This review was commissioned by Genking over on my Ko-fi account. As of this writing commisions are still open, they’re going for $10 a pop.
Because Carlos Zamora has performed on Philippine soil and has Filipino blood running through his veins, I am legally bound to consider myself a fan. In all seriousness though, I’ve seen Zamora perform live once in 2019, when he had a fun and hard hitting brawl with Mike Madrigal. I haven’t seen any of his work since though, so it was a fun surprise to be asked to review some of his work from the European indie promotion BODYSLAM!
Here, we find Zamora in the finals of the 2021 Scandigraps Invitational against Aliss Ink. The crowd makes it clear for us instantly where our loyalties should lie–Zamora’s a cocky heel, similar to the role he played in the Philippines, and Ink is a scrappy babyface.
I’m pleased to find that a lot of what I enjoyed about Zamora’s performance live over four years ago seems to have only sharpened in the time since. Mechanically, he’s still quite great. Everything he does hits flush, but even better, there’s a real force behind what he does in the ring. There’s an extended heel control from Zamora that sees him use his power to throw Ink about the ring, and he does it so well. Something as basic as a scoop body slam looks downright malicious when Zamora executes it, a fact only helped by that ring looking pretty sturdy and less springy than other canvases.
There’s also the heel instincts of Zamora. He’s of the sneering smug variety, and his nickname “El Guapo” informs an attitude that shows he knows he can get away with things because he’s good looking. He always finds small openings in the match to mug for the crowd, never too long that it becomes distracting, and never silly enough that he becomes a caricature either. He’s also got the other half of being a heel down pat too. Much as he did here in 2019, he takes a sweet back body drop onto the hardwood bleachers to set up Ink’s decisive comeback.
Ink, for her part, is good in this as well. While I can’t hear many of her elbow strikes to well, she at least leans into them with a ferocity that translates to the viewer. Her takedowns coming off the ropes look great too, and it’s not hard to want to see her succeed against Zamora.
This has its flaws. I didn’t particularly care for the superplex no selling, an unfortunate modern wrestling trope inherited here. That’s not a match breaking moment by any means, but it’s also followed by a double kip up that I just could have done without. This also suffers a bit from Zamora getting just a little too much room to remain credible at the end. He survives the flash kick that took Ink to the finals, and then only gets defeated due to his own lazy cover allowing him to get rolled up. That’s its own moral victory of the arrogant prick losing focus, but I would have just loved to seen him eat shit and get knocked out personally.
Good match nonetheless, breezy as hell to sit through.