Friday, 21 October 2016

Finishing Puerto Rico Disc 3

Stan Hansen v Carlos Colon (Texas Bullrope Match) (1/6/87)

There was pretty much no way this could live up to the hype I had for it. I first heard about the Hansen/Colon series - specifically this and the cage match - a few years back, but I held off on watching it because I knew there would be a Puerto Rico set eventually. I'd never read an actual review of this match because I wanted to go in fresh when I finally got to see it, but it was hard to miss the general point that it was great. Then I saw the lead-in matches and the hype only grew. I'd built this up without ever having seen it. It was unfair, because it couldn't possibly live up to what I'd made of it in my head. But then it did. And it was god damn incredible. I don't remember ever seeing Hansen take this much of a drubbing. I know Colon is the boss and everything, but Hansen really gave him a ton, and Colon certainly made the most of it. I mean, if you're going to beat on Stan Hansen for extended periods of time then you better do it like you mean it, and Colon did it like he meant it. It felt like whatever Colon had tapped into was beyond anything Hansen ever expected. He knew Colon would bring it, just not like this. I don't think anybody expected him to dominate, but there were points where he did just that. Colon had an answer for everything, and Hansen was phenomenal playing off it. At one point he even grabbed the referee's leg to keep himself from being dragged out the ring, and as the ref' was on the mat trying to scramble away Colon took Hansen's head and rammed it into the ref's boot. There was one sequence in the match that encapsulated the whole story. Hansen had touched three turnbuckles and was about to touch the fourth, having dragged Colon around the ring with him to get this far. Colon, in the opposite corner, wraps his legs around the bottom rope and holds onto the bullrope for dear life. It turns into a tug of war, Hansen trying to push forward, Colon trying to drag him back, the crowd at total fucking melting point. This is probably where a friend of mine would drop a Dragonball Z reference about Goku doing the Spirit Bomb or something. I mean these people are just living and dying with every single thing Colon does. And he eventually succeeds. They all do, Colon and his people, by yanking Hansen back and staying alive in the match. The scene after it, with Colon lying in the corner utterly spent, Hansen cussing out the world with his blood-coated face, the crowd going bananas...that is the motherfucking pro wrestling. I also loved how this was a gimmick match where the gimmick carried tremendous weight. They punched each other and headbutted each other and bit and scratched and tried to gouge each other's eyes out, but they absolutely slabbered each other with that cowbell. If one guy got within rage of the other, they were getting dinged in the head. If the cowbell wasn't on hand, they were getting strangled with that bullrope. The rope wasn't just a means of keeping them tied together -- in those guys' hands it was a weapon, and it got used again and again. They actually reached a point towards the end where I thought the drama might've peaked and they wouldn't be able to get it back for the finish, but they shut my mouth with the finish they did do. It was perfect. Look at that crowd. That is drama. And this is my new #1.

Invader I v Jason the Terrible (1/17/87)

Like the first Colon/TNT match, this was saddled with the unenviable task of trying to follow Colon/Hansen. This is also Invader working a straight wrestling match with armbars, arm wringers and standard babyface hope spots, which isn't quite the same as him bleeding and brawling and throwing guys down stairwells. It's not really fair to criticise something for not being what you wanted it to be, but it is what it is. Still, Invader is Invader and I'll take what I can get. I'm not sure who Jason actually is under the mask, but he moves okay for a big dude even if he's not the most compelling in control. His big cross body looked a bit Bray Wyatt-ish, at least. Chicky Starr running around ringside being a nuisance reminds me that we've got an Invader I/Chicky match coming up on the next disc. I bet it's good.

And so we come to the end of disc 3. With three Hansen/Colon matches (one of which being my current #1), Terry Funk's rodeo of crazy, a couple stellar Invader I brawls and yet another really good Colon/Abby fight, this was a truly phenomenal four hours of wrestling. It might be the best single disc of any 80s set so far.

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