Gino Dellaserra & Pierre Martel v Los Mercenarios (11/27/82)
Well, I did not know Rick Martel had a brother. Where Rick was handsome and all shredded like a julienne salad, Pierre is gruff and rugged and he looks like a binman. Never seen Dellaserra before but a cursory google search reveals at least four different spelling variations of his surname. The VQ isn't always spectacular on this - though dodgy VQ on early 80s studio matches that you'd never check out otherwise is part of the charm of the 80s sets - so I'm not sure which version of Los Mercenarios this is. Judging by the timeline I'd have thought it'd be Angel Acevedo/Cuban Assassin and Gerry Morrow, but it doesn't look like Morrow. Acevedo's hair/beard combination is absolutely spectacular. He's achieved true lunatic caveman status with that. This was rolling along nicely with some spirited arm work by Martel and Dellaserra, then Martel ends up on the floor and comes back in covered in blood so we have ourselves another 'Welcome to the Puerto Rico, Motherfucker!' situation. I'm all in on Puerto Rico studio matches already. Crowds are raucous and there's blood and shithousing for days. I'm not even sure what the finish was but there was eye-gouging and face-biting and blood and beard everywhere. I dug this.
Carlos Colon v Tully Blanchard (1983)
This was one of those Tully matches where he wanted to come in and be as much of a shitbox as possible before finally having to man up and throw some punches. He begged off, stooged, outright ran away, threw cheapshots, and generally acted like an annoying wee weasel. If that sounds like fun to you then you'll probably get a kick out of this. Thought Colon was pretty good again, especially in the way he'd go from merely threatening to punch Tully in the nose at the start of the match to actually punching him in the nose, and often at that, by the end. Tully will do that to a guy, I suppose. Some cool revenge spots on the floor as well, like Tully throwing Colon over the barricade into a group of fans and attacking him every time he tried to climb back over, leading to Colon picking Tully up and dropping him tailbone-first across the barricade later on. Finish isn't executed terribly well, but I liked the idea of it.
El Gran Apollo v Dick Steinborn (February 1983)
I'd never seen either of these two guys before. Steinborn looked to be somewhere around his fifties and sure enough a quick check on cagematch.net tells me he debuted in 1951(!) and at one point went by the ring name Dick Gunkel, which for whatever reason just tickles me. He was also the brother-in-law of Jerry Oates, who spent a while in the NWA through the 70s and 80s and had a cup of coffee as a ham 'n' egger in the WWF in the early 90s. So...there you go. Steinborn was pretty damn fun in this as your tough old roughhouse. He had a few cool takedowns and carried himself like a guy who knew how to go, but if things were getting a bit out of hand he would duck under the ropes for a quick breather. You need to learn your limits as you get on in years, you know. If there's any Eisenhower-era Dick Steinborn floating around I may very well be tempted to check it out. I never got much of a handle on Apollo from this. He struck me as Puerto Rico's white meat midcard babyface - solid if unspectacular - but the match was about six minutes long, so it's hard to gauge anything from that. Another nifty studio match, though.
El Gran Apollo v Buddy Landell (5/8/83)
This was also about six minutes, but Apollo was super solid again, enough that I think it's fair to say he's pretty okay at the pro-wrestling. Landell was Landell, and man, Buddy Landell is just the best. He's such a detestable goof and this studio crowd are allll about letting him know it. His stooging was really great here, with the best spot of the match being his face first collapse into the middle turnbuckle after Apollo headlocks him into oblivion. He also flings himself wildly into the air off a back body drop and has no compunction about taking shortcuts, which just winds folk up even more. His chinlock was up there with the most shoddily applied chinlocks in the history of wrestling, but it didn't last long at least. These short studio matches are a-okay with me.