Segunda Caida

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Espectáculos Promociones Panama: Kendo! Tahur!

Kendo vs El Tahur 5/30/87

MD: Graham will have a better sense of the details, but this felt like a titles match to me, seconds and all, but I see no sign of titles. It was worked more or less how you’d expect something like that to be worked, though. They led off with holds, with Tahur’s stuff simple and solid, satisfyingly so. Kendo was a lot lighter and looser but here it worked. That might have come down to a confidence that smoothed things over or just how well Tahur was selling it (much more than Kendo was selling Tahur’s far grinder holds, actually). Tahur had enough and escalated into bombs, and they were big ones, a thudding press up pancake, an outright over the shoulder rocket launcher facebuster through a power bomb motion, and a huge back body drop, before picking up the submission.

He kept on Kendo in the segunda, and you kept waiting for a big comeback moment (the heartblood of all lucha) that never really came. It was more of a gradual reversal of holds until both men were on solid footing once again and Kendo was able to do all of his shtick, bounding, dancing, keeping Tahur off balance and ultimately rolling him up. I would have liked something more primal but the crowd was into this. The tercera had Tahur take back over after a lure-in handshake and the two of them cycle into a finishing stretch with dropkicks and submission attempts and ultimately the dives, with Kendo’s going fine and Tahur absolutely wiping out on the hard, hard concrete to bring this to a close. Tahur may have lacked an over the top charisma, but he sold and emoted well, was credible on the mat, had bombs, including one or two that was before his time, and wasn’t afraid to kill himself on the finish.

GB: We’re a couple weeks later now and, completely coincidentally, 36 years to the date since this match took place.

Quick confession, I got things wrong in the Barón post that this was the culmination of the feud between Kendo and el Tahur. I hadn’t found anything detailing otherwise until I came across a post from luchador Kuman Chu that this feud spanned out the year. However, Matt definitely got things right in his assumption that this is a title match. Tahur is walking in as the champion and we get a brief moment as the referee holds up the title as more eye grabbing things happen around him. Bad blood had definitely begun heating up in the feud between Kendo and El Tahur but this match was designed to delay that feud a little bit. Whet the appetite of the fans, as you will. Much like the Bunny/Barón match, this match was signed in front of the lucha commission, a rare occurrence for a title match at this point and something that hadn’t happened in quite a number of years. As such, that signing came with extremely strict parameters in terms of offence. Matt had wished things were more primal, and I concur, but this match was designed as its opposite. Both competitors had agreed to wrestle a straight, technical match where the only offence allowed were forearms and instep kicks.

Even though this match might have built better with things less restrictive, you still get the sense of escalation in how Tahur has to escape to his well of punches and stomps when things aren’t going his way. For instance, the tercera opens up with Tahur kicking out Kendo’s knee and walloping him with a punch as he reels in shock. I had wished the referee had played up the rules slightly more to get over this fact but that’s not a qualm we can really lay on Kendo/Tahur. As for the finish, I’m not sure how this match ends but it appears to be from a feigned injury that Tahur suffers on the last dive before the video cuts out. It’s a cheap finish, of course, but it did play into the booking leading up to this.

After arriving in Panama, Kendo had shaken off the idea of betting his mask against el Tahur but he had no choice if he wanted to win Tahur’s championship. The last time out, in 1979, Tahur had taken Kendo’s Campeon de las Americas title and, so, Kendo was looking for revenge. Tahur laid out an ultimatum. If Kendo lost, Tahur would get his mask match. If Kendo won, Tahur would give up a title match to the foreigner. This led to a violent, bloody contest in San Miguelito where Tahur would ultimately lose - not for lack of trying on his manager’s behalf, though: 

The no-finish to our match gave Don Medina a way out to book both stipulations and propel the feud a good few more months, much to the fans content. Seven months later on the 11th of December 1987, Kendo would go on to unmask el Tahur as Rodolfo Linares Escartin, 19 years a luchador.

Tahur, as a kid, would sneak into the gyms and peep through the windows to watch the most famous luchadores of the time training. After being caught one night, he boldly claimed that “one day, you’ll see me in that ring!”. He was right, of course. While not quite reaching the heights of Chamaco Castro or the violence of Sergio Gálvez, el Tahur would go on to have quite an illustrious career as a rudo, spanning multiple decades.

In 1968 working for the promotion El Herrante de Colombia, El Tahur began his career as “La Rata”, donning a black mask with the image of a rat stitched into its right side. For whatever reason, he wasn’t happy with his look and quickly changed out to the gambler gimmick he would come to be known for. The rat now replaced by three playing cards offering stark contrast in colour to the still black mask Tahur fashioned. He now looked the part of a badass and it helped jumpstart his career.

El Tahur would go on to take a few masks and hairs over the years, most notably to us that of Kato Kung Lee in 1980. As difficult as it is to believe, it was said that the match lasted a few hours to reach its culmination but, groggy from exhaustion, El Tahur came out on top.

Interestingly, while he had faced many Mexicans in his time, and even became a great friend to Negro Casas (who had even taken Tahur to Mexico and paid for his arm surgery), we never got to see Tahur outside his homeland.

Sadly, el Tahur passed on the 10th of May 2012, still fondly remembered by promoters, fellow wrestlers and fans.

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