Savio Vega vs. Pedro Portillo III (IWA Puerto Rico Christmas Hardcore Weekend in PR 12/16/23)

Match Reviews

What’s one to say other than hell fucking yeah?

This is one of those matches that excels primarily from a clear headed focus and a fun environment. Puerto Rico, the home to some of the bloodiest, most violent brawls in pro wrestling is exactly where one wants to host a hardcore bout where the ring itself is covered in barbed wire and also there’s a fucking motorcycle cage to the side with a bunch of weapons hung up inside it. It sounds silly, sure, but that’s why you go into it with full dedication. Hush the questions and just let the match take you.

And it’s not just the stipulation doing the heavy lifting here. Vega and Portillo excel at just living in the moment. Even without context, it’s easy to tell that Portillo’s the chickenshit heel here, complete with a manager that regularly interferes on his behalf. Vega’s more of a living legend type archetype in Puerto Rico, doling out the punishment to a younger wrestler who has overstepped. It’s fun to just watch Vega wreck the dude. Portillo takes so much punishment between the barbed wire to the face, those karate chops, various items broken on his skull, and then Savio roasting him with a fireball after the match.

There’s a lot of weight behind the gimmickry here too. When Savio smashes Portillo with a keyboard, you see the keycaps fly. Or take Portillo covered in blood, soaking in the one chance to lay into the local hero, before whacking him right over the head with a steel chair. Portillo’s actually quite impressive here on pure dedication to the role: scrape for every advantage, steal it where you can, and eat a metric ton of shit.

One of the best purely vibes matches of 2023.

Rating: ****1/4

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