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El Boricua

General Puerto Rico Set Thoughts

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Repost from DVDVR:

 

My Puerto Rico disc 1 rankings:

Ric Flair vs. Carlos Colon (10/16/82)
Carlos Colon & The Invader vs. Los Pastores (Ambulance Match) (12/21/85)
Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)
The Invaders vs. Los Pastores (Barbed Wire Match) (9/21/85)
Carlos Colon vs. Tully Blanchard (1983)
Ric Flair vs. Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)
Carlos Colon vs. Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)
Abdullah the Butcher vs. Andre the Giant (9/17/83)
Randy Savage vs. Hercules Ayala (3/2/85)
Gino Dellaserra & Pierre Martel vs. Los Mercenarios (11/27/82)
Abdullah the Butcher vs. Carlos Colon (September 1981)
El Gran Apollo vs. Buddy Landell (5/8/83)
Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher (9/21/85)
El Gran Apollo vs. Dick Steinborn (February 1983)
Los Pastores vs. Jay & Mark Youngblood (Spring 1985)
Hercules Ayala vs. Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Cage Match) (October 1985)

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I finished disc 1 a week or so ago and here's my rankings:

1. The Invaders vs. Los Pastores (Barbed Wire Match) [9/21/85]

2. El Gran Apollo vs. Dick Steinborn [2/83]
3. Carlos Colon/Invader I vs. Los Pastores (Ambulence Match) [12/21/85]
4. Los Pastores vs. The Youngbloods [spring 1985]
5. Ric Flair vs. Carlos Colon [10/16/82]
6. Carlos Colon vs. Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) [summer 1984]
7. Hercules Ayala vs. Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Cage Match) [10/85]
8. Gino Dellaserra & Pierre Martel vs. Los Mercenarios [11/27/82]
9. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Carlos Colon [9/81]
10. Carlos Colon vs. Tully Blanchard [1983]
11. Randy Savage vs. Hercules Ayala [3/2/85]
12. Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes [12/21/85]
13. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Andre the Giant [9/17/83]
14. Ric Flair vs. Tommy Gilbert [9/4/82]
15. El Gran Apollo vs. Buddy Landell [5/8/83]
16. Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher [9/21/85]

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The results for this are going to be interesting. So far it seems like people are all over the place. This is how I ranked the first disc:

 

1. Ric Flair vs. Carlos Colon (10/16/82)

2. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Carlos Colon (September 1981)

3. Los Pastores vs. Jay & Mark Youngblood (Spring 1985)

4. Carlos Colon vs. Tully Blanchard (1983)

5. Randy Savage vs. Hercules Ayala (3/2/85)

6. Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)

7. Gino Dellaserra & Pierre Martel vs. Los Mercenarios (11/27/82)

8. Carlos Colon vs. Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)

9. Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher (9/21/85)

10. Hercules Ayala vs. Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Cage Match) (October 1985)

11. The Invaders vs. Los Pastores (Barbed Wire Match) (9/21/85)

12. Ric Flair vs. Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)

13. Carlos Colon & The Invader vs. Los Pastores (Ambulance Match) (12/21/85)

14. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Andre the Giant (9/17/83)

15. El Gran Apollo vs. Buddy Landell (5/8/83)
16. El Gran Apollo vs. Dick Steinborn (February 1983)

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I don't want to rank things. Ranking things is such a headache and disc 1 is so full of matchlings and incomplete matches that have bursts of brilliance and one big dumb Ric Flair match (and another little dumb Ric Flair match where Dusty doesn't do anything special at all). I'll swallow the pill and do it but man this set is tough.

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Yeah, I can see rankings for this being all over the place. I've still got a few matches from disc 1 to watch and I haven't bothered trying to rank anything yet, but right now I think I'd have Flair/Gilbert #1, Savage/Ayala #2 and the Brody chain match #3. I don't have a ton of interest in watching Flair at this point, but I thought he was great in the studio match and I wound up kinda loving it. Savage just doing crazy Randy Savage shit is something I'll watch with no issue at all and I thought that was some fun Randy Savage shit. I thought I might've overrated the chain match initially because I was stunned at how much better Brody was in it than I'd have expected, but I actually watched it again last night, and nah, it's genuinely a really good, short, spirited brawl.

 

There hasn't been anything I've outright disliked yet, but the Youngbloods/Pastores match got a wee bit long in the tooth and was my least favourite out of everything so far.

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I plan on doing detailed reviews in the match & extras threads:

 

1. The Invaders vs. Los Pastores (Barbed Wire Match) (9/21/85)
2. Ric Flair vs. Carlos Colon (10/16/82)
3. Carlos Colon & The Invader vs. Los Pastores (Ambulance Match) (12/21/85)
4. Carlos Colon vs. Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)
5. El Gran Apollo vs. Dick Steinborn (February 1983)
6. Ric Flair vs. Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)
7. Gino Dellaserra & Pierre Martel vs. Los Mercenarios (11/27/82)
8. Los Pastores vs. Jay & Mark Youngblood (Spring 1985)
9. Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher (9/21/85)
10. Randy Savage vs. Hercules Ayala (3/2/85)
11. Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)
12. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Carlos Colon (September 1981)
13. Hercules Ayala vs. Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Cage Match) (October 1985)
14. Carlos Colon vs. Tully Blanchard (1983)
15. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Andre the Giant (9/17/83)
16. El Gran Apollo vs. Buddy Landell (5/8/83)

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The discs arrived today so I dove right in.

 

Abdullah the Butcher getting stitched up was a great way to start the set, although it did make me question my decision to start watching over breakfast!

 

I thought I might struggle with the crazier style of the territory but I really enjoyed it. Ric Flair looked great in his first two matches (I loved the Colon match), and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Los Pastores as a team, considering how much they sucked as the Bushwhackers. There were certainly times where matches ended just as they seemed to be getting going, which was a bit frustrating, but the first disc was fun overall. Here's how i'd rank it:

 

1. Ric Flair Vs Carlos Colon (10/16/82)

2. The Invaders Vs Los Pastores Barbed Wire Match) (9/21/85)

3. Los Pastores Vs Jay & Mark Youngblood (Spring 1985)

4. Ric Flair Vs Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)

5. Carlos Colon Vs Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)

6. Carlos Colon & The Invader Vs Los Pastores (Ambulance Match) (12/21/85)

7. Hercules Ayala Vs Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Match) October 1985)

8. Carlos Colon Vs Tully Blanchard (1983)

9. Ric Flair Vs Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)

10 Carlos Colon Vs Abdullah the Butcher (9/21/85)

11. Carlos Colon Vs Abdullah the Butcher (September 1981)

12. El Gran Apollo Vs Dick Steinborn (February 1983)

13. Randy Savage Vs Hercules Ayala (3/2/85)

14. Abdullah the Butcher Vs Andre the Giant (9/17/83

15. El Gran Apollo Vs Buddy Landell (5/8/83)

16. Gino Dellaserra & Pierre Martel Vs Los Mercenarios (11/27/82)

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I've been plowing through it since I got it several weeks ago. I'd been writing it up as I went along waiting for the subforum to go up and then went out of town for work right when they appeared. So I had a lot of shit to post. That wasn't all one amazing sitting. Although, I challenge someone to watch 12 straight hours of Puerto Rico and catch up :)

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I'm all caught up with posted reviews through Disc 4. I promise now my pace will fall off. Hopefully not too much though because I travel again next week and I would like to try and finish the set (or at least the matches) before then so I can come back to Portland and start reviewing the Portland set :)

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Just finished Disc 2 and thought it was phenomenal. Honestly it took me a few matches to get into it, but once it got going, it definitely went. I thought all the tag team tournament matches were great. I Particularly liked the final match which built really well and had a hot finish. I was also very impressed with Eric Embry and enjoyed every one of his matches.

 

The performer that made the biggest impresion on me though was Abdullah the Butcher. I really enjoyed the match with Jovica, but even that had nothing on the June bout with Colon. This was one of the most brutal, disgusting matches i've ever seen and I couldn't take my eyes of it. The beating Abby took here was insane. I don't think it was the best bout on the disc but definitely for me, it was the most memorable. Roll on disc 3!

 

1. Rock n Roll RPM's vs the Crusher & Eric Embry (3/29/86

2. Invader III vs Eric Embry (1/6/86)

3. Carlos Colon vs Abdullah the Butcher (6/15/86)

4. Los Pastores vs the Invaders (8/2/86)

5. Invader I vs Eric Embry (June 1986)

6. The Invaders vs Chicky Starr & Ron Starr (3/29/86)

7. Abdullah the Butcher Vs Victor Jovica (Chain Match) (July 1986)

8. Invader I vs Bruiser Brody (6/16/86)

9. Carlos Colon & Miquel Perez Jr vs Los Pastores (January 1986)

10. Chicky Star vs Invader III (Scaffold Match) (May 1986)

11. Carlos Colon & the Invaders vs Abdullah the Butcher, Chicky & Ron Starr (4/26/86)

12. Carlos Colon vs Abdullah the Butcher (March 1986)

13. Rock n Roll RPM's vs the Zambule Express (3/29/86)

14 Rock n Roll RPM's vs Dn Greer & Don Kent (3/29/86)

15. Kamala vs The Invader (2/22/86)

16. Invader I vs Chicky Starr (1/6/86)

17. Carlos Colon vs Joe Leduc (Barbed Wire Match) (2/22/86)

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Disc 3 is done and it is incredible, loaded with classics. Every single one of the first 9 matches are really good to classic level.

 

Terry Funk is awesome in his appearances, showing how complete he is by excelling at the comedy and the serious stuff. I also want to single out the street fight between Invader I & Al Perez. Coming off a great Hansen vs Colon match I was expecting some relative filler, but it was unbelievable, taking the insanity of this disc to new levels. These guys beat up on each other like men possessed. I'm surprised both were still breathing after this one.

 

And I have to further mention Hansen vs Colon. Their first match was great but the bullrope match was spectacular, full of drama, with a crazy hot crowd. I know there are further matches between them on this set and i'm intrigued to see if they can top it.

 

Ranking whole discs will probably get difficult so i'll just give my top 5:

 

1. Carlos Colon vs Stan Hansen (Texas Bullrope) (1/6/87)

2. Invader I vs Al Perez (Street Fight) (10/26/86)

3. Stan Hansen vs Carlos Colon (10/12/86)

4. Terry Funk vs Barry Windham (9/19/86)

5. Terry Funk vs Rick Martel (9/20/86)

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Through 4 1/2 discs this is my top very tentative Top 10 (2 & 3 might need to be switched already):

 

 

1. Invader I vs Ron Starr 9/19/86

2. Carlos Colon vs Stan Hansen Cage Match 3/14/87

3. Invader I vs Al Perez Street Fight 10/26/86

4. Carlos Colon vs Stan Hansen Texas Bull Rope 1/6/87

5. Invader I vs Chicky Starr Retirement vs Hair 9/20/87

6. Terry Funk vs Barry Windham 9/19/86

7. Carlos Colon vs Stan Hansen 2/28/87

8. Invader I vs Eric Embry June 1986

9. Terry Funk vs Rick Martel 9/20/86

10. Invader III vs Chicky Starr Scaffold Match May 1986

 

La Gran Guerra 1 very likely deserves a spot in the top 10 but I want to rewatch it and make sure I don't need to put it at like #3. Because that shit was awesome.

 

 

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Y'all are way ahead of me right now, but disc 3 looked tremendous on paper and I'm psyched to hear it's playing out that way in practice. '86/'87 Puerto Rico is the motherload.

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Have reached the end of Disc 2 and knowing there will be no more Rock & Roll RPMs matches makes me weep internally. I don't remember them being this good in the few US matches I have seen of theirs. I don't desperately need to see another Colon vs. Abudullah match, even though I know there are still a couple more to go. Enjoying the Invaders more than I thought I would, as well as loving Eric Embry and the Starr Brothers (were they ever even kayfabe brothers? I was never sure.)

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People are going to love Chicky Starr if they don't already. He reminds me a lot of Michael Hayes and Tully Blanchard. Take the best qualities of those two guys and combine them. You get Chicky Starr.

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Finished up disc 1 earlier. I've been writing about the matches and throwing them up on my blog as I go, so I'll cross-post in the threads even though I'm basically reiterating a lot of what other have said already.

 

 

1. Ric Flair vs. Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)

2. Ric Flair vs. Carlos Colon (10/16/82)

3. Carlos Colon & The Invader vs. Los Pastores (Ambulance Match) (12/21/85)

4. Randy Savage vs. Hercules Ayala (3/2/85)

5. Carlos Colon vs. Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)

6. Gino Dellaserra & Pierre Martel vs. Los Mercenarios (11/27/82)

7. El Gran Apollo vs. Buddy Landell (5/8/83)

8. Carlos Colon vs. Tully Blanchard (1983)

9. Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher (9/21/85)

10. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Carlos Colon (September 1981)

11. The Invaders vs. Los Pastores (Barbed Wire Match) (9/21/85)

12. El Gran Apollo vs. Dick Steinborn (February 1983)

13. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Andre the Giant (9/17/83)

14. Los Pastores vs. Jay & Mark Youngblood (Spring 1985)

15. Hercules Ayala vs. Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Cage Match) (October 1985)

16. Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)

 

 

Fun disc to start out, with the Ambulance Match to round out the disc feeling like the perfect way to end the starter course and gear us up for some probable insanity to follow in the main course.

 

I loved Flair/Gilbert. Flair in shorter studio matches against opponents I've never seen him match up with before might be the most interesting Flair footage available to me right now, and I thought he was excellent in this (as was Gilbert, really). He worked dominant enough that it felt like he really was The Man, but stooged and begged off just enough to let Gilbert look like a plausible threat. He also busted out a few things he dropped later in the decade. And I know it's a bit of a running gag at this point, but I loved that the finish actually was what it was. I wasn't gonna stick Flair/Colon at #2 initially, but I thought about it a bit more and favoured that ever so slightly over the Ambulance Match (although I'm generally not in much of a hurry to re-watch longer Flair matches, so I might take that into account if I decide to rework things a bit). Flair/Dusty, meanwhile, had the exact opposite effect on me.

 

I'm all in on Puerto Rico studio matches. Short, wild crowd, a high chance of blood and piss and vinegar -- sign me up. The Landell match was ridiculously fun and Buddy was an awesome stooge in it, particularly with his face-first bump into the middle turnbuckle after being headlocked to death.

 

I'll probably start disc 2 tonight. I'm looking forward to some Chicky Starr.

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Bobby Jaggers' little laugh on commentary is great. He did it about seven times during the "bonus" Perez/Abby match on disc 2 and it set me off laughing every time.

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