cien Caras vs. Siglo XX (4/12/87)

I love Siglo XX's mask and I've been wanting to see him in action since I saw him Lourdes Grobet's book. For the most part this was a solid heavyweight lucha spectacle but MAN did they kick it into gear for that last fall and especially the last few minutes which were pretty awesome with all of the blood and dives.

 

El Hijo del Santo vs. Negro Casas (Mask vs. Hair) (7/18/87)

Tim already touched on the reputation of this match but that's important to think about going in. I will add that I've probably watched this match more times than any match on this set.

 

Now, the last time I watched this match I was a little disappointed. I had already been exposed to the later iterations of the legendary Santo/Casas rivalry which I thought were so much better and on top of that I was watching it soon after Santo/Espanto and I didn't think this held up favorably compared to that one. This doesn't have the hatred of the later matches in this series and it doesn't have the physicality of the Espanto Jr. match and for whatever reason that really bothered me.

 

Those problems seem silly now. I still prefer the Espanto match and the later Casas/Santo matches but this is still a great match on it's own. It makes for an interesting early chapter in both men's careers. This feels more like two men who respect one another trying to one-up each other than it does a match between bitter rivals and that's because that bitterness isn't there. There's no hatred. Casas is a rudo because he's cocky and he's not afraid to get rough but for much of this match he is still focusing on matwork and athleticism, just like Santo. That hubris is important to the match and directly leads to some of the exchanges where Casas finds himself on the losing end like when Casas slips off the ropes Fuerza Guerrera style and gets flattened by the tope de cristo. It's impressive just how good both men are at projecting those aspects of their personality. Even in the cleanest exchanges it's clear who is the rudo even without any context. Outside of the way both men carry themselves and sell both the action and the story this features some incredible execution. I mean, if you know who these guys are you probably know that but it's hard to talk about a match like this without mentioning it.

 

This feels like a top 20 match but with the amount of amazing stuff on this set I can't say where this will end up just yet. That doesn't make this any less of a classic either. This match just represents another aspect of what makes lucha such great wrestling.

 

Mogur vs. As Charro (Mask vs. Mask) (9/18/87)

Oh man, can I please please please see every As Charro match ever. His offense is sooooooo fucking awesome. He's got awesome punches, a bicycle kick, what looks like a rider kick to the floor, and he tops it all off with a Tamon Honda style delayed german suplex!? I wish he was a bit more subtle about getting his blade ready but that's just one misstep and a rather subtle one at that. The match itself was good but not amazing. I feel like some of this may have been clipped but I can't tell.

 

Blue Panther/Sergio El Hermosa v. Super Astro/Solar (10/17/87)

The first fall of this match is probably one of my favorite individual falls on the whole set. The Solar vs Blue Panther matwork is every bit as good as it looks on paper. Not only does it feature long sections of uninterrupted chain grappling I also liked the way their matwork works in some aspects of amateur riding and mounts into what is some very distinctly lucha matwork. Super Astro vs Sergio El Hermoso is also what you expect it to be and pretty damn good as well. Honestly, I liked the rudo control stuff too but it's that rudo ref shit that is way too distracting. Sigh...

 

El Dandy, Magico y Super Astro vs. Gran Cochise, Javier Cruz y Javier Rocca (11/11/87)

So I guess El Dandy had started watching Japanese wrestling at this point. He had on his best Kazuo Yamazaki tights and was throwing kicks like a UWF guy. It was cool how he and Javier Cruz kept getting really heated when they matched up, especially given their history. Otherwise this is all babyfaces having a good clean wrestling match. Really, almost everyone looks good here. Everyone except Magico (who is wearing Mascara Sagrada gear). Magico's kind of awkward and a few of his really athletic moves don't hit very clean which forces Rocca to overcompensate and it just looks really goofy. It's not a good goofy either. Unfortunately those moments are really distracting, even with so much good stuff happening around them.

 

Arandu vs. Guerrero Negro (Hair vs. Hair) (1988)

Whoa, get a load of Arandu's Rush-tastic hair. That alone has me excited for this hair vs hair match without knowing who he is. I love his whole look with the leopard print and matching valet. The match itself is a fun brawl around ringside and it's made better by a pretty crazy atmosphere. The best part is the finish with one of the best fouls n the set. Arandu gets away with it too! And somehow he got out of the building without the crowd killing him.

 

Kung Fu v. Javier Cruz (3/88)

I like rudo Kung Fu. I'd seen a few of his matches without the mask where he uses the nunchucks as weapons (like he does to Cruz at the start) and remember enjoying them even if I don't remember one of them being especially great. Similarly, while this isn't the most amazing brawl on the set it was still pretty entertaining. Cruz is a bit dry and I feel like he could have done more to make this feel like a big fight but mechanically he brought a lot to this match. Probably a bottom half match but really fun and I'm glad it was on this set.

 

Pirata Morgan, Hombre Bala y Verdugo vs. Atlantis, Angel Azteca y Ringo Mendoza (3/88)

Now this is a fucking great trios match right here. Los Bucaneros strike again with their brutal triple teams and intricate stooging/miscommunication but this time against an even more spectacular tecnico trio. Angel Azteca was a pretty spectacular young high flyer at this point but Atlantis really shines here in what is one of his absolute best matches. That over the top rope tope he hits is superhuman as are those breathtaking midair armdrags where he leaps and spins before coming down and grabbing his opponents in midair. Those are spots that require cooperation from all parties but they are so perfectly executed here with such good timing that it's easy to forget how the magicians really perform their tricks.

 

When I first watched this I missed the low blow and thought we completely missed the finish. Seeing the lowblow doesn't prove to me that we didn't miss anything but it does at least give me a sense of where the match went from there. Still, with a full picture of the finish or a truly decisive finish we could have had the best trios match on the whole set right here. This is still pretty close and is going to be very high on my ballot when all is said and done.

 

El Hijo Del Santo vs. Espanto Jr. (4/10/88)

This isn't the spectacular matwork of their 1992 title match but this is still another great match in a great rivalry. We have had better matwork in individual falls of other matches but there haven't been many matches with this much matwork throughout that have been this consistent or had a finish this fantastic. I love watching these guys work together and I still think this is a potential top 20 contender but I'm not married to that ranking yet.

 

Kato Kung Lee vs. Kung Fu (Mask vs. Hair) (4/29/88)

Yeah, tim hit the nail on the head for me. This had cool moments but didn't add up to a great match. As someone who is a bit of a mark for Los Fantasticos (and martial arts gimmicks in general as they make me think of my love of Steve Blackman when I was younger) I was surprised we didn't see more of them on the set but I'm assuming that had a lot to do with the footage we did have not being full matches. It's a shame because I was curious about seeing these guys team up with Blackman (not Steve this time) who OJ has made sound like a pretty interesting wrestler.

 

Atlantis vs. Emilio Charles Jr. (8/12/88)

I really like Emilio Charles Jr. and I'm really excited about all of the Emilio Charles Jr. coming up on this set. It's crazy to see him so young and not nearly as hideous as he would one day become. This isn't the best match he ever had with Atlantis but it is still pretty spectacular. The early matwork is simple but worked really well. I love their standoff after one of the faster early exchanges when Atlantis flips to his feet and Charles quickly stumbles to his own feet. That's a cool visual to demonstrate a rudo being momentarily outclassed by a tecnico. Emphasis on momentarily as Charles is right there with Atlantis for most of this match. We get to see more of the spectacular Atlantis offense that made up his arsenal at that time and not to be outdone Charles has some beautiful looking offense of his own including a great looking tope con giro. This is one of the most satisfying matches on the set and one that I think will do pretty well with a lot of people even if it's not an top tier match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×