Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Friday, January 06, 2023


MD: We get around 7 minutes of this and it's with some sound effects and jokey commentary but it's also the earliest Lord Blears we have, a pretty good look at Kovacs and Finkelstein knocking Marconi around the ring, and a shoulder tackle heavy comeback by (Gorilla) Marconi. Kovacs hit pretty hard and Marconi took a nice bump to the floor (preceded by one heel warning the other with a tap on the back). Probably the biggest thing to see here, however, was Blears dropkicking everyone and throwing spin kicks (the Negro Casas variation). He went a bit overboard with it, and the finish was his hair getting pulled mid-air by one of the heels as he was dropkicking the other causing him to take a pretty nasty bump. Someone should steal that. They bumbled around a bit before the pin but it was pretty believable as a match-ender relative to everything else that was happening. I picture him as the old guy announcing things in Japan or chummily commentating in Hawaii so it was striking to see him quite this young.

ER: Is this just the beginning of Matt deep diving into Delaware Catch? Delaware is possibly the state in the union I think the least about (Rhode Island? Mississippi? Montana?), and I couldn't even tell you if there is or was any kind of wrestling scene there. Hogan never worked there. Flair never worked there. WWF skipped out on Delware during the Hogan years and came back when business was dry, so the people of Delaware at least got to see most of the one month Buddy Landel 1995 WWF run, or an Ahmed Johnson/1-2-3 Kid dark match that I would want to see. I wonder how much crossover attendance this match from 1947 had with Scott Putski vs. Leif Cassidy 50 years later. Some poor man in his 70s telling someone, "I was here when James Blears threw some pretty great dropkicks." Marconi had a couple of cool Delaware Catch bumps, including one charging through the ropes to the floor, and an even cooler one where he does a kind of trust fall from the apron into the front row. The closing segment between Blears and Kovacs had some real stiff uppercuts (as well as some atrocious Foley work SFX, just pots and pans clanking whenever anyone made contact) and I loved how all of Blears' dropkicks played into the finish. He just kept throwing them, low, horizontal, feet pumped directly out in front of him, and just as I thought "man he's thrown like 9 of these straight, they're gonna catch on here", Finkelstein blocked one by grabbing his hair mid-flight and yanking him to the mat. Kick ass. 

Principe Island I (LA Park) vs. Principe Island II (Super Parka) 1988 Panama   Pt. 2

MD: Park (PI 1) was the champion here. This is after the mask match with Sandokan. His uncle, billed as his brother (we'll call him PI 2), had just lost his mask and had shaken hands with his opponent after the fact, angering PI 1. He's become a tecnico accordingly and his challenging his former partner here, now representing Panama. They start this out with some really basic and rudimentary holds: headlocks, wristlocks,etc., and I just get it through my head that PI 1/Park is still early in his career and obviously he'd trained with PI 2, so things would stay simple but well-worked and full of basic struggle. Not a bad thing at all.

That's not at all what happens though. Things escalate and escalate and escalate until midway through the primera, PI 1 hoists his uncle up on his shoulder and hits sort of a fall away FU out of a fireman's carry. Park had all of his physical charisma and as much agility as he'd ever have in his career and they were moving on to handsprings and bounding springboard armdrags off the ropes. Park was more than happy to tumble head over heels into the ropes or through the ropes. All of this builds to an amazing finish with PI 2 hitting quebradoras to rousing applause from the crowd, and finally launching himself through the ropes with a tope which Park ducks, leading to a mindblowing sunset flip onto the floor and the countout. Really just an amazing primera.

The segunda started with a bunch of cutesy mirrored stuff where the idea was that they knew each other so well, and quickly moved along to Park using all of the tricked out submissions that they had kept in their holsters in the primera. This built as well, crescendoing to Park diving through the ropes with a huge midair flip and the countout fall.

Then for the tercera they went right into one pin attempt after another. I'm not going to say it was all smooth, but there was plenty of technique and imagination. Very back and forth and with the idea that it could probably end at any moment. Park hit a flying hammer. PI 2 dropped him with a sit out powerbomb. It all built to two huge (if conventional relative to what came before) dives, a nearfall I bought with Park's spinning back kick (as he had used it to win a fall against Sandokan previously) and a very slick switch into a Gory Special for the win. It felt like two guys who knew each other very well, with big ideas, a black canvas, and no reason not to put it all out there. I'm not sure there's any 80s lucha title match on tape quite like it.

ER: We have been posting newly unearthed unseen wrestling footage every Friday for 5 years now, and it still amazes me how much high quality is appearing on such a consistent basis. We are truly living in golden times. As much stuff as we've written about, it's all still exciting, and this footage of LA Parka working Panama is the earliest Park we've written about. It's an incredible find, illuminating a peak even longer than Park diehards have realized. This is a long, exhausting title match that was grueling in the way that family feuds can be, evidence of the kind of inspired brilliance Park has brought across 5 decades. This had big longform drama, 30 or more pinfall attempts, tons of bumps into a firm ring and even bigger bumps to the floor, huge dives, inventive roll-ups, just a real ahead of its time find. A lot of the exchanges felt so modern, some impressive body control from a guy who looked like a lanky punk and another guy with incredible John Oates Private Eyes hair. 

LA Park has to be considered one of the greatest bumpers in wrestling history. His bumping here in his mid-20s is as big as our biggest bumping luchadors. His Jerry bump is as high as Jerry's, he hits the turnbuckles so hard on a whip that the crowd clearly thought he broke the ring, and he had a bump backwards through the ropes on a kickout that's a great example of him using a bump to surprise the viewer. He was bumping this well in 1989, and in 2023 he's still known for painful falls, on an increasingly larger frame. His uncle takes his own big bumps, including hard fast one to the floor that gets him met with a super fast tope suicida, like a bowling pin being whipped into his head. He powerbombs LA Park onto the back of the head later, but nobody was getting out of this war easy. They built to several plausible finishes and knew how to end each fall in a big way. The tope suicida sunset flip that left Park on the floor made the entire arena lunge out of their seats and swarm the ring. LA Park's straight suicide and Super Parka's incredible long distance plancha did the same. Maybe some of the pinfalls went on too long, maybe some falls could have been trimmed, but this felt like a big 80s territory title match the whole time. Outstanding. 

MD: Everything you'd want from 16 minutes of these two in a random indy, starting with Smothers jawing on the mic, leading the fans in one chant after the other by threatening violence on all of them and begging them not to chant ECW since he just got fired from there, and ending with him shoving the bald ref around and eating a stunner from him like he got shot by a cannon. In the middle, there was plenty to see: Smothers challenging Sabu to chain wrestle him and that lasting for about a minute before elbows and punches entered the fray; most of the transitions in the match being Smothers grabbing at a leg or Sabu sneaking an awkward kick in from the ground, or Smothers just tossing himself at Sabu, nothing pretty, nothing clean; Sabu jumping all around the place; Smothers jawing at everyone proclaiming Sabu not to be too tough; the table introduced relative early and then the guy with the camera having to change film/batteries/etc, and missing the eventual spot. You don't even care about the last one because there was just as much chance the wrestlers would have missed it anyway. This was great fun and a good use of a quarter-hour.

ER: This is a perfect match, because you can show it to your buddy who has never heard of Tracy Smothers or Sabu and he gets to see almost the entire routine in full in the perfect setting: an expo center at a fairgrounds in a mid-size Tennessee town. Tracy threatens everyone in the building with mass scale homicide and hilariously says "I don't want to hear anyone chant ECW. I just got fired from that place." I don't think I realized Smothers was fired from ECW in 1999, but he would know better than I, and sure enough he didn't work any dates starting in April until returning several months later. What's fun, is that this Tracy/Sabu match might be the first one we have, as he and Sabu wrestled on several ECW house shows, but not until Tracy returned later in 1999. Tracy was in great shape and basically worked a Will Ferrell bit the entire time while also being violent. He worked this like a dad that wasn't just yelling about his Dodge Stratus, he was also throwing stiff elbows to the back of the neck and punching Sabu in the kidneys and standing on his throat. 

I thought the work was really tight. Sabu kept punching Smothers full force in the forehead and Smothers leaned into all of them, so they always looked good brawling each other into position. The first ECW VHS I traded for in the 90s was a house show where Sabu moonsaulted face first onto an upturned table leg. Here his jaw is still taped up and Smothers throws several punches into it. They found smart ways to set up prop spots. When Sabu first grabbed a table and started dragging it to the ring, Tracy played dead until one of the legs started to collapse, and the second Sabu went to fix the leg Tracy pounced on him. Tracy could be downright great at occupying himself while waiting for someone to set up a table or a dive. I love how he got himself back onto the table, by missing a clothesline into the ringpost and taking one punch right to the face to fall right on it. Our cameraman gets really poetic, turning away from the action before settling on a wheelchair, picking up the action again when Sabu and Smothers were already lying in the remnants of a shattered table. We got the Scorsese of Cookeville filming this wrestling over here. 

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