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DISC FOUR PARTE UNO

Spoiler

 

Carlos Colon vs. Stan Hansen (2/28/87)

 

Instant brawl. Colon actually backs down Hansen who sells and scrambles like mad. I mean he doesn't even get his chaps off until he hits a MEAN sudden knee drop to the nuts that if he hit dead on would probably rupture Carlos' sack. This is PR and Colon though so he comes back pretty quick, then the competition is on. Hansen hits two more knee drops that are just devastating looking, as always. Carlos is equally vicious though, every strike has extra mustard on it, he's just too hot at Hansen to stay down and eventually hits his OWN sudden knee to the nuts that you get full view of followed by a back-kick crotching. The build to him trying for the figure four is pretty well mixed in with the savagery. Hansen's desperate and pitches one of those non-folding plastic chairs with the metal legs full bore at Carlos' head, but he still gets the figure four and grinds it in long as hell, even using the ropes for leverage. Finally Chicky throws in a crutch that Hansen uses to get DQed. Carlos is so mad he beats the shit out of the refs to go after them. All this and no blood, probably the best non-gimmick match they could have. It's fantastic.

 

Carlos Colon vs. Stan Hansen (Cage Match) (3/14/87)

 

Well of course what would you expect to follow up that? It really feels weird to see Hansen work from under after years of watching him as top hoss everywhere else. Colon lets him get his shit in though and he opens Carlos up wide, and vice versa. This is apparently 'escape the cage' rules as Stan keeps going for the door. Like the last match the psychology of weakening the knee for the figure four comes into play again in order to cripple Hansen and keep him from leaving. Stan gets so desperate this time he takes off his boot to use as a weapon. And then -- get this -- while Stan's in the figure four, all the heels and faces run out to the cage to start brawling and the crowd goes batshit! Jason's there, TNT, the Invaders, Carlos gets mad and comes out to brawl and kicks Jason right through the uprights which may be one of the best nutshots all set. Invader I is bleeding on the floor and Hansen and the heels run off. This just dissolved into sheer chaos but what a match that looked to be a blowoff but turned out to be a setup for further angles between the whole crew. 

 

Wendi Richter vs. Monster Ripper (Cage Match) (June 1987)

 

Wendi's been a second/valet on some earlier stuff here (for who I don't recall) and of course Monster Ripper is Rhonda Sing/Bertha Faye. Jesus, she had a heart attack at 40. This is an interesting parallel to the last match with Rhonda being powerful but constantly going for the door and taking a good beating. Wendi gets a huge female "Wendi" chant at one point. Rhonda has a killer legdrop and a really great high-angle double underhook suplex. All the escape attempts are really intense, they both choke and scrape and pull hair and limbs to keep each other in. Wendi sprints through the door after ducking a clothesline and they brawl out. Really good stuff here that the previous match was only better because of the blood/heat/run-ins. Wendi has a really stilted, brief interview after with Hugo where she talks about lifting weights and having a positive attitude. She sounded like she was reading off of cue cards. 

 

Ricky Fuyuki vs. El Rebelde (July 1987)  

 

More of the Japanese-language footage sprinkled through the set. Ricky is FOOTLOOSE~! and I dunno who El Rebelde is. Boy is Fuyuki young and spry here, he hasn't started on the chanko diet and started dancing in his underwear yet for sure. Hey, Rebelde is the guy that played Robot-R2 and pissed off Harley Race back in the day! Unless there were multiple Star Wars wrestlers in the late '70s because Mexico. This is basic but hard-hitting, Ricky as fired-up babyface, Rebelde as mean rudo. Ricky wins with a spinkick. This would have fit perfectly well on the Lucha set, lower ranking though. For PR it was pretty fast-paced despite a goddamn nerve hold.

 

 

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Oh and Matt I completely agree with you about that Youngbloods/Pastores match you just reviewed on Segunda, what a stinker. That's gonna go waaaaaaay down at the bottom of the set. 

Just to elaborate a bit about the El Rebelde comment above, Harley Race told a story in his book about wrestling in Mexico in the late '70s against a luchador dressed up as one of the robots from Star Wars. The guy got cute with him so he hurt him, then had to hold the whole locker room back at gunpoint. I can't remember all the details but he spent a short section on it that will put the fear of Harley in you. 

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Since Matt brought it up in his last Segunda review, you can tell the Invaders apart by height. III is the taller of the two (unless they shove II in there somewhere and didn't tell us. # I usually wrestles maskless so you know it's the rat-fuck that stabbed Brody). 

Three day weekend so I'll be dropping more reviews soon. First Labor Day I've had off... ever, I think. I mean as far as when I've been employed at least. 

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It's really a mixed bag with the Sheepherders during that run. The ambulance match is INSANE. Boricua over on PWO shot me this link which helps set it up by showing the Sheepherders reign of terror and the guys they took out.

 

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They'll probably get a way better shot on the Portland set. I dunno why some of the interview clips in that video didn't make it onto the extras disc.

Oh yeah and the Ambulance Match is just pure mayhem. I'm gonna have to go back and do a full review of the first two discs after all this is over.

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Actually, when it's Invader 1 and 3 it is Invader 1 who is the taller of the two. There are some matches with Invader 1 and 2 teaming up.

Once the forum gets organized I'll be doing context tidbits for the matches. There's many where knowing more of the context helps.

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My Puerto Rico disc 1 rankings:

Spoiler

Ric Flair vs. Carlos Colon (10/16/82)
Carlos Colon & The Invader vs. Los Pastores (Ambulance Match) (12/21/85)
Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)
The Invaders vs. Los Pastores (Barbed Wire Match) (9/21/85)
Carlos Colon vs. Tully Blanchard (1983)
Ric Flair vs. Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)
Carlos Colon vs. Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)
Abdullah the Butcher vs. Andre the Giant (9/17/83)
Randy Savage vs. Hercules Ayala (3/2/85)
Gino Dellaserra & Pierre Martel vs. Los Mercenarios (11/27/82)
Abdullah the Butcher vs. Carlos Colon (September 1981)
El Gran Apollo vs. Buddy Landell (5/8/83)
Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah the Butcher (9/21/85)
El Gran Apollo vs. Dick Steinborn (February 1983)
Los Pastores vs. Jay & Mark Youngblood (Spring 1985)
Hercules Ayala vs. Killer Tim Brooks (Taped Fist Cage Match) (October 1985)

 

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4 hours ago, Matt D said:

I feel like we're going to be all over the place on these.

I suppose most people will have Flair vs. Colon in the top 3 of disc 1 and Pastores vs. Youngbloods in the bottom 3 of disc 1, except that much will depend on personal preferences, experiences and mood when watching the matches. Examples:

- I have not seen much 80ies wrestling period, so Flair vs. Dusty and Flair vs. lower ranked wrestler was fresh to me which is why Flair vs Dusty and Flair vs. Gilbert is relatively high up the list.

- I am still having problems accepting that the faces take so much of the matches which is why I have ranked the second Colon vs. Abby match, even though it was entertaining (Abby took three flip bumps) very low, as the match consisted of Colon beating up and squashing Abby for 15 minutes without hardly any heel offense.

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PUERTO RICO DISCOS CUATRO PARTE DOS

Spoiler

 

Hercules Ayala v. Carlos Colon (Texas Death Match) (7/18/87)

Match hilariously starts with a disc error, which I guess is a premonition. Meanwhile Bobby Jaggers on commentary is clearly plastered ("Six outta ten!" - Jim Lahey) and Hugo says Ayala has been "Germany Heavyweight Champion". Ayala chokes and crushes Carlos with a table out on the turf and both bleed and bleed. Chicky directs traffic in a neckbrace. This is a nothing match; Ayala is awful and Jaggers is a huge distraction. Hugo doesn't help either. During the figure four I just had to mute the TV. It is kind of nice to have someone get a three-count on a figure four... then oh no, I forgot this is Texas Death Match rules. Colon tosses the ref for Ayala to use "brass knucks" -- and then they continue. Shitshow of a match that lasts forever. My BAC might be even to Bobby's right now but I still can't enjoy this. Carlos' forehead does turn into a human sieve, which ends the match, but that's not enough to save anything. Ayala even gets the belt off a stoppage?! Give me a fucking break.

The Road Warriors vs. Dory & Terry Funk (9/20/87)

Hugo calls the Funks from "Alberto, Texas" and the Warriors "the powerful Temple of Doom" haha. Meanwhile Terry tries to start a fight with the crowd and shit is thrown from all angles. And could I be mistaken but is BILL ALFONZO the ref?! Holy shit, IT IS! I guess he went everywhere back in the day. Dory looks pretty buff for an appliance salesman and Terry does all his old spots. Hawk works most of the match and the LOD win via DQ. At least they beat some chairs to death at the end. 

Invader I vs. Chicky Starr (Retirement vs. Hair) (9/20/87)

Oh god, Chicky gets in the ring looking like the heel of all heels, just dripping in arrogance with his gold robe and mustache, getting shit thrown at him from everywhere. Meanwhile Invader is wearing a non-typical mask with a pretty cool red-on-white emblazonment that's like an eagle bursting into flames. Cool, for a guy who sucks. He's also wearing a belt which who knows is if on the line or not. Invader eventually does the Garvin Stomp and puts on the figure four. They brawl out and back in and Chicky as the punch-drunk heel on offense is awesome, like he's about to pass out at any moment but can still bust a move on you. It's actually really smart -- at one point he tries to leave the ring to get a countout win and gets dragged back in, all the while acting like someone who's just guzzled a pint of Skol. End comes to a lame headbutt that Invader bowls over the ref in celebration with. I think Chicky really didn't want to get his hair cut because he hacked off his glorious mullet beforehand and only left a little for Invader to chop away at. But then because this is PR they give you the extra edge, with Invader cutting off Chicky's CHEST HAIR and putting it IN HIS MOUTH then cutting off his mustache!!! Now THAT's how you end a hair match my friends. 

Hercules Ayala vs. Carlos Colon (Barbed Wire Match) (9/20/87)

So even though this is a barbed wire match, this is 'figure four vs. figure four' rules. I can only hope Ayala bleeds the entirety of his juiced-up body onto the mat. He does a pretty good job at selling the pricks of the barbed wire and trying to keep away so I give him that. For someone who is supposed to be a master of the figure four he has a hell of a time putting it on though. Colon is a professional in how he will push the barbed wire directly into his forehead divots, and I mean directly, in closeup. The PR/Caribbean Barbed Wire setup is pretty cool looking and you can see guys like John Cena having big matches in this format in another world -- it looks cool but doesn't kill you, you can do blood without a bunch of bumps and drip with drama as well as blood throughout the match as well. Colon wins, of course, and the crowd explodes like he's the fucking president. The Youngbloods and Tony Atlas run in and shower everyone in champagne because it's the Anniversario. Young Carlito, Primo, and Epico are also at hand. 
 

I'm gonna leave the War Games and other matches for later today after I get up and about. Happy Labor Day fellow comrades! 

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DISC FOUR PART THREE

Spoiler

La Gran Guerra I (12/12/87)

PUERTO RICAN WAR GAMES BABY~! Okay so the tecnico side (the Justice Army) is Colon/Brody/Invader I/TNT/Dutch Mantell and rudos (Chicky's Sports Club) are Abby/Ayala/Kareem Muhammad/Grizzly Boone/Chicky Starr. 22,000 fans here for The Great War and we have a handcuff stip where if the whole other team gets cuffed to the cage, they win and the other team gets five minutes to whoop up on them. Basically it's just chaos with everyone in the double cage and not even Hugo can keep up with the action. Brody lays into Abby with some of the biggest, fastest kicks I've ever seem him pull off; fittingly Invader I gets the first "low kick" of the match from a bloody Chicky. TNT actually breaks his damn handcuffs but he gets double-teamed and re-handcuffed. Brody is as animated as I've ever seen him and he is not happy about being cuffed. At some point a rope breaks and is used as plunder. It finally comes down to everyone handcuffed except for Carlos and Abby who gets monkey flipped (I always love seeing that) and finally Dutch helps Abby get cuffed so the faces win and get the keys given to them so for five minutes straight they can beat up the rudos. Grizzly Boone gets his head stuck through the middle of the cages and everyone bleeds and bleeds. Finally the five minutes are up and the Justice Army stop beating up their opponents. Chicky has some kind of gore or something hanging off of his head and Brody actually ascends a piece of scaffolding outside the cage in celebration. This is just pure mayhem and if you just stop thinking and let it wash over you it is Puerto Rican wrestling at its apex. 

La Gran Guerra II (12/13/87)

Okay this one is the same crew but with Sheiky Baby as a replacement for Kareem Muhammad. Unfortunately we have Rip Rogers to provide extra shitty commentary with Hugo. I think Chicky is the first person to bleed here. TNT acts like an angry animal every time he's handcuffed desperately pulling at the chain. This one comes down to Colon and Sheik and the latter is stabbing like a maniac with something he pulls out of his or Abby's boot. He finally cuffs Colon to Chicky's chain (there seem to be two sets of cuffs on each chain) and the rudos get their turn to wreck the "so-called good guys" (TM Rogers). Someone brings a belt in and Sheik goes nuts with it on Carlos. They get smart and let Carlos free just so Sheik put the Camel Clutch on him while Chicky boots him in the face. They even put the Iranian flag on Carlos! Shieky chokes him out with the flagpole and even though he doesn't bleed, he's clearly the MVP of this match and I think we only get our blowoff on the extras. After this I need to go try and rewatch that because they stretcher out Carlos and I can only imagine the bloodfeast we got after. 


Hugo Savinovich vs. El Profe (Loser Painted Yellow) (1/5/88)

Manager vs. Manager, obviously. Hugo gets swamped by children when he comes out which is pretty awesome along with his ridiculous mullet. Of course this is PR so he immediately chokes Profe with his headband. They have a series of cool amateur-style pinfalls after. Hey, Hugo was actually a good wrestler. Because PR we have more low-blows from both guys. Shit, Hugo busts out a reverse surfboard submission like this is on the Lucha set! We get a double stomp and a senton and Profe loses off of a top rope dive when Hugo gets his knees up so as PR this is it's way not in the typical wheelhouse. The refs and the wrestlers hold down Profe to get painted while the fans swamp them to get a look. Profe does a great job slipping around in the paint before his walk of shame. This was a shocker as you would expect nothing of it but it ended up one of the best wrestled matches of the set. 


Invader I vs. Super Black Ninja (1/23/88)

The Great Muta arrives! The ref forces Mr. Pogo and Kendo Nagasaki (wearing a kendo mask) to leave yet El Profe gets to stay at ringside, probably because Invader III is still out there so it's even. They go through some basic exchanges, some amateur stuff, some armbars, but you can tell Mutoh has the sudden speed mixed with a slower pace that he'd use the rest of his career including a cool elbow drop followed by a leg scissors headlock and a great dropkick. Invader is pretty game for all this too. Of course he starts choking and brawling which is the other aspect of Mutoh's style that he learned in this island excursion. We get a run-in, a ref bump, a seond ref running in and a visual pinfall for Invader but he kicks out of the fucking moonsault? At least he lays down after a missile dropkick. Keiji wins some kind of belt. The crowd is outraged of course. This felt like a cool Memphis or Mid-South TV match where they decided to air a title change to get a bigger house later on. It's also neat to see where Mutoh learned a lot of things that would stick with him through his career. If he went to Mexico instead I can only imagine how his career would have changed; PR seems to have stuck with him through the years. Less action, more flamboyant in the gimmickry, more blood. Incipient Great Muta is gonna be fun to watch on the next disc.
 

 

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DISC FIVE

Spoiler

Invader III vs. Super Black Ninja (1/30/88)

I guess Invader III is actually the shorter of the Invaders, maybe it's just that Keiji Mutoh is so tall and lanky. This is so incredibly US Pro-Style, it could easily be your WCW Worldwide main event on the Superstation. El Profe is just a substitute for J.J. Dillon and Mutoh does his best Flair while Invader III does his best undersized Rick Steamboat. That's not to say this is anywhere near those matches, but the work is very similar. Mutoh even works the leg like Flair minus a chop block or two. They ignore that for some missed top rope moves and after Mutoh sticks the moonsault he gets a sweet rollup to put away Invader. Nice match with some improved film quality which goes back to crap for the next one. 

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

Chris Youngblood looks juiced to the gills and the Kansas Jayhawks aren't having any of it. This is the typical "touch the four corners" rules so you're getting what you've seen before only with the addition of two other guys. Chris has a cool running boot. Good lord Dandy Dan takes a huge bump right through the middle rope to the outside when Chris pulls on his strap, that did not look safe. Mark gets the sudden win (in all the chaos, I feel for the refs trying to pay attention) and the Jayhawks split. Brief but satisfying. Dan also bled a bucket. 

Super Medico vs. Hercules Ayala (1/30/88)

Medico sprints to the ring and dives in next to the turnbuckle under Ayala's legs and immediately gets to brawling which is quite the way to start a match. He is HYPED and the crowd is erupting along with him. Chicky is also outside in purple sport coat to add heat to the proceedings. Ayala is big and clumsy so he stalls a lot while Medico does the majority of the work. He does bust out a cool head crank though which is a move I wish more heels did. Medico gets thrown into the plastic barricades outside which the crowd backs away from but Medico is all "I'm too old for that shit" and doesn't fly over like they expected. Aaaaaaand we're back to the head crank. It's way better than a nerve pinch for a resthold at least. They both go back and forth with Medico reviving and getting big spots in (a sleeper makes the crowd jump) but Ayala keeps cutting him down. He eventually locks on the figure four in his slow inept way and refuses to release it so the ref throws out the match for Medico. This was super basic but fun as hell and had the best fans, everyone was losing it the whole time for little to nothing. 
 

 

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I'm giving myself another four of these to get through because it's four in the morning, storming outside at random, I can't sleep and reviewing PR is WHAT I DO

(I will now promptly pay my air bill)

Spoiler

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

Hey, more Youngbloods. This better be a damn sight better than their earlier match. They're dressed in duds that are a cross between their Native roots and Bon Jovi while Pogo and Nagasaki resort to the basic facepaint and kendo mask. This is an unexpectedly fast-paced match, lots of fast tags and rope running -- Pogo is insanely spry compared to any other match I've ever, EVER seen him in, and that's a lot of matches. The ref stands around while all four brawl after a minute then gets bumped and the dreaded Kendo Stick comes into play but the Youngbloods escape. That lasted all of seconds. I could argue that some of these matches could end up on the extras discs while some on the extras disc could replace them, on length or angle blowoffs or blood alone.  

Super Black Ninja vs. Invader I (Cage match) (2/6/88)

Another "escape the cage" and both the cage and ring are tiny. Like United Kingdom tiny, at least from the elevated hard cam angle. Invader bleeds immediately. Muta's offense consists completely of chops and stomps aside from a rare clothesline and elbow drop, then a sleeper. This is as simple as it gets. Muta actually sells the low blow better than anybody else on the set so far then blades like a freak as soon as his head hits the cage. Then, in just a slightly longer time span than the last match ended, he superkicks Invader who falls right out of the cage and wins? Okay, I guess that's one way to end that. The Richter/Ripper cage match had a similar end that whooped the shit out of this... that match as a whole, too.

Bruiser Brody v. Dory Funk Jr. (2/27/88)

Brody is the face here because though he's stomping, hussing and throwing chairs a bunch of youngins are chasing him around and it's actually kinda endearing, and all the more sad. Dory gets pissed about getting dropkicked out of the ring and throws a wood chair in so Brody beats it to a pulp on the ringpost. Then we immediately move into brawl as Dory pushes the ref out of the way to attack Brody with a piece of the broken chair and another chair. Dory is basically playing his brother here, just with 1/3 of the charisma. He also bumps and sells like an old man falling out of bed. I guess it works for his character. Dory wins by countout (?!) after a really poor backdrop on the grass and splits before Brody can pummel him. Wow, this was pretty poor. Abby and Dutch better give this crowd their money's worth next match or we might have a problem. 

Abdullah the Butcher vs. Dutch Mantell (2/27/88)

Go figure, Dutch blades openly within seconds of the bell ringing. Abby must've got his shot of adrenaline too because he's on his game tonight, fast hands, fast movement. Dutch grabs Shoo Baby to go on offense for a minute and the crowd erupts. There's a great shot of Chicky at ringside with this like ginger-dyed short hair wearing a business shirt and he sees that the camera's on him and you can see him but not hear him yell "WHAT THE FUCK" right at the cameraman hahaha. Abby gets handed a coathanger (which does not look like one) by Chicky and the ref throws out the match immediately... oh man. This won't end well. The crowd keeps looking to the side away from the ring like there's some shit going down. Abby pushes Quinones and stomps off. I wish they would've got footage of the crowd fight, that was probably better than the match.

Well that was a particularly disappointing run. The next up look pretty great though with the appearance of the Rock 'n' Rolls, the reappearance of the Ron y Chicky Express (not their real name, though that would rule), and a Mutoh/Invader I brawl that I've seen before and remember being pretty good. Maybe I'll knock a few of those out tomorrow.

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More Disc Five

Spoiler

Rock n Roll Express vs. Bobby Jaggers & Dan Kroffat (3/19/88)

Believe it or not I'm about as well versed in the RnR's as I am the Midnights, which is to say, not very much. So to see them get to do their thing when I mainly remember them as heels for Cornette's NWA "invasion" of WWF (yeah, that's my era, sadly) this is nice. The Jayhawks eat a bunch of offense and stooge well before piledriving Ricky on the outside which he of course blades off of. They even do a nice flying clothesline/chopblock double team and Dandy Dan busts out a giant swing into Boston crab! The times, they are a-changing. Of course the Express get the duke after Gibson's hot tag. Perfectly fine Southern tag match with some of the newer fangled moves and pacing that lit off what was to come in the '90s. 

Steel Cage Battle Royal (March 1988)

This is exactly what it sounds like on paper, which is to say they threw a bunch of guys in the ring and for some reason put a cage around it which makes the battle royale rules completely ridiculous since you have to dump someone out of the cage door. Of which there is exactly one (1). So a bunch of them brawl and take turns getting close to the door to try and push their rivals out. Surely someone will tell me there's been a more ridiculous concept for a battle royale? Maybe that TNA match where Homicide had to climb out the top of the Thunderdome? I mean everyone seems to have a tag partner so I don't see why not a dual elimination but they don't even do that. They do clear people out in a hurry though and finally TNT is left so the crowd flips and all the little kids run wild around the cage. There are some pretty good punches and a lot of blood amidst the whirlwind, if you can catch 'em. 

Super Black Ninja vs. Invader I (Street Fight) (4/2/88)

Love how this match just starts with an image of ye olde Jolly Roger. Super VQ on this match. Muta comes prepared with T-shirt, jeans + belt, and construction shoes while Invader has a hacked-up cutoff, jeans and Docs. His white mask turns red almost immediately. God, their poor genitals... People are pitching drinks and somebody whips a fucking chair at the ring. Muta takes off his shoe/boot (whatever) but it backfires; he uses a cable to choke Invader and the ref does three arm drops in a row but Invader keeps coming back? Okay. Then after a moonsault and a long sleeper with more arm drops he still recovers. They have a good long finish run but Invader wins the TV title after using Profe's briefcase.  Bobby Jaggers with his glorious mullet comes in after to beat up Invader (at least). This was another solid, long brawl though if it was the States, Invader would have lost probably four or five times from his arm falling. Needed more of him getting belt-whipped by Muta though the cable bit was satisfying. 

 

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And more! 

Spoiler

Chris & Mark Youngblood & Rock N Roll Express vs. Bobby Jaggers, Dan Kroffat, Kendo Nagasaki & Mr. Pogo (5/21/88)

Whoever decided this needed accompaniment by banging on the rails and hooting needs to be found and stomped. It's like they took the Lucha tradition of horns and stuff and made it ten times more irritating. Seriously, the guy changes rhythm through the whole thing at random, it's like one dude yelling the most dumb shit during a match just because he can. The match is perfectly fine but I cannot get over the guy banging and clanging, I want to strangle him. There's also some asshole blowing a whistle. I hope they had a fine time being a part of the match because I could not at all enjoy this with them there. Watch on mute.

Miguel Perez Jr. vs. Super Black Ninja (Hair vs. Hair) (5/21/88)

Miguelito comes on a house a fire and Muto bails. Apparently Keiji's learned the art of stalling now. He's in full-on Muta mode too with the reactions and mannerisms. Everything is again really simple here -- Muta does a sleeper spot, then a (sigh) nerve hold, almost gets Perez with a sweet bridging rollup but Perez does him one better with a beautiful German with bridge for the pinfall. No blood at all. Muta has to be held down and Perez gets to be his own barber while Muta acts like someone is tearing his legs off. His facial expressions are worth watching the match alone.

Los Invaders (I y II) vs. Chicky Starr & Ron Starr (5/25/88)

Chicky starts off talking a whole load of shit on the mic. I guess the story is that Carlos Colon is in there and he wants the two Invaders instead of one of them and Carlos. Carlos just swatting at the Starrs brings everyone to their feet. Looks like Carlos and Invader I are the champs and Carlos forgoes the belt because he thinks the Invaders can win anyway. Goddamn, the Starrs are the forgotten heel tag team of the '80s. All the horseshit is from Chicky with the gestures and bumping while Ron comes in to clean house and do the work, while at the same time being a huge stooge. He even turns Invader I's mask around so he can't see! Brilliant idea! I have no idea why that's never been done in any other lucha match ever. Of course Invader I has worked without his mask forever so it's no big deal when he tosses it to make the hot tag. After that it all breaks down with a ref bump, a batch of blood and Rambo Ron trying to kill everyone with a chair. Carlos runs in and gets beat down, people throw shit all over and Invader I lays in a pool of his own sangre on the floor, where he belongs. If this was a stadium show people would've rioted. Good lord Invader is just LEAKING blood from out his head and the other Invader gets stretchered. Wild stuff.

Ron & Chicky Starr vs. Mark & Chris Youngblood (6/1/88)

So WWE it could be on Main Event. The only thing missing is the heels running one of the Youngbloods' head across the ropes which is way more NWA. Chicky remains a giant in being a complete piece of shit somehow getting DDT'd off the top rope and still managing the pinfall. The crowd takes swings at them as they retreat. And oh shit, Invader I and the Youngbloods protest to the ref and the belts get reverted to the Youngbloods? I don't blame the Starrs for bumping on the mat in anger. That is some weird ruling.

Invader I vs. Hercules Ayala (6/1/88)

Oh boy, the worst wrestler in the promotion vs. the one who stabbed Brody. I'm just hoping for a lot of blood here. To make it worse the ref sends Chicky to the back. To his credit Invader can work a pretty good Jerry Lawler style match, lots of good punches and selling and as is prerequisite for PR, nutshots. The ref does a good job checking the sleeper until Chicky and then Ron Starr run in then the faces make the save for Invader, who doesn't even tap a vein. At least we get more Chicky.

Miguel Perez Jr. & Huracane Castillo Jr. vs. Super Black Ninja & El Profe (6/4/88)

Muta shows here that he can rock the bald head just as good as after his hairline receded. Profe does more work than him though, bumping even when the Jr.s don't do a thing to him, playing to the crowd, generally just being an ass. The Jr.s even get in some Twin Magic (TM Bellas), I guess because the ref is stupid. Profe doesn't come in for a looooooong looooooong time but when he does he's such a cheapshotting asshole you've got to love him. Muta ends up busting out the Scorpion Deathlock which I don't remember him ever doing. They also do a seated armbar with Muta grabbing Profe's hand on the sly to add pressure, which is such a great oldschool heel tag trick. Profe seems to be a font of these tricks and the reaction he gets is awesome. As is either Perez or Castillo busting out an incipient Emerald Frosion on Muta for the pinfall. 
 

and here's the rest of Disc Five

Spoiler

Ron Starr vs. Invader #1 (Barbed Wire Match) (6/18/88)

There's a whole lot of each guy pushing the other's head into the barbed wire here and not much else. Ron gets rolled up for the quick pin. It's surprising how short some of these matches are, like this review.

TNT vs. Super Black Ninja (6/25/88)

You can immediately tell these two have some chemistry. Muto does his stalling to start but both guys really grind it in when they lock up. It's weird, both guys were kind of working the same gimmick: facepaint, karate moves, both used the sleeper, it's like a mirror match where you and your buddy both want to face off as Sub-Zero in Mortal Kombat to see who can win. Savio has the better kung fu this time and pins Muto after he sticks the moonsault, which I'm sure was worse for his knees than landing it. Sadly, though they feuded there are no more matches between them on the set, or for Mutoh period after this, who I guess went back to Japan having refined his craft. It's a shame; I can see a big bloodfeast between these two winning the top prize on the set.

Tommy Rich vs. Abdullah the Butcher (June 1988)

"The Wildfire" is on fire trying to kill Abby who decides to be lazy and just lays on the turf at Bayamon Stadium letting his forehead get gouged. He has great reactions to Tommy's fistdrops and such though, shaking like he's having a seizure. Quinones throws out the match but they keep brawling. Abby actually stops bleeding and Tommy doesn't bleed enough. Kareem Muhammad's pants fall down during the run-in and everyone laughs. Not quite the level of mayhem you would expect from these two pairing up in the PR.

Abdullah the Butcher vs. Carlos Colon (7/9/88)

Abby shows up for work here though, as he always does against Carlos. He immediately attacks with a club and then a camera before Carlos retaliates with a trash can. Abby comes back with his tape-wrapped something and bites the ropes and makes faces while Colon bleeds and bleeds. I love him licking the blood off his hands. His titty fat flopping and flying is more disturbing to me, honestly. Chicky interferes and Abby throws powder, then the Invaders and Youngbloods all come out to keep Carlos from getting wrecked. Not the best of the matches between the two but okay.
 

 

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Oh no, Disc Six is two parts. One of the best AC/DC songs ever, "Walk All Over You", is the theme music. Steel yourselves and hope that the matches live up to the tune. 

Also, there's a listed Colon/Ayala match that's missing from the disc. Can't say I'm mad about that but it needs to be mentioned. 

Spoiler

Bronco Boricua (7/30/88)

This is a "bring your own weapons" battle royale. The Jayhawks bring in gutters or something from their side jobs in construction I guess. This is just a mess. Ricky Santana does his best to enliven things. Everyone looks winded (or maybe just drunk from the night before) and nothing really happens aside from guys hitting each other with stuff. Everyone ends up peeling out at the last minute and of all people Rufus R. Jones wins the match. The $10,000 prize was probably a hooker and a plane ticket but at least he got a win!

Okay, taking a break now. There's only so much I can digest here. I feel myself getting bitter and that's no good for anyone. 

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Time to pick up my sticks again. More of Disc Six Six Six

Spoiler

The Youngbloods vs. Ron and Chicky Starr (July 1988)

I don't mean to be all Debbie Downer, especially after my disappointment with the last match, but the Youngbloods are your least enthusiastic and high-flying Fantastics. Or Usos, in face formation. The Starrs don't really do much to pick this up. Still, perfectly fine match, just nothing special about it. 

Miguelito Perez and Huracan Castillo Jr. Vs. Bobby Jaggers and Dan Kroffatt (July 1988)

This is better. Dandy Dan actually takes the brunt of the offense because Castillo and Perez aren't having any of the Jayhawks' shit tonight. They pretty much take the whole of the match until Jaggers hits Castillo with an axehandle (not a literal one, his fists) and gets pinned which takes way long. Was it a loaded axehandle or something? Who knows. Still a fun little match where the tecnicos get to strut their stuff and the rudos get to look sleazy. There's a kid in the crowd with a homemade Invader mask that is the stuff of nightmares though. 

Carlos Colon and TNT vs. Chicky Starr and Hercules Ayala (August 1988)

Boy, the crowd HATE Ayala. Hey, we have something in common! Carlos is all high-flying in this, even busting out a sweet headscissors in the first couple minutes. Chicky is the key here though. He looks like he doesn't even want to make eye contact with Carlos, shooing him away from the apron and not wanting to lock up in the corner. Then of course they get ahold of him and he just pinballs for every move. Savio seems to be kind of a third wheel but then he gets to do a little of his kung fu and Chicky puts him in a Scorpion Deathlock (?!). Colon gets the hot tag but gets pinned off a basic back suplex by Ayala. I guess even though it's 1988 that's still a high spot in Puerto Rico. 

The Batten Twins vs. Ron and Chicky Starr (August 88)

Both teams have belts here so who knows which they're fighting for, if they are at all. This is our first look at the Battens on the set and they're pre-heel turn. Ayala is the second for the Starrs and I smell interference coming. The Starrs are a great team here, lots of tags, Ron with a nice hip strike and bulldog, Chicky cheating. They isolate one of the twins for a long time but he finally tags in his brother and both get sleepers on the Starrs before the expected Ayala run-in and the DQ. The Sports Club escape after Colon and TNT come in to even up the odds. Ron and Chicky rule while the Battens are pretty much just warm bodies. 

Kendo Nagasaki & Mr. Pogo vs. Bart & Brad Batten (8/6/88)

Roles are reversed here but the Battens still don't show much. Pogo stands around in an armbar while the picture literally fades to black at one point. At least we know Kendo Nagasaki will beat your ass, at one point he sneaks in a kendo stick behind the ref's back and after whacking one of the twins with it a couple times he tosses it and it bounces off Pogo's head which got a hearty laugh here. Wait, TNT is the second for the Japanese? I thought he was a face since he tagged with Carlos earlier? Maybe it was a case of common enemies; there is Abby and Colon teaming up after all which gives it precedence as an angle in the territory. One Batten misses a flying headbutt but the other comes off the top for a rollup. Looking at Skinny Pogo is like looking at pictures of yourself in your mid twenties before beer and inertia got ahold of you.

Ricky Santana vs. Mr. Pogo (8/10/88)

Santana is all fired up and takes it right to Pogo from the jump. His forehead is so gouged that he looks like he's bleeding before he does bleed, which begins when Pogo opens his mouth wide as hell and takes a bite out of him. The image of Pogo with blood all over his mouth is pretty gnarly. Then he licks blood off his hands! The dreaded Cobra Clutch comes into play but your classic Nut Shot puts an end to that. Ricky's fire is too much for Pogo so he runs away and Ricky tosses a chair on the ground in anger. Maybe he'll get his revenge in their next match on the set. 

Carlos Colon vs. Ron Starr (Cage Match) (8/13/88)

Aw man, the picture on this one is so bad that it's practically in black and white. The only thing that seems to show up in color are both mens singlets, even though Starr blades at least twice. Once again this is escape rules but Carlos is too pissed at Ron to take the obvious exit when he's at the top of the cage and Ron falls into the ring. Ron has a good knee lift in his repertoire as well. Wait, there's a strand of barbed wire below the bottom rope? The VQ is so crappy you don't notice until Carlos uses it to carve up Starr's face, then it just vanishes again. We get a no contest because both guys fall out of the door at the same time and they brawl to the dugout. 

Ron Starr vs. Carlos Colon (8/20/88)

This is for Ron's TV title. Ron continues to be the "movez" guy on the set with a nice back suplex that puts Ayala's to shame. Carlos doesn't sell it and goes right back on offence but hey, he tried. Carlos must've been watching his WCW tapes because he does a long Flair/Steamboat headlock segment. Starr finally goes to the eyes to get out of it and has a nice mix of brawling, cheating and wrestling in his offensive playbook. He switches between the three randomly in the space of mere minutes which is pretty cool. After he misses a kneedrop on the turf though Carlos has the advantage; Chicky's run-in fails (the ref doesn't disqualify Ron for whatever reason) and Carlos refuses to release the figure four. So now he's TV champ and Universal champ, and puts Ron in a cast to boot? Way to go, bookerman. Ron is really good in all aspects of the game while Colon looks like he's slowing down a bit. 

EDIT: The next six (SIX) matches are from Aniversario '88 so I'll probably just review those in one chunk. No wonder this disc is in two parts...

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WORLD WRESTLING COUNCIL ANIVERSARIO '88 BAYBAY

Spoiler

Ricky Santana v. Mr. Pogo (9/10/88)

Wow check out Ricky's hair, that's some Tenzan level shit right there. The Battens are on commentary and it's nice having them there for a change though they both sound 1. identical, and 2. like Bobby Jaggers. Pogo has a little more pep in his strikes here but that's about all that's different, aside from Ricky foaming at the mouth after he has the Cobra put on him after he schoolboys Pogo for the win. They stretcher Ricky out after; I guess the decision for him doing the Alka Seltzer trick was because there was probably gonna be blood in all the other matches and they didn't want to upstage them with a true feud blowoff. It's actually a little more gross than you might think. Well, maybe not as disgusting as one of the Invaders vomiting blood... Also of note is the crowd throwing trash in the ring through the entire damn match. Miller must've made a fortune this night. 

Batten Twins v. The Sheepherders (9/10/88)

Ugh, here we go with the Battens arguing on commentary. Can we just have no angle when someone's talking about a match please? After about a minute of that I just put it on mute. Again. The Sheepherders are the Sheepherders, lots of stomping, gesturing, goofy faces and stalling. They are pretty stiff though with some mean hits that liven up the proceedings. This is probably their best showing next to the ambulance match which was just insane. Boy the Battens are sub-par in comparison yet again, at least Butch and Luke have their heel work down and will wreck you.

Chicky Starr vs. Invader III (9/10/88)

We get a replay of the grisly footage of Invader III dressing up as Super Medico and whacking Chicky with a board like he owed him money, leading to a huge cut in the back of his head and subsequent stitching and novocaine injection right on camera. This is also way clearer footage so it's even nastier, albeit a bit shorter and missing the needle. I reviewed this match earlier but didn't notice that Invader III attacks Chicky with a fucking axehandle (the wooden kind this time, not fists) and Chicky bleeds immediately to start everything off. The floor outside the ring in Bayamon is wet and sloppy from the rain and the thrown beers and Chicky is at his begging, bumping best. There are about fifty nutshots in this one but who cares when you've got Chicky falling through the second and third ropes and faceplanting right in the crap on the ground and sells it like someone shot him in the face. It's such a comical pratfall, he leans back and does this whiplash motion directly onto some stained cardboard boxes and immediately grabs his head then eats a couple of Invader's punches and does the punchdrunk selling. It has to be rewound again and again. Meanwhile, Invader's punches just get better and better. After Invader gets thrown on the back of his head for the pin Chicky rolls out of the ring and faceplants AGAIN! I don't think there'll be a better match on this set, it has to be in the top three. Chicky Starr is a god among men. 

Ron Garvin vs. Iron Sheik (9/10/88)

Sheiky Baby starts off singing the Iranian national anthem and ranting and raving like... well... Sheiky Baby. The Battens and Hugo both goof on the fact that nobody can understand him even if he is speaking English. Thinking about it these are two seriously tough customers in the ring, a legit shooter and Olympian in Sheik and Mr. "Hands of Stone". Sure enough they both blast into each other and Sheik busts out his beautiful gutwrench suplex. It doesn't stop him from getting his nuts wrecked against the ringpost though. Sheiky clotheslines the post on the outside and loses from countout. Nice little match, if they were allowed blood and went longer (and if neither blew up from the heat in Bayamon that night), it could have been a classic. 

Huracan Castillo Jr. & Miguel Perez Jr. vs. Bobby Jaggers & Dan Kroffat (Hair vs. Hair) (9/10/88)

Didn't know it yet but Castillo and Perez are known as the Barrio Boys. This starts off as a straight brawl which of course both teams are great at. Castillo is crazy stomping down Dandy Dan on a wet piece of equipment, falling over several times in a row. Bobby Jaggers reminds me of two guys: Dick Murdoch and Buddy Rose. Albeit crappier and lazier; he still has a similar body type and selling style. Dan again takes the brunt of the work in ring but he has some really nice slams to recover; Miguilito responds with a deadlift German. OH SHIT Dan busts out a powerbomb!!! One of the Battens calls it a "reverse slam", showing just how incredibly foreign something like that is to PR or the entire world at that time, unless you were working in All Japan. Where would Kroffat end up next, I wonder... This is way more of a workrate match then I expected with Dan getting rolled up while the ref fast counts. TNT and one of the Invaders come in to hold down the Jayhawks for their scalping. No blood yet again for a hair match? Bizarre. I'd prefer someone shaving Perez' back hair just because that would be hilarious. 

Hercules Ayala vs. Carlos Colon (Fire Match) (9/10/88)

Oh you gotta be shitting me. A ring that small and they have a legit fire setup like the match where the Sheik almost died from heatstroke? This is completely balls-out; I've seen plenty of fire matches but this has to be one of the top of a very select few. Colon makes the match with his charisma and being willing to have fire literally held to his arms and face. He finally locks in the figure four and yet again won't relinquish the hold because Ayala talked shit and knocked down his wife at the WWC Awards Show. Both guys deserve a medal for working that kind of match in that specific place and Ayala deserves an extra nod for being a big stiff doing that plus also tapping a vein. Dunno if it tops the Ambulance Match for sheer "what did I just watch" but it's damn close.

 

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Might as well finish this one up

Spoiler

 

Buddy Landell vs. TNT (9/17/88)

The Nature Boy's hair is quite the visage here. No idea what the talk about the "original TNT" is, it has something to do with Rip Rogers or whatever asshole is on commentary. No matter what both guys are just awesome. Buddy has great ring presence and both guys have fine strikes and selling. This is basically Ric Flair vs. an inspired Great Muta on a WCW Saturday Night match, and both of them are slightly cooler and more interesting than the guys they're similar to. TNT's super fast legwork is especially notable, he can kick you in the face at a moment's notice. Landell tries to keep up by jawing to the camera and eating all of Savio's offence like a champ. The end is especially sweet as Landell gets his foot on the rope like he did several other times during the match and TNT slyly pulls it off at the last second so the ref doesn't see, which I don't think I've ever seen before. Easily in the top ten. 

Bobby Jaggers vs. Ricky Santana (Texas Bull Rope Match) (10/8/88)

Jaggers really shouldn't have chosen the stipulation for his previous match because his male pattern baldness is screaming out loud now after he got his hair cut. Of course Ricky doesn't have a problem with this, or with bleeding like a stuck pig. Dick Slater is on commentary and rambles at high speed like someone gave Steve Austin ten cans of Red Bull. Bobby decides he's gonna bleed as much as Santana and his Dick Murdoch characteristics come out in full. Finally he hangs Ricky over the ropes in lieu of actually winning the match (he is the Hangman, after all) and stomps off. This could have gone with maybe five more minutes and a real finish before Jaggers got in a huff but it's still pretty good. 

Terry Funk vs. TNT (10/15/88)

Hey, guess who's the best wrestler in the entire world that just retired (for the thousandth and probably final time)? And guess who's the second best wrestler out of Puerto Rico? This cannot possibly not hit the mark. Terry's crazy ass immediately starts by crawling up scaffolding, falling down on his head, crawls under the ring, runs into the bleachers, swings at the ref, and this is all before he takes off his shirt. He forgets about his chaps. Rip Rogers keeps telling us Terry is his hero and the best wrestler ever; finally I sympathize with the jackass. Quote of the match, Re: Funk: "He looks like he's drunk!" Of course the match ends up in a DDQ and Terry crawls up the scaffolding once again only to get kicked down, rung by rung, by an angry TNT. If you don't like this we have nothing in common. 

Ricky Santana vs. Bobby Jaggers (10/22/88)

This is the sole match on Part Two of Disc 666. Jaggers is pretty well shaved and is goofing it up on commentary and in the ring. He stalls like mad while Santana gets the entire gymnasium to freak out. And when I talk about stalling I really mean stalling, this is some Larry Zybysko level shit. Think I was wrong about the Battens speaking like Jaggers earlier btw, he has a goofy Minnesota accent where they are straight outta West Virginia. Meanwhile all three are supposed to be from Kansas which makes no sense at all. Bobby finally decides to work and takes over with a foreign object. It's nice seeing Ricky taking back over for a second by banging his head on all four corners which Bobby wasn't able to do in a match with that as a stipulation. Eventually the Hangman does his trick again before he gets ran off. Middling match from both guys, they play their roles fairly well but not good enough to turn the corner. 

 

 

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