Segunda Caida

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Friday, January 27, 2023

Found Footage Friday: BRAZOS~! IN~! PANAMA~! MURDOCH~! ABBY~!

Abdullah the Butcher vs. Dick Murdoch AJPW 7/14/83

MD: Past one hold and one big, earthshattering move (more on these in a minute) this is around ten minutes of great strikes, including the post-match brawling after Murdoch got sick of it all and tossed and atomic elbow smashed the ref when he tried to get in the way of revenge smashing of Abdullah in the corner. Murdoch made good use of those downwards elbows and some great standing tall punches. Abdullah is, of course, the master of the block and cut-off strike, but Murdoch managed a great block of his own early so he could start firing back with fists to the skull; he even made sure to sell his fist after a punch late in the game. Abby, on the other hand, came back with crushing headbutts and a ton of inside shots. That hold? Not the usual nervehold, but Abby wrenching on both ears at once (he'd even target an ear with shots afterwards), and that big move? After Murdoch survived the elbow, he was able to catch Abby off the rope with a slam. He hit his own elbow after, but only for two. Simple and basic and primal. Exactly what you'd want between these two.

ER: I've seen this variation of The Dick Murdoch Match so many times, and cannot see ever tiring of it. Two men punching and elbowing each other around the ring, staggering, holding their faces, throwing 90% arm strikes but never seeming to throw anything the same way twice. It's punching and throat thrusting and headbutts and 12 to 6 elbows but at no point does it turn into any kind of rhythmic exchange, it's just them knocking each other around their own private 324 square foot stage. The joy of seeing all of these punches and strikes is equal to how well each man sells these punches and strikes. Dick knew how to let each punch and elbow breathe, and Abby knew how to sell each one like it was doing the damage you'd expect. The way Abby holds his jaw, drops to his knee, teeters backward, is minimalist but all fine attention to detail. 

These are tough men, and seeing them just throw back and forth would surely be entertaining, but nowhere near as interesting as watching them take a hit, react to that hit, and try to get off a hit as a means of fending off the next one. Abby is a great counter-striker, and I love how he uses counter strikes to set up worse strikes, like slashing at Dick's throat to drop him to a knee, then rushing in with a downward aimed punch right into the ear. The whole match is moments like that, and then Murdoch throws a referee into a too-fast bump to the floor. You might say that these men don't look like athletes, and you'd be correct. But these men move like beautiful trained dancers. Mr. Narrator, this is Baryshnikov to me.  

MD: Winner of this match would receive a title shot against no one less than the Brazos, who had won the titles against Los Misioneras de la Muerte, so we're holding out hope that feud shows up too. Really though, all of this stuff is an amazing discovery and I'm so glad it's popping up regularly now. They had run some angles to take out Gemelo 3 on the rudo side and someone on the tecnico side to slip in some slightly bigger partners because you need some big guys against the Brazos apparently. We're starting to hit critical mass on this footage where we should have some more sense about who Celestial or Idolo were as workers. What I can tell you, and I think previous matches back this up, is that one of the Gemelos is super smooth (had a great pairing with Celestial) and the other is a huge heatseeker. Ursus was larger and played the strength card, kind of reminding me of an Ivan Putski that could move somewhat better. To put it into perspective, he won the last fall with a bearhug. That was the big triumphant moment. During the initial beatdown, the Gemelos were great in dual headbutting him.

This had initial exchanges and then broke down and stayed broken down for the rest of the match. They did a false comeback from the tecnicos to set up the finish of the first fall and then a real one in the second that just sort of seemed to go on and on. There was a ton of mask ripping, maybe some blood, and just outright chaos for ten minutes or so. The tecnico win was big and celebratory, a testament to the crowds in Panama but made all the sweeter due to the stakes of the match and the fact that they'd now be able to face the Brazos.

MD: As best we can tell, this is NOT the title match (even though we have the promos for that, including the Brazos being very serious and respectful) but a revancha for the tecnicos that followed. If I'm totally honest, there are things I would have liked to see just a little bit different in the third fall, but overall, this more than lived up to my expectations. This was in an outdoor stadium and you get the sense that there was a big crowd somewhere in there even if they weren't swarming the ringside area and even if we couldn't see them in the stands. They were vocal, especially when the action went way over the top. The Brazos were keen to start a riot too, rushing out of the ring at the start to stall and jaw with the fans.

After that, it was all action for the first two falls, Brazo getting an early advantage and just beating the local heroes down in a big way, using their size and the numbers game whenever they'd try to fight back. It all built to Porky crushing people off the top rope and with a huge senton (after which he lounged for the pin). The second fall kept the beatdown going. There was some crazy stuff on the outside with Oro and Idolo (who was the singles champ in Panama at this point) with Oro just chucking the stairs at him and when the comeback happened, the fans went nuts as Idolo just charged through chairs at him. Everyone seemed to want to get their hands on Oro as Celestial and Idolo both tore him apart. Speaking of tearing apart, the Brazos masks were left in tatters to the point where they were either falling off or you could just clearly see who these guys were. It was a great comeback though and the fans were up for it. 

The tercera was more straightforward, with the Brazos continuing to struggle heading towards the big revancha win. I would have liked to see more of their usual antics if they were going to go that route, or some other big moments in here (like Ursus slamming Porky maybe?), but the fans were pretty happy with what they got, including a pile on for one pin and some violent chaos at the finish. Post match there were challenges made on the mic and it's safe to say the Brazos fit right in here. Hopefully we get the title match and even more.

ER: This didn't have the sky high peaks of most vintage Brazos matches, but it revealed totally different joys just because of the different setting, different motivations, and an almost bare bones look at what made the Brazos such a perfect trios team. We even got a little look at Los Brazos doing some warm up stretches backstage before the match, and I think this entire 40 minutes of footage is worth it just to see Porky's impeccable form on his Hindu push-ups. Also, this footage reveals that Ursus looks exactly like Volador Jr., and now that we KNOW that Volador Sr. was traveling to Panama to wrestle...well, I think we can at minimum start wondering what Volador was up to down there, in the same way that Morishima made us wonder what Terry Gordy was up to during Japan tours. The primera was some classic Brazos, with the boys bullying the tecnicos all over the stadium. 

This never got to full on foreign riot levels but just knowing that Porky could have caused a Panamanian wrestling riot makes me so happy. He hits a balloon popping top rope splash on Ursus and a full weight running back splash senton, but a press slam hot shot on Celestial was probably the nastiest thing they did, and it all ruled. Brazos are a great team on offense, but I always love how they act once the tecnicos turn the tides. Suddenly you see Oro getting thrown through all of the ringside chairs, all of their masks torn and falling off, and the absolute king Porky doing the most hilarious selling of a bearhug that you've seen. Ursus holding up Porky in a bearhug is already a fun spot, but it goes on far longer than you'd think. Porky was up in the air milking all of it, waving and flapping and swimming with his arms, flying like a chubby bird and playing it all the way to the back. These boys. My heart. 

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