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Jerry Estrada vs. Ultraman (3/2/84)

 

This was a match for Ultraman's Mexican National Middleweight Championship, which he won in a match against Aguila Solitaria after Lizmark had won the NWA World Middleweight Championship and vacated the national title. Aguila Solitaria's not a guy who features on the set, but he was one of the most promising newcomers of the early 80s and worked a gimmick where he brought an eagle to the ring and let it fly around the arena before his matches. According to Luchawiki: "Obviously this led to some wacky situations where the eagle would refuse to return to his master or would actually attack various fans or his opponents." I believe this is also the first match on the set from Arena Coliseo, which is CMLL's secondary arena in Mexico City.

 

Ultraman was a guy who came up through the Guanajuato area. Like a lot of luchadores, he made his start in boxing before crossing over into wrestling. Most of his polishing came under Alejandro de Alba, who was an experienced exponent of Greco-Roman wrestling and helped Ultraman earn his professional license in 1968. He was quite good in his rookie years as Milo Ventura. Good enough to sometimes get a rub by having El Solitario work as his second. I spoke earlier about the accident that almost cost Ultraman his career. During a Dick Angelo y Bruno Victoria vs. Milo Ventura y Javier Llanes tag match on 5/28/74, Ventura hit his head on the canvas while attempting a hurracarana on Angelo and fell unconscious. The accident left him unable to walk for a time and he was bed ridden for several months before making his recovery. While training for his in-ring return, he found the inspiration for his new gimmick on television. As mentioned before, the Ultraman gimmick became a tremendous success with Ultraman taking a string of masks from '75 to '83, my favourite being that of Ismael Rodriguez whose gimmick was "The Charles Bronson of Mexico." It also led to tours of Japan where the idea that someone was working an Ultraman gimmick led to quite a sensation. Apparently, UWA were booking to a four way mask match with Los Enfermeros and regular ally Kung Fu when Ultraman had another setback in the form of a serious car accident on route to Monterrey (or possibly Queretaro, I'm not quite sure.) Ultraman recovered, but it seems that he was never really the same afterwards. He got the win over Aguila Solitaria that I mentioned at the outset on 8/12/83 and had several title defences, but was moved into trios and never really featured in any title picture afterward, at a time when titles were important and had a strong correlation to a wrestler's push.

 

After the Space Cadets ran their course, Ventura fell on hard times and ended up losing his mask three times on a tour of the North in September '87. The first was officially vs. Brazo de Oro in the Auditorium of Tijuana, B. C. (Thursday Sept 3 ), then against Cinta de Oro in the Municipal Auditorium of Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua (Wednesday Sept 9 ) and to close with Sangre Chicana in Arena Nuevo Laredo, in Nuevo Laredo (Monday Sept 14.) DJ Spectro, who did a five part write-up on Ultraman on his Facebook page this month, claims he also had further mask matches against Brazo de Oro (in Los Angeles), Halcon de Oro (Reynosa), another with Chicana (Torreon) and against Estrada and Atlantis (in Monterrey), which is pretty wild if true. As Ventura, he wrestled hair matches against Jerry Estrada, exotico Babe Sharon and Perro Aguayo in 1988 before getting involved in some sort of local politics where he'd campaign with his mask on. I believe he tried to make a comeback as Ultraman in 1990 complete with mask, but it fizzled out. Later he returned on the indy circuit where we still see him today at the age of 66, still wearing his mask.

 

If anyone is interested in Ultraman, I recommend DJ Spectro's series, which obviously goes into more detail than I'm capable of.

 

Jerry Estrada made his start in Monclova, in the northern state of Coahuila. He was trained by ex-luchador, Alberto Mora, who trained Volador/Super Parka and the legendary L.A. Park among others, and sadly passed away last year. Herodes, who was a Coahuila native, used to promote cards in the North with Chicana and it was him who brought Estrada to Mexico City along with Guerrero Negro in 1982. Guerrero Negro couldn't handle working in Mexico City, but Estrada survived the initial hardship and by this time ('84) was already enjoying the fruits of his labour. I believe he'd been part of the tournament to decide the vacant Mexican National Middleweight title, so he'd been there or thereabouts in '83. After taking the title, he got a few title defences under his belt before putting over Atlantis, but he really made a name for himself when he changed his look and took on the nickname of "El Puma" Jerry Estrada, but we'll get to that later.

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Tony Salazar vs. Herodes (3/2/84)

 

There's really nothing I can add about this that you don't already know. It was a mano a mano grudge match between Salazar and Herodes after Salazar had taken Herodes’ hair at Arena Mexico in September of '83.

 

What I will reiterate is that this period of lucha ('84-85) really is toward the end of the competitive careers of many of these unmasked guys. Salazar would go on to become the masked Ulises, Talisman would become Hijo del Gladiador, Tony Benetto "Gran Markus Jr," Halcon Ortiz "Super Halcon" and Americo Rocca "Ponzoña," though that was slightly later on. Even Herodes would get re-gimmicked as a crazy man who would: "wear strange hair cuts and dye his hair with different colours, while showing up dressed like a roman emperor or a boxer and acting like he believed that was what he was."

 

It's not that uncommon for older luchadores to take on new masked identities after their money making days are over, but it's interesting that workers like Ringo Mendoza and El Faraon never had to.

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El Hijo del Santo, Cachorro Mendoza y Chamaco Valaguez vs. Jerry Estrada, Fuerza Guerrera y Talisman (3/9/84)

 

Santo's partners here are Cachorro Mendoza and Chamaco Valaguez. Mendoza is the guy in blue trunks with white boots and Valaguez is the guy in tights with the longer hair.

 

I wish I could tell you a lot about Chamaco Valaguez, but the only information I could find about him is the standard bio stuff. The most interesting thing about Valaguez is that after he reached EMLL in 1980 he had three really lengthy title reigns, firstly for the Mexican National Lightweight Championship, then the Mexican National Welterweight Championship and NWA World Welterweight Championship, where he never lost the titles, instead vacating them each time because he moved up a weight class or held two belts at the same time. He wouldn't lose a belt to another wrestler until Gran Cochisse took the NWA World Middleweight title away from him on 5/18/85. What this means is that unless Luchawiki is wrong somehow, Chamaco Valaguez was undefeated in title matches from 6/12/80 until 5/18/85. What he did to deserve this kind of protection, who knows. It wasn't as though he was that big a star, but somebody in the EMLL front office liked him. As is usual in a lucha trios, there was a historical issue between Valaguez and Estrada, who had met in a hair match in January the year before.

 

Cachorro Mendoza was the young brother of Ringo Mendoza, cachorro meaning "puppy" in English and referring to Cachorro being the youngest of the Mendoza brothers. Cachorro's rep has always been that he wasn't as good a worker as his brother and rode his coattails to a certain extent. I don't know how fair that is, but it's worth keeping in mind that EMLL lost a ton of young talent to the LLI/UWA in the late 70s, and thus the guys who stayed probably got pushes they wouldn't have received if the stars had still been around. Cachorro announced his arrival as Ringo's little brother by shocking the lucha world by beating Sangre Chicana for the vacant National Middleweight title on 6/8/79.

 

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Sangre Chicana had been the undisputed king of the middleweight division for the previous two years claiming 28 title defences as National Middleweight champion before the Comision de Box y Lucha Libre Mexico D.F. made him vacate the title for some complicated reason (though knowing Chicana he was probably suspended.) Cachorro's reign would only last a short time, but it catapulted him into feuds with both Sangre Chicana and Satanico, which ultimately led to his brother getting involved and a Mendozas vs. Satanico y Chicana hair vs. hair match in '82 where the Mendoza brothers went bald.

 

For continuity's sake, this trios took place during Valaguez's Mexican National Welterweight title run and the Mendoza brothers long run as National Tag Team Title Champions.

 

The main issue in this trios was the feud between Santo and Guerrera, which led to a title match later in the year after Santo claimed the UWA World Lightweight Championship. Talisman would go on to the form the trio Los Bravos with Fuerza and El Dandy the following year.

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Lizmark vs. El Satanico (April 1984)

 

This was one of the premier match-ups in Mexico at the time as you had two guys who were almost always near the top of their weight class, one of whom was one of the best technico workers in lucha and the other one of the best rudo workers. Unfortunately, the match we have of theirs perhaps doesn't do the match-up justice, but it was a rivalry which stretched all the way to their AAA days.

 

Lizmark made his debut in 1976 under the tutelage of former rudo Braulio Mendoza. He worked for a few years at Arena Coliseo Acapulco and the surrounding Guerrero area before moving to Mexico City. On 4/18/79, he defeated Americo Rocca for the Mexican National Welterweight Championship in his hometown of Acapulco, which kick started his national career. The reason for Rocca dropping the belt was that he was slated to beat Mano Negra for the NWA World Welterweight Championship on 4/30/79. Lizmark immediately became a challenger to Rocca's world title and the pair fought in Mexico City on the undercard of the 6/15/79 Satoru Sayama vs. Alfonso Dantes hair match. Somewhat ironically, Rocca lost the world's title to Kato Kung Lee and took Lizmark's national title on 3/29/80. Undeterred, Lizmark went after new NWA World Welterweight champ El Supremo and on 6/4/80 won his first world title in Acapulco only four years after his debut.

 

Lizmark enjoyed a year long run with the title, fending off the challenges of deposed champ El Supremo and early career rival Rocca, as well new rudo on the block Mocho Cota, before finally losing the title to another rising star, La Fiera, on 10/23/81. In the wake of his world title loss, he put on some muscle and moved up to the middleweight ranks, where he met El Satanico for the first time. Lizmark would beat Satanico for the National Middleweight Championship on 2/10/82, a belt Satanico had taken from Solar I, just to get your mouth watering. As National Middleweight champ, Lizmark feuded extensively with both El Faraon and Espectro Jr., who they pulled a title switch with, before challenging for Satanico's NWA World Middleweight Championship. Lizmark won that title on 6/3/83, making him a duel middleweight champ, and lost the title back to Satanico at the end of '83 on the 12/3 Arena Coliseo show. Which brings us to this title defence in April of 1984.

 

One notable fact about Lizmark for those struggling to grasp the esteem he was held in was that when he later moved up to the light heavyweight ranks, he became the first Mexican since Gori Guerrero in 1960 to win NWA world championships in three different weight classes. Another interesting fact about Lizmark is that despite some intense, often bloody feuds against the likes of Satanico, Sangre Chicana and others, he was very rarely involved in apuestas matches. His two biggest scalps were Americo Rocca and El Faraon, but it's unclear when those matches took place. It wasn't that apuestas matches weren't teased, they just never materialised.

 

Satanico, as we know, started coming into his own in 1980 when he defeated Satoru Sayama for the NWA World Middleweight title on 3/28/80 and then impressed everyone by successfully defending the title against Ringo Mendoza in Acapulco and El Faraon at Arena Mexico. He also had another coming out party of sorts when he tagged with Fantasma on a 10/3/80 Arena Coliseo show against Sangre Chicana and Mocho Cota, a short time after he'd taken Cota's hair and just before he faced Fantasma for his mask on 10/24. Satanico apparently got over big on this Arena Coliseo show and was basically the king of the middleweight division for the next few years as Chicana had been in the late 70s.

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This might be the best thread on this forum. I've just spent 45 mins reading it. I'm going to have to watch some more of this set now. This context helps bring everything alive, it's enhanced the matches I've already seen.

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There's not much I can add to the following two matches:

Satanico vs. Shiro Koshinaka (Hair vs. Hair) (7/30/84)

For those of you who don't know, Koshinaka was originally an All Japan wrestler before jumping to New Japan Pro-Wrestling. In March of '84, Baba sent Koshinaka and Misawa overseas on a learning excursion. They were expected to stay in Mexico for a year, but Baba called them back to Tokyo just a few months after this match. These Mexico stints were a real eye-opener for most Japanese wrestlers as in the early '80s Japan was still experiencing its post-war period of miracle economic growth, while Mexico was in the throes of a debt crisis that had caused its worst recession since the 1930s. Add to that the language barrier, no money and nagging concerns over safety and drinking water, and a lot of young Japanese guys found these tours a bit hairy.

While in Mexico, Koshinaka and Misawa took on the names Samurai Shiro and Kamikaze Misawa and worked on the technico side, however because this match involves a foreigner there's an element of the crowd cheering for Satanico. Had they stayed in Mexico, it seems that Koshinaka may have gotten some sort of a title shot similar to Misawa's title shot against Satanico for the NWA World Middleweight Championship a few months prior, but Baba had bought the rights to the Tiger Mask character and was eager for it to make its debut. Ironically, when they returned from Mexico, Koshinaka saw the writing on the wall with the Misawa push, and after the deflections in '85 left New Japan shorthanded he made the jump.

El Satanico y Espectro Jr. v. El Faraón y La Fiera (8/12/84)

 

This was rudos contra rudos, and I believe part of the longstanding Satanico y Espectro Jr. vs. Sangre Chicana y El Faraon feud.

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Gran Cochise vs. Satanico (9/14/84)

 

Gran Cochisse was a trainee of Diablo Velazco in Guadalajara and made his debut at 14 years old. While working in the Jalisco region, he adopted a Native American gimmick and began calling himself "Gran Cochisse" ("The Great Cochise") after the famous Apache chief, Cochise. Gran Cochisse wore traditional feathered headdresses and face paint, and even carried a tomahawk to the ring at times. Why there were so many Native American gimmicks at this time, I'm not sure. It may have had something to do with Cochisse's generation being reared on a healthy dose of Cowboys and Indians, or perhaps it was just a popular gimmick in the Guadalajara region as there were other workers with similar gimmicks such as Indio Jeronimo and Indio Medina, who formed the Los Indios Bravos tag team in the early 70s. When Gran Cochisse and Águila India began tagging in the Jalisco territory, they also took on the Los Indios Bravos nickname, a gimmick they took with them to EMLL.

 

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Unlike most of the wrestlers we've profiled, Gran Cochisse didn't win a million titles. A real rough, physical type, Cochisse was more accustomed to bloody hair matches than ten pounds of gold. In the late 70s to early 80s period, he had hair match feuds with Americo Rocca, Sangre Chicana, Chamaco Valaguez and Mocho Cota, to name some of the workers now familiar to you. He even had a hair match feud with his Los Indios Bravos blood brother, Aguila India, in the summer of '83, just before Aguila India was repackaged as the masked worker Unicornio. With their partnership dissolving, Cochisse experienced something of a purple patch. On 8/18/84, he won the NWA World Middleweight title from Satanico at Arena Mexico, which led to the title defence you see here. After Satanico won the return bout, EMLL pulled another title switch in Guadalajara on the 30th. Cochisse then dropped the title to Gran Hamada at El Toreo on 11/18/84, clips of which are on YouTube. Cochisse ended his career year with a hair match victory over Cota on the 12/7 Arena Mexico show. The following year it seemed as though he was heading into the twilight of his career when he was used to put over the younger El Dandy, but he managed to stretch out those last rays of sunlight by winning the world's middleweight title for a third time on 5/18/86 when he became the first man to defeat Chamaco Valaguez for a major wrestling title.

 

By the end of '86, Cochisse gave way to the new generation of middleweights such as Kung Fu, Atlantis, El Dandy and Emilio Charles Jr, but he enjoyed one last title run as UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight champion, a belt he took from Blue Panther in September of '88. After dropping the title to Ringo Mendoza, Cochisse was phased out of competitive wrestling and given the masked gimmick Espectro de Ultratumba ("The Ghost from Beyond the Grave.") Eventually, he took over as one of the trainers at Diablo Velazco's school in Guadalajara, but he lost that position when CMLL weren't happy with the quality of workers coming out of the school.

 

Incidentally, there was also a phasing out of Satanico from the title picture around this time. Once he lost the UWA World Middleweight title in early '85, he became more heavily involved in trios wrestling and the various hair match feuds he was embroiled in. Presumably the reason for this was to push some of the young workers that EMLL had high hopes for in terms of reclaiming ground from the UWA.

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One thing I forgot to mention about the Koshinaka match is that Baba had tried to set-up his own juniors division in the early 80s to provide some sort of counterpart to the success New Japan were having with Tiger Mask, and initially he had Onita as his juniors ace feuding with Chavo Guerrero Sr. When Onita was forced to retire, Baba bought the Tiger Mask rights to have something to replace him with. I believe this is the reason why their stay was cut short.

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Sangre Chicana vs. MS-1 (Hair vs. Hair) (9/21/84)

 

This one is pretty straight forward.

 

The most interesting thing about this match is that Sangre Chicana had his finger in so many pies at this point that it's interesting that they went with a return match for the Anniversary Show. Not only did he have a personal vendetta with each of the Los Infernales members, he also had bad blood with Fishman, Perro Aguayo and the Mendoza brothers. Hell, he'd even taken Los Guerreros over to El Toreo in '83 and started something with the Misioneros that led to a Super Libre match, which is basically a no DQ match. On the undercard of the 7/1/83 Mendoza brothers vs. La Fiera and Mocho Cota hair match, Chicana and Aguayo had a mano a mano bout that was so bloody the doctor stopped the fight. So, there was any number of ways Paco could have gone if he wanted a Chicana fight in the main event, and you can judge for yourselves if you think it was the right choice.

 

Atlantis, Ringo Mendoza y Tony Salazar vs. El Satanico, MS-1 y Espectro Jr. (9/28/84)

 

There doesn't appear to be anything special about this other than it's another bout with the original Infernales.

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Villano III vs. Perro Aguayo (10/7/84)

 

This marks the first appearance on the set of one of the biggest names of the decade, Villano III. The match is from a Japanese commercial tape that was released in the 80s. The tape was basically a one hour special release dedicated to Villano, heralding him as the 1984 MVP, an award given to him by LLI at their annual awards dinner. The full length version features footage of Francisco Flores, El Toreo, and the lengthy post match scenes.

 

As many of you will know, Jose Fernandez wrote a lengthy and detailed bio of Villano III a number of years ago which is hosted on the Luchawiki website, so I'll just bring you up to speed on how Villano got to this point. Villano began his career working as a rudo in a lot of the smaller arenas on the UWA circuit. This was basically how he cut his teeth. He'd come in and work spot shows where they'd build to hair vs. mask matches or mask matches with the local talent. It was a formula that served him well for the entire decade, even when he became a big star at El Toreo, as he grew to become one of the lucha de apuestas guys in the independents. When he'd feature at El Toreo, it was usually on the undercard either tagging with his father or brother, but in 1981 Flores gave him his first big push by having him upset Fishman for the UWA World Light Heavyweight Title, which was a huge deal at the time and got tongues wagging about how the younger Mendoza was following in his father's footsteps. Flores next move was to turn Villano technico, which he did by having him feud with Los Misioneros. For weeks on end, the Misioneros would beat Villano up, tearing his mask and making him bleed. This wasn't come across on the set, but in the 80s UWA was by far the bloodier of the two major lucha libre promotions, and the Misioneros in particular were notorious for having bloody matches. As Jose mentions, Villano would blade not only his forehead but his arms and chin as well. Villano challenged the Misioneros leader, El Signo, to a hair vs. mask match which took place on 8/1/82, and when Villano won the reaction he got cemented him as a technico. El Signo's partner, El Texano, tried to avenge his captain a few weeks later and suffered the same fate. After a tour of Japan, Villano officially turned technico by forming a trios with two of the biggest masked superstars of the era, El Solitario and Anibal. The trio were known as "Los Tres Caballeros" (The Three Gentlemen), and were basically the personification of what you imagined masked technico luchadores to be.

 

Now that Villano was the top light heavyweight technico it was only fitting that he feuded with the top light heavyweight rudo, Perro Aguayo, who was the number two rudo to El Canek (Canek had this weird thing where he was a technico against foreigners and a rudo against Mexicans.) On 3/20/83, Villano defeated Aguayo for the WWF World Light Heavyweight Title. In August of that year, they had a massive three match series. First Aguayo won the title back on the 7th, then the following week they had a super libre match that Jose describes a blood bath, then on the 21st they had one of the most famous matches in Villano's career when he defeated Perro Aguayo in a hair vs. mask match.

 

Much like Sangre Chicana, Aguayo continued feuding with everyone through '83 and '84, before the Villano feud was restarted in late '84. Aguayo had dropped the WWF strap to Gran Hamada in Tokyo on 4/17/84 and Villano won it from him at El Toreo the following month. This match was Aguayo's first challenge during Villano's second run with the belt. What you see here is a bout that is a lot cleaner than these bloody El Toreo matches I've been describing and one that's a teeny bit junior heavyweight influenced as this was really the world's light heavyweight championship at the time and picked up a lot of different influences from a lot of different places.

 

Villano would go on to hold this title for a full two years until Fishman took it from him on 8/24/86. The Villano vs. Aguayo feud would carry on until the late 80s though it abated somewhat as Villano moved on to feuds with Sangre Chicana and Rambo and Aguayo became caught up in a web of bloody hair matches with Chicana and El Faraon.

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Satanico vs. Super Astro (10/84)

 

The date on this one is 10/14/84. It was the semi-final of the show that featured the Perro Aguayo vs. Sangre Chicana vs. El Faraon vs. Villano III elimination match.

 

Super Astro debut in May 1974 in Ensenada, Baja California under the name Rey Bucanero. Despite possessing the talent and charisma to succeed, Astro had a hard time breaking in the business due to his size. At only 5'3", he was the shortest guy in the ring no matter where he worked and was often told he couldn't make it as fighter. In his early years, he drifted between Tijuana and Los Angeles trying to catch a break. After a while, it dawned on him that he might be more successful as an enmascarado, and in the late 70s he took a sketch of mask he'd made when he was only 9 years old and developed it into the Super Astro mask. At the same time, he took advantage of being unable to get a booking by lifting weights and adding muscle to his frame. He managed to secure a booking at the Olympic Auditorium and on the opening match of the card debut his Super Astro character against Principe Hindu. People were taken with his mask and signature spots and the gimmick was enough to secure him a spot on the Baja California circuit. Then came his big break when Francisco Flores brought him down from Tijuana to the Federal District.

 

1984 was a big year for Super Astro. Los Cadetes del Espacio were formed that year, possibly for the UWA World Trios Tournament which ran for two months from late January until the middle of March. The Cadetes shocked the lucha world by defeating the pre-tournament favourites on 1/29/84. They also defeated La Ola Lila and Los Temerarios on the way to the final, the Cadetes vs. Exoticos match possibly being the one from the set. The final took place on 3/18/84 against Los Fantasticos, however an hour before the show, Super Astro found out his mother had died and immediately left for Tijuana with Gran Hamada taking his place in the final.

 

Singles success then came in the form of the UWA World Middleweight Championship, which Astro won from Gran Hamada in Guadalajara on 7/6/84. It was that championship victory and this semi-final match against Satanico at Arena Mexico that convinced Astro that he had finally made it in the pro-wrestling business. Astro fell prey to Satanico in both this match and the 1/85 rematch at El Toreo, highlights of which you can see online, but for a guy who they said would never make it the experience was a big deal.

 

Astro went on to have a lengthy career working for EMLL, AAA, the independents and Japan, as well as working in the States. In 1999, he dropped his mask to Villano III in Tijuana in a Relevos Suicidas match with Lizmark and Fishman, but continues to wear his mask even to this day, claiming that the promoter never paid him. Initially, this got him in trouble with the commission, and he occasionally worked under different names in order to keep wrestling under the mask, but these days nobody seems to mind. He also owns a cafe in Mexico City, which is run by his ex-wife. It's famous for its giant torta, which is free if you can finish it in 15 minutes.

 

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As of 2011, only 99 people had ever succeeded in 20 years of trying.

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Javier Cruz, Impacto II y Solar II vs. El Dandy, Franco Colombo y Panico (10/84)

 

This was part of the Javier Cruz/El Dandy feud, which was an important feud in the young careers of both men. There's a good chance it took place on the undercard of the 10/14/84 show, but I can't find any evidence of it.

 

We'll get to El Dandy vs. Javier Cruz in due course. For now here's a quick look at their partners:

 

Panico and Franco Colombo are most notable for being present day CMLL bookers. Panico came from a lucha family, his father Manuel Robles being one of four brothers who wrestled (two as "Robles" and two as "Sitos.") Despite the fact that his father was a popular wrestler, Panico refused to take advantage of his family's reputation and tried to make his own way in the wrestling business as a luchador enmascarado.

 

Probably the most interesting story about Panico is the story of how he unmasked. On August 17th, 1982, Panico lost his mask tagging with his father against Franco Colombo and Faisan, who later became Rocco Valente of Los Destructores. Where it gets interesting is that while everybody agrees that Panico lost his mask, nobody can seem to agree with how it happened. As the story goes, the match ended in a draw and that's where things start to get hazy. Because lucha was governed by an actual regulatory body, there had to be a winner in wager matches. Draws were unheard of for the first 50 or so years of lucha libre. From all accounts, the first instance of a draw in a luchas de apuestas match was the MS-1/Gran Jalisco draw on 7/23/82. On that occasion, both competitors were forced to lose their hair, but with the Panico match accounts of how the draw was dealt with is murky at best. Some claim that one of the refs declared the technicos the winners while the other raised the rudos' hands, while others say only the rudos were declared the winners and therefore the technicos were forced to lose the wager. One person even claims there was an official fourth fall but that the crowd were on the verge of rioting and nobody noticed the fourth fall amid all the confusion. Whatever the case, it seems Faisan unmasked and Colombo lost his hair, and after a week of controversy the commission forced Panico and Robles to do the same.

 

Colombo was a Diablo Velazco protege and part of the same group of trainees as Satanico, Espectro Jr., Asesino Negro, Sangre India (who sadly died doing a tope at Arena Coliseo on Christmas Day 1979), Cesar Curiel, and others. He had a brief run with the Mexican National Welterweight title from late '80 through to early '81, but like an NBA bench player who goes on to be a head coach he spent most of his national career as a JTTS. In fact, he gave up his hair to Cruz twice after this in 1985 and '86.

 

Impacto II is an enigma in that nothing is known about him. I think it's better that way. Solar II is the brother of Solar I, who in Solar I's own words he brought with him to Mexico City because he wanted him to become an accountant or get a good job, but while he thought his brother was studying he was in fact training to be a wrestler. So, Solar formed a tag team with his brother. Solar II had a much more modest career than his famous brother, but he had a few moments in the sun, including taking Enfermero Jr.'s mask and winning the NWA World Welterweight Championship.

 

I don't think it's difficult to make out who's who, but Panico is the guy in the black amateur singlet and Colombo is the guy in the green trunks.

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Perro Aguayo vs. Sangre Chicana vs. El Faraon vs. Villano III (Elimination Match) (10/84)

 

This was the main event of the 10/14/84 show.

 

Chicana, Faraon and Villano III all had issues with Perro Aguayo. We've covered them before, but let's recap:

 

After Faraon was unmasked by Fishman in April of '76, the first big feud he was involved with was a program with Perro Aguayo. They feuded over the NWA World Middleweight title and later the NWA World Light Heavyweight title, but their feud was so heated that it led to a hair vs. hair match on the 43rd Anniversary Show and a double hair vs. hair match between Faraon & Ringo Mendoza vs. Perro Aguayo & Joe Palardy on the year end show for '77 after Faraon had beaten Palardy for the World Middleweight title a few weeks earlier.

 

The great thing about lucha at this time is that they didn't stop feuding when Faraon became a rudo. In 1982 there was an atomicos match at Arena Mexico that paired El Solitario, Mascara 2000, Ringo y Cachorro Mendoza and Perro Aguayo, Fishman, Sangre Chicana y Faraon against each other. In the third fall, Fishman accidentally hit Faraon with one of his kicks, which ignited a brawl between the two. Aguayo immediately entered to attack Faraon and when Chicana intervened in support of the Pharaoh, Arena Mexico apparently became a madhouse with just this incredible reaction at seeing the rudos fight. The following week there was a wild Chicana/Faraon vs. Aguayo/Fishman fight that was said to be one of the most memorable rudos contra rudos fights ever seen with no quarter asked and none given. That led to an even wilder super libre match where Aguayo bled so much he couldn't finish the third fall and had to leave because of blood loss. The violence didn't stop there, however, as they took the feud to El Toreo in February of '83 for a pair of revenge matches where the blood continued to flow. Fishman bled so much in their second fight that the doctor wanted to stop the fight, but Fishman ultimately forced Chicana to submit in a match people still talk about as one of the bloodiest in Mexican wrestling history.

 

And of course, Villano and Aguayo had their own war the same year with their hair vs. mask bout. And what more can be said about Sangre Chicana, voted 1983's most outstanding wrestler by Box y Lucha Magazine, which was a tremendous honour for the 50th anniversary of lucha libre, his three feuds with MS-1, Satanico and Aguayo sealing the deal.

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Hell, he'd even taken Los Guerreros over to El Toreo in '83 and started something with the Misioneros that led to a Super Libre match, which is basically a no DQ match.

I want to make a correction to this. Los Guerreros did work El Toreo in '83 but it was against Perro Aguayo, Fishman and Babe Face. In the Misioneros matches, El Faraon subbed for Cota.

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Javier Cruz vs. El Dandy (Hair vs. Hair) (10/26/84)

 

So far we've seen a lot of headliners crossing promotions and continuing feuds in different territories. What makes this match special is that it features two guys who came up through the EMLL system. Both wrestlers trained in Guadalajara under Diablo Velazco and Pedro Anguiano and made their debuts in the Jalisco territory before being called up to Mexico City. Despite the fact that the LLI/UWA was outdrawing EMLL rather heavily, there was a lot of optimism in the EMLL office that it was their feeder territories that would produce the next generation of stars. In particular, Paco had high hopes for El Dandy, La Fiera and Jerry Estrada. As we know, only one of those workers lived up to his potential and the other two flaked out due to drugs, but in the 1984 landscape those were the bright young hopes.

 

Cruz wasn't as charismatic as those workers I mentioned and subsequently never received their level of push, but he held on to a solid spot through most of the 80s up until the TV boom where he struggled to make an impact. A technico for much of the 80s, they turned him rudo in the early 90s, but he didn't have the panache to pull it off. His push for the most productive part of his career centered around a "El Tijeras de Oro" (Golden Scissors) gimmick, which is where you win a lot of hair matches and gain the rep of being hard to beat in a hair match. He also enjoyed a trios run with "Los Xavieres," a group made up of Cruz, Chamaco Valaguez, Americo Rocca, and sometimes Javier Llanes, all of whom shared the first name of Xavier/Javier.

 

Cruz was also an early rival of El Dandy. The pair had a lengthy feud over the NWA World Welterweight Championship that began when Valaguez vacated the title in '85 and continued through 1986. A week after reclaiming the world's title from Cruz, the pair met in a second hair vs. hair match that I believe is the match Dr. Alfonso Morales always refers to as one of the all-time memorable bloodbaths. A few years later, Cruz got a measure of revenge over Dandy by taking the Mexican National Middleweight title from him before the belt was given to Octagon, which heralded a new style of booking.

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GRRRRRR. Guess it kept posting every time I tried. I kept getting errors and the reply wasn't showing up, until now. :(

 

 

I'm thinking maybe I got the error because the reply was going onto a new page? Not sure. Internet Explorer is lame.

 

Sorry for the extra posts mods!

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Gran Cochise, Villano III y Rayo De Jalisco Jr. vs. Fishman, Mocho Cota y Tony Bennetto (11/30/84)

 

This marks the first appearance on the set of one of the biggest stars of the 80s, Fishman, which gives you an idea of how sketchy footage is.

 

Fishman began training as a wrestler in Cicudad Juarez when he was 17 years old alongside El Marquez, El Cobarde I, and Cobrade's brother El Impostor, who later became El Cobrade II. Like most wrestlers from his generation, he claims to have been inspired by the iconic stars of yesteryear, in Fishman’s case Blue Demon and Black Shadow. His debut story, whether kayfabed or real, is a classic wrestling yarn about showing up to a card where one of the wrestlers had no-showed and being asked to wrestle despite only having a pair of underpants and some old boots lent to him by another wrestler. In the middle of 1972, he got a gig in Monterrey and by November he had worked his way up to Mexico City, where he got over despite working the more violent Monterrey style. Having established himself at Arena Mexico, he changed the design of his mask under the initiative of Lutteroth Sr. and began wearing the classic green mask with the yellow manta ray design.

 

Despite the fact he was a rudo, he was pushed as one of the top welterweights in the country, initially supplanting Karloff Lagarde as the dominant Mexican National Welterweight Champion and then feuding extensively with his idol Blue Demon over both the national and world titles. He also had three important mask matches in the late 70s against El Faraon in '76, Sangre Chicana (in a triangle match with El Cobrade) at the '77 Anniversary show, and a week later against El Cobrade, his real life best friend. These mask matches not only launched the careers of El Faraon and Sangre Chicana, they pushed Fishman to further stardom,

 

In spite of this, he walked out on EMLL and joined UWA in the second wave of defections. In the UWA, he was pushed as the their top light heavyweight through much of the early 80s, feuding with the likes of Perro Aguayo, Sangre Chicana, Villano III and Anibal, often in rudo vs. rudo feuds. At the time of this match, he was still the UWA World Light Heavyweight Champion having defeated Villano III for the vacant title on 4/1/84.

 

As the 80s wore on, however, his star began to wane. The death of two of his closest friends in the business, El Cobrade and El Solitario, greatly affected him, the latter especially as Fishman was Solitario's final opponent and the magazines at the time initially blamed him for Solitario's death. Fishman continued to work for UWA until the early 90s when the majority of LLI’s talent left for either CMLL or AAA. Fishman made the jump to AAA, but the worker who made TV after many long years, despite still being a fine brawler in my opinion, didn’t match the legendary status of his name, leading many to question whether he ever any good. Those who saw him in Cicudad Juarez swear he was one of the all-time greats. The 1977 Anniversary show three-way mask match exists on tape, but it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get to see it. From the fragments that exist of his pre-AAA career, he looks like a fantastic rudo brawler.

 

Also making his debut on the set is Rayo de Jalisco Jr. Rayo’s father, Rayo de Jalisco Sr., was a big star in the 60s and an absolute legend in the Jalisco region. Rayo Sr. didn’t want his son to become a wrestler, so initially Rayo Jr. kept his training a secret from his father. He was trained in Guadalajara under Diablo Velazco, making his debut as a 15 year-old as “Rayman.” It was Rayo’s uncle, Tony Sugar, who convinced Rayo Sr. to watch his boy wrestle and bestow the Rayo de Jalisco character upon him complete with the famous lightening bolt mask. Rayo Sr. then took his boy under his wing until he was ready to work in the Federal District.

 

Rayo Jr.’s most famous feud in EMLL was his long running rivalry with Cien Caras, which came to a head on 9/14/90 in a mask vs. mask match that drew the biggest crowd in EMLL history. In fact, they crammed so many people into Arena Mexico that the upper deck suffered structural damage from the weight of so many extra fans. For many it was the Match of the Century and certainly the most anticipated lucha match since the 1953 Santo/Black Shadow mask match.

 

In 1984, however, Rayo was still finding his way and had won and lost the Mexican National Heavyweight Championship in short order.

 

Another wrestler new to the set is Tony Benetto. Benetto is better known as Gran Markus Jr., a gimmick he took on when the original Gran Markus was looking for a successor, but originally he had an Italian Mafioso gimmick. Like Rayo Jr., Benetto was a heavyweight and up until this point his biggest push had been a strong rivalry with Halcon Ortiz that included two hair matches and a heavyweight title change.

 

This trios was part of the build to a Gran Cochisse/Mocho Cota hair match on the 12/7/84 Arena Mexico show.

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Sangre Chicana vs. Villano III (12/7/84)

 

I don't think the date on this is correct. According to my research, the 12/7/84 Arena Mexico show was headlined by the Gran Coloso vs. Mascara 2000 mask vs. mask match and a Gran Cochisse vs. Mocho Cota hair match.

 

7%2BDICIEMBRE%2B19840003.JPG

 

The undercard featured Solar II y Las Estrellas Blancas vs. Panico, Lemus II y Franco Colombo, MS1,Herodes y Espectro Jr vs. Amercio Rocca,Tony Salazar y Cachorro Mendoza, a El Hijo del Santo, Hombre Bala y Javier Cruz vs. Fuerza Guerrera, Talisman y El Supremo match where Santo pulled off Fuerza's mask. and a Villano III y Cien Caras vs. Perro Aguayo y El Faraon tag match that was allegedly so violent and bloody that all four were banned from Arena Mexico for three months, and ended with Aguayo and Faraon coming to blows.

 

There was a Chicana vs. Villano III mano a mano bout at El Toreo on 10/7/84. with Cien Caras, Fishman y Coloso Colosetti vs. Misioneros, El Hijo del Santo y Los Fantasicos vs. Negro Casas y Los Temerarios atomicos, and Blue Panther y Ray Richard vs. Falcon y Halcon 78 on the undercard. Since rematches between El Toreo and Arena Mexico usually took place in short succession, my guess is this bout is from either October or November of '84.

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Raul Reyes Jr. & Climax vs. Mocho Cota & Loco Zavala (Sonora 1985) (Youtube)

 

A lot of wrestlers when they weren't working the Federal District would work for smaller independent promotions around the country and in some cases promote the shows. Cota was from the Sonora region and had gotten his start there. I don't know how often Cota worked Sonora during his gravy years, but he continued to work there and train young wrestlers after his run with the big promotions was over. There's not much info about the other three workers. I suspect Raul Reyes "Jr." is actually Raul Reyes the maestro who helped train Fuerza Guerrera, Negro Casas, Felino, Heavy Metal, L.A. Park and Octagon, among others. In any event, this is a good example of the type of independent wrestling that was happening outside of the major territories like Monterrey, Tijuana and Mexico City.

 

Atlantis vs. El Faraon (3/22/85)

 

This match saw Atlantis defend his Mexican National Middleweight title against El Faraon. Faraon was still a rudo at this point and Atlantis was still being pushed as a new young superstar. He'd just come off his first luchas de apuestas victory at the '84 Anniversary show, and successfully defending his title here against a wrestler as established as Faraon was another big coup for the youngster, similar to El Satanico's victory over Faraon in 1980. Atlantis' initial push would last through to the end of '86 where he lost the middleweight title to El Talisman but took Hombre Bala's mask to compensate. A cooling off period followed before his career entered its second phase in 1988.

 

La Fiera, El Faraón y El Egipico vs. MS-1, Satanico y Pirata Morgan (3/29/85)

 

In 1985, Pirata Morgan joined MS-1 and Satanico to form the most famous version of Los Infernales, though they are more renowned for their second run as a team than this first wave of terror. A common story on the internet is that Morgan replaced Espectro Jr when injuries ended his career, but Espectro continued to wrestle throughout the 80s and into the 90s. According to an interview with Morgan, he filled in for Espectro when the latter had an illness. Yet again this is rudos contra rudos, and led to a hair match between Morgan and El Egipico the following week.

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Americo Rocca vs. El Talisman (3/29/85)

 

On 9/21/84 at EMLL’s 51st Anniversary show, El Talisman lost to Atlantis in a mask vs. mask match, revealing his identity to the lucha public for the first time. Talisman unmasked as Arturo Beristain, a 13 year vet from Mexico City who had been trained by Pedro Nieves, Rolando Vera and Rafael Salamanca, maestros who had trained some of the biggest names in the business.

 

talisman2.jpg

 

Photo: Talisman after his unmasking in 1984.

 

For much of the 70s, Talisman had been a lower card worker, wrestling in either the first or second match on the card, but with the right physique and a mask the fans liked, he began winning luchas de apuestas matches at smaller venues such as Pista Arena Revolución and Arena Coliseo. In 1978, he won his first professional wrestling title when he defeated Mario Valenzuela to win the Mexican National Lightweight Championship, and the lucha magazine El Halcon declared him the best opening match worker in the country. By the early 80s, he had moved into the welterweight ranks where he feuded with both Mocho Cota and Americo Rocca over the Mexican National Welterweight championship and gained even more of a national spotlight.

 

It was in the middle of his feud with Rocca that he dropped his mask to Atlantis. A month before his unmasking, Talisman had defeated Rocca for the vacant National Welterweight title, thus ensuring that even though he lost his mask he was still the holder of one of the most important titles in the country. Talisman was lucky that like Faraon and MS-1 before him, he was a handsome guy with a great physique, and the magazines immediately began running photo shoots and cover stories with him after the unmasking. He also got his heat back immediately by taking Rocca’s hair on the 10/26 Arena Mexico show.

 

This match from March of ’85 was the culmination of a six month effort by Rocca to win back the National Welterweight crown and gain revenge for his hair loss. It was also the high water mark for the Talisman character. Beristain spent the remainder of the year working in a trio with Fuerza Guerrera and El Dandy. The threesome made for a good pairing, but with the trios scene so stacked they were never serious contenders for the newly established trios titles, and after a series of hair match losses, the Talisman character found its way to the gimmick graveyard in 1987.

 

Beristain enjoyed a lengthy second career as the masked man El Hijo Del Gladiador, even enjoying a CMLL World Trios title run with a modern incarnation of La Ola Blanca in ‘94/95. Beristain unmasked for a second time in 2000, losing to a young luchador by the name of Rencor Latino, better known as El Averno. He retired in 2005 and began a trainer at CMLL’s wrestling school in Mexico City, where he’s had a hand in training many of the undercard workers we see today.

 

Talisman would go on to have one last title run from here as the Mexican National Middleweight champion before putting over new young star, Mogur. Rocca, similarly, would feud with El Dandy to continue his ascendancy, but this feud was their glory years when both men were at the top of the welterweight world.

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El Hijo del Santo & Black Shadow Jr. vs. Espanto Jr. & Eskeletor (12/1/85)

 

This is from the Plaza De Toros Monumental bullring in Monterrey and was on the undercard of the El Solitario vs. Dr. Wagner mask vs. mask match. It was part of the build to an El Hijo del Santo vs. Eskeletor mask match on 12/22, at a time when Santo was taking masks all around Mexico.

 

Eskeletor’s partner here was one of Santo’s great career rivals, Espanto Jr., while Santo’s partner was the worked son of one of the most legendary luchadores of all time.

 

Espanto Jr. (Jesus Andrade) was the son of El Moro, a Laguna based wrestler who trained all seven of his sons to wrestle in an effort to keep them off the streets. Andrade made his debut at Arena Ferrocarrilero de Gomez Palacio in 1971 at the age of 14, and recalls the crowd laughing at him for being so skinny and nervous. Like many luchadores, he drifted in his early days, winding up in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, where he began working for Gori Guerrero, who had become a local promoter in the Cd. Juarez area. Over the next few years, he worked Juarez to Monterrey under the guise of various different gimmicks.

 

In 1978, with no other profession or studies to fall back on, he began working for EMLL at the Plaza de Toros Torreon in Chihuahua, where he worked his way up to the third match on the card, and by 1982 he was working Arena Coliseo in Mexico City. Andrade’s preferred gimmick was as El Moro II (or sometimes El Moro), but promoters changed his name practically everywhere he wrestled. Supposedly unhappy at EMLL wanting to change his gimmick to Negro Andrade, he returned to Gomez where he wrestled locally until promoter and journalist, Hector Valero, suggested he return to Mexico City as Espanto Jr, part of la dinastia de los Cisneros: José Vázquez Cisneros, Espanto I, y Fernando Cisneros Carrillo, Espanto II.

 

With the blessing of Espanto II, Andrade was given permission to work as Espanto Jr. and made his debut in 1984 at El Toreo, tagging with Blue Panther against El Hijo del Santo and Black Shadow Jr.

 

Black Shadow Jr. was a Monterrey native who was considerably older than either Santo or Espanto Jr. having made his debut in the mid 60s. He was already working El Toreo as Pequeño Solín, a gimmick believed to be derived from the famous Mexican comic book Kaliman, when he approached the original Black Shadow about wrestling as his “son.” Since none of Black Shadow’s sons had wanted to wrestle, he gave Solin his permission and Black Shadow Jr. made his debut around the same time as Espanto Jr. And in another striking parallel to Espanto, Black Shadow Jr. would go on to have a bloody mask match against Santo in this same arena some six years later.

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Lizmark, Mil Mascaras & Valente Fernandez vs. Sangre Chicana, Angel Blanco & Angel Blanco Jr. (12/1/85)

 

More action from the Wagner/Solitario card…

 

Angel Blanco was Wagner’s long time friend and tag team partner. Together they had formed La Ola Blanca, one of the most legendary tag teams of the 60s and 70s. In the late 60s, the team became a trio when they added El Solitario to their ranks. Solitario was a young rudo star who had rocked the lucha world by taking the hair of both Ray Mendoza and René Guajardo in a matter of weeks. A high flier with incredible natural charisma, his meteoric rise had many claiming he was the best worker in Mexico. By 1969, La Ola Blanca were the hottest act in Mexico, described by Jose Fernandez as “a pre-Four Horsemen type unit where all three were considered among the top ten wrestlers in the country.” With Solitario’s appeal growing by the week, EMLL struck gold by having Wagner and Blanco turn on him. Solitario instantly became the hottest babyface act in the country. Solitario vs. La Ola Blanca set business on fire all over Mexico, and Solitario had a record string of sellouts at Arena Mexico. After two years of chasing each other around the country, Solitario and Blanco met in a mask vs. mask match in front of yet another Arena Mexico sellout. Solitario took Blanco’s mask, but the feud continued to do great business.

 

The downturn in Blanco’s career came when he jumped to UWA and was swept aside by the new wave of main eventers. By the 80s, he was working predominantly in the Northern states and remained popular in Monterrey. He died on 4/26/86 in the car accident that ended Wagner’s career.

 

The Angel Blanco Jr. here is Rey Salomon, who was the original Blanco’s son-in-law. He used the gimmick until his divorce from Blanco’s daughter where upon it was given to one of Blanco’s sons (the one who works in Santo’s Todo x el Todo promotion.)

 

Valente Fernandez was a light heavyweight/middleweight worker from Nuevo Leon who worked for UWA right up until ’92 and continued to work the independents for some time after. He had a reputation as an excellent worker, but never made a huge impact in the capital. Notable career matches include a mask match against legendary Monterrey rudo Fishman, a hair match against Negro Casas and title matches against the likes of Mano Negra, Solar, Blue Panther and Sangre Chicana.

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El Solitario vs. Dr. Wagner (Mask vs. Mask) (12/1/85)


Here we go… a match that was 15 years in the making.


According to Jose Fernandez’ Wagner bio for the WON HOF, Monterrey was red hot in ‘85. Having maxed out all the smaller arenas in the city, promoter Carlos Elizondo began running weekly shows at the 15,000-seat Plaza de Toros Monumental bullring. Despite a hike in ticket prices, this long awaited mask vs. mask match sold out the bullring and drew the largest gate in the city’s history. It was such a big deal that it was even taped for TV, which was rare back then as we’re all too painfully aware.


Wagner was 49 years old at this time and no longer a headliner in Mexico City (his last major match being arguably his hair match against Angel Blanco in 1979 after a short technico turn), but he remained a big draw in Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo, where he turned rudo again and feuded with Solitario and Anibal. It may be difficult to gauge from his one appearance on the set, but Solitario was one of the top three or four stars in the history of lucha libre; making this one of the most famous mask matches in the history of the sport.


Wagner had a short run as a headliner at El Toreo after this match, as people in Mexico City where curious to see him sans mask, but the aftermath to the match was nothing short of tragic.


On April 6th, 1986, during a match against Fishman in Nuevo Larendo, Solitario took a move that aggravated an injury Solitario had. He was taken to the hospital complaining of abdominal pain, and as the story goes doctors initially misdiagnosed his condition. When the doctors realised he was suffering from internal bleeding, he was rushed into surgery where he died from a cardiac arrest. Rumours have long persisted about the actual cause of death and his general health at the time, but the official story is that he suffered a cardiac arrest from receiving an anesthetic.


Twenty one days later, Wagner was driving with a group of wrestlers from a matinee show in Nuevo Larendo to an evening show in Monterrey when a tire on the car exploded, and Wagner lost control of the car and collided with a truck. The wrestlers in the backseat where unharmed, but Blanco in the passenger seat was killed instantly and Wagner suffered a broken back with severe spinal damage. Doctors initially told him he would never walk on his own again, but he eventually learnt to walk with the use of a cane, even taking a taxi driver job in his old age.


A grim entry this time, but the tragedy that followed the mask match is a huge part of these wrestlers’ legacies. For anyone interested in their glory days, there are detailed bios at luchawiki and other places.

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