Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, December 01, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Invader I vs Bruiser Brody (6/15/86)

Disc 2: Match 13: Invader I vs Bruiser Brody (6/15/86)

Ok, let's talk about Brody. There are two ways to look at him. One is relative to the hype. Relative to the hype, Brody is terrible. This is the guy who is lionized as the greatest brawler of all time with awards named after him, who's brought up again and again in shoot interviews by old wrestlers as being great and believable and fearsome. When people in 2016 watch Brody matches on tape and don't see that, it's then pointed out that the fans reacted and he kept getting booked, so obviously the problem is with us as viewers. Some of it is that he can't live up to that level of hype. Some of it is that he simply doesn't. Some of it is that wrestlers value things that we don't. He was a role model to numerous wrestlers in standing up against promoters and that bleeds into how they talk about him in-ring. Apparently, he had amazing stamina which is all Flair ever wants to talk about with him.

The other way is to look at him a vacuum. That paints a slightly better picture. This is a guy who was very savvy about protecting himself and his position and his aura. In some ways he's the opposite of a guy like Terry Funk, who was able to create a legacy through selling. By not giving, Brody could feign toughness and give credence to the wild image. It didn't matter that his stuff didn't look all that good, because he built up enough credit with the fans/media/etc that it didn't have to. In that regard, he was a great "worker," as in he was "working" everyone, ensuring his bookings, granting himself freedom in what bookings he took, and making money. It sure didn't make for great matches, however.

You could even argue that by no-selling so much, especially in early parts of matches, by bumping but then bouncing back up again and again (and usually cutting his opponent off with an eyerake), it allowed for meaning to be bestowed whenever he DID sell. I don't think the evidence bears that out often. Some of that is due to the nature of AJPW tag matches, which is a lot of the Brody footage we have. They don't follow the shine/heat/comeback formula as much, which would allow for such things. We've seen that a bit more in Houston, but unfortunately, a lot of that footage has him as a babyface, which sort of defeats the purpose. Here in Puerto Rico, against a guy like Invader I even in a match that was mostly even, it works better. This was actually one of the best Brody matches I've seen.

When Brody was on top early, it wasn't as good as Invader's matches against Kamala or Abdullah, where he had a real force to sell for, but he's Invader I, so he made it work. When he comes back after a low blow, he's just unrelenting and the sense of escalation in the brawling leads to the arch-typical Brody formula actually working for once. He does start to sell more and more. It's absolutely warranted. And yes, in this particular situation, it means more because of how ungiving he was earlier in the match. When Invader drives Brody off with a chair, it feels like he actually achieved something. It's not easy to make a BS double countout finish mean something, but they managed it here, with the crowd carrying Invader on their shoulders to end the footage.

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