Segunda Caida

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MLJ: Rush vs Negro Casas 6: La Máscara, La Sombra, Rush vs Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas, Shocker

Aired 2014-05-03
taped 2014-04-25 @ Arena México
La Máscara, La Sombra, Rush vs Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas, Shocker

Okay, so yeah, CMLL matches often start with the rudos (or de facto rudos in the case of the Ingobernales) ambushing the tecnicos. I get that. Rush and Casas have some routines that they do in almost every match. Okay, sure. I'm okay with that too for the most part because of how spirited they are and because they switch them up sometimes. Mascara is pretty crummy. Alright, it happens. He's part of a unit. It's not THAT distracting. Niebla though. Niebla is driving me nuts.

When facing El Bufete del Amor (or La Tercia Sensacion, or whatever), it was okay. When facing Wagner or Parka, it was okay. When facing Porky, it was okay. There were basic comedy elements inherent in those matches, not even secondary elements most of the time, but whole sections. It wasn't subtext, it was in your face, and Niebla goofing around, falling off the apron, wrestling part of the match with his fro, doing his little dance, and catching his own spit was fine. No selling as part of it was fine. He's capable of really showing fire and emotion in the right situation, like in the first match with Atlantis from earlier in this set. Even when you have the full La Peste Negra unit, it's generally okay, because Felino helps take it over the top, which worked quite well in the second match with Atlantis from this set. Subbing in Shocker for Felino makes all the difference in the world. Having the full line-up of the Ingobernales on the other side makes all the difference.

Here, there was nothing fine about Niebla. This was a super heated match. The brawling started from the get go. The Ingobernales mauling of the rudos was spirited. Rush brought out a great headbutt. Casas got slammed into the barrier nicely, and the primera ended with each of them hitting a move on the prone rudos in the corner in a really great little set up. I think one thing that puts Rush over the top is how thoroughly he makes his opponents work for their domination. He's constantly coming back and showing fire even if he does sell and he does, ultimately, stay down. It makes him seem sort of special. In this match, Shocker does the same thing and it's very effective in making him look good and making his opponents look good and adding heat to the match. He took his lumps too, including bumping over the barricade from a Rush boot and taking a colossal Rush senton. The comeback seemed pretty good, starting with some Ingobernales miscommunication. The only problem is that during the key moment of it, the camera cut to a baby.

Then the match did something that you don't usually get. Instead of resetting, it looked like we were about to get some double heat as the Ingobernales started on Niebla. It really was starting to feel like a distinct FIP right up until Niebla decided he was done with it and it was time to start no selling, jiving, and goofing about. Sombra, Shocker, Rush, and Casas had been tremendously heated throughout the match and Mascara was more or less keeping up. This just stopped the thing dead, and I think after he blatantly no-sold a big Rush clothesline, the crowd was actively turning on him here, but it was a little hard to tell. The difference between the way he puked out his comeback and how Shocker gradually built to his through fighting back and selling was night and day.

After that, they pushed towards the finish, including this really striking counter where Shocker, knocked out of the ring by a Sombra clothesline, almost immediately rushed back in, disrupting the impending dive and causing Sombra to go sailing over the top. I'm sure they've done that spot before, somewhere, but I hadn't seen it and it was pretty spectacular, even if I'm not describing it well. Anyway, after a bit more miscommunication, Casas and company pick up the win. Post match, Sombra showed a ton of dickish character, deciding to just sit in the crowd and no-sell the gloating. This would have been another really good match with a lot of visceral hate were it not for the not-even-over-this-time Niebla goofing. I'm the last guy in the world to subscribe to workrate dogmatism, but shtick only works when it adds to a match and doesn't take away from it. Context matters. Come on, you goof.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Night Digging in the Crates- Thesz v. Rogers

Lou Thesz v. Buddy Rogers 6/21/50

This is from Wrigley Field and was uploaded in glorious quality by the Chicago Film Archives, I am pretty sure this was unavailable before this week, and it is a treat. Really simple but effective matwork starts the match out, both guys really no how to make a headlock grind. Really picked up when the got on their feet, I love the way Rogers runs the ropes, he really looks completely out of control and make as rope running exchange look like a highspot. Rogers is also an athletic bumper in the Hennig, Michaels vein and he takes a couple of violent spills out of the ring, and the finish of the third fall is a loony Foley ear loss hangman where he gets counted out. I also loved when he got nasty, throwing some sick uppercuts and a snap piledriver. Thesz was more subdued, clearly the grandfather of the Briscoes and Dory Funk Jr., I did love when he got chippy too, he caught Rogers with a huge kneelift which was probably the highlight of the match. I liked they did 3 falls in about 35 minutes, didn't drag, kept a nice pace and it felt like a big deal. Really great piece of history and a hell of match

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MLJ: Hijo Del Santo vs Blue Panther 9: El Hijo del Santo vs Blue Panther (WWA Welterweight)

2000-05-28 - Monterrey
El Hijo del Santo vs Blue Panther (WWA Welterweight)

This is a really tricky match to break down. So, I don't watch a lot of current AAA. I know there are exciting things going on there with some of the talent influx and people seem to like the TV somewhat. I have caught a few things, and the way they get heat drives me nuts. The stuff with the refs just feels so cheap. It puts all the heat on the ref instead of the wrestlers and it happening once in a while is fine, but they seem to go to that well not as the exception, but as the rule. It reminds me of the Jarrett main event style of the early TNA years and no one wants that. This match was similarly full of bs, dripping with it, but I think ultimately it came off a little more like Memphis in Monterrey than what I see from AAA. A lot of that came down to the sheer talent of the wrestlers involved. Santo and Panther can get away with things that others can't, and in so many ways this was a smart, smart match, playing on what came before and playing with emotions. It was also, obviously, a match with just excellent execution, but that was a dual-edged sword, because you see what they could have done, really turning it up a notch from the last, absolutely wonderful, match, and while it was all skillfully done, the bs distracted more than it added.

I think I need to explain just what all the BS was first. This was a title match, but it was in Monterrey, not Mexico City, and there is a very distinct feel that the Commission is far less of a presence here. Maybe I'm just reading too much into that, but I've not seen a title match quite like this, with the usual, storied, trappings so intertwined with interference. Your seconds in this match are a fairly young and very rudo Ultimo Guerrero, sporting a LWO shirt, and Super Porky. Guerrero is all over the match, basically doing his best Bobby Heenan impression. He teases coming in when Panther is on the ropes or in a hold. He successfully distracts Santo once or twice. He goes so far as to grab his leg from the outside at key moments to hold him for Panther to attack. It's never overly broad. He's not stomping on him repeatedly when the ref isn't looking, but for a title match, it's pretty distinct. The big transition in the segunda caida is in part because UG distracts Santo but that only starts the shift. It's not until Santo misses a dive from the apron that UG really gets to take over. The ref's in on the act too, though it's still somewhat subtle. He admonishes Santo for inadvertently pulling on the mask in submission holds. He seemingly misses Panther tapping on one occasion and is distracted by UG pulling his leg on another. He's pretty heavily involved in both the primera and tercera caida decisions.

In some ways, all of this is a clear line from the previous match and there are plenty of smart callbacks there. That matched ended with Panther getting an arm over the rope on a pinfall, and that's exactly how Santo won the segunda caida here. I think, more than that, though, what Panther did opened up the floodgates for this match. There's a more distinct sense of rudo vs tecnico. There's more heat. There's more emotion. There's also a bit more stalling and a bit more build up to them touching. They milked things more to high effect. There were other callbacks too. Santo wins so many caidas with that high lifting sunset flip from a 'rana position. He won the primera caida in the previous match with it and here it was a clear tease.

The work itself is masterful. The submissions are much more complex than in the previous match and save for one sort of weird reversal out of the camel clutch leading to a Santo submission on Panther's back, none of it seemed overly cooperative. The match really had something of everything, with plenty of anticipation. Santo missing his first attempt at a dive and getting worked over by Panther led beautifully to the start of the tercera caida, where he hit three dives in a row, the third one being a crazy flip through the second and third ropes. The selling afterwards was both hugely deserved and very believable, maybe the best selling for a dive that I've seen.

While there were lots of exciting near falls in the tercera, it all came back to BS in the end. The ref had decided the first fall by saying that Santo's camel clutch had been accidentally (?) pulling on Panther's mask. When Santo wouldn't break it, he DQed him. In the tercera, Panther rolled Santo onto the ref to get out of a pin and then missed Santo on an elbow and KO'ed the ref for a minute or two. During this time, Panther got a phantom win with a submission, bringing Porky to outright tears. Panther started to celebrate and Santo rolled him up a moment later causing the crowd to erupt and some of them to storm the ring. It's definitely the sort of finish that takes away from matches, but here I didn't mind it at all. With lucha, matches ending like this often have a kernel of justice in them. I think that was the case here. Panther ate his comeuppance. It works much better as a two match set than as a standalone, match though, and again, while it's all quite masterfully executed, it's maybe a bit of a pale reflection of the sort of match that these two could have had in a slightly different setting.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Uprising: Lucha Libre Workrate Report 9/6/14

This match was from the 2/22/14 show in San Francisco and really was the main thing that got us to go there live.  Thatcher is without a doubt one of the best workers in the world today, and it's extra cool as it feels like a real long time since Bay Area wrestling fans got to watch a really great wrestler before he moved on to bigger things. I'm not even sure who the last really good worker to come from the Bay Area was. I really liked Larry Blackwell, but he's not really a guy who worked anywhere other than the Bay Area. So who is the last acclaimed worker who can be thought of as originating from the Bay Area? Mike Modest? Cheerleader Melissa?

Timothy Thatcher vs. Blue Demon Jr.

I really liked this match and thought it was really the best possible Demon singles match we could have gotten. Again, this was the match that got us all to drive down to the show, a) because Thatcher is awesome, and b) I was really curious what he could get out of Demon. And at the end of the night I think it would be unfair to say that Demon was carried. I think he brought more to this match and actively tried here more than I've ever actually seen him. Thatcher had a bunch of cool armwork throughout which shouldn't be a shock to anybody. Him grabbing a guy by the wrist and stomping down on the arm is one of my absolute favorite things in wrestling. Also had some nice armbar exchanges with Demon rolling with it to try and leverage pin Thatcher. Now it's true the armwork never really goes anywhere, as Demon never sold any of it for too long, but the journey was fun. Demon threw out a lot of fun holds and Thatcher was real good at making them look engaging. I dug the Nieblina that saw Thatcher wiggling on his back so he could hook the bottom rope with his chin. Demon threw out way more strike exchanges than I've ever seen him do including some nifty kick combos, although Thatcher does noticeably hold back his shots after his first chop of the match. Thatcher backs him in the corner and blasts him, and yeah, it can't be a coincidence that it was his biggest chop of the night. Still, his others look fine and Demon returns fire with nice overhands. We also get a cool baseball slide dropkick late in the match from Demon, Demon throws a great back elbow out of the corner, and Thatcher makes a Demon bulldog look lethal. Finish got a big surprise pop from me live, as Demon does a sunset flip out of the corner which seemed like the obvious and inevitable finish, but then Thatcher reverses it and holds the ropes for the win. None of us were expecting Demon to lose, that's for sure.

Now, the TV airing of the match does something real smart, as live the rest of the evening was a complete confusing mess. Demon got on the mic, demanded it be made into a 2/3 fall match, the match started right back up again and Demon immediately locks in a submission. Thatcher never taps, and ref tries to break up the hold, and the bell starts ringing a bunch, and all the tecnicos come off to pull him off Thatcher, and then Thatcher just leaves. But Demon gets on the mic again, demands more match, appearing to challenge for a hair vs. mask match, and then eventually gets Thatcher counted out of the ring. The crowd had no idea what the hell was going on starting right after Thatcher pinned Demon, so it was a real odd and confusing way to send people home that night. The TV version wisely edits almost all of that stuff out, which I think the match benefitted from.

So good job on the TV presentation as I think the match was even better here on rewatch. I had a good time watching it live, but enjoyed it even more here. Really good camera work, commercial breaks planned at good spots. Up above I included the match which my buddy J recorded live, for all of you to enjoy!

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Catching Up On 2014 Wrestle-1

Taiyo Kea & Masakatsu Funaki vs. Shinjiro Otani & Kohei Sato, Wrestle-1 6/27/14

Saw this match pop up and it had three guys that intrigue me to varying degrees, and Kohei Sato, so figured why not? Nobody could call this a MOTY, but as a fun one commercial Smackdown tag it was plenty worthwhile. There was no real high drama but the work within was good. The real revelation is that Taiyo Kea works as great now as he ever has, and maybe better. He was a guy who I was into during the All Japan pre-NOAH exodus days. Seemed like a guy who was really breaking out around 2002, but I could never get into mid/late 2000s AJPW so I lost track of him. I assumed he was mostly retired (and maybe he is?). Here he looks like a unrelenting monster, like a guy I'd like to see matched up against Ambrose. He mixes in a bunch of cool strikes, back elbow, nasty forearms, headbutts, meaty chops, cool short-range yakuza kicks, low rolling arm drag, low superkick. He just had a bunch of cool stuff that . Funaki is always fun doing little things, like his collar and elbows. He doesn't do them the way you're used to seeing them, he turns them into more of an immediate scramble. Think less HHH "this is how you execute a picture perfect collar and elbow" and more of a grappling fight. Him grappling with Otani is fun as he's always squirming around like a monkey, looking for leverage. Funaki also brings plenty of kicks, notably his rolling kappo kick to the temple. Otani brings a big spinning heel kick and missile dropkick and while he's lost a step he's plenty functional. Sato is a fine punching bag for Funaki and Kea, and really started to shine down the stretch. I dug his tight half crab and he really got my attention with a great knee drop off the top, brutal piledriver and a sick deadlift German to finish off Funaki. So, I like Kohei Sato now. As a rule, it's probably safe to say that if a guy does a cool deadlift German, big kneedrop and a piledriver that would make Lawler smile, then I'll be into that dude. It didn't add up to a great match and there wasn't much drama, but this was plenty worthwhile and a good showcase for all the participants' current abilities.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Fuchi Friday- Masa Fuchi v. Toshiaki Kawada 7/18/91

This is a match I hadn't seen before, or really heard folks talk about, but man alive was it awesome. Kawada has always been my favorite four pillars dude, and this was a great Kawada performance meeting a classic Fuchi show. Worked like you would expect with Fuchi using his guile and Kawada trying to beat his brains in. Fuchi brings the torture, with some nasty locks and twists of Kawada's knee and also is great at cutting off Kawada's bull rushes. There is a great moment where Kawada is mauling Fuchi in the corner, and when the ref breaks, Kawada run back to get him some and Fuchi slips behind the ref and cuts him off with a beautiful right hand. It feels like a spot he stole from Bill Dundee back during his Tojo Yammamoto managed days. Finish was really great too, Kawada finally gets his hands on this little prick who has been tormenting him, and he just tries to rip his face off with a face lock, and Fuchi does all of these counters to try to get out and Kawada will not be deterred. There is one point where Fuchi slips out twice, and Kawada just viciously back elbows him and murders him with a clothesline, before going right back to the facelock. It was like he was saying, "enough of our your tricky shit, this is a fight." Total hidden gem, I loved this match.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

MLJ: Rush vs Negro Casas/Shocker BONUS: Negro Casas, Shocker, Terrible vs Máximo, Rey Escorpión, Rush

Aired 2013-07-06
taped 2013-06-28 @ Arena Mexico
Negro Casas, Shocker, Terrible vs Máximo, Rey Escorpión, Rush in a relevos increíbles match

I was on a pretty good pace with these, but it's not often that I get a comment telling me to watch a match. For the record, if you respond to one of my posts here asking me to watch a match, chances are I probably will. Don't abuse that though. I don't think we need a 10 match Gronda series or something. This was from bucky, who is a fine, outstanding pillar of our community, so I figured what the hell. It was apparently a key match in the Rush vs Negro Casas rivalry, but as much as that, if not more so, it felt like a key match in the Rush vs Shocker rivalry, so it made sense for me to at least look at it.

While the interaction between Rush and Casas was pretty great here, I'm not 100% convinced this was the absolute starting point. For one thing, they'd wrestled against each other something like ten times in the previous two months. Also, there was still some lingering Rush vs Terrible focus, though maybe not as much as a few months earlier, where matches would still be structured to build to the two of them facing off, much like Rush vs Casas face-offs have been built to in the last year. Moreover, Rush HAD been shown to be fiery and even possess some rudo tendencies before this match. Maybe it really started to come to head here though. It was definitely the first of a number of relevos increibles matches to come over the next many months which pitted tecnico Shocker against tecnico Rush.

I always sort of love the team dynamics in these matches. Obviously there was a bit of a rivalry between Maximo and Rey Escorpion here, and throughout the match there was a long build from them arguing outside the ring as Rush was getting swarmed to teasing a high five to them actually hitting it. Rey and Rush didn't really interact much, save for once or twice when Rey got pissed as Rush's temper cost them, which ultimately led to the finish. Shocker, on the other hand, fit right in on the rudo side, being totally unafraid to punch Maximo in the face from the get go, and double and triple team with Casas and Terrible.

The end of the primera did set up a satisfying Rush vs Casas pairing. It started with a great little transition where Maximo, Rush's longtime partner, used his body to stop Rush's momentum off a whip in the ropes. This gave his side the chance to take over, first with a rush sueprkick and then with the kiss of death on Shocker. Rey hit a big dive on Shocker. Maximo ducked Terrible in the corner (causing him to sail out with a great bump) and he hit a dive on his own, leaving the ring emptied for Rush vs Casas, full of all the tenets we're used to that must have seemed fresh here. Casas killing Rush in the corner, Rush picking him up and putting him on the top, them fighting from that vantage point, and Rush taking over, stomping away in the corner until the ref called the fall against him as a DQ.

There was plenty of solid action in the segunda, leading up to the decisive Shocker vs Rush stuff. I love the Terrible/Maximo pairing; Maximo played up being terrified of the guy, and Terrible just punches him in the face repeatedly. It's fun and sort of clensed the pallette before they went back ro Rush vs Casas, with the two of them killing each other and Rush catching the dive from the apron into ap ower bomb and then doing a partial giant spin into the guard rail, basically eliminating Casas for a matter of minutes. Shocker then knocked Rey out of the ring, but when he went for the dive, he ran into a Rush kick and the two of them started to go at it (previously, Rush had hit Shocker on the apron for no real reason). Rey came back in though and had the advantage right up to the point that Rush thundered back into attack a prone Shocker in the corner. Rey realized that was how they got DQed in the first fall and started a pushing match with Rush. This let Terrible grab him into a suplex and Casas came off the top with a dropkick. Shocker quickly blindsided Rey and Maximo decided to faint for Terrible, and that was the match. Post-match, the winners, including tecnico Shocker, brutally stomped away on Rush.

This had all the makings of a really good revelos increibles match, lots of chemistry, guys on opposing sides willing to make things interesting, and plenty of visceral heat. I think my favorite part of this was how they used it to build feuds though: coming into the match, Rush had a lingering issue with terrible; after it, Rush had potential issues with Negro Casas, Shocker, and Rey.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

37. Virus v. Dragon Lee CMLL 9/2

PAS: The year of lightning match continues, after blowing up in En Busca De Idolo it is really cool to see Dragon Lee get a chance to mix it up with a master. He was surprisingly nifty on the mat, looking way less carried during the mat stuff then other Virus singles opponents. We also had some pretty cool high spots, including a great looking flip tope. Liked the nasty low blow finish from Virus, and I hope that cheap shot sets up a title match. I think if these guys got 20 minutes it could take MOTY

ER: I love the very beginning of Virus singles matches, as the CMLL entrance ramp girls have to do their blank eye swaying to his weird horror movie score. There's something off-putting about 4 women swaying in time to the sounds of women screaming, odd demon grunts and pipe organ. And there's Virus, just walking through the middle of all of it on his way to the ring. It's like something out of a Coffin Joe movie. The match itself was really fun and both guys complement each other nicely. As Phil mentioned it didn't feel like Lee was being carried on the mat. Admittedly part of the enjoyment for me in matwork from guys like Virus, Arkangel, Panther, etc. is seeing them tear up youngsters on the mat, usually with sequences where it seems like said youngster is in no control of the situation whatsoever. But Lee brings it here, and I loved the crucifix he maneuvered Virus into. Both guys take turns hitting mean dropkicks into the others' face, Virus has a really awesome low shoulder tackle and Lee takes it in a cool high sprawling bump. The match got more time than a lot of lightning matches (10 minutes as compared to the normal 6-7) and it really benefitted from that as it felt like a complete, satisfying match instead of an offense showcase like they often are. This did really seem like an excellent teaser for a full future 3 fall match. I'm not saying this felt like a small piece of a larger match, as this match works great as a standalone match, but it was easy to see the match being stretched to a long singles, with added falls and added drama.


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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

MLJ: Rush vs Negro Casas 5: Atlantis, Rush, Titán vs Felino, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas

aired 2014-04-20
taped 2014-04-20 @ Arena México
Atlantis, Rush, Titán vs Felino, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas

We're going with the dailymotion link on this. The youtube one has some pre-match promos but my three years of high school Spanish don't cut it, so we'll go with the longer version with the entrances. I kind of wanted to compare the two to see what cuts happened, but I don't have time for that. Anyway, we're on match number Five now, which doesn't even count what happened before the Shocker hair match, and I do think some of the chinks are starting to show.

Wrestling in front of the same crowd every week is hard. That's why so many of these guys are so good. First and foremost, it's probably because they start so young, so that even someone like Rush, who is only 25, has been at it for at least seven years. It's not just that length of experience, though, but the depth of it. You go out week in and week out and have to manage three falls, three finishes, two transitions, a reset or two, switching up structure and form and where and when you pop the crowd, all the while, working some real greats... well, you get good. That said, it's hard. It HAS to be hard. There are only so many narrative possibilities and there are three fall matches up and down the card, and in all of them, they're full of match ups that happen dozens and dozens of times where they have to keep the interest and draw the crowd back over a span of months if not years. I tend to try to watch on as much of a weekly basis as possible, because, to me, context means so much. It means that you start to see the chinks, yes, but also patterns of brilliance that you might not notice otherwise.

La Pesta Negra was one of my favorite things in my first few months of lucha watching. Everything from that bouncy music to how much fun they seemed to be having to Zacarias, all of it seemed welcoming to someone new to lucha. A little went a long way though. I think at this point I much prefer Casas and one of the two but not the other. When you get both Felino and Niebla in there, unless we're looking at a comedy match against people like Porky or Maximo or Marco, the match will suffer from their antics. It's almost impossible to tell a serious story with these jokers, which is fine, don't get me wrong. I like comedy as much as the next guy, but maybe not in the midst of these Rush and Negro Casas exchanges.

Here, though, it worked, and early on, I really didn't think it would. First off, there was a certain amount of aggression to the rudos. With both Rush and Titan on the tecnico side, they had a bit more impetus to be rudos and not de facto faces. For the primera that meant anytime one of their opponents, especially Rush, started to fight back, one would leave their battered sparring partner behind and start a double-team to cut it off. I really love that sort of organic flow in matches. It's a lot more interesting to me than guys just standing outside and leaning on the apron while their partners get mangled. I like at least an attempt to fight back in the beatdown and it existed here, only to be smartly halted. Later on Rush would fight back against all three rudos only to get overpowered which really made both him and them look good. It's the little things.

More, than that, though, they were able to channel some of the gross comedy schtick into something productive. So far as I can tell so far, Lucha, like all forms of wrestling but somehow more so, is all about anticipation and payoff: the anticipation of the comeback, of the dive, of the captains facing off, of the apuesta stipulation. In this case, they were building to the end of the primera caida but more than that, to the tecnico comeback in the segunda, and part of it was getting heat. When you have Felino and Niebla in there, you have certain tools, namely, the gross body humor and the charisma that fuels it. That was in full play here and it shouldn't have worked to garner heat and build anticipation to the comeback. There's almost too much sick joy to them kicking out Pitty City and touching tongues and whatever else. What made it work here, though, was that they were doing it to Atlantis. I get the idea that the guy is old and that he's been featured for years and years and years but there's a gravity to him that I really buy into as a newer watcher, so the fact that they were humiliating and demeaning him so blatantly sort of raised my hackles a little bit, and if it made me, distanced and dispassionate, feel that way, then it definitely riled the crowd.

Rush is always interesting, but I like him in this transition period, before he started coming out in black and associating with Los Ingobernales first and foremost. Here, he was partnered with Atlantis and Titan, so he couldn't quite rudo it up as much he would in a different setting. I mean, hell, Kemonito came out with his side. That said, he still managed to have the usual fiery exchanges with Casas through all three caidas, including towards the end. This was a match with a lot of Rush and Casas but it didn't feel overwhelming because they did a good job breaking it up and building back to it with the other exchanges. The ultimate highly, though, was Rush pounding Casas on the announce table between falls and then dickishly sitting on the steps. Great stuff. The lowlight on the other hand was the fact that they went, for what I think was the third match in a row, with at least two of them in front of the same crowd, to the Triple Team/Drop kick out of the corner comeback transition by Rush. I understand that it felt like a fresh spot the first time (in as I hadn't seen it done much in the months before, if at all) but they were quickly running it into the ground.

Outside of that, this was another good, fairly straight-forward, showing. I wish that Titan had someone a bit more suited to him to work with, as I haven't seen him much yet. Felino served as a decent base but nothing spectacular. I did like Titan's intensity in the comeback, but it's hard to gauge it too much when the comeback consists of two or three moves. Atlantis was fine and played his role well. He seems to bring out something better in Niebla, though there was way too much late match stooging from our friend with the afro. For those keeping score, this one went to the tecnicos, with Atlantis picking up the fall and leaving Rush to yell victoriously at Casas on the mic post match, only to get suitably mocked for it by the retreating Peste Negra.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

38. Villano IV vs. Chessman, AAA 3/16/14

ER: Villano IV is always a treat to see in a long singles, and Chessman was at one point one of the few guys I would go out of my way to watch in AAA (we're talking almost a decade ago at this point). Well Chessman is kind of sluggish and seems pretty beat up at this point, but overall this match really worked for me, with Villano turning in an awesome performance. Villano is a bit thicker than in his prime and at times during this looked like he could barely move, but then would turn around and  one second later show some surprising speed, even hitting a big fat guy tope. I loved the classic rudo/tecnico dynamic, with Villano almost always getting the duke in traditional wrestling, and Chessman always creating openings for himself by using weapons shots or cheating. It was also really cool to hear fans getting behind Villano. The guy is 50 and on the downside of his career, but some fans were reacting like it was still 1988, and Villano worked up to them. I dug the opening mat stuff and I loved Villano's punch combos. Villano would outwork Chessman at all the classic lucha elements, Chessman would pull ahead with chair shots or a gore through a table, and that's when Villano would unleash nasty punches and headbutts. I would have liked more intensity from Chessman in this, but he did completely brain Villano with a chairshot, leaving Villano wearing a broken chair necklace. But really you watch this to see a bloody Villano make awesome bloody comebacks, and those delivered in spades. Villano throws a bunch of nasty punches (arguably the best punches I've seen all year), smashes Chessman's face violently into turnbuckles, takes him down and tries to punch right through his face to the mat. Villano is a guy who knows how to charismatically sell a beating, and that really added to all of his already great comebacks. Fun match.

PAS: This match had some wonky moments, but the great stuff was really great. Villano is pretty broken down, but when this gets violent and bloody it has some of the more compelling moments of anything so far this year. There are parts where both guys are on their knees soaked in blood exchanging violent rights and lefts and it feels  like Valentine v. Piper or Onita v. Funk. Villano doesn't have his movement, but he still has timing, knowing when to do what and it is pretty great to see him bring it in a big time singles match on a big stage.


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