365 matches in 365 days, each from that specific date on the calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
As a wrestling fan, and someone who appreciates and enjoys history, one of the best parts of this project is jumping around to different years and eras. Right now, with 40 entries in the books, 1992 has been the popular destination yet at this juncture of the project.
Counting the two January entries featuring matches with the Dangerous Alliance, today’s stop in 1992 gives that year the most entries — three — out of the 40 to date.
We’re also visiting another gap in my wrestling viewing: lucha libre, in this case. For the first time in the project, we venture into Mexico for this match from the UWA promotion on Feb. 9, 1992. Check out this contest as El Texano, Silver King, and El Fantasma battle Samu, Fatu and Fishman.
You can watch this match on Dailymotion.
The UWA is the Universal Wrestling Association, a promotion that opened in 1975 when it split off from the CMLL. The UWA might have closed in 1995 but it’s credited for two innovations that remain mainstays in Mexican wrestling: the two out of three falls format for the majority of matches, and the trios match, an example of which we’re about to see here.
Samu and Fatu, as the Samoan Swat Team, already had seen successful runs for both World Class and WCW. They left the latter in 1990 and bounced around working for promotions all over the world, including the UWA, where they enjoyed a short reign in 1991 as trios champs with their cousin, Kokina Maximus (who you probably know better as Yokozuna). Here, the duo formerly known as the SST is teaming with Fishman, a veteran luchador who jumped from CMLL to the UWA when that promotional split first happened. You might have seen Fishman make a few appearances at major World Class shows in 1983.
Texano and Silver King are in the midst of a lengthy and successful run as the Los Cowboys tag team. They started teaming together in 1990 and won titles in four different promotions. At the time of this match, they’re the UWA World Tag Champions. Texano, who debuted as a wrestler at the age of 13(!), is a tecnico here but he reached star level in lucha as a rudo, combining with Negro Navarro and El Signo as Los Misioneros de la Muerte (The Missionaries of Death), which might be one of the coolest group names in the history of wrestling. Silver King is still growing into his own at this point and we’re several years before he comes to WCW as part of their influx of luchador signings. Their partner here is El Fantasma, whose mask and black and purple color scheme hearken to The Phantom, the classic comic hero.
Samu and Fatu really keep this match going and moving, whether it be with classic heel tactics (biting and gouging and choking, oh my!) or little touches of character work, especially during the third fall.
This is more of a brawl than a wrestling match and it starts in a hurry when Fatu and Fantasma get into it, sparking a melee involving all six. The tecnico trio get wrecked in the ensuing brawl, and the rudos take the one fall lead after about a minute when Samu pins Texano off camera. It takes longer to stop the combatants from fighting to start the second fall than it did for the first fall to take place in its entirety.
The second fall (or segunda caida) is under way coming back from a commercial and Texano still is getting clobbered by the Samoans and Fishman. Fatu hits a sweet powerslam after firing Texano into the ropes as part of this. When Samu misses on a leaping corner attack and ends up straddling the middle turnbuckle, Texano makes the tag to Silver King and the crowd comes alive. The tecnicos tie it up in short order, and there’s another extended scrum while the two referees try to restore order. Maybe this one needs a third ref?
The third fall feels more like serious business than the first two, which are just indiscriminate and often chaotic brawls. Texano, who has a couple of rough moments earlier, combines with Fishman to work well together on an early exchange. Texano ends up back in peril after a commercial break and we go quickly to the finish. Silver King gets tagged in like a house afire until he learns of the perils of striking Samoan wrestlers in the head. Fantasma saves the day with two dropkicks and a great-looking suicide dive. The finish comes when the Samoans break up a double-team by Los Cowboys, leading both Silver King and Texano to get pinned. Score this one for the rudos …
–If you’re a fan of family connections in wrestling, there are a ton of them in this match. Samu and Fatu are part of the Anoa’i family tree, which includes The Rock, Roman Reigns, the aforementioned Yokozuna, the Wild Samoans Sika and Afa, Umaga, and The Usos (Fatu’s sons). Texano’s son, El Texano, Jr., went on to carve out a fine career for AAA and was a regular on the first three seasons of Lucha Underground. Silver King was part of one of the wrestling dynasties of Mexico. His father was famed luchador Dr. Wagner and his brother was Dr. Wagner, Jr. Silver King also was the uncle of El Hijo de Dr. Wagner. Lastly, Fantasma’s son is currently a featured talent for WWE’s NXT brand, as Santos Escobar after debuting in WWE as El Hijo del Fantasma — the gimmick he used throughout his lucha libre career in Mexico. You may also know him as King Cuerno from Lucha Underground. Fishman wasn’t the exclusion to all these family connections; each of his sons followed in his footsteps as a masked wrestler.
–As seen in the featured image for this entry, the pre-match graphic identifies Samu and Fatu as Samoano I and II. I’m not sure which is which.
Final Rating: 5.2
There’s a decent pace throughout but the first two falls meander and there’s not enough about the third fall to make this match jump off the proverbial page for me, aside from a couple of quick highlights like Fantasma’s dive and some of the antics of the Samoans. This one definitely falls in the skippable category for me.
In our next installment, two Women of Honor are in action.