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Friday, August 19, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Disc 1: El Gran Apollo vs Dick Steinborn (February 1983)

Disc 1, Match 6: El Gran Apollo vs Dick Steinborn (February 1983)

Okay, so this isn't a match that would have made a lot of other sets, I don't think. There's not a lot to it. It's not very long. It's very straightforward. It's more or less back and forth with just a short chinlock for heat. The finish is definitive but not elaborate. There's no sense of stakes. Apollo is a serviceable babyface with a good look but nothing special. My guess is that this has to do with footage availability to some degree, as there are only three other 1983 matches on the set, but more than that, I bet you that the committee just really wanted people to see Dick Steinborn.

Steinborn was a guy who was around Wrestling Classics years ago so his name came off as familiar at least. He was a second generation wrestler, whose dad promoted a bit as well. We have very little footage of him online. There's 8 minutes of a Dory Funk match from the late 60s, some of him vs Bruce Hart in the late 70s, etc. That sort of thing. Apparently, he had some top angles in PR, but I'm not the one to tell you about those. He does have some fun stories here: http://www.1wrestlinglegends.com/column/stein-00.html.

And he was great here. I'm someone who loves the little things, a bit of positioning here, a bit of footwork there, an extra flourish to set up a move, etc. That's what this was all about, as he guided Apollo around the ring and made everything that happened feel more natural and meaningful. He was such a mechanic in there but also constantly portrayed a sense of struggle and engagement with what was going on.

Let me give an examples: my favorite thing in the match came after a really nice drop toe hold. He turned it into a leglock, twisting the leg back. Apollo countered by wrapping his arm around Steinborn's head to pull him forward. Instead of breaking the lock, however, Steinborn slipped his own foot in there to keep the pressure on, and then, in order to break Apollo's hold on him, looped his arm around his leg to add additional pressure. All of this seemed like the most natural and obvious thing in the world. He made it look easy.

The match was full of things like that, these little moments that made me take notice. He did things that we tend to take for granted very well; he had a great eye poke, a mean chinlock (with a grimacing face), and when pulling Apollo back down by the hair to keep a hold, he did it so tightly and deeply that you actually sympathized with the ref for missing it. You didn't blame him for once. The heat was solely on Steinborn.

There wasn't much here, certainly not enough to rank it highly, but I enjoyed just about everything Steinborn did. It was obvious he knew all the tricks and had the experience-honed instinct to use them well. I see some of the other match ups he had, in PR and out, and it bugs me that we don't have, for instance, the Les Thornton matches easily available. I still plan on watching everything that we do have out there, though.

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