Matches That Time Forgot #33

Growing up, I didn't think much of Vampiro. To most wrestling fans, he was merely a midcarder who toiled away under the not-so-vigilant eye of Ted Turner during WCW's last gasp. He debuted in 1997, but he evaporated at short notice. He didn't appear on television again until several months later. As a matter of fact, this was his "redebut." If you'll notice, he is billed as El Vampiro. A few weeks ago, I got sucked into a documentary centered around this interesting fellow (give it a whirl; it's entitled Vampiro: Angel, Devil, Hero). The more I learn about him, the more I admire him. I now consider myself to be a bit of a Vampiro mark, which is something I never thought I would say.

At one point in time, he was a god in Mexico. The fandom propagated by his legion of devout apostles rivaled Hulkamania at its peak. Here, you can tell that he has been playing this character for awhile. He has everything down to a science. His walk, his distinct offense, his goth/punk symmetry...it's all fine-tuned. His opponent? Prince Iaukea, a Samoan cruiserweight who made headway as WCW's World Television Champion in early 1997. His momentum had dried up by 1998 (remember, this was well before his comedic turn as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea). I dug him, but it's clear that the purpose of this encounter is to get Vampiro over as a...heel? Babyface? Tweener? Your guess is as good as mine.

I miss Thunder.

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