Tuesday, June 30, 2020

God Bless You Tito Santana

Strike Force (c) VS The Islanders -WWF Tag Team Championships Prime Time 12/21/1987

CJD: It's hard for me to find joy in pro wrestling right now, but the art of building a great feud is something that always brings a smile to my face. Great feuds captured my imagination from a very young age and are one of the aspects of pro wrestling that keeps me coming back as a fan. John it's no wonder that Perfect/Santana stands out in your childhood memories so vividly. As I watched more and more Santana it was obvious he was a master of building and sustaining great feuds throughout his career. He's the type of wrestler that you can watch wrestle the same match 10 times over but his genuine intensity and fire will make it feel fresh each time. Case in point, I am going to actively seek out every match Strike Force had with the Islanders that made tape after this, because these two teams clearly tore up the later half of 1987 and I need more. This match is like listening to a great Benny Goodman song, where the tempo starts out blistering fast, never lets up, and still manages to build and build as it goes on. They play loose with feeling while still executing with skill and precision. Martel is graceful, bubbling with energy while Santana is so long and physical and aggressive. Meanwhile the Islanders were a total revelation to me here, perfect dance partners keeping up every step of the way, sometimes even outshining their opponents. The chemistry is made all that more perfect by Heenan on the outside, Prichard doing a surprisingly great job on play by play, and the cherry on top, Nick Bockwinkel on color, always standing up for his beloved Weasel. When even the bit players are eager to play along you know you're making beautiful music.

JJZ: Fucking A. This is an interesting commentator pairing. I honestly have seen Tama wrestle more in the movie Bodyslam than in actual matches. The Islanders are a scary team. Legit tough which makes them very believable heels. Strike Force is a team I've always really liked and have wanted to find that vault of hidden great matches. Seems like you've found something here my friend. The crowd is losing their minds during this match. The heel/babyface dynamic is so good. I loved hearing Heenan telling Haku and Tama the gameplan. I was left wanting more but not in a bad way. And I thought the finish was fantastic for a story building match.

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