Thursday, 3 November 2016

Puerto Rico, Day 112

La Gran Guera I (12/12/87)

This is Puerto Rico's version of Wargames, except it's crazier than Wargames because it's Puerto Rico. Two teams of five, everybody starts in the ring at the same time, and you're eliminated by being handcuffed to the cage (there are pairs of handcuffs all around the two rings). Once all five members of a team have been handcuffed, the winning team then get to free any handcuffed members of their own team and spend five minutes doing as they please to the losing team, who remain handcuffed to the cage. Be honest, you want to watch this based on the description alone. Rudo unit consists of Abby, Chicky Starr, Kareem Muhammad, Hercules Ayala and the Grizzly Goon or something. There's a very good chance I'm wrong about that last one because I didn't recognise the guy, I might've misheard Hugo on commentary, and searching Grizzly Goon is yielding no answers of worth. But they're your rudos. Tecnico unit is Colon, Invader I, Bruiser Brody, TNT and Dutch Mantell, which was an awesome surprise. You fully expect this to be wild and crazy and that's exactly what it was. Chicky was probably my favourite guy in it. He took a bunch of great bumps off of being flung into the cage, he bled like crazy, and when things got a little too heavy he'd try and burst his way out the cage (it had a roof, so he couldn't). Maybe it's because there was so much going on and he wasn't the focus for large stretches, but this felt like a strong Brody showing. He seemed generous enough in exchanges, and there was one point where he just unloaded on Abby with the best punches he's ever thrown while the crowd went bonkers. I loved Colon and Invader's dual comeback at the end as well, Colon with his carved up forehead and Invader with his white mask stained blood red. This was pretty awesome.

La Gran Guera II (12/13/87)

A step down from the last one, but more of the same. This time Muhammad is out and he's replaced by the Iron Sheik, but otherwise the teams are unchanged. Chicky was probably my favourite again. Him and Invader go after each other right away and then spend large parts of the match punting each other in the balls. Even when Chicky ends up handcuffed Invader will still wander over from time to time to low blow him. I'm not sure this is the best setting for Abby. I've loved him on this set, but I think in a match like this, where there's so much going on and it could be easy for a guy to rest on his laurels, he was mostly content to stand by the ropes and chop people in the throat or be punched in the head until his scar tissue opened up. There was plenty of stabbing in this as well and it wasn't even him doing it (it was Sheik, and it was some nasty stabbing). Dutch was pretty low key in both these matches. He threw some killer punches, but it felt like he spent most of the time handcuffed and out the way.

Hugo Savinovic v El Profe (Loser is Painted Yellow) (1/5/88)

This was way better than I thought it was going to be. I never knew Hugo had been a wrestler earlier in his career. It's really fun to hear him commentating on his own match, and he actually had some pretty good offence, sold well, and the crowd were all the way behind him. I don't know who El Profe is but he worked well in this, too. He hits a nasty double stomp, eats knees like a trooper off a top rope splash, and will bite Hugo's forehead when he needs to. I wouldn't be opposed to seeing more of these guys in the ring at all.

Invader I v Super Black Ninja (1/23/88)

Okay, so Invader v Mutoh (Super Black Ninja) is one of the few matches from Puerto Rico I'd seen before. Not this match specifically, but one of the stadium brawls (I think it was a Texas Death Match). This was more of a slow burner, but it built up to a hot finish. Young Mutoh had such a cool presence. The way he moves around and conducts himself, it has a hint of menace to it, like he's stalking you down. Plus he was super quick with his strikes, his dropkick had massive air, and he'd do things like his spazzed out elbow drop that just looked cool. We've heard plenty about him being lazy and all that, and I'm not really a fan of his, but early Muta could be pretty fun and he had a genuine aura. Invader was probably at his best during this on the back foot, which won't be too surprising because he's Invader and you want to watch Invader selling, but the early matwork was pretty solid as well. I'm looking forward  to seeing these guys try to tear each other's throat out soon (I mean, hopefully).

We're now four discs down. This wasn't as strong a disc as the amazing disc 3, but it was probably never going to be. What we did get, though, was the incredible blowoff to one of the best feuds ever, more insane Terry Funk, and the first appearance of Mutoh in Puerto Rico. And La Gran Guera was fucking nuts.


Admin said...

Really enjoying your write-ups on old Puerto Rico matches. I grew up watching this stuff and always enjoy reliving the good, bloody old days.

Andy said...

Awesome, really cool to hear. I'd barely seen any Puerto Rico before last year but it's become one of my favourite territories. Should hopefully get back to watching more pretty soon.