Thursday, August 25, 2011

We're Going Back In Time!

Using our collective brains Fredo and I managed to track down some rare as shit Lucha Libre that will thrill anyone who a) loves Lucha Libre & b) thought the well had run dry on undiscovered 80's Lucha. (BTW that's my 10% finding all the footage needed and Fredo's 90% resources hehehehe) The best part is it's not only one area specific - it covers Arena Mexico (~80'S HANDHELDS! Who the hell had the foresight to take a handheld camera into Arena Mexico and film stuff? Who even had the resources to do that? I want to thank someone but I don't know who to thank unfortunately), Guadalajara and Northern Mexico - mostly Monterrey but ALL the famous Monterrey arenas like Solidaridad, Coliseo and Monumental. Slowly but surely I'm going to review everything I watch. Don't bother asking how to get the footage - I've already explained on my twitter (@robviper) that Fredo will be putting it all up on his website ( soon enough once he organizes everything b/c the actual DVD's are a jumbled assortment of matches that really don't fit together. I'm sure when Fredo gets through with it he'll have it all nice and tidy.:) In the meantime you can read my teasers and build up anticipation!

I was so excited to get these DVD's that in the meantime I went back to watch a bunch of 80's footage (just like @kortej is doing over at I meant to do a long post on it but I'm a lazy bum. Some points I wanted to make though:

1. Alfonso Dantes was awesome. I remember initially not liking him when I originally watched the DVD's a few years back but that may have been moreso due to his rep of not letting young guys do anything and always trying to avoid selling during beatdowns. Watching now with an open mind I just found him to be awesome. His big spot was basically just a shoulder tackle but it was an AWESOME shoulder tackle (hence his name "The Tank"). He would hit 3 in a row and the crowd would eat it up as his opponents would get frustrated. He was the perfect no-nonsense vet who just wanted to get down to business and kick ass.

2. There's this myth that matches have gotten shorter as time has passed but I don't see it that way. I see it as the style has changed. No matter what kind of match you watch from the 80's and 90's the Lucha Libre style is generally 'get up and go'. The exception is of course the great brawlers but for the most part it's all about doing as much as you can as fast as you can do it. Tag out. Let the other guys go at it. Tag out. Let the other guys do their thing. Some of these trios matches from the 80's only go 16-17 minutes which is the same as a lot of current stuff but the problem with a lot of current stuff is the wrestlers are more focused on the show part and are constantly posing for the crowd or looking for approval before they do anything. It can get annoying... trust me. That's where the myth comes in. The matches seem shorter these days b/c the wrestlers are generally doing 50% of what the guys in the 80's were doing. I saw a trios match where Atlantis had two exchanges where he did more with all three rudos he faced each time than any CMLL wrestler has done in one match in years! But he was in the ring for less time than Palacio Negro usually gets per match. There's also the myth that current Lucha Libre has incorporated the entire concept of a rudo beatdown and pinfall/submission within a minute to end a fall. But I saw that happen plenty of times in the 80's stuff I watched. The difference is all in the execution. Wrestlers today... sadly... are just not as good when it comes to match structure and rely too much on the "less is more" philosophy which is a philosophy I absolutely despise. The one thing that is true... and nobody will argue with this... is singles matches used to be FAR more epic. Those were the matches that went longer and rightfully so. They were important. A title, hair or mask was usually at risk. Or even when nothing was on the line it was about pride and showing up your opponent. These days you really can't find many singles matches that don't follow the silly formula of either two short falls and one long fall or a long first fall, a surprise roll-up in the second fall and then an epic third fall. Once again... current wrestlers have not learned match structure. (Ultimo Guerrero being a prime example of failure in this regard.)

3. Was there ever a better trio than Jerry Estrada, Hombre Bala and Pirata Morgan? I say no. I know there are lots of Infernales fans out there but on an individual basis I can't see anyone arguing Masakre was better than any three of the Bucaneros.

Anyways... onto the reviews of the newly discovered footage...

Cien Caras/Sangre Chicana/Tony Benetto vs Tony Salazar/El Faraon/Tinieblas (1986, Arena Mexico): Shot by a handheld camera which may have been for some sort of Sangre Chicana documentary since the focus is mainly on him. The only negative to having it filmed on handheld is once in a while the action will skip forward b/c the person recording was either trying to save tape or was hiding it from any security walking by. Of course the positive is you can hear the epic crowd heat! Start of the match is just epic as the rudos attack the tecnicos (no Alushe!!!) as the fans are still at ringside and it's chaos with fans running for their lives to avoid the wrestlers. The focus of the match is the Chicana/Faraon feud as they just trade shots non-stop. Cien Caras also plays a great chickenshit heel who takes shots at Tinieblas all match long but then runs away as soon as he's at a disadvantage. Finish isn't caught on film but this was a really fun intro match.

Rayo De Jalisco Jr./Tony Salazar/Atlantis vs Cien Caras/Sangre Chicana/El Faraon (1986, Arena Coliseo): A handheld so once again has some random cuts. More of an angle than a match as Chicana is not getting along with his partners which actually leads to some really funny moments. Crowd is super into Chicana. That's really understimating it though. They were SCREAMING his name all match long! Naturally things fall apart for the rudos and the tecnicos win. We wind up with Faraon and Chicana brawling with each other which sets up...

Sangre Chicana vs Faraon (1986, Arena Coliseo OR Arena Neza): EPIC! Shot via handheld but with less edits than the previous matches. Honestly... you wouldn't be able to tell whether this was a wrestling match or legit brawl between two guys who hate each other. So much awesome realism in this match. Faraon is the first to start bleeding due to Chicana's amazing punches and biting of his forehead. Chicana takes fall one with a half crab (his big submission move at the time) and then grabs a beer bottle from ringside and smashes it over Faraon's head! THE BOTTLE DOESN'T EVEN BREAK! WTF?!!?!?!? Crowd is super hot at this point, especially at the ref for letting this happen. The fact the crowd is reacting like this is why I'm not sure this was Arena Coliseo or Neza. There was a Neza banner and in the previous Coliseo match the crowd LOVED Chicana so it seems weird they'd switch a week later. Anyways back to the match... Chicana keeps pounding Faraon all over the ring and ringside until Faraon makes his comeback and Chicana basically does exactly what you'd do in a real street fight. He leaves the ring... he climbs back inside when Faraon comes out to get him and then tries to kick Faraon as he tries to get into the ring... he tries to outmaneuver Faraon and sneak in cheapshots... it's just awesome. Faraon finally gets his hands on Chicana and begans to beat the crap out of him including whipping him into the ringpost. Soon afterwards Faraon takes the second fall and he goes to get a beer bottle! Chicana has no part of that and runs away. Crowd is MOLTEN at this point - especially when Chicana manages to wrestle the bottle away from Faraon and tries to attack him with it again! Third fall has both guys punching the shit out of each other with the best punches in the world! Just great shit and hearing the crowd reaction is unreal. Of course then... the handheld cuts off.:( A real shame b/c this was heading towards easy top 10 of the 80's material but you take what you can get. This should probably get special mention if such a poll ever takes place.

Next up is about 10 minutes worth of random highlights of a triangle match involving Chicana, Faraon and Perro from Arena Mexico in 1986. I think the idea here was the first person to beat both their opponents (1-on-1 matches at a time) would win and the losers would have a hair match the following week. It was hard to keep track of with the constant edits but you get to see a ton of great brawling and the crowd super pissed when Faraon cheats to win. Plus there is a really great post-match brawl with Perro and Chicana chasing each other all over the place.

Next up is about 3 minutes of highlights of Rayo De Jalisco Jr. and Tony Benetto (Gran Markus Jr.) against Cien Caras and Mascara Ano 2000. Not much to this at all except noting even in 1986 Benetto was running the ropes awkwardly.

Sangre Chicana vs Perro Aguayo (Hair vs Hair - 2/28/86 @ Arena Mexico): THIS. This is the type of match that just makes finding all this footage worthwhile even if every other match is the drizzling shits! A fucking EPIC match along the lines of MS-1 vs Sangre Chicana in 1983. Maybe just as good? Maybe a notch lower? I guess that's up to each person. I fucking loved this though. The stage is set right away as Perro is being carried to the ring like a legend and Chicana is all FUCK THAT and attacks Perro which causes him to fall off the shoulders of whoever was carrying him! They end up brawling in the aisleway and things get crazy as a Chicana fan jumps on Perro! This causes a bunch of Perro fans to circle and try and drag him off which leads to a crazy hectic scene for a few seconds as security breaks through the pile of fans to drag the fans off the wrestlers. WHAT THE FUCK! And then the match begins!:p My description wouldn't do it justice. Nobody's will in fact. You just need to immediatly buy this when Fredo puts it up. Tons of blood. A Chicana tope suicida FOR THE AGES! The most amazing knockout punch I've ever seen via Chicana. And perhaps the greatest moment of all-time as both men covered in blod stand on top of the seats in the third row at Arena Mexico and JUST START SLUGGING EACH OTHER AS THE FANS STAND AROUND THEM CHEERING! Holy shit such an epic visual. If I had to pick one negative and I'd really be stretching here it would be that the finish was way too choreographed as I could see it coming a mile away. But I'm a jaded smark and the live fans ate it up so what do I know? If the match wasn't enough for you - you get the extra bonus of a post-match brawl which sends fans running for their lives. This is truly some spectacular shit here! (Note: Shot via handheld of course but only two or three very minor edits that don't take away from the match at all. THANKFULLY!)

I stopped watching this disc (all that is only half of ONE DISC OF SIXTEEN!) at this point and next up for tomorrow is... another Chicana vs Faraon singles match! Goddamnit.

Some other random matches I skipped forward to watch...

Andre The Giant/Cien Caras vs Alfonso Dantes/Sangre Chicana/Herodes (1982, Arena Coliseo De Guadalajara): I had to see this since at my age my introduction to Andre was when he was already basically crippled in the WWF and since I'm not a New Japan or All Japan fan I've seen very limited footage of a mobile Andre. But this was it... the freakshow at his best. The crowd was absolutely in awe of Andre and the match was actually enjoyable since he was so mobile at the time. The rudos were nothing but stooges of course. Herodes was having the time of his life running from Andre though which amused me. Crowd went nuts when Andre picked both Dantes and Chicana up in wristlocks at the same time! Diablo Velasco was the ref and even got involved at various points by trying to drag Andre away and ending up on his ass.:) Kind of surreal to see Andre to his shtick and suddenly tag in Cien Caras who began doing rolling shoulderblock spots with Alfonso Dantes. Oh, another highlight was Andre trying to do a comedy spot with Cien Caras who had no clue what to do so Andre had to improvise and actually made a clever little spot out of Cien's ignorance. For whatever reason this was 2 out of 3 falls but you can guess how many falls it took for Andre to win.:) If nothing else this is just a historical piece of footage.

Tigro/Panthro/Ninja vs Lasser/Robin Hood/La Flecha (1991, Plaza De Toros Monumental De Monterrey): Cubsfan would not be happy! Neither would Dr. Lucha! This was supposed to be a match for the National Trios Titles but Leono was hurt so the commision approved Ninja to take his place and defend the titles for this night only. CAN THEY DO THAT? (Insert Dr. Lucha explaining about greasing palms!) Typical tecnicos vs tecnicos match with lots of mirror spots and great armdrag sequences. A fascinating change of pace from Perro trying to bite Sangre Chicana's nose off! La Flecha is a young Skayde so naturally I was eager to watch this but I was more impressed with Lasser here. The man is just a machine! First fall was really short ending with Lasser/Robin getting pins as Flecha did a first-rope asai moonsault dive! Second fall was really good with some fast exchanges and the champs evened things up. Third fall had a dive sequence capped off with Robin Hood doing a flip plancha into the crowd! Crowd was super into all this since this was the peak of the fame for the Thundercats. Flecha/Ninja got eliminated which left it two-on-two. Lasser missed a pescado which took him out and Panthro eventually rolled up Robin Hood for the win and huge pop from the kids. Fun match!

Lasser/Robin Hood/La Flecha vs Rocky Santana/El Gallego/El Yaqui (1991, Arena Solidaridad De Monterrey): This match I actually liked better than the previous match b/c it's always more fun watching the Arqueros work with rudos who can be better bases. Some excellent matwork early on which is what you'd expect with this crew. At one point La Flecha did a SPRINGBOARD 360 ARMDRAG! This got me thinking as to who else was doing springboards at this point in time. Skayde is so awesome. Lasser did a super creative wristlock escape into an armdrag in the second fall which had me marking out. Unfortunately we'll never know who won the match b/c it was the last match on this specific DVD and it cut off.:( Really fun while it lasted though! I'd rather have 2 and a half falls of fun than never see any of this!

More to come! Chicana vs Faraon Redux! Oro's father and uncle team up! Legends match from the re-opening of Arena Coliseo Monterrey featuring Dardo Aguilar and Cuautehmoc Torres! Probably the only time you will ever see those legends on film! Pre-1980's Lucha!

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