Segunda Caida

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

Friday, August 03, 2018

New Footage Fridays: Santo, Casas, Panther, Eddy, Fuchi, La Ola Blanca Jrs.

Buddy Rose vs. Tenryu Shimata Big Time Wrestling 1978

PAS: Two all time greats in a well executed television studio match. Most of the match has Tenryu working a really tight side headlock, Rose is a guy with lots of great, in a tight headlock, shtick. He gets on his tiptoes to relieve pressure, holds his breath to make his face red, flops around a bunch. Meanwhile Tenryu was relatively new in the sport, but he knew how to grab a headlock until the ears flower up. Rose finally breaks the headlock and bangs away at Tenryu's back with a suplex and a couple of nasty backbreakers. Simple match but really well executed and a cool early look at Rose and Tenryu.

ER: I had no idea these two crossed paths at any point, and if I was told they had then I would have assumed it happened during the period of the 80s that Baba was working a bit with AWA, not 6-8 years before that! This is a lean lump-free Tenryu against a lean Buddy Rose. Naturally we get some talk about how Tenryu is a martial arts expert, a martial arts expert who apparently practices the deadly art of the side headlock takeover. This match feels like it could be older than it is, as it's worked strike free and most of the spots are worked out of a side headlock. And it rules. Early on Tenryu gets a cool ankle pick while Rose goes in for a go behind, and Rose was engaging in the headlocks as Phil said. Tenryu wasn't going to hold a loose headlock, and I'm always going to love when someone holds onto a headlock after the guy in the headlock tries to shoot them into the ropes. I dug all the headlock stuff, and the payoff builds nicely: Tenryu gets dropped with a back suplex out of the headlock, and later misses a dropkick which aggravates the damage done to his back with that suplex. In the 90s and 2000s I always thought Tenryu sold spine/neck damage better than maybe anyone, especially piledrivers. Here he is just a couple years out of sumo and already selling his back in interesting ways. Buddy smells blood and drops him with a couple of brutal backbreakers for the win. Totally simple stuff where the key is the execution and knowing how much of one spot you could keep engaging. They knew.

MD:  The advantage we have in Buddy Rose, relative to some of his contemporaries, is that we have a few years of week-in and week-out TV footage. We don't have that for everyone. What makes it all the better is that it's also arena footage where you have a middle ground between legitimately great, big matches, and Buddy letting lesser guys hang with him. what I've learned from that, as much as anything else, is that Buddy Rose is never, ever boring. This is the guy who supposedly got flack in New York for giving the TV jobbers too much and trying to have exciting matches with them. Anyway, this isn't the Saturday Portland TV show, but the idea is sort of the same. Here he led a pretty green Tenryu through a straightforward headlock-driven match from underneath, moving in and out of the hold and making his opponent look good. Buddy, maybe more than anyone in the history of wrestling, could shift gears on a dime, clowning for two-thirds of a match and then presenting himself as dangerous, vicious, and legitimate. There's such a great example of that here as he just brutalizes the back. This was just a really fun laser-pointed crossroads TV match. Boy would I have loved to see it five years later though.

El Hijo Del Santo/Eddie Guerrero vs. Blue Panther/Negro Casas Juarez 1987

PAS: What we have here is an unearthed tag with four of top 20 greatest wrestlers of all time as kids going out there for 20+ minutes and having a banger. This was super grappling heavy, with several long mat sections with Panther and Eddie and Casas and Santo matching up. It is normal for the first fall in lucha matches to be on the mat, but we get a long Segunda mat section too. So many cool little moments, Santo does a front flip off of Casas back into a rana on Panther to win the first fall. I love the Casas fights out of holds in this match, he really struggles to avoid Santo's Cabello and he is amazing the way he tries to avoid getting thrown by Eddie. Casas is the all time greatest at small moments, watching him struggle and adjust, it is like he is on a whole different level of performance then nearly anyone else ever. 20 year old Eddie was a monster, he was throwing multiple great looking suplexes, and had this great mat section with Panther where he applied a bridging Indian Deathlock, Eddie became such a great performer during his prime, here he was a full speed ahead wrestling machine, almost like Dynamite Kid or Benoit. We get a couple of nifty dives in the very end (although the camera man misses Santo's mostly) and a vicious Cabello on Panther for the win. This didn't have any brawling which made it feel a little more like an exhibition then most all time great lucha matches, but man was it an epic all timer exhibition.

ER: This was not the match I expected to show up, but who at all would be disappointed that it did? It's four of all of our favorites breaking out some tricks that you may have forgotten about. I believe this is definitely the earliest Eddy match I've seen, so it's neat to see a 20 yr. old throwing fast kicks trying to ape Negro Casas, take it to the mat with a mid-20s Blue Panther, delivering a no hands dive over the top to the floor that looked so different than the dive style we got used to from him (and he took quite a landing on his knees, so that might be why). Santo brings both the most gorgeous moments in the match, and also the most violent. His front flip rana on Panther would look spectacular if done by anybody today, and while I've seen Santo do plenty of graceful flying I don't think I've seen him do this, and it looked amazing. Later in the match he pulls off three consecutive headscissor/head and leg drags to Panther, all different, all looking like they were making it up as they went. Santo hits a flawless torpedo headbutt off the top to set up la Caballo, and earlier he flies out right past the ringpost and cameraman to hit a huge dive (that we don't see, because he went right past the cameraman). But the violence is always there.

Phil mentioned that this never devolved into a brawl, but there were several moments of struggle that felt as violent as any brawl. My favorite segment of the match was Santo going for a sub - any sub - on Casas, while Casas tried his damndest to turtle and oppose Santo's force. Santo goes for a surfboard, Casas strains his body to bring his momentum forward, so Santo goes for a bow and arrow and again you can see Casas straining to not go back, so Santo goes for Caballo and Casas suctions those arms close to his body and to the mat. Later Eddie blew me away by repeatedly grapevining Casas' legs while Casas was going for throws. We often see a guy block a throw, but it's typically so that he can get an immediate reversal. Here Eddie just snaked around Casas and kept purposely tangling him up, later hitting a Saito suplex of his own. The great struggling and flexed tension of the grappling exchanges looked far more like something you'd see in UWFI, not what I was expecting here. I don't think you're going to find two better Santo opponents than Casas and Panther, and he looked like an absolute legend in this match. There was so much to love here, really an incredible find.

MD:  I'm completely convinced that there's a treasure trove of 80s Juarez TV out there. A few years back, there seemed to be some local TV showing classic matches and we had a couple of uploads on a youtube channel, one being Hijo del Santo y Octagon vs. Fuerza Guerrera y Negro Casas. I don't think this was the other but I could be wrong.

What this is, however, is an absolute gem. Maybe it never QUITE picks up like I'd hope. I wanted a rudo beatdown in there somewhere and we never quite get it. They never quite stop trading holds to pick up the pace completely. This is us though, and in general, we're more than okay with that, because most of the hold trading is awesome in a number of different ways.

It's got to be a little bit who he's in there with, but Eddy looks so good for someone so young here. He has a ton of stuff, suplexes especially, and adds plenty to the exchanges with Blue Panther, though I do think some of that has to be Panther moving him around. He's pretty much always where he needs to be doing what he should be doing (like his perfect positioning at the end of the primera to let Santo bound over him).

Panther, in general, looks like the all-timer that he is but simply hasn't been for a long time. One of the first things I ever did on SC was looking at whatever Santo vs Panther matches I could find. There aren't a ton out there and here, they don't match up all that much, but when they do it's gold. They have such mastery over their bodies and their craft that they can seemingly pluck one another out of midair and into the next spot. Casas was just off his hair match loss and it's really cool to see him playing up respect with Santo, even if we never do get that beat down.

Plenty to see here. This is why we do this.

Masa Fuchi/Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Dr. Wagner Jr./Angel Blanco Jr. AJPW 10/24/87

PAS: Wagner and Blanco's fathers formed La Ola Blanco, one of the great tag teams in lucha history. This Jr. version of La Ola Blanco seemed like a bit of weak sister, although this has to be some of the earliest Wagner Jr. footage we have. There was some really awkward flying attempts from Ogawa, who definitely was better off as a sleazy cheapshotting dirtbag then a workrate junior. The were a couple of great moments when Fuchi and Wagner started going after each other, they are both pretty great charismatic brawlers and Wagner Jr. lived up to the "White Wave" moniker when he got rolling. Still more of a snapshot, then a great match.

MD: I was expecting an emptier sort of exhibition match here, even with Fuchi involved, and along those lines, I was happily surprised. They flew all over the place, but there was definitely some oomph and heat to everything. Blanco and Wagner played to the crowd as boisterous bad guys. Ogawa was a plucky flying underdog and Fuchi seemed like he wanted to tear off his opponents' heads, not just their masks. It never quite came together, but there was a lot of motion, some meanness, and ultimately it was just cool to see two of the most charismatic wrestlers ever go at it before they were two of the most charismatic wrestlers ever.


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