Friday, 4 November 2016

You Know it's Still Puerto Rico

Invader III v Super Black Ninja (1/30/88)

I liked this a bunch, even if the ending felt a bit abrupt. I really love how early days Muta moves around the ring. Maybe he's always moved like this, but it's been so long since I've watched any later-career Muta that I don't remember. I said it when I wrote about the Invader I match, but how he conducts himself is just flat out cool. He has a real snap to his bumps and even the way he gets in and out of the ring has a sort of menacing elegance to it. He's solid enough on offence as well, but it's seeing how he reacts to things defensively, how he regroups and comes back for another go; that's where I get the most out of him. Invader III has brought lots of nice offence whenever he's shown up on this set and he was really good trading quick holds with Muta early, running the ropes at speed and hitting a great looking Super Astro-style headbutt. He doesn't really bother selling Muta's legwork from the middle of the match, but the crowd are super into the finishing run so I doubt THEY cared. At first I thought the finish might've been a referee flub because it looked like things were just starting to get hot, but either way this was good stuff.

Bobby Jaggers & Dan Kroffat v Mark & Chris Youngblood (Double Indian Strap Match) (1/30/88)

This might be the first time I've seen Bobby Jaggers wrestle. From a distance he looks a bit like a gruffer, late-career Buddy Rose. It's not how I pictured him from his commentary. Kroffat is peroxide blonde here and I don't think I've ever seen peroxide blonde Danny Kroffat before, either. This was short and everybody whipped each other with straps and Chris Youngblood was pump kicking guys in the teeth. I always assumed he was the worst of the Youngbloods, but he has a really nice pump kick. At one point he got thrown to the floor and yanked the strap to drag Kroffat out with him, and holy shit did Kroffat take a crazy bump outside. No hands, unprotected, face first to the concrete.

Hercules Ayala v Super Medico (1/30/88)

This was really good and I'd put it right alongside the Savage match as Ayala's best on the set so far. He was mostly decent in this, but Super Medico was great. I'm pretty sure I've only ever seen him twice, and both times have been on this set, but he feels like a guy we should know more about. His punch flurries are amazing and the crowd go totally nuts for them. All of his early control was good stuff, then when Ayala takes over he's really fun selling from the bottom, fighting for his hope spots then crashing and burning as Ayala cuts him off. Puerto Rico seems to be a territory that knows how to make the figure four feel like a huge deal. There've been a few Colon matches now where the build to him finally locking it in has been exceptional, and the build to it in this was great as well. Medico tries and tries to keep Ayala away, but Ayala keeps going back to that leg, dropping elbows, stomping on the ankle, twisting and yanking away. When he finally gets it in Medico just sells the absolute crap out of this and it's honestly some of the best desperation selling I've seen from someone in a hold. I thought for sure he'd give it up, but he made it to the ropes and I even had a little fist pump of my own. We need more Super Medico.

Mark & Chris Youngblood v Kendo Nagasaki & Mr. Pogo (2/6/88)

For a four minute sprint, this was perfectly fine. Chris Youngblood hit more of his big pump kicks and I'm now officially a fan of Chris Yougblood pump kicks. Pogo was running around hitting spin kicks and I think it's the first Pogo match I've ever seen where he doesn't try and stab someone with a broken chair leg or piece of scrap metal. Crowd really bought into the hectic finish after the ref' bump and I thought they nailed everything well at the end. It could've wound up being messy, but it came off great. No complaints about this at all.

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