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[1981-05-22-Houston Wrestling] Gino Hernandez vs Chavo Guerrero


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It starts out with Gino kicking the shit out of a fan. I'm still tingling from the fight. Plus we have Lou Thesz as ref. The crowd is 100% behind Chavo. It also wants to lynch Gino. Gino on the neck, and negating Chavo's speed. Incredible belly to belly hope spot by Chavo. I'm loving the slow build, the wrestlers are getting huge reactions on arm drags. Everything the wrestlers do is getting over. Gino is smart by taking the heat down with the headlock. I'm loving Gino smothering Chavo. Chavo with a big comeback. The way Chavo works the Rito Romero special is really interesting It looks like it should break Gino's back. . The way Chavo is after the arm is cool The Fig 4 Octopus is so cool. Gino steals the fall.


This was a strong 2nd fall. It was short, but sweet.


The 3rd fall and Chavo is on fire. Chavo misses, but Gino capitalizes. Chavo returns the favor and holds the trunks for the win. Post match Gino lays out Chavo. Thesz and the babyfaces take the title from Gino. Post match was awesome, and heated. I'm a guy who takes crowd reactions as being very important. The crowd here was great throughout the match. This had an epic feel to it. 4 1/4*

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  • 5 weeks later...

We don't typically do obituary posts, but Chavo Guerrero is a Segunda Caida favorite and a guy with a bunch of under the radar classics. This is a 2/3 falls Jr. title match courtesy of the invaluable NWA Classics service. The match is reffed by Lou Thez, but is worked differently then most Thez reffed matches. Match starts with Gino beating the everloving shit out of a fan, it was hard for any match to live up to the violence of that fan beatdown. We get some Thez approved mat work in the first fall including some very cool stretching by Chavo, he wasn't fancy like a Negro Navarro or Johnny Saint, but his maestro chops were more about making simpler things look really painful. Match breaks down into a hell of a back and forth fight in the third fall with both guys exchanging big shots. Chavo has really great looking punches as does Gino, and both guys are amazing at selling punches, both guys would make weak shots look strong, and they make the strong shots look devastating. Chavo gets the belt with an OG Guerrero cheat to win tight pull, only to have Gino smash him with a belt leading to the crowd going apeshit as Thez clears the ring. Great match, and an awesome example of what Chavo could do as a triumphant babyface, this is how I imagine his Olympic wars with Roddy Piper must have looked like.

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  • paul sosnowski changed the title to [1981-05-22-Houston Wrestling] Gino Hernandez vs Chavo Guerrero
  • 7 months later...

NWA International Jr. Heavyweight Champion Gino Hernandez vs Chavo Guerrero - Houston 5/22/81 SGR: Lou Thesz

You want to be confused check out the history of Junior Heavyweight Championships. This is what I have surmised in my reading. Nelson Royal retires in 1979. There needs to be a new Junior Heavyweight Champion. The NWA was interesting because things are kinda aligned by Japan. You have this loose affiliation of New Japan, WWF, Florida and Los Angeles. While the rest of the NWA and the AWA are aligned with All Japan Pro Wrestling.

NWA World Junior Championship (Southeastern Title) basically becomes Les Thornton's title in the early 80s and he defends it in the Southeast. He loses the title to Tiger Mask in New Japan. Then title gets caught over there and the promoters in the US stop recognizing Tiger Mask and continue to recognize Thornton. Then in 84 when Vince buys Georgia, Thornton goes North and the Southern promoters revolt again. They again stop recognizing the current champion. This is as bad the Great Schism of the 14th-15th century in the Catholic Church. Denny Brown ends up the champion, but over in Japan they are still recognizing their lineage. Somehow, Cobra wins the title but I guess New Japan abandons their claim. Denny Brown wins a tournament and is officially recognized as the undisputed NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion. Now to make matters worse that is not even the title we are talking about in this match. 

The former title was the title of the traditional NWA, but remember I said there was that loose affiliation of New Japan, Florida, WWF and LA, well they decide they want their own. What is strange is the WWF Junior Heavyweight Title already existed and Tatsumi Fujinami was the champion. Steve Keirn wins this version called the NWA International Junior Heavyweight Title right after Nelson Royal retires in 1979. He loses the title to Fujinami. Fujinami comes to Florida to drop the title to Mike Graham. Graham loses the title back to Fujinami in Japan, but then Fujinami gets injured. Chavo Guerrero defeats Kengo Kimura so that is how the title gets to Houston and why this match exists. But then to matters more confusing, Chavo switches allegiances to All Japan Pro Wrestling so now Onita wins the title and defends it in Mexico. Truly International! This ends up becoming All Japan's Junior Heavyweight Championship, but then is abandoned when Misawa moves to Heavyweight and they unveil a new title as All Japan's relationship with America becomes strained. Crazy! 

Damnit, I forgot what happened in the match now I have to rewatch it. Bear with me. Ok, I rewatched it, good thing it was a great match. 

First Fall: Gino literally has to fight his way into the ring. He gets into a scrap with a fan. He is definitely a lot more cocky than in the Lothario match. By 1982, this is the Gino we all loved to hate. Chavo lost his championship back in February and he wants it back. Really strong first fall. Chavo wins the quickness battle, but Gino stifles him with a front facelock. Excellent psychology against a fast-paced, explosive babyface challenger. Chavo does a great job struggling. Backbreaker, but Gino pounces on the front facelock. Nothern Lights back drop, Gino pounces on the front facelock. Fireman's Carry, Gino pounces on the front facelock. The more Chavo fights the more energy he expends. It is exciting because the babyface is creating so much movement and you want this to be the spot that gets him free, but Gino is relentless with the front facelock. This is very similar to the Benoit vs Eddy Guerrero sleepers match from Japan in 1996. Of course, Chavo does break free (but it means so much more that it took him four tries instead of one and modern wrestlers should take heed of this) and he applies a wicked tight surfboard. Not upside down just vertical. With this being 2 out of 3 Falls, I bit on this as a finish. You could believe that hold was actually exhausting to Chavo to apply so when he relinquished the hold, he did not look like an idiot, it was just fatigue did him in. Then he got one of those crazy pretzel submissions on Gino's arm, man I thought he was going to break Gino. Gino made it to the ropes. Chavo telegraphs the back body drop and gets punted. Gino hits his Russian Legsweep, which he used as a finish in the Lothario match to pick up the first fall. Didnt love the finish, but the rest of the work was superb. Finish came out of nowhere and I would have liked if Gino cheated more to earn it. Gino 1-0!

Second Fall: As is customary, the second fall is short and sweet. Gino hurls Chavo out of the ring and as Chavo is trying to get his wits about him, Gino blasts him from behind and then rams him into the post. Gino does a little Gorgeous George strutting. Gino gets a back body drop for two. I didnt like the transition it was too abrupt. Chavo just hulked up and started punching Gino and kicking ass. He showed great fire, but the transition just wasnt there. It felt like now it is my turn. Chavo hits his finish the German Suplex with a sloppy bridge for three to knot it up. Tied 1-1!

Third Fall: Gino is in a bad way. He is clutching the back of his neck. He is asking for time. He is being a baby. Taking refuge in the ropes. So Lou Thesz says if you want to act that way, I will give Chavo the third and deciding fall. That was the ultimate Dad move! :)

Chavo is ROARING! Gutwrench suplex for two! Somersault splash for two! OH NO CHAVO MISSES A DROPKICK! Gino elbow drop for two! Gino is bouncing Chavo around. The action is fast & furious. Tenryu style top rope elbow drop from Gino 1-2-LEG ON THE ROPES! Gino is going for his finish the Russian Legsweep...Chavo blocks...Chavo hits his own Russian Legsweep...1-2-3! He had the tights! The crowd goes crazy, they rush the apron. It is Bedlam! Gino is furious. He attacks Chavo with the belt and draws blood! It BREAKING LOOSE IN HOUSTON! He is going to leave with the belt. NOT ON LOU THESZ'S WATCH! Lou has him by the hair. Tiger Conway Jr retrieves the Championship for Chavo and Gino is left throwing a temper tantrum as the crowd goes nuts for Chavo!


Amazing finish that feels like an All Japan bomb throwing war with great transitions. I love Chavo throwing all of Gino's shit in his face. The post-match is great. Awesome babyface vs heel championship match! ****1/2



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  • GSR changed the title to [1981-05-22-Houston Wrestling] Gino Hernandez vs Chavo Guerrero

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