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Babyface, Cien Caras y Mascara Ano 2000 vs. Lizmark, Rayo De Jalisco y La Fiera (September 1986)

 

This was another trios from before the hair match.

 

Babe Face, so called because when he came up from his native Colima to Mexico City he was like a boy amongst men, was forced into wrestling by his mother because he was a troublemaker. What he lacked in height, he made up for with his bulky physique and he was said to have been one of the hardest punchers in the business. He also showed surprising vigour and agility for a man his size, however these qualities took their toll on his body and he wound up wrecking his hip. He worked for UWA for practically its entire existence and had one last run with AAA in the late 90s, but by that stage he was a wreck and needed a hip replacement. Babe retired for good and now runs a food stall behind Arena Mexico where he serves Japanese inspired rice dishes and Mexican huaraches. Somewhat amusingly, when this career rudo was touring Japan in the 70s and 80s, he'd spend his off days taking cooking classes and that's where the Japanese inspiration comes from. 

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Americo Rocca, Ringo Mendoza y Tony Salazar vs. Negro Navarro, El Signo y El Texano (Hair vs. Hair) (9/19/86)

 

This was a triple hair match from the 53rd Anniversary Show. In my previous entry about the Misioneros, I stated that they left the UWA around this time, but a quick look at the bills we have from this time shows that's clearly not true. They may have taken on more dates for Mora, but they still worked for UWA fairly regularly. There's a record of one more appearance at Arena Mexico on 12/12/86 taking on Chamaco Valaguez, Javier Cruz and Tony Salazar, and for what it's worth there was an earlier match at El Toreo on 4/13/86 where they took on La Fiera, Ringo Mendoza and Tony Salazar.

 

Blue Panther, El Talisman y El Dandy vs. Stuka, America Rocca y Chamaco Valaguez (11/86)

 

This was right around the time that Panther was getting his first big push at El Toreo. He'd gotten his initial break in Monterrey after his trainer recommended him to booker Rene Guajardo. Guajardo was impressed with Panther's skill level for a rookie and not only gave him a small push on the Northern circuit but sent him to Mexico City less than a year after his debut. Within six months, he was working for Francisco Flores and spent the early part of the 80s fighting an array of talented light weights in what was arguably the most stacked under card of any promotion in wrestling history. Throughout 1984 he continued to take minor masks on the smaller shows and then at the end of the year he teamed with Black Man to take the masks of Las Sombras de Plata I & II at El Toreo, his first apuesta match on the big stage. A few weeks later he won his first major title, the UWA World Welterweight title, which he took from El Matematico, and held onto it until 2/86 where he lost it to Black Man. A week later, Black Man took on Panther in an apuesta match and lost his mask in a move that severely hurt the Fantastico's career. 

 

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Heading into the winter season, Panther took the UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight championship from Gran Hamada on 11/16/86 right around the time this match is meant to have taken place.

 

Talisman had spent much of 1986 as the Mexican National Middleweight champion, having won the title from Atlantis in March. During his reign he defended the title against both Americo Rocca and Stuka. Stuka was a young high flying wrestler from Durango, who'd been trained in part by the father of Espanto Jr. He'd spent the early part of his career wrestling under his real name of Joel Garcia before adopting a masked gimmick based around the World World II German dive bombers; his mask adorned with iron crosses and other Luftwaffe insignia. True to his name, he was an aerial artist with a number of big dives. He didn't reach terribly great heights with EMLL, and as the decade flicked over he became a regular in Monterrey where he lost his mask to Perro Aguayo in a triangle match with El Hijo del Santo. He then worked for a long time in the Northern district as well as for AAA. The Stuka Jr that currently wrestles in CMLL is his younger brother, who was born the year after Stuka debut.

 

Talisman would lose the middleweight title to rising star Mogur on 11/30/86 while his rivalry with Rocca spilled over into another hair match in '87. El Dandy was also feuding with Americo Rocca at this time. Dandy had won the NWA World Welterweight title on 8/24/86 from Javier Cruz and lost it to Rocca on 11/3/86. The pair were booked for a rematch on the 12/12 show.

 

So there's quite a lot going on in this match. 

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Americo Rocca, Cacharro Mendoza y Kung Fu vs. El Talisman, El Dandy y Guerrero Negro (September 1986)

 

This trio of El Talisman, El Dandy and Guerrero Negro are sometimes referred to on the internet as "Los Bravos." The more famous version of Los Bravos was Fuerza Guerrera, Talisman and El Dandy, a trio which ran from 1985 through to some time in '86; and while I've seen a magazine cover that also calls the Guerrero Negro version Los Bravos, I'm not sure how often they tagged together or how long their association was. Talisman and Dandy often appeared without Fuerza, especially on smaller shows, and it's possible that they gained a new partner along the way.

 

I forgot here that Fuerza Guerrera supposedly left EMLL in August of '86, vacating the Mexican National Welterweight title.

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  • 2 months later...

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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:

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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. 

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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.' 

 

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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.

 

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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.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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. 

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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."

 

Now THAT is one hell of a turn of phrase! 

 

Are any of those '70s matches available? I think I might've asked this before, but how much '70s lucha do we have in general?

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The only 70s stuff that's available is the UWA that was taped by Japanese television crews, mostly involving Japanese wrestlers. The best match I've seen is Fujinami vs. Ray Mendoza, the Villanos patriarch, from 1978.

Some other stuff was taped like the match where Chicana lost his mask, but it's locked away somewhere in Televisa's fault.

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El Dandy, Magico y Super Astro vs. Gran Cochise, Javier Cruz y Javier Rocca (11/11/87)

 

The first thing you'll notice about this match is Dandy's buzz cut. It took me an age to figure out that Dandy had lost his hair to El Satanico because of an edit on Luchawiki that changed a 10/87 Satanico win into a 4/88 Dandy win.

 

Dandy and Satanico were tag partners for a good part of the '87 season, but at some point in October they had the type of falling out that's typical between rudos and began fighting with one another. This turned Dandy face and the match we have here is technicos contra technicos. Gran Cochisse also turned technico around this time, but I don't have any details about the wheres and whys. 

 

Dandy didn't just lose his hair in October of '87. He also lost the NWA World Middleweight title to Kung Fu, albeit not on a major show. According to Box y Lucha, Jerry Estrada was meant to be Dandy's challenger, but Kung Fu replaced him and won the belt.

 

This match also features the first appearance on the set of Mascara Sagrada, an Antonio Pena creation and relatively well known wrestler from the 90s. He had been kicking around the independent circuit for about a decade before returning to Mexico City for another crack at the big time. Pena had retired from wrestling in '86 due to injuries and was working in EMLL's PR department when he came up with the "Magico" gimmick for his friend Sagrada. Sagrada made his debut as Magico on 10/22, tagging with Atlantis and Rayo de Jalisco Jr. against Los Hermanos Dinamita, however it was soon discovered that there was already a character by that name in Monterrey and that the wrestler who played him held all rights to the name. For a while, Sagrada was forced to wrestle as "El Hombre sin Nombre" (The Man With No Name) before Pena came up with a new gimmick for him in June of '89  -- Mascara Sagrada or "Sacred Mask." The gimmick was a play on the sanctity of masks in lucha libre, and it was this incarnation of the Sagrada gimmick coupled with the television boom that catapulted him to stardom. The height of his fame being the movie he made with Octagon in 1992, Octagón y Máscara Sagrada, lucha a muerte.

 

Incidentally, watching this it may seem that Magico has two horrific botches in this bout, but the last time I spoke with Jose Fernandez about the bout he assured me that the spots weren't botched and that Magico's finisher was supposed to look like that. Go figure.

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El Dandy, Magico y Super Astro vs. Gran Cochise, Javier Cruz y Javier Rocca (11/11/87)

 

The first thing you'll notice about this match is Dandy's buzz cut. It took me an age to figure out that Dandy had lost his hair to El Satanico because of an edit on Luchawiki that changed a 10/87 Satanico win into a 4/88 Dandy win.

 

 

This is all messed up.

 

Satanico and Dandy had hair matches on 4/8/88 and 10/21/88. I now strongly suspect that Sagrada made his debut as Magico in 10/88 and that this match is from some time after the 10/21 Dandy/Satanico hair match. I'll try to re-write this entry tomorrow.

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Okay, let's try this again...

 

El Dandy, Magico y Super Astro vs. Gran Cochise, Javier Cruz y Javier Rocca (11/11/87) -- Take 2

 

'Magico', or Mascara Sagrada as we know him, began his wrestling career in the city of Texcoco about 25 km northeast of Mexico City. Originally known as Hecatombe, his professional debut came in September 1978 and from there he began working as a preliminarista in the local area. Rookie of the Year honours soon followed and with them a title match victory over Mando Amezcua for the Texcoco Welterweight Title and a first hair win against Impala. This was enough to get him noticed by promoter Raul Reyes, who owned a few arenas on the outskirts of the Federal District, the so-called "Kings circuit' made up of the Azteca, Xochimilco, Apatlaco, and Puente Negro arenas.

 

Sagrada worked the circuit from 1980-82 and it was during this time that he first met Antonio Pena. Pena was doing his Kahoz gimmick at the time, a type of horror act where he'd invoke dark spirits and bite the heads off live pigeons, smearing fake blood over himself and his opponent. The two became friends and it was this friendship which would play a pivotal role in Sagrada's national break through.

 

In 1983, Sagrada began wrestling at Arena Naucalpan where he continued to have success taking the masks of some of the local talent and defeating Villano IV for the Naucalpan Middleweight Title. Over the next few years, he worked in the smaller arenas around the Federal District such as Arena Naucalpan, Arena Neza, Pista Arena Revolucion and Plaza de Toros el Cortijo. He may or may not have worked for EMLL during this time, but not in any major capacity. It was after a lengthy stint in Ciudad Juarez that Sagrada returned to Mexico City somewhat frustrated with how his career was progressing and fed up with how promoters like Marco Moreno were treating him. Pena had been forced to retire by this point and was working as an assistant in the EMLL programming department thanks to an old friendship with EMLL treasurer Juan Herrera. It was a minor office role, but it allowed Pena to channel his passion for lucha libre into coming up with new character ideas. Pena and Sagrada got together in the summer of '88 and began working on a new character for Hecatombe. That character became "Magico" and made its debut at Arena Coliseo de Guadalajara on 10/22/88 in the trios match I mentioned.

 

From there, the rest of the story I told is accurate. It simply happened in a shorter time frame than I would've had you believe. After the Monterrey wrestler claimed the rights to the name, there was apparently a contest among the public to "name the nameless fighter," and Mascara Sagrada was chosen from the entries. When Paco was shown the character sketches which Paco had drawn for Octagon and Mascara Sagrada, he promoted him to director of programming and public relations. This upset the established hierarchy and eventually led to Pena making a secret deal with Televisa to start his own promotion. Sagrada followed Pena to AAA, but the two had a messy falling out when Sagrada discovered that Televisa were receiving royalties for merchandise bearing his likeness. Sagrada was ineligible for royalty payments as Pena had signed away the rights to the gimmick, and this along with other payments Pena was withholding from wrestlers (such as Japanese broadcasting rights) led to Sagrada quitting. AAA quickly put another wrestler in the costume and claimed that the original Sagrada had no rights to the name. The issue went through the courts and was finally settled in Sagrada's favour in 2005, but by then it had taken a decent chunk out of his later earning years.

 

As for the state of Dandy's hair, it does appear that Dandy and Satanico began feuding at the end of '87, but their first hair match was on 4/8/88 and the return hair match was on 10/21/88. Satanico lost the first match and Dandy the second, which places this match some time after Magico's debut and the second Dandy/Satanico hair match.

 

My apologies for the confusion. The clues were there, but I was working with a series of bad dates which I tried to make work. My thanks to the poster Gregor for providing the catalyst for the re-check. Much appreciated.

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Arandu vs. Guerrero Negro (Hair vs. Hair) (1988)

 

This is a hair match from Arena Coliseo de Monterrey in 1988.

 

Guerrero Negro you'll be familiar with from his work with Los Bravos. I think I mentioned earlier that he returned to the Coahuila region after the '85 earthquake, but that doesn't appear to be the case as he worked in the Federal District up until 1993 and was rumoured to have been doing the La Avispa gimmick in AAA after that. 

 

Arandu was a Monterrey regular who was based in Eagle Pass, Texas just across the border from his hometown of Piedras Negras, Coahuila. In the States, he worked for Joe Blanchard's Southwest Championship Wrestling and was a main stay at Arena Valadez where he and his tag partner El Horoscopo headlined shows and trained new wrestlers. He also worked extensively in Southern California and throughout the lucha independent circuit. His main selling point was his hair, which drew strong reactions from crowds and allowed local promoters to book him in apuesta feuds wherever he went  He originally wrestled under a mask as Principe Aries before losing it to Jorge Reyes (I believe) in 1981. He then adopted the Arandu gimmick based on the 1970s comic book, Arandú, El Príncipe de la Selva. Arandu's luchas de apuestas record is not well documented, but he had a notable match with Kato Kung Lee in Monterrey in September of 1990 and a hair vs. mask match with La Parka in '95. He still wrestles today in Baja California and has three kids in the business. 

 

I believe that Arandu's valet's name was Layla and that she was an American. 

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Kung Fu vs. Javier Cruz (3/88)


 


Kung Fu, you'll remember, was a guy who got over in the 70s doing a kung fu gimmick and became a star with "Los Coliseinos" (EMLL), then jumped to the UWA and worked the independents for a decade before returning to EMLL and getting a nice little push as a middleweight. In fact, he got a nice little push right up until '91 or so, even after Atlantis had unmasked him. Here he was the reigning NWA World Middleweight Champion having regained the title from Dandy on 10/7/87. Cubsfan has a record of a 2/19 Arena Coliseo title defence against Cruz, but it's not this bout. This appears to be a mano a mano that happened at some point either before or after the title bout. 


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  • 3 weeks later...

Pirata Morgan, Hombre Bala y Verdugo vs. Atlantis, Angel Azteca y Ringo Mendoza (3/88)

 

This marks the first appearance on the set of Angel Azteca, who would go on to play a prominent role in EMLL's booking during 1989 and 1990.

 

Azteca, whose real name was Juan Manuel Zuniga, began his career in 1980 under the ring name of El Charro and later Charro de Jalisco, a gimmick he would later recreate in AAA when Pena went through a phase of repackaging everyone. He was from the Durango region of the Comarca Lagunera area and was an "El luchador lagunero" the same as Blue Panther and many others. In fact, Panther and Azteca shared a common maestro in Hector Lopez. Like most luchadores, he started out on the independent scene claiming regional titles such as the Laguna Lightweight Title and the Arena Victoria Tag Team Titles. He rose through the ranks and took the Mexican National Cruiserweight Title in 1986 as Charro de Jalisco, a championship which was created in 1983 as the national equivalent of the overseas junior heavyweight titles, but which petered out for some unknown reason. 

 

At some point in the mid to late 80s (I hesitate to guess at the timeline), Zuniga adopted the Angel Azteca persona, a gimmick which brought him tremendous success in the short term. I'm not sure when he began working for CMLL full time, but it looks to have been sometime in 1987. In 1988 they began pairing him with Atlantis and he received the "Mogur push" racing straight up the card. On March 6th, Atlantis and Azteca won the Mexican National Tag Team Championship from Los Infernales MS-1 and Masakre. On February 26, 1989 Ángel Azteca became a double champion when he defeated Bestia Salvaje for the Mexican National Welterweight Championship. Two months later he became a triple champion when he defeated Emilio Charles, Jr. to win the NWA World Middleweight Championship.

 

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One can only assume the booker behind this was Juan Herrera as "Angel Azteca" wasn't a Pena style gimmick and Zuniga had more in common with the Velasco trained wrestlers that Herrera preferred to push than the talent Pena advocated. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, Pena would end up repackaging Azteca in the short lived Los Folkloricos trio; a decision which Solar agonised over as it meant they couldn't return to their existing gimmicks in AAA if the trio failed. 

 

We'll have plenty more to say about Azteca before the set is over, but sadly he is no longer with us. He died in 2007 of a sudden heart attack shortly after competing in the main event of a small show in Campeche, leaving behind a wife and five children.

 

Verdugo, Spanish for executioner, was the real life brother of Morgan and Bala and stepped into the Los Bucaneros when Jerry Estrada broke off to reinvent himself as the Jerry Estrada we know today. Verdugo's run with his brothers was unarguably the highlight of his career and like Bala he slipped into a journeyman role once the Los Infernales were reformed with Morgan, though he was a worth scalp for wrestlers they were trying to milk something out of like Mogur or Huracán Sevilla, and a lot of fun as Troglodita.

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  • 2 weeks later...

El Hijo Del Santo vs. Espanto Jr. (4/10/88)


 


The last time we left Santo and Espanto Jr. they were having their classic 1986 mask match, but the feud itself was far from over. If the history between the original El Santo and Los Espantos had been the hook then the mask match was the first act climax with things intensifying as the second act progressed.


 


There's basically three ways you can hurt a luchador: you can strip him of a title, you can make him suffer the indignity of a shaven head, or you can steal his very identity from him with an unmasking. Espanto over the course of the 5 or 6 years that UWA remained a viable entity because hell bent on not only unmasking Santo but proving himself the better wrestler in a classic title match and apuestas feud, which are naturally the best kind. 


 


Espanto and Santo essentially feuded over four titles. The primarily focus of their feud was over the UWA World Lightweight Championship which Santo had first won in 1984 by defeating Negro Casas at El Toreo, briefly dropped to Aristotle I, whose mask he took for his troubles, then regained for another lengthy reign. The lightweight title is the belt they're fighting over here. They also chased each other over the WWA World Lightweight, UWA World Welterweight, and WWA World Welterweight titles culminating (on tape at least) in their classic 1992 handheld title bout.


 


Espanto was the champion going into this bout having finally dethroned Santo for the championship after literally a dozen attempts at trying. That title change happened on 7/26/87 in Torreon, Coahuila. Espanto, although born in Durango, was based out of Torreon, and most of the jobs Santo did for him were either in Torreon or his birthplace of Gomez Palacio. Of course Santo being Santo, with as carefully a groomed image as Michael Jordan, would immediately get his heat back with a hair match victory, and that's what happened a week later. Espanto got to hang onto the belt for a few months though, and what we have here is a title defence in his hometown hence some of the cheering for his heel tactics.


 


Santo hit back hard with a crushing double blow the following month when he took the title back at El Toreo on 5/1/88 and then took Espanto's hair the following week in Monterrey, but it was a feud that never really died. It cooled off somewhat after '88, but they worked another hair match at El Toreo in '89 and feuded with each for Mora's WWA promotion. They then entered AAA where Espanto initially wrestled as himself but soon suffered the fate of Solar and other UWA workers in becoming one of Pena's pet projects. The gimmick Pena had in mind for Espanto was an evil twin to face El Hijo del Santo named Santo Negro. Espanto agreed to play the role, but it only lasted a couple of months in 1995 as Santo's estate objected to Pena using the Santo image and took legal action against the company. Santo was basically on the way out at that point and gave notice to AAA at the same time, but according to the Observer he personally didn't have a problem with the Santo Negro gimmick. That is effectively where our story ends as Santo went on to have a highly successful return to CMLL, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the tragedy that befell Espanto after Santo's departure.


 


Never one to give up on an idea, Pena changed tack and turned Espanto into Pentagon, the evil twin version of Octagon. They began in the summer of '95 on the first Triplemania show of that year with the idea being that they would have a singles match somewhere down the line, but on March 3rd, 1996 during Ultimo Dragon's AAA debut match at Aguascalientes, Pentagon took a backdrop from La Parka and suddenly lay motionless in the ring. The Observer claimed that drugs and alcohol were involved, but in any event Pentagon took the bump wrong and landed on his head causing severe head injury trauma and high cervical spinal cord contusion. Parka initially tried to lift his head and put a castigo on him, but when he pulled Pentagon up he was like a rag doll having already gone into respiratory arrest. The wrestlers desperately tried to perform CPR on him while a stunned crowd looked on. A child began to scream "He's already dead! He's already dead!" while a woman cried out for a doctor. As the stretcher came to ringside, a man began howling that it was a fraud.


 


Pentagon lay clinically dead for three minutes before being resuscitated. In the hospital, he remained in a coma for three days and awoke to discover he was a quadriplegic who could neither see nor speak. The early prognosis wasn't good with doctors fearing he would never walk again. According to Epanto's own account, his initial reaction was one of despair. Somehow he was able to move his arm and leg for a moment and tried to make a suicide bid by rolling off the bed. His wife and doctor managed to lift him back into bed and he lay there that night praying to God. That evening he made a pact with God, and on May 13th, despite doctors saying he would never walk again, he took his first steps. 


 


Espanto regained his speech and 15 percent of his vision and was eventually able to walk again though with great difficulty and never at night due to his poor vision. He bought a gymnasium he named "El Ranchero," and with his brothers set up the El Moro school of wrestling where he trains young luchadores.


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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Kato Kung Lee vs. Kung Fu (Mask vs. Hair) (4/29/88)

 

There aren't a whole lot of explanations necessary for this one since it was an apuesta match between former tag partners. Not only as Los Fantasticos incidentally, but dating back to the late 70s as tag partners in EMLL and in the "El Triangulo Oriental" trio with Satoru Sayama. None of my Spanish sources have ever written up this feud, and I don't have access to the magazines from the time, so you can take a stab at guessing the motivations yourself.

 

In 1984, Los Fantasticos were on the top of the world having defeated Los Cadetes del Espacio to become the first ever UWA World Trios Champions, but things quickly fell apart as they did with many short peak trios teams of the 1980s. When the Fantasticos broke up, they each went their separate ways. Black Man opted to stay in the UWA, Kung Fu went back to the promotion that made him, and Kato Kung Lee began wrestling on the independent circuit (mostly Promociones Mora.) Lee took a payday at the end of '86 from Mora and dropped his mask to Santo in Tijuana, which exists on tape apparently:

 



Lee then kicked around for a year or so before the bout you see here. The build doesn't appear to have been anything special though obviously we're missing Arena Mexico records from the weeks prior. The Atlantis vs. Kung Fu rivalry was building up a head of steam at the same time and appears to have been a bigger deal in the promotion's eyes. Kung Fu dropped the NWA World Middleweight Title to Atlantis in June and would eventually lose his mask to Atlantis in October of 1990. Kung Fu and Kato Kung Lee fought each other a few more times, most notably on the 3/1/91 Arena Mexico show, but the bouts were never anything special and far from important. As one of my sources so wonderfully described, Lee would fall into a slump in gambling fights and pedal his hair to numerous wrestlers in the years that followed. It's worth noting that in late '88, Lee and Kung Fu reformed Los Fantasticos with Black Man and worked some of the UWA venues together, as well as appearing at Arena Mexico in 1989, so apparently they buried the hatchet for a time. That would also indicate that Kung Fu turned technico some time after dropping the belt to Atlantis.

 

While Lee won't be remembered as one of the greats of lucha libre, he was an interesting guy out of the ring. His real name was Johnny Lezcano Smith and he was born in the Arraijan District of Panama. He started out learning taekwondo and judo at his local YMCA before being introduced to lucha through wrestler Chamaco Castro, who once put his hair on the line against a young El Hijo del Santo in Panama for what it's worth. Smith trained in secret and made his professional debut without his parents knowledge (or consent) and when his mother found out she tried to enroll him in the US Navy. According to Smith, he fled to Colombia where he continued to wrestle and subsequently fought in Venezuela, Panama and Guatemala before moving to Mexico City in 1970 where he fought for many years in Ciudad Juarez before getting a break. Definitely a life less ordinary and one of the more interesting routes to distrito federal and the big time.

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