Perro Aguayo vs. Gran Hamada (UWF – 06/01/1990)

Perro Aguayo vs. Gran Hamada
June 1, 1990
*** ¼

A one fall match from the second tour for Hamada’s UWF group.

The match does not have much heat. It is a strike against the match, but not necessarily a strike against the two wrestlers. There are a bunch of potential reasons for why this match was heatless. It was the main event of a show where most every undercard match was a multi-man match filled with eye popping spots and comedy. A far more grounded singles match is a tough sell after that. The lack of heat could have been crowd burn out, too different of a style compared to the undercard, the fans unfamiliarity with Perro (who got most of the offense) or any number of other things. Whatever the cause, it does diminish the viewing experience to some degree.

At the same time, the wrestlers worked a really good match that I could see getting over at Korakuen Hall under different circumstances. They really lay into each other with chops and strikes. Perro brutalizes Hamada with strikes. The rest of his offense in this match is the sort of high impact stuff that should play well in Japan (or anywhere for that matter). Perro does a double stomp off of the turnbuckles, his great senton, hard drop kick, and an excellent tope. He hits Hamada with a chair and bumps hard. Perro’s performance was strong enough and Japanese-friendly enough that it is impossible to blame him for the match’s lack of heat.

The same goes for Hamada, although I do agree with those that felt Aguayo was the better of the two on this particular night. Hamada hit Perro back hard but did not have a sustained run of offense until the finish. I thought his selling was fine even if not very notable but the crowd never got behind his comeback attempts in a significant way. It would be fair to wonder if the crowd reactions would have improved if Hamada spent more time on offense. The match was an older wrestler working a slightly unfamiliar style in front of an audience that wasn’t familiar with him going up against a wrestler the audience did know but who received little sustained offense. At least in theory that could explain the reaction but who knows. It is no guarantee that giving Hamada more time on offense would have improved the reactions.

The ending felt somewhat anticlimactic. Hamada strung some offense together for really the first time and got the pin on a German suplex. The referee counted the match-ending pin really, really fast particularly by lucha standards. The entire finish felt rush. After the way the match was worked, ideally the finish would have come off as if Hamada triumphantly overcame all the punishment he took. Instead, the match just sort of ended. It was a tad bit unsatisfying.

I feel like I really dwelled on the negatives – the lack of heat and the unfulfilling finish – but as stated in the open there was a lot of good work here from both guys. They wrestled a stiff, high-energy match that seemingly should have worked for the live audience but just didn’t. Lucha in Japan can be like that.

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