Monday, 17 October 2016

Welcome Back to Puerto Rico, Terry Funk

Carlos Colon v Abdullah the Butcher (9/20/86)

Might be my favourite Colon performance yet. At first I figured this was going to be his Jerry Lawler performance, where he starts slow, gets beaten up for a while, then cartwheels (drops the strap) and makes his big comeback while the crowd goes nuts. And in a sense that's what we got...but at the same time it was much more than that. The first half was all Abby, jabbing Colon in the throat with a pencil, throwing big headbutts, biting Colon's forehead open and generally dominating. Then Carlos made his big comeback, complete with cartwheel and crowd going nuts. And THEN he went full caveman on Abby, and I've never seen Lawler blatantly punt a guy in the balls - repeatedly - or attempt to scalp someone with his teeth like Colon did here. He was rabid; not quite as savage as he was in the June match, but he was out for blood and wouldn't be satisfied with a mere trickle. Abdullah ruled on the back foot. Some of his weeble-wobble selling before finally going down was Blackwell-esque and he really milked his bumps for everything they were worth. It's one thing to go down for a leaping headbutt, but it's another to time it so that the crowd goes full on badger shit when it happens. In true Abdullah fashion, though, you could never count him out. He's always hiding a fork or a plain old jaggy stick somewhere, and this time he had Gary Hart with him so that made him even more dangerous. Case in point: we reach peak Puerto Rico level when Hart hands Abby a shiv and Abby STABS COLON IN THE DICK! I couldn't believe it when he did that. When Colon went and stood over him I thought, "he could stab him in the dick here. Wait...surely he wouldn't do that." But then he did! He actually stabbed him in the dick and I outright shouted "holy shit he stabbed him in the dick!" This match-up has delivered every time out, and there haven't been two that follow the same pattern yet (other than the pattern of blood and stabbing), which blows my previous "these Abby/Colon matches all probably have a similar formula but it feels like they'll throw just enough different wrinkles in there to keep it fresh" theory to bits. This was completely different to the June match, which was completely different to the March match, which was different to the very first match on the set (complete with post-match riot). And I think it's time I stopped comparing Colon to guys like Lawler or the Von Erichs or any other territory babyface mainstay. You can draw parallels, sure, but I've seen enough of him now that I think he absolutely stands on his own. This wasn't Carlos Colon doing a Jerry Lawler. This was Carlos Colon doing a Carlos Colon. And I hope he doesn't change for anybody.

Terry Funk v Carlos Colon (9/21/86)

If comic books are to believed, and I see no reason why they shouldn't, there's probably an alternate universe somewhere/sometime in which Terry Funk only toured Japan once every few years, and the majority of his peak was spent on the island of Puerto Rico. Don't get me wrong, I love Funk in Japan as much as the next guy. He had a ton of great stuff there. But imagine those Funks v Abby and Sheik matches happening in Puerto Rico? Imagine Funk getting to wrestle Carlos Colon or the Invaders or even Hercules Ayala every week? I wonder what kind of names they could've brought in with the drawing card of a former NWA World Champion being there full time. Fucking hell, never mind Abby and the Sheik, imagine Funk v Hansen happened in Puerto Rico?! A man can dream, I guess (those Funk/Invader matches from the early 80s are Holy Grail material at this point, btw). This is the final of the Universal Title tournament, which Funk reached by somehow getting past Windham and Martel despite literally wrestling parts of those matches with his pants down and/or a wooden chair around his head. His pre-match interview was incredible here. He calls Puerto Rico a giant pig farm again, says Colon is a yellow coward pig, then says he knows how to speak in a foreign language the crowd will understand. "Oink oink," he says, while you take a second just to thank the wrestling gods that we've been blessed with Terry Funk. Savinovic uses his sleeve to wipe his face of Funk's spittle so Funk just outright spits on him and this match is twelve stars before anybody's even gotten in the ring. This was actually a slightly more subdued Funk performance than his last two. Maybe it's because it's the final for all the marbles, but he was a little more businesslike. We still get some awesome shtick early on, though. This time he tries to back pedal from Colon and trips up over his own discarded chaps, then he takes a Flair Flip in the corner before seamlessly moving straight into his seesaw bit in the ropes as Colon peppers him with punches. Pretty soon he takes over, and as usual he goes to the piledriver outside, this time doing it on the stage. I'm a dork for guys working a chinlock and pulling the referee out of position by grabbing the hair, then using the other hand to blatantly choke while the ref' is looking out for more hair pulling. We got that here, and Funk even makes the hair pulling look like he's trying to give a guy a permanent bald patch. I'm not the first person to bring up Terry Funk's selling, but man is Terry Funk great at selling. He takes a punt to the balls (he did it to Colon first, so it was warranted) and it may be the best sell of a ball shot I've ever seen, and he even tries to turn it into a distraction spot by feigning a ruptured testicle so he can grab a foreign object. His sell of the figure four, while in the hold as well as afterwards, is really awesome as well. Nobody throws headbutts on jelly legs like Terry Funk. Not quite up there with the Windham and Martel matches, but it's good and something you won't regret watching.

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