Segunda Caida

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

Monday, October 17, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Kamala vs. The Invader (2/22/86)

Disc 2: Match 4: Kamala vs. The Invader (2/22/86)

This was awesome. It's also a sign of how screwy this set is. This wasn't at all a complete match in a conventional sense. You can't easily compare this to Flair vs Colon or whatever. That doesn't mean it wasn't excellent, because it was! They had a goal. They executed it. It was compelling, not just due to what they were trying to do but due to the unique talents at play, but the points of comparison are just tough to sync. This is why I like comparing wrestlers way more than comparing matches. You can isolate what Kamala and Invader I did here, why it was special and how it created a total effect (and I'm about to) but what they were shooting for just can't easily compare to a more complete narrative that had more time and was meant to serve as a full main event.

The narrative, put simply was this: Kamala is a monster. Invader I (the character of, at least) is a valiant homegrown fighter. He's come in with an obvious disadvantage made even worse by preexisting injuries, bandaged, one poke away from bleeding. Kamala would have been a great challenge at his best. Here, the monster was insurmountable. They start off toe-to-toe, Invader matching him blow for blow. Kamala's overhand chops target the injury. Invader fights back equally. Kamala tears off the bandage and opens him up once again. Invader starts to stagger as he fights back, weakening. Kamala keeps up the targeted onslaught and Invader goes from fighting back to trying to fight back to just trying to stay on his feet. Finally, he can no longer stand. Kamala drinks in his blood, walks around with his belly-slapping taunt and Invader's roused to one last attempt at fighting back. It's valiant as can be, but not enough, and the ref throws out the match. After the match Kamala ascends to launch a top rope splash but the ref pulls him away (the threat of it more than enough) and the doctor checks on Inavder.

It's an unusual story. We don't generally see something so one-sided. That it was effective was all in the execution. Invader's selling isn't just unique; it's singular. The way that he gradually shifted his body language to show his burgeoning weakness was amazing. He was selling not just from the blows, but in showing the effects of them any time he tried to fire back, often tossing his entire body desperately into an attack. At one point, he was gasping up his own blood, making sure to milk it for all that it was worth. Kamala was as vicious as you'd ever seen him. I'm sure someone out there with knowledge of "real fighting" would laugh at the overhand chops, but this is wrestling and they are symbolic: Kamala is a monster so everything he does is more dangerous through presentation; he's targeting the bloody forehead so the blows are better through focus; Invader is selling them like death. That's everything that makes wrestling wonderful. Through collaboration, presentation, focus, blood, and committed reaction, they create the illusion of truth.

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