Friday, 23 September 2016

Back to Puerto Rico

Abdullah the Butcher v Andre the Giant (8/17/83)

I think this is the first time I've seen Abby match up with someone substantially larger than he is. I know Andre was a few inches shorter than his billed height (though the afro might've made up for it), but, as corny as it sounds, his aura and presence really does make him seem like every bit the giant he's presented as. This was pretty short, but I dug it for what it was. The main hook was Abby being headbutted and bear-pawed before inevitably bringing out the fork to turn the tide. I love how Andre sold being jabbed with a shiv and punched in the throat. He's a big expressive dude and he's great at conveying that sense of vulnerability with equal parts danger, like the monster from Stranger Things after being caught in the bear trap (so I guess Abby is Nancy Wheeler, only he's peppering Andre with fork stabs rather than bullets). Eventually he fights back, takes the fork for himself, and appears to be stabbing Abdullah in the neck and stomach with it, which was very Puerto Rico. To the surprise of all the match ends in a count out and crowd brawl, with Andre throwing a fence at Abdullah's head.

Carlos Colon v Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)

I've watched this twice now, because the first time I figured I overrated it based on how shockingly enjoyable I found Brody in it. There are Brody matches that I like and there are Brody performances that I like, but there's always a little bit of the "you know...for Brody" factor at play, like you're grading on a curve. This had a Brody performance, though, that I thought was legitimately good on any curve. Like, I don't think of Brody as much of a seller. Ever. He almost never manages to communicate vulnerability. He'll bump, but it's usually in half-arsed ways. I've seen a goodly amount of Brody matches where he staggers around with his arms out like he's trying not to fall backwards into a swimming pool and that'll be the extent of his efforts at selling opponents' offence. But this didn't really have any of that. From the very start it was as if he was flat out afraid of being chained to Colon, and I don't remember ever seeing Brody attempt to sell fear (and I think fear was the emotion he was actually going for, as opposed to it only looking like fear because he was rubbish at whatever else he was trying to convey). He bumped and didn't just pop back up straight after -- he actually stayed down and let Colon pepper him with chain-wrapped fists. And of course he bled, because he always bled. When he wasn't selling he imposed himself and threw out some pretty mean looking shit. At one point he wrapped the chain around Colon's eyes, he chucked Colon onto a table and beat on him with the chain, etc. Then Colon would come back and try to touch the four corners, and sure enough Brody would frantically try and stop him without ever guzzling him like I expected him to. The finish was a bit hokey, but that's about my only complaint. If you're not a fan of Brody then I doubt this'll convince you to do a deep dive reevaluation, but it might make you wish there was more of him wrestling like this. 

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