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Saturday, August 27, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Disc 1: Carlos Colon vs. Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)

Disc 1, Match 9: Carlos Colon vs. Bruiser Brody (Chain Match) (Summer 1984)

Let me just state something to begin: I am not turning a corner on Brody. He is, by far, the most egregious case of the footage not living up to the myth. Sure, it generally wasn't due to lack of talent or skill, but instead how he chose to use the talent and skill. Even then, much of the dissonance comes from the fact that a big majority of Brody that we have is from All Japan, where he was apt to give the least in order to, in his mind, keep his gimmick up. It just came at the extent of dozens and dozens of matches that could have been excellent otherwise.

That said, there are specific matches I like, and specific performances I like (though less of those), and even an era or two that I've come to enjoy. Most specifically, the 1977 Houston footage that's popped up on NWAOnDemand had him inexperienced enough that he didn't "know better," maybe? With the face turn that year, however, he starts eating up matches to their detriment.

This match, however, I'd put pretty firmly in the "Enjoyed" category. It might be that he was fighting his boss for the night. I tend to chalk off certain good Hansen performances (including ones that are the odds on favorite for #1 on this set) to the fact he's wrestling the guy who's paying him. Part of it was the chain gimmick too, though.

Brody sold, and he sold quite a bit here. It wasn't just his usual back flailing followed by immediate recovery either. He'd stay down, he'd let Colon move him about, and he'd even sell emotionally, expressing the crazy idea that he, with his head bloodied, fists crashing against him, a crowd wanting him dead, and a chain around his throat, was actually in danger. That's more than half the battle right there and it was one that Brody's performance actually won here, as in it won me over. That was right from the get go where he didn't want anything to do with the chain. It was the opposite of the usual languid apathy I expect from his reactions.

I think the chain helped, both in allowing him to credibly sell without feeling like he was hurting his character and its invulnerability, but also in making his usual lackluster offense feel all the more potent. Yes, his fist drop wasn't all that dynamic, but when you took into account that he had a chain wrapped around his fist, it was hard to mind. Not only did he choke with the chain, but he did it both inside and outside of the ring, the ability to move around like that, even while doing the same thing, at least giving the illusion of action to the match. And some things, like wrapping the chain around Colon's eyes, were actually inspired.

Any match where a wrestler wins by touching the four corners has the deck stacked against it, but they used the gimmick well here, with transitions based around one of the wrestlers stopping his assault in order to try to win. The finish had maybe one too many flourishes. If they had gone to it sooner after Colon touched the third turnbuckle, it might have worked. It wasn't just Brody knocking him into it but it was Brody knocking him into it after interference that should have helped him and it all seemed a bit much. The post match brawling and bloodying was almost enough to make it forgivable though. As weird as it is to have a Brody match in this position, this one might have topped the set, up til this point, for me.

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