Brazo de Plata vs. Gran Markus Jr. (CMLL – 05/29/1998)

Brazo de Plata vs. Gran Markus Jr.
May 29, 1998
Hair vs. Hair
** 3/4

Watching Brazo de Plata these days – on the rare occasions when he can actually still make it to the ring to wrestle – it is hard to feel anything but pity for the guy. He can hardly carry around his sub-5 ½ foot 300+ pound frame and is sadly (another) heart attack waiting to be happen. As of the posting of this review, Porky is currently sidelined with a femur injury but cannot undergo surgery to repair it until he loses twenty pounds. Porky is in a sad state. The irony is that his entire appeal – especially after embracing the “Super Porky” nickname – centered on the fact that he was such a pitiful and therefore easy to root for wrestler. Porky has always been pathetic. That was his appeal. It is just now that it is no longer funny or entertaining, it is just sad.

When all I have seen recently is 50+ year old Porky struggling for deep breathes while standing on the ring apron, it is easy to forget how great he was in his role before his obesity started to seriously damage his body and abilities. This match is a great reminder how Porky used to be pathetic in the good, sympathy-drawing babyface way and not in his present “this is hard to watch” state. The Porky in this match is one of the more sympathetic, easy-to-root for wrestlers of all time.

Obviously Porky’s look – the bulging waistline, short stature, messed up hair, droopy eyes – go a long way to drawing that level of sympathy. It is hard not to root for a guy that looks like that. However, Porky’s ability to elicit sympathy opposite of Gran Markus Jr. goes far beyond his looks. For starters, he bleeds almost as soon as this match starts after taking a headfirst shot into the steel post. It’s a short match (under ten minutes shown for three falls) so Porky does not waste any time in in that regard. He stumbles around the ring looking tired and hopeless. It might be fair to state that no other wrestler has used their poor looks to their advantage as much or as well as Porky.

The capper to Porky’s appeal in his prime is that he was far, far more athletic than his frame would ever suggest. There is no reason a guy with Porky’s body type should be able to do a really good tope suicida or a beautiful twisting plancha to the outside but Porky does both in this match. Not only that, but Porky realizes that those spots are more effective if they are used sparingly. Porky has other offense he uses against Gran Markus, but it is largely standard fare. For the most part he sells and stumbles around. When he pulls out the two awesome flying moves, they have such a greater impact because they seem to come out of nowhere and have the feel of true desperation-like offense. It is a cliché, but in this match Porky understands his limitations and gets the most out of his impressive high spots as he possibly can.

There is not a lot of comedy in this one, which I think was the right choice. Porky is of course a talented comedy wrestler but too much comedy would have seemed really out of place in a hair match, especially once Porky starting bleeding. If the match had a lot of comedy, it also potentially would have served to diminish the impact of Porky’s great selling in the match. It is more difficult to get behind an underdog wrestler who is taking a beating if mid-match he pauses to get some laughs.

As mentioned this is a short match and if it was clipped, it wasn’t clipped significantly. That is obviously a smart decision. Markus is not as big or as oddly shaped as Porky but he’s not someone who should be working a 15+ minute match either. The falls don’t seem rushed because Porky bleeds right away and is so natural at conveying fatigue. Any longer than they went probably would have been too long. They got in, did what they needed to do, and got out. Porky’s victory gets a huge reaction, which is proof that the layout and Porky’s selling were very effective.

This is a good short and simple match if you have ten minutes to kill. Porky’s flying provides the necessarily hook but the whole match is so quick that it would have been fine even without those moves. Porky (and to a lesser extent Markus) got as much out of the match as could reasonably be expected. If you only know the Porky of the last ten years are wondering why some consider him a very good worker, from a singles match perspective this is as good of a place to start as any.

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