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  1. Blue Panther/Sergio El Hermoso v. Super Astro/Solar (10/17/87) This was from Benjamin Mora's Tijuana based promotion, WWA, which along with Super Muneco's AWWA promotion in Mexico City and Carlos Elizondo's FILL promotion in Monterrey, was one of the major independent promotions in Mexico outside of the UWA. It attracted a large number of stars who worked for Flores, as well as unearthing future stars such as Psicosis and Rey Mysterio. Jr. The promotion's major venue, Auditorio de Tijuana, became known as the "Cementerio de las Máscaras" due to the number of stars who dropped their masks there, and it was also the site of some of the bloodiest hair matches of the late 80s. WWA also promoted in Southern California. In fact, this match is from the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles and the correct date is 8/22/87 according to the WON. Los Cadetes Del Espacio had broken up by this point with Ultraman busy losing his mask all over Mexico and Southern California. Solar and Super Astro still worked the indy circuit together with Solar II often filling in for Ultraman in trios matches. Later in the year, Solar and Astro worked this match-up twice in one day (in Aguascalientes and Colima) with Black Terry replacing Sergio el Hermoso. A 1987 version of the maestro matches that would take place thirty years later. The main feud here was Solar vs. Blue Panther. Solar was the UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight champion at the time this match took place, having beaten Panther for the title in Puebla on 5/25/87. Solar would have a brief feud with Satanico at Arena Coliseo that ended with a drawn title match on 1/22/88 before he dropped the belt back to Panther in Puebla on 2/8/88. Panther was a rudo at the time, but essentially what you're seeing is the chase from two of the best mat workers of the decade. Solar is a true lucha maestro and generally regarded as one of the finest wrestlers of his generation. Next year will mark the 40th year of his professional career and he remains an excellent worker at the age of 58. Solar was from Jalisco originally, and was born and raised in a small town called Zacoalco de Torres. He spent most of his childhood milking cows and working the fields, and his original inspiration for becoming a luchador was traveling to Arena Coliseo Guadalajara and seeing the likes of Solitario, Rene Guajardo and Angel Blanco thrill audiences. Like most of the era's brightest talent, Solar trained under Diablo Velasco, a man whose mystique rivaled that of the biggest stars. Solar ranked among Velasco's finest prodigies and bought into his training completely, believing wholehearted in Velasco's mythos of professional wrestling being a sport that required physical and mental conditioning and precise knowledge of the rules and regulations, as well as the "castigos," or wrestling holds. Velasco would draw parallels to "pancracio" (the ancient Greek sport of Pankration, which was like a mix of boxing and wrestling), and all of his students trained in what was loosely referred to as "Olympic" style wrestling (i.e. amateur wrestling) with many of them becoming outstanding mat workers; some of them among the best of all-time. Solar was special, though. Even Velasco had pause to tell Box y Lucha reporters that he was amazed by the things Solar managed to show when he was just starting to train at the Coliseo gym. Solar initially wanted to do a type of executioner gimmick where his face was covered by an axe, but while training under the sun in Guadalajara the idea of the sun came to him and the Solar gimmick was born. Solar enjoyed success right from the get-go. He arrived in Mexico City in 1976 from Monterrey where he had won notoriety for his extraordinary abilities, and caused a major upset when he beat Villano III in two straight falls and without disqualifications for the UWA World Welterweight title in May 1977. Villano had been on an impressive winning streak to that point, and Solar proved the upset was no fluke by successfully defending the title against Fishman in a match El Halcon called the most spectacular match-up of 1978. Flores then booked him in a successful apuesta feud with popular independent worker Dr. O'Borman to cap 1979, promoting Box y Lucha to proclaim: "his name is Solar, and it truly seems he could be the center of our universe." More success followed in 1981 when he took the National Middleweight title from Cachorro Mendoza at Arena Coliseo. Defenses followed against both Satanico and El Faraon before Satanico claimed the belt back for EMLL. During the next few years, the magazines pushed him as a contender for another world title. Then, for some reason, Solar's career cooled off with the Los Cadetes Del Espacio run and he never fully delivered on the promise that Box y Lucha saw in him. He forged out a respectable career, but instead of becoming one of the big names of the early 90s, he continued to work pretty much the same way he had in '87, working El Toreo and the indies with the occasional appearance at Arena Coliseo or Arena Mexico. Later on, he had a run in AAA where he again feuded with Panther as El Mariachi. He was then part of the group of workers who jumped to CMLL where he was used on the undercard as a veteran hand to guide young workers. In the early 00s, he began working regularly with his former UWA contemporaries on the indy circuit, developing a style of working we would later dub "maestro matches." In particular, he had tremendous chemistry with Negro Navarro and the two honed a type of touring maestro match which they've performed all over Mexico and as far abroad as the US, Japan and Europe. Due to the dearth of footage from Solar's prime, this maestros work has done a great deal to enchance Solar's reputation as a worker and has been a terrific coda to his long career.
  2. Mogur vs. As Charro (Mask vs. Mask) (9/18/87) When you get to this point in the discs, you're probably thinking "who is Mogur?" Mogur was a young wrestler from Jalisco named José de Jesús Pantoja Flores. He'd only been wrestling for a few years when he caught someone's eye enough to be repackaged as the masked gimmick, Mogur, 'El Gato Egipcio' (The Egyptian Cat.) EMLL's interest in Mogur didn't end there, though. Coming out of the 1986 Anniversary Show, the promotion decided it was time to push a hot young star. The company's modus operandi has always been to push a new young star every few years, either by debuting them on top or giving them a fast promotion to the top of the card. They did it with Atlantis in '84 and again with Mogur in '87. There were a number of parallels between the two pushes with veterans Talisman and Satanico being used to give both wrestlers credibility, and both wrestlers winning masks on the company's Anniversary Show. Unfortunately for Mogur, Charro wasn't the biggest of names at this point. A journeyman from the 70s with a Valente Perez gimmick, Charro's body was completely broken down by '87. In his prime, he had apparently been a big bumper, and created his own signature kick, the 'Patada Charra.' His gimmick, like most of Perez' creations, was a fun one, and his rough style had earned him the nickname of 'El Regional Rudo' after he made it to Mexico City. As fun as these photo shoots are, Charro looking for a last big payday didn't give much of a rub to Mogur. Certainly not as much as taking the masks of Talisman and Hombre Bala had done for Atlantis. Thirty years later and Atlantis is a legendary gimmick while Mogur is a guy who most people don't know despite the fact he worked for CMLL for another 20 years. Charro lasted a couple of more years for the promotion, lost his hair to a green Konnan and feuded on and off again with Pirata Morgan on the indie scene. Not bad for a washed up character gimmick.
  3. The 50s is the best decade for film, but everything up to the 60s is good. The drop off starts during the 70s, IMO.
  4. El Hijo del Santo vs. Negro Casas (Mask vs. Hair) (7/18/87) This is the most well known lucha match of the 80s and was included in Jeff Bowdren's Top Matches of the 80s in the 1989 WON Yearbook. "This was a Hair vs Hair match that without any local television, drew more than 7,000 fans to the Olympic Auditorium," wrote Bowdren. "More than either Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan, both of whom were appearing in Los Angeles regularly at the time, had been able to draw. Many people who were there live swear this was the greatest match that they ever saw." It's difficult to find any information about what Negro Casas was doing in 1987, but legend has it that two weeks before the match there was a trios between Misioneros de la Muerte vs. Santo, Casas and Black Shadow Jr. which started the angle, and a week later there was a Super Libre double juice brawl with Casas vs Santo, which was supposed to have been even better than the mask vs. hair match. Casas and Santo were rivals right from the outset of El Hijo del Santo's career. In fact, it was Casas whom Santo defeated for his very first title when he claimed the UWA World Lightweight title on 10/28/84. Casas would chase Santo for the title for the next five years before feuding with Santo over the UWA World Welterweight title in the early 90s. The pair wrestled each other countless times across Mexico, but to the best of my knowledge the other time Casas beat Santo in a title match situation was in 1995 when he beat Santo for the vacant NWA World Welterweight Championship. As many of you will be aware, the most famous chapter in their rivalry began in 1996 about a year after Santo jumped to CMLL. Casas had just turned technico and someone in CMLL came up with the brilliant idea to shock Mexico City by turning Santo heel. Business went through the roof, leading to their famous hair vs. mask match on the 64th Anniversary Show, a decade after their LA match. The 1997 match is considered one of the great matches in lucha history and a must-see if you haven't seen it. A long, drawn out face turn followed for Santo, and the two wound up becoming tag partners in a feud against their former rudo partners, Bestia Salvaje and Scorpio Jr., which led to another famous 90s apuesta match where they took each other on in a rare double hair/mask vs. hair/mask match. Santo's disputes with CMLL over money eventually ended the rivalry, but not before the pair had delivered over twenty years of classic lucha libre.
  5. Cien Caras vs. Siglo XX (4/10/87) Luchawiki has a 4/12/87 date for this, which is itself a typo as the match actually took place on 12/4/87. EMLL would usually have a double bill of apuestas matches on the first Friday in December, which more or less served as their year end show. In 1987, they ran a hair match between Irma Aguilar and Rossy Moreno and a mask match beween Caras and Siglo XX. The women's match was actually quite significant as women's wrestling had been banned in the Federal District from the early 50s until the end of 1986. In the early 1980s, the Nacional de Luchadores, Referís and Retirados (National Association of Wrestlers, Referees, and Retirees) began working on a repeal on the ban on luchadoras, which they were able to push through when the Comisión de Box y Lucha Libre Mexico D.F was restructured following the death of Luis Spota, who had been president of the commission since 1957. Apparently, during the course of the repeal, the NLRR union discovered that the commission had never been granted legal authority and that lucha libre had no binding regulations. That greatly loosened the commission's control over lucha libre and by the turn of the decade lucha would be back on television in the Federal District and essentially under the control of Televisa. From all accounts, women's wrestling enjoyed a surge in popularity with its return to the capital and there were several apuestas matches at Arena Mexico in the late 80s starting with Pantera Surena vs. Chela Salazar in June of '87. Anyway, back to the match. Siglo XX was the brother of Enrique Vera and had a reputation for being a terrible worker, kind of like the Sicodelico to Vera's Mil Mascara/Dos Caras. He'd come up through Guadalajara and won a couple of local workers' masks, but really hadn't done anything special. The match was set uo in the usual way with trios matches such as La Fiera/Siglo XX/Villano III vs. Caras/Mascara Ano 2000/Sangre Chicana the week before. More noteworthy than the match itself was that a month after he unmasked, Siglo was back under a hood at El Toreo, this time as 'El Asesino de Bronx' The Killer. Luchadores aren't supposed to change masks quite that quickly, but as I mentioned the commission had lost a lot of power by this stage. Billed as two meters tall, to hide his identity he dyed his hair blonde and rumours spread that he was American. The Killer was a regular with the UWA until they closed and was a three time UWA World Junior Heavyweight champion. He feuded extensively with his brother and for a number of years the UWA teased a hair vs. mask match between the two. Later, he had runs in both AAA and CMLL and he continues to work the independent circuit even now.
  6. Tony Salazar, Mogur y Alfonso Dantes vs. Hombre Bala, Talisman y Tony Bennetto vs. Satanico, MS-1 y Masakre (4/10/87) This was a one night only Cuadrangular de Tercias tournament. The teams were: Tony Salazar/Mogur/Alfonso Dantes Hombre Bala/Talisman/Tony Bennetto Satanico/MS1/Masakre (Los Infernales) Javier Llanes/Atlantis/Cachorro Mendoza The first two matches are single fall semi-finals. The final is 2/3 falls. The only new wrestler here is Mogur, who we'll get to in more detail with the Anniversary Show match. He had some heat here with Talisman, who he'd vanquished for the National Middleweight title, and Satanico, who was trying to take it off him. There was also long standing heat between Satanico and Dantes with the pair of them having been in a hair match in '85.
  7. Atlantis, El Hijo del Santo y Tony Salazar vs. El Satanico, El Dandy y Espectro Jr. (4/3/87) The only real significance to this match was that it was another of Santo's Arena Mexico appearances. EMLL brought him in again in June where he worked a similar match w/ Lizmark subbing for Tony Salazar. Then they used him on the Anniversary Show where he tagged with Eddy Guerrero against Dandy and El Hijo Del Gladiador (aka Talisman.) But the real stuff took place in the independents where Santo had another bumper year taking a pair of masks and half a dozen scalps. The list of names he faced is salivating, such was the strength of the lightweight division even after the Misioneros and other trios had broken up. In the span of a few months, he took on Black Terry, Ray Richard, Lobo Rubio, Negro Cass and Espanto Jr. His long reign as UWA World Lightweight champion came to an end, however, when he fell to Espanto Jr. in Coahuila. Eventually, he would win back the title on the big stage at El Toreo and hold on to it until 1991 when he elected to no longer wrestle as a lightweight. He also took the mask of a very young Silver King, who was dejected afterwards:
  8. El Satanico, MS-1 y Masakre vs. Rayo de Jalisco Jr., La Fiera y Tony Salazar (3/20/87) Rayo de Jalisco Jr., Atlantis y Alfonso Dantes vs. MS-1, El Satanico y El Dandy (3/27/87) These were a pair of matches centered around MS-1's title shot against Rayo on 3/20 (making the first date almost assuredly wrong.) Rayo had defeated MS-1 almost two years earlier to claim the NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship, and if Fuentes needed any additional reason to hate Rayo then don't forget it was Jalisco who unmasked him in '82. These matches either book-ended the title shot or occurred before the match. Rayo had managed to fend off the challenge of Los Hermanos Dinamita throughout his title reign, but his luck ran out against the Infernales. MS-1 dethroned Rayo in the title match, ending Jalisco's 21 month run as NWA champ and capping off a tremendous start to the '87 season where he also took El Egipcio's hair and won the National Tag Team Titles with Masakre. In fact, the only thing that really alluded MS-1 in the first part of '87 was the National Trios Titles. Tony Salazar had one last major run in '87 before being repackaged as Ulises. On the 54th Anniversary Show, he was booked in an apuestas match against Pirata Morgan. Not quite his last hurrah, but certainly the end of an era in his career.
  9. Lizmark, La Fiera y Kung Fu vs. Pirata Morgan, Hombre Bala y Jerry Estrada (2/27/87) Another Bucaneros trios. Fairly run-of-the-mill stuff. I don't believe any of the participants were feuding with each other. It was your standard sort of Arena Coliseo trios. Kung Fu was enjoying a run as the World Middleweight champion. He took the title from Gran Cochisse the previous October and would feud with El Dandy later in the year. Americo Rocca, Javier Cruz y Chamaco Valaguez vs. Talisman, El Dandy y Guerrero Negro (3/13/87) Los Xavieres vs. Los Bravos. I have a 3/6 date for this match-up, but it's possible that there was a return match as it was part of the build to a Guerrero Negro/Chamaco Valaguez hair match. The great thing about this match-up is that not only were Valaguez and Negro feuding, but they were also tagging with fierce rivals in Dandy & Cruz and Rocca & Talisman. Dandy and Cruz had been involved in a bloodbath in August of '86 and Rocca and Talisman would have yet another hair match in the Distrito Federal in '87. Los Xavieres, who alternated between Javier Llanes and Javier Cruz as their third member, spent the latter half of '87 feuding with the original Los Destructores (Tony Arce, Vulcano and Emilio Charles, Jr.) The feud and immediate aftermath was built around a triple hair match on 7/31 and would extend to a series of individual apuestas matches the following year (Emilio vs. Cruz, Cruz vs. Arce, and Llanes vs. Arce.)
  10. Jerry Estrada, Pirata Morgan y Hombre Bala vs. Atlantis, Alfonso Dantes y Rayo De Jalisco Jr. (Feb 1987) I believe the date on this match is 2/13/87. This marks the first appearance on the set of Los Bucaneros, the trio that was formed in the wake of Morgan's falling out with Satanico. Joining Morgan were Jerry Estrada, the young rudo whom Herodes brought in from Monclova and who was able to foot in Mexico City, and Morgan's older brother Hombre Bala. Bala was nine years older than his brother and had been wrestling for nearly a decade when Morgan made his debut. He was never a big star like his brother, but enjoyed a 40 year career where he managed to successfully wrestle under several different aliases. He began his career as 'Chamaco Ortiz' and drew comparisons to Raul Mata as a chubby worker who was extremely fast and spectacular, as well as effective. As a young man he was involved in a number of apuestas matches, mostly notably against the popular midcard worker Dr. O'Borman Sr and was a noted bleeder. Hombre Bala was his second pirate gimmick having previously worked as Rey Pirata. He adopted the Bala gimmick some time in the early 80s and worked under a mask for a good five or six years. He lost the mask to Atlantis on the 12/5/86 Arena Mexico show, which was one of Atlantis' big apuestas triumphs along with Talisman's mask at the 1984 Anniversary Show. After his unmasking, it was acknowledged that he was the older brother of Pirata Morgan and the two joined forces in his struggles against the Infernales. Estrada would eventually leave the Bucaneros and be replaced by another Morgan brother, Verdugo, but the original incarnation enjoyed a barnstorming 1987. On 8/30/87, they took the Mexican National Trios Championship from the team of Kiss, Ringo Mendoza and Rayo de Jalisco Jr. and ruled the roost for the final part of the 1987 season. Bala also had an extremely bloody hair match with El Dandy in August of '87, which I'm sure we all wish we could see. After Morgan's run with the Bucaneros was over, and he re-united with the Infernales, Bala shifted gimmicks to Cromagnon in the fun undercard trio 'Los Cavernicolas' (w/ Popitekus and Verdugo) and then enjoyed a successful late career run under the AAA gimmick of Monsther, forming a comedy duo with a mini version of Chucky from the Child's Play movies. Bala injured his knee training young wrestlers and was forced to retire in 2010. He had a benefit show in September that year in an effort to pay for his surgery. His son currently wrestles in the CMLL midcard as Hombre Bala Jr. Alfonso Dantes, Atlantis and Rayo were regular trios partners either with each other or in combination with other technicos. It was Dantes and Rayo who were Atlantis' partners in the trios matches that built to the Atlantis vs. Bala mask match, and Atlantis had also partnered Dantes and Rayo in their feud against Cien Caras and Mascara Ano 2000. Dantes was the reigning Mexican National Heavyweight Champion at this time having defeated Caras for the title on 8/20/86 and had successfully defended the crown against Herodes a few days prior. He would lose the title to Super Halcon in September, aka Danny Ortiz, aka El Halcon/Halcon Ortiz. That wasn't the end of Dantes though, as he took the title again in '88 from Gran Markus Jr. despite the fact he was inching towards retirement. Atlantis had a quiet '87 as his push cooled off, and Rayo dropped the NWA World Light Heavyweight Title to MS-1 a month after this trios and also had a quiet year, losing all of his titles and dropping down the card slightly in favour of other workers. Both workers would enjoy renewed pushes as the television era approached.
  11. I hope the NBA moves on from Jordan some day. His legacy casts too big a shadow over the league. I doubt Jordan would have beaten the Spurs with this Heat team. He may have made things more competitive and he would've eaten his teammates alive, but do the Heat suddenly start playing amazing team defense because they're terrified of Mike?
  12. Okay, fair enough, though the Lakers did re-tool and beat the Spurs again in 2008. The point I was trying to make was that the 2001 sweep was brutal and then Kobe closed the Alamo in 2002, but Duncan and the Spurs escaped the type of scrutiny that most superstars face. Can you imagine what it would be like for Lebron if one of his teams was swept or lost in the first round? Granted, the Spurs had already won a championship (at the Lakers' expense), but the only real criticism the Spurs ever got was that they were boring and more recently that they're old.
  13. Hahaha. Thank you for saying this. Anybody who's ever listened to Rick Barry talk for more than 5 minutes knows that he has an amazingly outsized opinion of himself. I love it on old NBA footage when the Warriors get knocked out and Barry steps into the CBS booth. He was a great commentator. Brilliant at reading the play.
  14. By the same token, the Lakers had the Spurs number for a long time and Duncan has had his share of failures in the playoffs. I don't think Duncan was ever held to the same standards or expectations as Shaq, Kobe or Lebron simply because the media has never been as interested in the Spurs as they are the Lakers or Lebron.
  15. Hope it was the same thing he said to Wilt in '67: "Great, baby. Great."
  16. Congratulations to the Spurs! Only the 4th or 5th team to lose in 7 and come back and win it all the following year, and some of the best finals basketball since the Showtime Lakers.
  17. It reminds me of the '89 Pistons sweeping the Lakers after the Lakers had beat them in 7 in '88. Obviously, the Spurs are more like the Lakers in terms of age, but I can't remember the last time I saw a team lose in the finals then come back this strongly.
  18. If Lebron drops 40, will this be forever known as "the Poo game"?
  19. Hey, look on the bright side. At least they have three days to fix the A/C.
  20. Ha, if none of the stadiums had air conditioning, Lebron would have never won a ring.
  21. If this were the 90s, we'd be talking about how flawed these teams are and how they're incapable of winning the title (the '94-95 Rockets aside.) They seem better in hindsight than they really were. None of them were as consistently good as the Spurs, who Lebron is now facing for a third time.
  22. The West was softer than the East when Magic went to all those finals and you don't hear that as a talking point much. I'm not sure the Western conference teams Jordan faced were as good as today's Western teams, either.
  23. The home team won every game in that series, but only the games in Boston were blowouts.
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