Segunda Caida

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

Monday, October 03, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Invader I vs. Chicky Starr (1/6/86)

Disc 2: Match 1: Invader I vs. Chicky Starr (1/6/86)

Disc 1 was fun but underwhelming. It's installed a worry in me for the set as a whole. It was a series of matches which were somehow incomplete. Either there were damaging cuts due to commercials or the matches themselves were missing one element or another either in the build or the payoff. That's been the case with other Disc 1s I've seen though, which, in the earlier years of the decade, tends to be the "beggars can't be choosers" disc. Here, though, we're already all the way through 1985.

Thankfully, Disc 2 starts well with Invader I vs Chicky Starr. There's no way I can call this complete though. We have no idea how Chicky got the initial advantage as the tape rolls from the Sport Shop setting this up right to him starting the beatdown. There's no proper ending either, with Chicky running for his life in the midst of the comeback and drawing a countout. I almost don't care though. The 3/4th of a match that we actually have here was just so good.

Look, I'm not going to say that selling is the only thing that matters in wrestling, but it is. Selling creates meaning. Selling is the glue that holds up the suspension of disbelief. Strong enough selling can overcome any weakness in offense or execution or imagination. You can have fast paced action but it'll never have any weight to it if it's not married to selling. It is the be all end all. And despite any personal failings he may or may not have as a human being, Invader I is one of the best sellers I've ever seen.

Like I said, this started with Chicky in control, and he just stayed on him, rolling in and out and laying in more damage on the floor. Invader had such space to work with out there, given the gap between the ring and the crowd. It was his stage and he was visible to everyone upon it. He'd stagger after Chicky's hammer blows, would stagger around the ring trying to recover, and in doing so would rouse the crowd and gain their sympathy. No one in that crowd thought any of the less of him when he finally, heroically, made it into the ring only to get stomped upon on the way in. When Chicky would control him back with a pretty lame armbar, it was the blood and the body language, the exhaustion, the selling, that made it seem weighty and painful and nefarious. To Chicky's credit, he made a point of showing off that bloody head to the crowd at every point. They milked some very minimalist hope spots with Chicky cruel in his cutoffs. In one moment, right before the real comeback, Invader was out on the floor, using the guardrail to even stand, and Chicky was like a peacock in the ring. The amount of garbage the crowd was throwing was way over the top for it. Beautiful heat.

The comeback came and it was, on the one hand, a complete tease, Invader shaking off the damage in rage and anger and heroics, charging back in and fighting through the pain, only for Chicky to run. On the other hand, though, it felt somehow satisfying, just in the act of him overcoming, which feels like a rare feat. It was alright that Chicky didn't get his full comeuppance on this night (there would be others), because Invader, still selling with a stagger, had overcome adversity for each and every single person in that crowd. What a singular master.

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