Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Disc 1: Ric Flair vs Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)

Disc 1, Match 2: Ric Flair vs Tommy Gilbert (9/4/82)

The set stumbles us right into comfort food with this match. I'm playing off assumptions here as I don't think there's a good results resource for early 80s WWC out there? I could be wrong. I only googled a bit and what I came up with first was arm wrestling results. Therefore, I'm leaning towards the point of most reasonable, here. I could be wrong.

From the interview leading into this, this was to familiarize the crowd with Flair, giving him an opponent who he could communicate well with, who was used to a number of different US styles, who was familiar to the crowd. As best as I can tell, Tommy spent part of the year teaming with Eddie.

This was Flair vs mid-carder in a 10 minute TV match. You know what you're getting. What's interesting, then, is the deviations you get due to period, setting, and opponent. It's 82, so the hanging vertical suplex was a little more hanging, there was a side backbreaker, and I'd say there was just a little more attention to detail in specific spots. Flair showed his frustration towards Gilbert's comeback attempts beautifully here, escalating in meanness and terse body language. At one point, Gilbert managed a back body drop and Flair, in a fit of aggravation, immediately went for the same, only to eat a sunset flip. I always appreciate organic, reactive moments like that.

Gilbert earned that frustration too. He was inspired here. He's someone who was always able to show fire in certain situations, but, at age 42, it wasn't every day that he was able to get in the ring against the champ with a hot crowd behind him. The extra zip that he was able to bring to his rope running, or the extra height and explosiveness to hiss cross body, was well appreciated. They really milked the striking comeback attempts, too. I think my favorite little flourish was a lightning small package out of a headlock, just this opportunistic moment that really fit the match. I could be wrong about this, but the ring felt small to me, and it made me suddenly want to only ever see Flair in matches with smaller rings. Between that and Gilbert's continuously surprising acceleration, the match felt more visceral and brisk than I was expecting.

The biggest downside was the length, especially as it played into the finish. Cutting off one of the many comeback attempts, Flair finally started on the leg. He got two shots in before Gilbert fought back one last time, only to miss a corner charge, legs first, leading to the figure four. It felt like they went home early and the match would have benefited by another minute or so of leg work before Gilbert fought back. A match like this would always have a certain cap to it, but this still stood out despite being the sort of thing we've seen dozens of times.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home