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Phil Schneider

Fuerza Guerrera vs. El Hijo Del Santo vs. All Star (12/8/89)

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RUDO SANTO!  Holy shit, the crowd does not care for Santo here, and I don't know if Santo plays it up brilliantly, is actually supposed to be a rudo at this point, or is legitimately at a loss and pissed about it.  The final match up in this is All Star vs. Santo to decide who loses the mask and the crowd really gets on his case as he's beating All Star around ringside.  Post match the crowd is booing him and Santo is flipping off the crowd, arguing with fans, at one point gets a mic and tries to cut a promo; it even looks like he leaves the ring to lash out at some fans who are in the way of him trying to lay a post match beat down on All Star.  And he attacks All Star as he's being demasked.  Pretty wild spectacle.

 

The match itself.  The opening Fuerza vs. Santo section wasn't very good.  They just couldn't get anything going, the match sort of had an awkward rhythm to it and it didn't get any good.  The All Star vs. Fuerza stuff was actually pretty damn good, Fuerza's mask gets shredded, he blades big and they have a nice one fall battle.  The Santo/All Star part has some good stuff, some nice dives and of course the crowd reaction gets very interesting.  As a whole this match doesn't impress me a lot but there were things worth seeing and especially from the third fall of the last match it becomes a real spectacle to see the crowd reacting to Santo and him reacting to them.

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Just like the relevos suicidas match I had seen this one a few years ago. I didn't like that one but I thought this one was great at the time. On second viewing I still really like it but it definitely has some dull stretches. I wouldn't say the first fall Fuerza vs Santo stuff was bad but it didn't live up to what I remember it being like. The 1984 Santo vs Fuerza trios match on this set is probably a better match between the two of them. All Star really brings it as this thing goes on and makes you believe that he really wants to keep that mask. He has a few nice throws peppered in with the brawling. The crowd tuning on Santo and the way he reacts are the things I remember best and they definitely hold up. It's not nearly as good as the triangle hair match with Casas and Dandy from 1996 but there are similar vibes between how Santo worked rudo then and in this match. This is probably a top half match but there are just so many amazing matches on this set that I don't really know how high it'll end up going.

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So the rules are, everyone has a coin toss, Santo and Fuerza win and All Star gets whoever survives their singles match. You already know who's going to lose as in the previous Relevos match on this disc so your mileage may vary. I don't see the heel Santo stuff, is there something I'm missing? I didn't really feel it even in his definitive heel turn against Casas later on either. We get a short fall where Santo falls to his own finisher and then get with the mask ripping and blood. Sadly the crowd can't very ignited for this and neither could I. Fuerza does his schtick but it's all for naught. Finally we get Santo coming back to face All Star (goddamn these are some weird rules) and apparently they are working this 2/3 falls as well. Santito submits to one of the few Tapatias on the set, which is nice to see. Then we get back to All Star biting and doing his shitty heel work. He will murder people flying into the crowd which is always nice. Damn, I guess the crowd really doesn't like Santo, this is strange. I think it's a Cena reaction, to coin a term. There is a really horrible spot where Santito barely runs into the turnbuckles and sells it and now I feel like the crowd turning on the match. Then, wow, we get a poor countout finish but el Hijo turns into a complete asshole kicking the shit out of All Star, trying to rile up the crowd, and acting like a fucker during the de-masking. That alone is worth watching even if the match itself isn't. That is a heel turn, you actually feel like the guy's real attitude is showing all of the sudden and he is just a prick. Good job ending the set on that.

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Fuerza Guerrera vs. El Hijo Del Santo vs. All Star (Mask Match) (12/8/89)

Aside from the first few minutes which were a bit on the dull side, this entire thing was epic. Santo and even All Star were great but Fuerza was on another level entirely. His bumping was just ridiculous, as expected he was flawless during rope running exchanges with Santo and, once All Star entered, he had no problem cranking up the intensity. I mean at one point both guys were on the outside and he just launched All Star face first into the bottom rope. His blood-soaked, desperation comebacks were awesome, especially his big punch before he crumbled to the mat. I really liked all the Santo/Fuerza camel clutch teases as well. Guys trying to avoid submissions is far more exciting than watching them in the actual hold. All Star/Santo was very good, too, particularly the throws at the start and Santo's beautiful tope comeback. All Star flying into the fifth row was quite the visual.

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This match was long, but the three wrestlers involved were talented and all had very good moments.  Rudo Santo?  I need a Lucha history lesson here.  Guerrera was masterful in the first two falls, starting with the ambush of All Star as he was trying to leave the ring.  I loved Guerrera's quick and desperate escapes from Santo's camel clutch.  That match-up meandered a bit around the bulldogs, but overall it was good.  The violence of the second match-up was compelling, and Guerrera did a nice job selling the damage before pulling out a clutch win.  Santo-All Star features blood through the mask and some nice dives, plus the crowd turn.  The ending is effective, even though it is kind of a weaselly win for Santo, which I guess is appropriate considering the crowd's attitude.  Santo's continued abuse of All Star after the match is intense, including his kind of punching the mask off of All Star.  This match is too solid and memorable to drop out of my top 20 or 30.

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