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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Disc 1: Abdullah the Butcher vs. Andre the Giant (9/17/83)

Disc 1, Match 8: Abdullah the Butcher vs. Andre the Giant (9/17/83)

This disc is going the way of the other 80s sets I've seen: spotty earlier footage from an era where we don't have much, filling in gaps to make sure that the set is complete, with some real novelties that round things out; basically a lot of solid stuff that will get eclipsed by things on later discs. That's what this was. I'm definitely glad Andre made the set, though and this was another of his smart, balanced performances, just another notch in his considerable belt where he does so many things right.

Structurally, we're looking at shine, heat, comeback, with the heat and the comeback both centered around Abdullah's fork (and/or other object). One of the coolest things about Andre is that he enables monster heels to stooge to an extent that they don't often get to. He lets their inner Memphis shine. That's how this one began, with Abdullah taking a shot and then ducking out to stall. He then came back in and ate any number of nasty looking Andre blows, including one chop that was so massive that the momentum almost carried him over.

When it was time for Abdullah to take over (and again, when a little younger, he was one of the best when it came to handspeed for blows to the throat), Andre's selling was just awesome. He made full use of his frame, flailing about and throwing himself back, making everything Abdullah did, no matter how ginger or theoretically unimpressive (for there is nothing in the world less impressive than a nerve hold) look deadly. They ran through some simple comeback attempts and cutoffs, but simple was fine. At one point, Andre tried to elbow back and Abdullah grabbed his hair and pulled him against the ropes to cut it off, and on paper, there wasn't much to it. Andre's bellow in pain, however, made the moment into far more than it should have been. He had so much capital to spend and was so good at spending it.

This ultimately devolved into a countout. It kept moving, never wore out its welcome and the crowd was into it, but it certainly didn't break any new ground. Really, other than Andre's initial bit of selling for Abdullah in the heat, what stood out the most in the match was how fun a passive aggressive Hugo was on commentary.

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