Herodes vs. Tony Salazar (CMLL – 03/02/1984)

Herodes vs. Tony Salazar
March 2, 1984
*** 3/4

There is one main reason to seek out this match and a couple of lesser ones.

The main reason is that the match is an absolute bloodbath. Tony Salazar is cut open in between the second and third falls. He gets himself pretty good initially but keeps his hands in front of his face for almost the entire time Herodes works a lengthy nerve hold. It looks as if he might have been trying to squeeze more blood out of the cut. Even if he has his hands on his face for a different (and less gross) reason, he gets blood all over everything in the process. The sight of his bloody hands – and later his bloody tights – added to the visual. Herodes bleeds later in the third fall after Salazar’s initial comeback and it’s a faucet job. The blood pours out and it is long before Herodes is a bloodier mess than Salazar. Between the two of them, there is enough blood shed to move this match into that rarified air where it is almost worth seeing just for that element alone.

There are non-Vampire reasons to watch as well. There is a near fall reaction late in the third fall that is rather incredible. The crowd noise is muted somewhat the entire match. CMLL traditionally does a poor job in capturing crowd noise plus you can tell there are some issues with the original source tape. You can hear the crowd during the match, but they always sound like they are underwater and there was little to indicate that they were roaring the entire time. However, when Herodes kicks out of one pinning hold late in the match, there is an explosion. The reaction is so loud and sudden that it jumps out of the TV screen at you. The match had crowd audio issues but the noise from that near fall just breaks right on through it. I am not sure why it got such a big reaction except that the crowd obviously felt Salazar potentially had the match won.

Another small positive was a great big man tope suicida from Herodes (Salazar’s plancha is less impressive). I consider the finish to be a positive as well. The ref is bumped and Herodes takes advantage with a very unsubtle head butt to the groin. Salazar withers in pain on the mat and Herodes covers. The crowd is screaming foul. The referee is great in this situation. Before even considering making the count, he acknowledges the crowd’s cries and looks to them for assistance. He doesn’t get what he wants, so he gets down to start his count before allowing the crowd to stop him again. Due to the crowd response and/or seeing Salazar in pain up close, the referee stops his count. The video of the match cuts off there, but clearly Herodes was about to be disqualified. It’s a screwy finish in a broad sense but the way the referee played his role and the way the crowd caught on made it work.

The “problem” with the match – if you can call it that – is that the rest of the work (particularly in the first two falls) isn’t anything great. Herodes sits in a nerve hold for what felt like a couple of minutes when Salazar first starts to bleed. Herodes bumps fine and utilizes offense that would have not been out of place working any number of U.S. territories around in ’83 or ’84. Salazar has a little flash. I didn’t find any of it to be superlative, however, and the match itself felt like at least three or four minutes longer than it needed to be. The good way outweighs the bad here, but a tighter match with more interesting offense to complement the bleeding and end stretch would have bumped it up even more.

If you are a fan of bloody brawls, you don’t want to skip this.

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