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Super Halcon, Satanico y Masakre vs. El Texano, Lizmark y Rayo De Jalisco Jr. (3/17/89)
This was part of the build up to a Rayo de Jalisco Jr. vs. Super Halcon mask vs. mask match which took place at the Palacio de los Deportes on 4/23/89.
Halcon featured on the set once before as "Halcon Ortiz" in the Kevin Von Erich trios. During the 1970s, Ortiz had enjoyed considerable success as the masked wrestler "El Halcon" culminating in a mask vs. mask match against Mil Mascaras on 7/29/77 that saw carloads of people crowd Dr. Río de la Loza street just to get to the Arena Mexico box office, so rare was a Mascaras mask match. The atmosphere was made all the more electric by Halcon pinning Mascaras the week before in a triangle match that left Mascaras at the mercy of Alfonso Dantes. Mascaras overcame that challenge, and after a torrid contest, unmasked El Halcon as José Luis Melchor Ortiz.
They then rather pointlessly, or cheekily, depending on the payday, repeated the match in Japan the following year. But that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the farce surrounding the gimmick.
The "El Halcon" gimmick had been created by El Halcon magazine; newly established in 1972 after Hector Valero left the Lucha Libre magazine he founded with Valente Perez. Valero came up with the idea of creating a wrestler to officially represent the magazine and the gimmick was given to Ortiz (so much for conflict of interest.) Legend has it that Perez felt so betrayed by Valero's departure that he launched repeated attacks on the Halcon character in the pages of Lucha Libre, placing pictures of Ortiz and Halcon side by side and making every effort to expose the Hawk's true identity.

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In response, El Halcon would run feature articles such as "El Halcon y Danny Ortiz, Frente a frente!" to disprove the claims. All these exposés served to do was increase the popularity of the Halcon character, leading some to believe it was all an elaborate ruse between long time collaborators Perez and Valero to drive up sales of both magazines. In any event, for hardcore fans the 1977 mask match represented not only a duel between athletes, but El Halcon vs. Lucha Libre and Valero vs. Perez; Mascaras being Perez' most famous creation. When Ortiz lost, speculation was rife that he hadn't received permission from Valeco to drop the mask and that Perez had somehow managed to lure Danny away with the promise of a new gimmick. Fuel was added to the fire when El Halcon introduced a replacement character, Halcon 78, whom they rather unashamedly deemed the "best prospect" of 1978 in their annual awards.
After the drama died down, Ortiz became one of the top pushed heavyweights in EMLL. He worked Los Angeles and Houston a lot, and through his Texas connections, the EMLL office were able to convince Harley Race to make a rare appearance in Mexico for the 1978 Arena Mexico Anniversary Show. The NWA touring champ formula coupled with a healthy dose of Mexican nationalism allowed Ortiz to make a favourable impression on the public; and when he returned from a successful tour of Texas in 1979, including another World Heavyweight title shot in Houston, the public greeted him as an idolo. His name was changed to Halcon Ortiz in early 1980, and he embarked on a series of hair feuds with the likes of Pak Choo, Adorable Rudi, Alfonso Dantes, Herodes, Tony Benetto and Pirata Morgan. He also enjoyed two runs as National Heavyweight champion, the first in 1979 while he was still using the "El Halcon" moniker and then a longer reign from '82-83 as Halcon Ortiz.
In 1984, he began a feud with Cien Caras that saw him lose a hair vs. mask match on 5/15. After that he challenged Caras for the National Heavyweight title on 7/30. The way the story goes, and this is really based on people's memories with no hard evidence, is that Ortiz was accompanied to the ring by a masked second named either "Horus, El Super Halcon" or simply "Horus." During the fight, Ortiz supposedly suffered an injury that was so bad it forced him to retire, thus paving the way for him to assume the masked identity of "Super Halcon" without people assuming it was him.
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Why Ortiz re-masked his anybody's guess, but by this stage there were so many El Halcon "spin-offs", shall we say, that when Ortiz debut as Super Halcon at El Toreo, Carlos Maynes was able to make a trio out of them -- Halcon 78, El Falcon and Super Halcon. Apparently, there were even more unofficial Halcons on the indy circuit.
Ortiz' second run as an enmascarado was fairly successful. For a time he was the duel WWA and National Heavyweight champion. He struggled to maintain the chiseled features of his El Halcon magazine days, and often resorted to wearing a body suit, but the era of the Perez/Valero golden bronzed warriors was fading and Super Halcon's mask was the kind of outlandish look that had made the likes of Octagon and Mascara Sagrada popular. To his credit, the mask match with Rayo drew a reported 21,000 to the Palacio de los Deportes, which was supposedly the 5th biggest wrestling crowd in the world that year.
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Satanico and Lizmark were also feuding in this match and would have a NWA Light Heavyweight Championship match on 7/21 where Satanico took the belt. Texano was still bouncing back and forth between the UWA and EMLL here, which contradicts some of the info Steve Sims provided in his obituary, but that happens a lot when trying to construct biographies for these wrestlers.

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Angel Azteca, Atlantis y Blue Demon Jr. vs. El Dandy, Super Muneco y El Texano (3/24/89)

 

This was the week before Dandy and Texano challenged Atlantis and Angel Azteca for their National Tag Team Tiles in a match where Atlantis was knocked out and had to be stretchered off. From memory, CMLL used that footage for their "Don't Try This At Home"-style public service announcement when their shows began airing on Channel 4, as the original 1953 ban had been enacted, in part, to prevent children from performing the moves on one another and Televisa was weary of a backlash at first having experienced parental outrage over the violent anime series Mazinger Z.

 

You can watch the match here if interested:

 

 

Super Munceo was one of the stars of Pavillon Azteca. He has a really interesting story that would be an awesome story if his ringwork were slightly better, but I'll tell it to you anyway.

 

Like many luchadores, Super Munceo came from an impoverished background. His father were merchants in the fixed markets in and around the Federal District, but he also had lucha blood in his veins as his father wrestled locally as the masked rudo El Sanguinario (the Bloodthirsty). At the age of 12, Munceo took up boxing (a common diversionary tactic among Mexican working class parents to keep their children off the streets and out of trouble), but after attending lucha shows he decided to take up wrestling instead. Naturally, it wouldn't be much of a story if he didn't do it in secret. He made his in-ring debut in 1979 without his parents' knowledge or consent and was soon "discovered" when he suffered a severe lesion in the ring. His father discovered the lesion and the fact he had been training and gave him a beating, dragging him into the gym to stretch him out a bit and dissuade him from wrestling. That tactic backfired and pop realised if his son was going to wrestle he would have to be trained properly. After learning the secrets of wrestling from his father and other local maestros, Munceo reappeared as El Sanguinario Jr. on the local San Juan Pantitlán shows promoted by "El Lobo" Manuel Juaréz.

 

Despite putting his all into being a bloodthirsty rudo, Munceo's girlfriend at the time, María de los Ángeles, disliked his aggressive rudo style and suggested he should make a cute character for children such as a clown. Thus, inspired by the children's television clown, Cepillín el payasito de la tele, a Monterrey dentist turned children's entertainer, who had a show on Televisa at the time, Muneco created his clown gimmick. Sadly, their relationship ended just as the Super Munceo gimmick was taking off giving the whole thing a bit of a Pagliacci feel. Munceo made his debut as a masked clown in March of '82 in Arena San Pedro in Iztacalco, DF where he had previously wrestled as El Sanguinario Jr. The reaction was polarising to say the least. Children and the general public loved him from the start, but the magazines were particularly harsh. They claimed that he wasn't worthy to be in the ring and that his mask and ring attire were an affront to the great fighters (whose gimmicks they had created, of course.) Older workers resented working with him and would rough him up on a nightly basis, similar to how exoticos were treated when they first became popular. Despite growing popularity, Munceo was fairly discouraged during the early years of the gimmick, but wrestlers like Lizmark and El Solitario encouraged him to persevere, reminding him that the gimmick had been done for the children and the general public, and since they had been captivated from the beginning that was all that mattered.

 

Like the Island of Misfit Toys in the old Ruldoph Christmas Special, salvation for Munceo came in the form of El Pavillón Azteca, la casa de “la Lucha Fantasía.” The history of Pavillon Azteca is not well documented, but basically it was a large circus tent that stood next to the iconic Estadio Azteca where Maradona scored the "Hand of God" goal and the "Goal of the Century" along with many other famous events. I believe the first "season" lasted for only a few months in 1980 then returned in 1982. The stadium was only used for wrestling once in 1983 when the "Superlibres," a group of luchadors led by Moises Zárate and César Valentino, promoted a unique show there to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of wrestling in Mexico. Billed as "Lucha Libre En Tercera Dimension," the show featured action taking place in three rings at the same time.

 

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The main event saw César Valentino and Tully Blanchard dispute the AWWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship with LA promoter Don Fraser and Lou Thesz on hand to add legitimacy to the title. The show drew 18,000, roughly the same as a sellout at El Toreo or Arena Mexico, which surprised the promoters as they were expecting 5000, but there were complaints that the action was hard to follow and the three ring gimmick was never repeated. For years there were rumours that a huge mask vs. mask match would take place at the stadium but that seems impossible now.

 

The success of the Estadio Azteca show gave AWWA credibility as a serious promotion and Zarate and Valentino were able to broker a deal with Televisa to air Pavillon Azteca shows on Channel 4 despite the 30 year ban on wrestling and the constant pressures and blockades by the Comisión De Box y Lucha del Distrito Federal. The first show was taped on 3/25/84 and aired either the following day or the next week, prompting Comisión head Luis Spota to threaten the entire cast with revocation of their licenses if they allowed the recordings to continue, since the decree of President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines had forbade the transmission of wrestling in Mexico City. Televisa's management and the promoters tried arguing that a decree of such nature ceased to have an effect after 30 years, while the wrestlers claimed they were being denied the right to work because the fact they worked for AWWA meant they were barred from working for both EMLL and Promociones Mora. The "Superlunes" show only lasted three or four weeks on Channel 4 before it was moved to either provincial television only, the cable channel Cablevision, or a combination of both. It was all very political with the rival promoters looking to shut the AWWA out of Mexico City, basically.

 

Amid all this, came a clown, whose surging popularity under the tent led the promoters to believe that the concept of "lucha fantasía" could draw. The Comisión hated this, particularly Secretario Barradas, who had always maintained that the regulations protecting under age minors were both necessary and warranted. Perhaps thumbing their nose at the Comisión, the promoters and the tent owner, Jaime de Haro, ran with the idea of a kid-oriented product creating possibly the greatest lucha indy of all time for those of you who like the kitsch side of lucha. Spearheaded by Trios Fantasia, the group of Super Raton (Mighty Mouse), Super Pinocho and Super Munceo, Pavillon Azteca featured a wide array of bizarre and wonderful lucha gimmicks in the cast of superlibres. Imagine a promotion where Batman and Robin battled exoticos and that was Pavillon Azteca:

 

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Then imagine Dr. Alfonso Morales and Don Pedro "El Mago" Septien commentating over the top of it in an excitable, loquacious style weaving imaginative narratives about Popeye, the Jetsons, Spider Man, Mighty Mouse and Darth Vader.

 

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At first the wrestlers were ridiculed as "luchadores cirqueros," but the promotion continued to draw and soon more and more big name workers began appearing. The Misioneros even came in and jobbed for Trio Fantasia. Unfortunately, the promotion was soon raided of much of its best talent and ceased running shows around 1988. Trio Fantasia remained big draws for a few years, selling out Arena Mexico for their 1990 mask vs. mask match against Los Tortugas Ninja and 17,000+ for their Monterrey mask match against Los Thundercats in 1991.

 

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Super Pinocho screwed that up in AAA when he conspired with a "Titanes del Ring" photographer to take a picture of La Parka unmasked. The magazine ran a "FRAUD! Parka is Principe Island!" cover the following week exposing Parka's former gimmick in retaliation for Pena having banned the magazine from AAA shows. Pinocho got so much heat over the incident that he was blacklisted from AAA and many wrestlers vowed to shoot on him if he stepped into the ring with them.

 

That marked the end of Trio Fantasia, but Super Munceo continued on his merry way, head bobbling, giving candy to the children. He was never again as popular as he had been during the Pavillon Azteca years, but has managed to carve out a career on the indy scene to this very day and has had an extraordinary number of apuesta matches over the years (100+ at last count.) Not bad for a guy the magazines said wasn't worthy to step into the ring.

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Sangre Chicana vs. Satanico (5/26/89)

 

This was a mano a mano bout which, unfortunately for us, never led to a hair match. Chicana was suspended by the Comisión for throwing a row of seats at Satanico; allegedly for six months, but he was back for the Anniversary Show in September so it was more like six weeks (if that.) The incident wasn't broadcast on Galavision, but if you watch closely you can see him pick up the seats as they cut to the next graphic. By the time Chicana returned, Satanico had already moved on to other things and the promoters had presumably cooled on the idea of a hair match (if, in fact, they were keen on one in the first place.) It's possible the Comisión wouldn't sanction one, but more likely that the hair match was supposed to take place on the following week's show and they nixed it when Chicana was suspended.

 

Chicana didn't work much in the Federal District in the late 80s, preferring to ply his talents in Monterrey and Tijuana. If you're wondering why it looks like he'd had a hair cut, it's because Aguayo had taken his scalp at the Auditorio de Tijuana in January. Satanico had also suffered a recent hair loss to Fabuloso Blondy. Chicana began working more regularly for CMLL again after they scored their television deal, but wasn't pushed as strongly by Pena as either Perro Aguayo or CIen Caras.

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The following matches can be best summed up in the words of the inimitable Dr. Alfonso Morales: "¡Super Super Super Super POOOOOOPI!"

 

Atlantis, El Dandy y Popitekus vs. Gran Markus Jr., Pirata Morgan y Ulises (5/26/89)

Popitekus, Angel Azteca y Steve Nelson vs. Emilio Charles Jr., Gran Markus Jr. y Masakre (6/9/89)

 

Popitekus, or Super Popi as he was more lovingly referred to, was something of a cult figure among lucha tape traders in the late 80s and early 90s: in no small part to a 1991 Brazos vs. Super Astro, El Dandy & Popitekus match that featured the world's biggest dive train:

 

 

Lucha aficionado Kurt Brown wrote a great piece about Popi here explaining his appeal -- http://www.luchaworld.com/?p=4732

 

Super Popi had the soul of a lightweight trapped in a heavyweight's body. In this case, 130 kilos of heavyweight. Like a lot of bigger guys, his knees gave way quickly, but in a relatively short competitive career he managed to acquire a cult-like following and leave a lasting impression on fans from that era.

 

He was trained by Pedro Nieves, who was one of the great trainers in Mexico at the time, and got his start at Arena Puebla. By now you will have all heard of Diablo Velazco and his famous school in Guadalajara, but Nieves was one of the best trainers in the capital and had a hand in training many names on the set like Talisman, Villano III and "El Halcon" Danny Ortiz. Popi was called up from Puebla in short order and for the next five years was a rudo favourite at Arena Mexico. He turned tecnico in 1988 and was one of the first to stand up to "El Gringo Loco" Fabuloso Blondy, who was generating tremendous heat with his American heel gimmick. The pair had a hair match on 11/18/88 pitting 125 kilos against 130. Many felt Popi would take the American down a peg or two, but Blondy won the bout with help from rudo ref Gran Davies.

 

A few days prior to the first trios, Popi defeated Gran Markus Jr at an Arena Coliseo show in the final of a tournament to decade the vacant National Heavyweight title. This sparked a year long rivalry with Markus Jr that saw Markus finally take the belt on 7/9/90. In the beginning of 1992, Popi was repackaged along with Hombre Bala and Verdugo as wrestling cavemen, Los Cavernicolas.

 

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The trio lasted through until the summer of '93 and produced several fun matches, especially their bouts against Los Metálicos. Popi's competitive career lasted just a few more years after the gimmick folded. He was said to have worked for the DF government after retiring. Sadly, he died in 2010 from thrombosis brought about by diabetes. He was 53 years old.

 

Popi's other claim to fame was appearing briefly in the 1989 Alejandro Jodorowsky film Santa Sangre along with fellow wrestlers TNT and Rinoceronte in a short scene with a transsexual wrestler that according to some critics is a parody of Ladrón de Cadáveres and other lucha horror films. Popi appears nude (!), which according to Meltzer (via Sims, I suppose) caused some controversy at the time.

 

For those of you keeping record at home, Markus appeared as Tony Benetto earlier on the set and Ulises is Tony Salazar. Steve Nelson is the son of Winnipeg wrestler, Gordon Nelson, a tremendous amateur wrestler who worked as "Mr. Wrestling" in the Amarillo territory and "The Outlaw" for Dale Martin promotions, as well as various other territories. His son Steve, a long time Texas high school wrestling coach, wrestled for Oklahoma State, won two world silver medals in sambo, fought in Shooto and Japan Vale Tudo, founded the USWF (Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation) promotion, did worked shoots for UWF-i, and somehow took a trip down to Mexico in 1989 where he lost his hair to Pirata Morgan.

 

An odd story about Steve Nelson: according to Terry Funk, when Nelson was trying to make it to the World Sambo Championships in Moscow in 1990 and struggling to pay his way, someone told the story to Vince, and Vince sent him the money without knowing the kid or his father.

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Javier Cruz vs. Hombre Bala (Hair vs. Hair) (6/30/89)

 

There wasn't much more to this than a midcard cabellera feud. They were feuding in the weeks prior and this was the blow off match.

 

You can see part of the build here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdrFGaDQF60

 

(NB: Cubsfan made an educated guess on the venue and date based on Lynch' tapelist, but the match is from Arena Mexico and must be from either 6/9 or 6/16. Since there wasn't a strong focus on Javier vs. Bala yet, I'd suggest the earlier date.)

 

For some reason, the back office liked booking Cruz in hair matches. Most likely Juan Herrera since he preferred pushing the Velazco trained workers. As I've mentioned before, he had the nickname El Tijeras de Oro (Golden Scissors) and won a string of hair matches at Arena Mexico from 1988 to 1994, perhaps more than were warranted.

 

The way EMLL was traditionally booked was that they'd break the season into three or four month blocks that would end with a funcion or series of funciones that blew off the major apuesta or title match feuds for that quarter. They still book this way to a large degree with the season built around the major shows like Homenaje a Dos Leyendas, the Aniversario show and the year-end Sin Piedad show. Cruz was involved in a lot of these short term programs during his career. He was still tagging with the other members of Los Xavieres (Chamaco Valaguez, Americo Rocca and Javier Llanes) when he had a trilogy of apuesta matches with each of the members of Los Destructores (Emilio Charles Jr., Tony Arce and Vulcano); not quite managing the trifecta as he lost to Emilio. Bala was in the midst of his run with Los Bucaneros and during the same period had been trying to plunder the National Tag Titles from Atlantis and Azteca. Unfortunately, Los Xavieres and Bucaneros never really crossed paths in the meaningful way fans like to see from wrestling booking, so just think of this as a short program before the Bucaneros moved on to the Brazos and Cruz moved on to Estrada.

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Emilio Charles, Fabuloso Blondy y Pirata Morgan vs. El Dandy, Atlantis & El Faraón (7/21/89)

Emilio Charles vs. El Dandy (Hair v. Hair) (7/28/89)


Last time, took a look at a short program midcard cabelleras feud in Cruz vs. Bala. This time we'll be concentrating on a more important upper card feud in Dandy vs. Charles. Instead of a few short weeks, it usually takes months (and in some cases years) for upper card wager matches to materialise. In the case of Dandy and Charles, they were embroiled in a feud that lasted the entire second half of the season, including a National Middleweight title bout at the end of the year. The hair match wasn't the blow off to their feud, but rather the first step in a feud that was so good the pair became career long rivals and wrestled many times into the 90s, though unfortunately we only have one of their 90s matches on tape.


Dandy had risen to prominence in 1988, was The Man in 1989, and arguably the best worker in the world in 1990. He was a favourite of booker Juan Herrera, but we can't really say he had a rocket strapped to him like Atlantis or Mogur, or as they were trying to do with Angel Azteca. He was earmarked for greatness from the start and his ascension to the top occurred naturally similar to an equally talented guy in El Satanico. This was the Lutteroth philosophy of "serious and stable" promoting; the very bedrock the company was founded on. That bedrock received a shake up in 1989 when Pena got in Paco's ear with all of his colourful characters and wild ideas, and for a while the booking styles of Herrera and Pena had a disharmonious coexistence as the serious stuff (e.g. Dandy vs. Charles) fought for attention with the more populist creations of Antonio Pena. As a product it was endless fascinating with the constant clash between the new school and old school, but internally it was cliquey and extremely political. Dandy was popular with the hardcores and drew well, but it was Pena's Perez inspired, Lucha Libre style creations that drove the television boom. To put it into perspective, Herrera booked feuds were akin to the way American fans viewed Crockett feuds like Flair vs. Steamboat whereas Pena booked feuds had closer parallels to Hogan vs.Savage, both cosmetically and business wise.


Charles was also a guy who rose to prominence in 1988 and this feud with Dandy did just as much to rise him into a top spot as it did Dandy. The finish to the hair match, while rare, had occurred a couple of times in the 80s. Off the top of my head, there was the MS-1/Gran Jalisco bout in '82, one of the '82 Satanico/Chicana hair matches, and Dandy vs. Cruz in '84.


The first trios, which as you can see was the week before the hair match, is the first appearance on the set of "El Fabuloso Blondy" Ken Timbs. Timbs had worked as one half of the Fabulous Blondes with Eric Embry in several territories, most prominently Southwest Championship Wresting. His travels first took him to Mexico in 1988 where he developed an extremely successful American heel gimmick that would later become the template for Eddy Guerrero and Art Barr. Timbs would come to the ring waving the U.S. flag, sometimes draping it over his shoulders like a cape, and would often paint his face with the red, white and blue. Before matches, he would grab the house mic and belt out "The Star-Spangled Banner." It was staple stuff really; the tricks of the trade for any foreign heel gimmick, but EMLL fans lapped it up and Timbs had what was a fairly hot run in Mexico.


It was actually quite radical at the time. While Flores had made a bunch of money having Canek vend off every Tom, Dick and Harry foreign invader, EMLL had by no means followed suit. They'd bring in Andre every time he was on tour, and we saw Kevin Von Erich earlier in the set, which I'm guessing was through his Texas connection with Danny Ortiz. We also saw Misawa and Koshinaka touring in '84, but nothing really like Ken Timbs and his two year heel run. Once Pena got his hooks into him, he really took off, with Pena billing him as "El Gringo Loco" and later having him come out to Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. In fact, Pena was so fond of the Blondy character that he wanted to bring him during the Los Gringos Locos run, but couldn't manage to. Alluding back to the tensions between Herrera and Pena, Timbs was so over that he actually took the NWA World Light Heavyweight Title from Lizmark in what was one of the hottest feuds of '88. Whether it was entirely true or not, back then wrestlers prided themselves on needing to have a basic knowledge of catch to pass the wrestler's license exam, and here you had a guy of questionable merit as a wrestler taking one of the premier NWA World titles from one of the best wrestlers in Mexico. That can only have been a Pena move, much like the screwjob finish to the Popiketus hair match with heel ref, and Pena creation, Gran Davis.


Here Timbs had just come off a feud with Los Infernales involving his own trios team "La Locomotora Gringa" that saw Blondy take Satanico's hair on an April show. TImbs and Morgan were tag partners here, but they'd soon be rivals as they squared off for the aforementioned NWA World Light Heavyweight Title at the end of '89. Timbs' push continued through until the first quarter of 1990 where his association with another foreign heel group "Policia de Los Angeles" culimanted in a rare match against brothers Mil Mascaras, Dos Caras and Sicodélico. Eventually he cooled off somewhat, but did get a fresh lease of life on the gimmick in the Monterrey territory before leaving Mexico in mid-93.

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Thanks, bud. I've been led down the garden path so many times since this whole thing began that I almost regret doing it, but hopefully I can see it through.

 

Blue Panther, Emilio Charles Jr. y Hombre Bala vs. Blue Demon, Javier Cruz y Hombre Sin Nombre (8/4/89)

 

This was an undercard match from one of the Friday night Arena Mexico shows. It would be a stretch to say it had anything to do with Cruz' feud with Charles during his previous life as a Destructor or even the mini-program with Bala from a few months earlier. Cruz and Charles would go on to develop a rivalry over the National Middleweight title in the early 90s, but this match was card filler. Hombre Sin Nombre was of course Magico without a name, as the original worker had claimed the rights to the name. Pena was running a competition at the time to give Hombre a name and would soon roll out his new moniker Mascara Sagrada.* Panther was working for EMLL fairly regularly at this point and mostly used in these sort of undercard matches as a rudo foil for the likes of Blue Demon Jr and Mascara Sagrada. He wouldn't receive a bigger push until he signed with CMLL full time in July of '91.

 

* Actually, he may have been announced as Mascara Sagrada already with the onscreen caption being wrong.

 

MS-1 y Masakre vs. El Dandy y El Satanico (8/11/89)

 

As much as I'd love to explain why the Infernales were feuding with Satanico, I couldn't find a single scrap of information about the build-up to the Anniversary show; not even the usual faulty recollections. The Infernales were always breaking up and getting back together. Probably no other trio in history broke up and reconciled as many times as the Infernales. The first break-up was the nasty split between Morgan and Satanico in '86. The acrimony between Infernales v2 lasted for five years before they patched things up for their 90s run, but it wasn't the most volatile of the incarnations. That honour goes to the Masakre version, which split up three times during its turbulent existence.

 

The first was in '88 after Masakre and MS-1 lost the National Tag Titles to Atlantis and Angel Azteca on 3/6/88. That led to a MS-1 tecnico run and a big hair match with Masakre on 6/17. At some point, either late in the '88 season or in January '89, they buried their differences and the Infernales reformed. In March they began the short program with La Locomotora Gringa that I mentioned last time which culminated with a trios hair vs. hair match that saw Satanico pin Mikey Stone to take his hair. Blondy took Satanico's hair a week later as retribution, but Satanico was back on top of the world when he took the light heavyweight title from Lizmark in July. What caused the tensions between Satanico and his partners is unknown, but they began to emerge at the end of the month. A 7/28/89 match between the Infernales and Atlantis, Ringo Mendoza and Steve Nelson saw the rudos lose in straight falls and begin having issues with each other, and the following week's 8/4/89 Dandy, Atlantis and El Faraon vs. Infernales trios presumably led to Masakre and MS-1 attacking Satanico, which in turn led to this match and the main event of the following month's Anniversary Show.

 

In early '91, the Masakre Infernales reformed one last time and had a run which lasted right through the year until Masakre was kicked out of the team and sensationally replaced with Pirata Morgan before the CMLL World Trios tournament. I believe the kayfabe reason for this was fairly weak -- Satanico and MS-1 claimed that Masakre never co-operated with them outside of the ring, and Masakre claimed the other two envied him -- but the rudos vs. rudos feud that resulted from Masakre forming Los Intocables with Pierroth Jr and Jaque Mate was anything but weak. In a real throwback to the rudo vs. rudo feuds of a decade before, a second hair match between MS-1 and Masakre on the season ending December show was the first shot fired in a year long war between the two rudo factions.

 

But this match was part of the build to the EMLL 56th Anniversary Show and a pairing between Atlantis and Satanico that would have seemed unfathomable in 1984 but was actually an example of EMLL booking their biggest show of the year on the fly. More on that later.

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Super Astro, Atlantis y El Faraón vs. Fuerza Guerrera, Blue Panther y Emilio Charles (8/18/89)

Atlantis, Mascara Sagrada y Super Astro vs. Hombre Bala, Pirata Morgan y Verdugo (September 1989)

 

These were a pair of standard trios matches. Just like Blue Panther, Super Astro began working for EMLL more frequently in the late 80s. He'd made spot appearances for EMLL in the past (we have one of them on the set, you'll recall), but after Flores' death in '87 there was a real trend in independientes branching out and looking for work in other places. They still worked shows for Carlos Maynes, but it as no longer the case where they'd work the UWA shows each week and fill in their schedules with additional bookings. UWA shows were becoming additional bookings for guys who had moved on to Monterrey or the Tijuana circuit. A lot of guys worked under the tent for Pavillon Azteca while they had TV. Even the big Sunday shows at El Toreo had the thinnest of cards compared to the bullring's heyday. It really was quite disparate from how the decade began.

 

Astro was working all over the show at this point. Los Cadetes Del Espacio had well and truly broken up, and while Astro still traveled the road with Solar, he mostly took his own bookings in either Tijuana or the Federal District. Japan opened up as an option the following year with Hamada's UWF promotion, and unlike a lot of "UWA guys," Astro remained a freelancer for the rest of his career. He was treated pretty well by EMLL despite not being a full-timer. He was over with crowds and brought a lot of novelty value to cards. They even booked him in singles matches from time to time such as his UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Title match against Gran Cochisse on the undercard of the Popitekus/Blondy hair match.

 

Atlantis y Satanico vs. MS-1 y Tierra Viento y Fuego (Hair/Mask vs. Hair/Mask) (9/22/89)

 

This was the main event of EMLL's 55th Anniversary Show. As mentioned before, EMLL didn't always put a maximum of effort into their Anniversary Show cards. Sometimes the cards would be stacked and sometimes they'd be thrown together. Sometimes they had big plans that didn't eventuate and sometimes they made panic moves, changing the card at the last moment. For a show that's supposed to EMLL's equivalent of WrestleMania, it has a checkered history of delivering memorable main events.

 

To illustrate the contrast from one year to the next, the following year's show would deliver the biggest match in the company's history when 23,000 people packed Arena Mexico to witness Cien Caras drop his mask to Rayo de Jalisco Jr with thousands more watching on giant screens outside the arena. The UWA, for all its struggles, managed to draw 21,000 to its 4/23/89 Palacio de los Deportes show (again headlined by that man Rayo de Jalisco Jr.), but despite business being up, EMLL failed to strike while the iron was hot and delivered an unmasking that nobody wanted to see. To the wrestlers' credit, the show sold out, but there wasn't the crush to enter the building that there had been for other historic main events.

 

Originally, the plan was supposed to be for Atlantis to fight an American, but the plans fell through when there were either visa issues or the American disappeared. Given his hot run the year before with Lizmark, and the fact that they used him in singles matches later in the year (including an IWA title shot against Mil Mascaras at Arena Mexico in November), I think it's safe to say that Blondy is the unnamed wrestler, if in fact the rumour is true. Whether it would have been a mask vs. hair match, I'm not sure, but that seems like a hot main. The plan then changed to the Satanico face turn and the pairing of bitter rivals Satanico and Atlantis against the Infernales. Unlike the Mega Powers explode angle, which was a year in the making, EMLL turned Satanico face a month before the show. The initial plan was to have an Atlantis/Satanico/Faraon vs. MS-1/Masakre/Tierra Viento y Fuego trios apuesta match, but Masakre was injured (I believe) and they slot Faraon back down the card. It's often said that Tierra Viento y Fuego joined the Infernales to replace Satanico, but from the records we have he was plucked out of the midcard at the last moment as a guy who was obviously willing to lose his mask and later tagged with MS-1 on cards where Masare was absent. There wasn't any sort of Summer long feud with Satanico feuding against the Tierra Viento y Fuego Infernales.

Tierra Viento y Fuego, whose real name was Alfonso Lira Román, was a midcarder originally from the Ciudad Altamirano area in Guerrero. He'd been an EMLL regular since the early 80s mostly working in the 2nd or 3rd match of a card. After unmasking that's more or less where he returned, but like a lot of midcard vets in the television era, Pena repackaged him with new gimmick: Damián El Guerrero. Along with Guerrero Maya (Black Terry) and Guerrero del Futuro (José Luis Feliciano), he formed the mid card trio act Los Guerreros del Futuro and managed to eke out another 10 years with the company.

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El Dandy, Apolo Dantes y Eddy Guerrero vs. Emilio Charles Jr., Pirata Morgan y Ary Romero (9/29/89)

 

A few new faces here.

 

Obviously, there's Eddy Guerrero, who doesn't need much of an introduction. At this stage of his career, Eddy was mostly working the circuit his father had promoted, which included the El Paso, TX and Cd. Juarez areas. He also worked in Tijuana and California. Here's an interview from Juarez TV where he talks about some of the early highlights of his career, including hair match victories against La Fiera and Negro Casas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzns2T2GT-c#t=83

The earliest appearances we have for Eddy at Arena Mexico are on a couple of Sunday shows in late '86. The most notable appearance he made for EMLL in the 80s was on the undercard of the 54th Anniversary Show, which was billed as Gori Guerrero's retirement show and featured all of his sons in action. Eddy teamed with El Hijo del Santo as the new La Pareja Atómica, taking on El Hijo Del Gladiador (Talisman) and El Dandy in honour of their padres. Those of you who are familiar with AAA will know that Pena took the La Pareja Atómica idea and turned it into one of the hottest feuds of the 90s when he had Guerrero turn on Santo and ally himself with Love Machine Art Barr. CMLL had mostly booked Eddy as the third brother in the Guerreros trio, and largely used them on Coliseo shows since they weren't full-timers, but in the summer of '92 with all the defections to AAA, they were desperately short of talent and tried repackaging Eddy as Mascara Magica. CMLL were fairly serious about the gimmick and gave Eddy his first singles push in the company culminating with a title shot against Bestia Salvaje that main evented one of the Sunday night shows, but Eddy wasn't happy playing an enmascarado and followed his brothers to AAA where he did the unthinkable and voluntarily unmasked before the start of his bout. This was a Monday Night Wars style stunt as CMLL owned the rights to the gimmick and Eddy ripped them on AAA TV for forcing a Guerrero to wear a mask.



Eddy instantly became a bigger name than he had been, Mando came up with the idea for the heel turn, and the rest is history.

 

Also featured in this bout is Ari "El Gato" Romero, who was a top rudo in Northern Mexico in the 70s and 80s, especially the Cd. Juarez area where he spent years feuding with the Guerrero family. Alfredo Esparza has written about Romero several times over the years, and I would only be pinching his memories if I used those stories, so please take the time to read the following:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Romero

http://www.luchaworld.com/?p=33064

http://www.luchaworld.com/?p=13050

http://www.luchaworld.com/?p=6241

 

Also featured in this bout is the son of another famous luchador, Apolo Dantes. Following on the heels of his brother Cesar, Apolo had made his debut at Arena Coliseo Guadalajara the previous December. The Dantes family is a dinastia dating back to Apolo's grandfather, Al Amezcua, who wrestled in the 40s and 50s and was the first mask El Santo ever took. Apolo began training for wrestling at the age of 15, and was fortunate enough to be trained by Diablo Velazco before the maestro's health began failing him. He was a mainstay for CMLL in the 90s, remaining loyal to the company during the AAA defections and serving as one of its top tecnicos. The high point of his career was winning the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship in 1995, emulating his father's feats as National Heavyweight Champion. He also had a formidable record in apuesta matches. In 2005, he returned to his roots at Arena Coliseo Guadalajara and became the head promoter there. Four years later, he was pushed out and started his own promotion Dantes Lucha Factory. He returned for another stint at Arena Coliseo in 2011 amid rumours that CMLL was looking to sell up and get out of Guadalajara and was replaced by Satanico in December last year.

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