Wednesday, 18 March 2015

I Never Finished the Lucha 80s Set

So I've had this for 17 months and managed to finish three discs. I think the old DVDVR board going down and the 80s project section along with it kind of put a cooler on my motivation to finish the set, but the ballot deadline hasn't passed yet so if the gods are good I might actually get through it on time. I mean, there's certainly no lack of great wrestling on it.

El Dandy v Javier Cruz (Hair v Hair) (10/26/84)

This had a bunch of cool stuff, but neither guy has been wrestling very long at this point and it felt like an apuestas match between two guys that haven't really cracked how to work an amazing apuestas match yet. It was less of a bloody massacre and more of a hateful juniors match with some lucha-isms. Dandy throws a few corkers of punches and bumps in really extravagant ways. Both guys bump and sell like that, actually; flopping around and really playing to the back row. I remember a talking point made by, I think, OJ on PWO, regarding Atlantis in the Atlantis/Satanico match earlier on the set, where you could tell that Atlantis was basically a rookie with the way he'd cock his fist and look to the crowd for support, almost like he was unsure of himself. Cruz does that a few times here, once or twice after dropping Dandy with something and jumping on the ropes to get the crowd going. Dandy does similar things on the flipside by adding a rudo twist, and it's interesting seeing these guys do stuff like that in '84 compared to matches years later where crowds didn't need any prompting to react to a Dandy punch or a Cruz comeback. Dandy hits like four DDTs in a row in the segunda, which would've worked as a near riot-inducing angle if it was done in the States at the time. Tercera had more really cool moments (including Dandy missing a big springboard elbow and Cruz trying to snap the fuck out of it), but the transitions weren't great. These guys went on to have some legendarily great matches. This wasn't at that level, and I know it's easy to say this now with the benefit of hindsight, but they both looked like a pair of wrestlers that would get really awesome pretty quickly.

Mocho Cota, Fishman & Tony Bennetto v Gran Cochisse, Villano III & Rayo De Jalisco Jr. (11/30/84)

Well this was pretty awesome. Feels like it's building to a Cota/Cochisse singles match, and holy shit is Cota one of the best wrestlers ever that nobody talks about (or talked about, rather, since this set has opened peoples' eyes to him somewhat, my own included). He's such an amazing stooge in this -- the whole rudo unit is, really, but Cota especially. There's this bit where he's skulking around outside the ring looking to cause some shit, then he runs around and tries to cheapshot Cochisse only to have his leg caught mid-kick, causing him to back-pedal and beg off on one leg. If this isn't a set up to Cota/Cochisse then it's a set up to Villano/Fishman, because that match-up was prominent as well (and also ruled). Fishman has a couple great bits of stooging in the first caida, my favourite being when he steps in and trips over the bottom rope because Villano has him so flustered. Third caida turned into a killer brawl with a great tecnico comeback (which followed an equally great rudo mugging in the segunda), Cochisse biting a hole in Cota's head and a nice finish. Mocho Cota definitely needs the megacomp treatment.

Sangre Chicana v Villano III (12/7/84)

This was fucking great while it lasted. I'm hesitant to say it was only two caidas then a double DQ finish, because it was a hell of a double DQ finish, but...well yeah, it was really only two caidas and a double DQ finish. What we got was everything you want in a Sangre Chicana mano-a-mano, though. First caida is like the first caida in the Chicana/MS-1 classic. Chicana gets nothing and Villano beats him half to death, and of course Chicana bleeds a bucket or two. That continues into the segunda, then Chicana makes his desperate comeback, which is essentially a few punches and maniac tope. I love how he just manages to crawl back into the ring after it and lie there lifeless, like he has absolutely nothing left to give. He's really one of the best ever in that regard -- I can't think of anybody that's better in conveying a sense of being on their last legs and purely running on fumes and residue cocaine. I'm not sure when it happened, but I think somewhere in between the second and third caidas Villano gigs himself, and would you fucking LOOK at that dude? He's absolutely covered in blood after about three minutes. Ref' just tosses the match out when Chicana rips off Villano's mask and throws it into the crowd and Villano punts him in the dick in return. The eventual apuestas match that I assume this set up is out there somewhere, right? Because I would like to see that.

Mocho Cota & Loco Zavala v Raul Reyes Jr. & Climax (1985)

More of Cota ruling it. I'd never even heard of the other three and the only reason I knew which one Zavala was is because he was listed as Cota's partner. I think Climax was the one dressed in jeans, t-shirt and suspenders (and mask). He wasn't great, but he handled himself okay and got chucked into the turnbuckles all awkward like by Zavala, which looked super cool. Reyes Jr. looked pretty good. His early matwork segment with Cota was really slick, he throws nice punches and has some great jelly-legged selling of Cota's late flurries. Zavala was a pretty fun bruiser and complimented Cota well. But this is really the Mocho Cota show when it comes down to it. His early stooging was awesome again, and when he shifts into ass-kicking mode he manages to come across as vicious as he did schmucky earlier. I have no idea what that finish was, but it looked wild. This is also just about the most obscure match on any 80s set so far, with three guys nobody's ever heard of and one guy whose stock has risen exponentially due to his exposure on one of those 80s sets. I guess in a sense that makes it the most lucha match on the set as well, because half the fun in lucha is finding obscure shit nobody ever knew existed.

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