Sunday, 7 August 2016

Welcome to Puerto Rico, Motherfucker!

I think my favourite thing about wrestling at this point in my life as a hardcore wrestling dork is the buzz that surrounds every new DVDVR 80s set. Seeing the initial match list, checking the post every day to see if the set's arrived yet...sometimes an old, whiskey-ravaged degenerate enjoys the simple things in life. The lucha set (which I never finished because I suck) came out three years ago now, but this summer both Portland and Puerto Rico got the goodhelmet treatment. Puerto Rico is a huge blind spot for me, so I picked up that set and started it tonight. It's already the best fucking thing.


Carlos Colon v Abdullah the Butcher (September 1981)

How about this for an introduction. It's taking place in Trinidad and Tobago for the West Indies Championship and I'm like 98% certain it's the first match I've ever seen from Trinidad and Tobago. So there's another one off the old bucket list! The ring mat looks squishy, like a dodgy mattress or a burst bouncy castle. Early parts were all about Colon punching Abby in the ear and trying to rip the ear off Abby's head. Abby sells with mild annoyance. Then Abby goes bonkos and man this might be the most fun I've had watching Abby punch folk in the throat and kick them in the eye with the toe of his boot. He does it at Abdullah the Butcher speed but it all looked great. His elbow drops fucking rule as well, btw. About seven minutes in and both guys have tapped a gusher and Savinovich is on commentary calling the referee a full blown idiot for not stopping the match before a riot ensues. You're listening to it thinking "yeah okay, mate, I'm sure a riot will ensue" and then a few score Trinidadians surround the ring like some shit is brewing. The commentators also reiterate that anything they say about Abby that may be misconstrued as insulting is purely accidental and in the heat of the broadcast because they don't want Abby or his people hunting them down and assassinating them or something. Which was awesome. Eventually the ref' does throw out the match, but Abdullah isn't done and keeps going after Colon post-match. Someone jumps in the ring - a wrestler from the territory, apparently - and Abby punches him in the throat so people outside start trying to grab Abby's legs and yank at his tights. Then Abby steps out the ring and everybody scatters like Abby is the fucking plague incarnate! Fans literally start fighting with each other. Abby goes full Hansen and waddles into this mass of people and folk are terrified, running over each other to get away. Remember when people believed a morbidly obese bag of walnuts who moved at the speed of moss from Windsor, Ontario was a psychotic murderer from the Sudan? Hot damn, that was the pro-wrestling. Bring back the kayfabe! This ruled like fuck.


Ric Flair v Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)

Well I loved this. Fuck it, I said it, I meant it, I'm here to represent it. Old, balding, two-years-shy-of-retiring-into-a-refereeing-gig Tommy Gilbert isn't the first candidate I'd put forward to play plucky underdog in a studio match against the World Champ, but hell if it doesn't work. Maybe this is the kind of setting in which I'll get the most out of Flair at this point. Short, to the point, pretty much a sprint. Thought he struck a really nice balance between being the aggressor and begging off. Like, I know for a fact I'd be fawning over Rose or Bockwinkel if they worked the match this exact way. Actually, and maybe this is just because I haven't watched a Flair studio match in ages, Flair seemed more aggressive and intent on working on top in this compared to a LOT of Flair matches I can think of, studio or otherwise. He of course gives Tommy plenty, but he'd let loose with body shots, AWESOME elbow drops, kicks to the kneecap, rabbit punches to the nose, a great delayed vertical suplex, etc. He cut a no-nonsense promo before it about how he was the best athlete in the world, and he generally worked this like a guy who could live up to that hype (with the begging off highlighting the hubris in such a statement at the same time). And how about the figure four? Wasn't reversed, wasn't applied to Flair as a revenge spot, didn't feel tacked on for some mid-match heat. It was the figure four leglock in all its glory. Praise the Puerto Rico.

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