Negro Casas, Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera vs El Hijo del Santo, Yoshihiro Asai, Gran Hamada
I think there's a slight danger in me just watching random matches without purpose or point. Lucha's a giant ocean of decades and what seems like a near infinite number of matches. I've been trying to jump off from one point to the next. It means maybe I watch ten Marco Corleone matches, but if I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have necessarily ended up where I did in 2006 enjoying the stuff I'm enjoying now. I'm also trying to build to more classic feuds and matches as I go, so that I develop some sort of context and theoretical underpinning.
I do want to watch more Hijo del Santo but I wanted to find some sort of structure in my watching. What I came up with, sort of on the fly, was to find the matches online where he was pitted against another person I want to see more of, Blue Panther. For now Santo One-Shots has become Hijo del Santo vs Blue Panther. This means three or four singles matches and a bunch of tags and trios over a span of fifteen years or so. I've been warned that they don't actually face off too many times in the tags I have in front of me, but they're both so good and they're in there with such good partners for the most part, that I think I'll be perfectly okay with that.
Case in point is the first match here. It's true: there really wasn't much Panther vs Santo interaction. That's okay when the others guys in the match were Fuerza, Casas, Hamada and a young Asai. There were some great exchanges and sequences in this match and even though the key match up didn't take place at any length, everyone else paired off, sometimes multiple times, and it was all great, compelling action.
That said, it wasn't the most satisfying match I've seen in this project, even if the work itself was all very crisp and sharp and high-end. The big problem is that the tecnicos took so much of the match. There wasn't any sort of prolonged heat segment and past a blip where the rudos snatched a fall in the segunda, it was all quite one-sided and a little "samey." It especially stood out since Asai was staged almost perfectly in his role in the match to have been the victim of a few satisfying minutes of rudo dominance to build to a comeback.
Here, my lack of context hurts. One thing I've noticed from watching so many matches from 2006 on an almost weekly basis is that they did change things up from show to show. You'd get a differently structured match each week. Things would be balanced. There's a lot about this match I just don't know. It's from WWA, which was a promotion I haven't seen much of. It's from 1990, which was a year (and even a decade) I've seen little of. It's in a geographic setting I'm not as used to. They presented trophies to the tecnicos at the end.
So basically, I'm not sure if they worked this was worked a bit more like a title match or if it was part of a tournament with these two teams working a number of matches against different opponents or if they had just worked a match the week before with a long beatdown on Asai, or even if there was another match on the same show with that sort of structure. Maybe the purpose of the match WAS to get over the tecnicos strong for some future encounter with other opponents or because they had just debuted or maybe the rudos were on the way out. Maybe it was just meant to be a celebratory match to end a big show, etc. I just don't know, so therefore, it becomes a bit harder to hold it against the match. I say this because I know these guys know what they're doing. For instance, I've seen Hamada paired with Sayama in the Asai role and in that match, Sayama took a lot of offense the way that I kind of wanted Asai to here.
Now, then, all that said, there was a lot to love here. Past Panther vs Santo (ironically enough), everyone got paired with everyone else. I love the rudo side as they all brought something slightly different to the table, but all of them served exceptionally well as bases for the tecnico offense. Panther really got to shine on the mat in the opening segment with Asai, who held his own as they played up his agility as a way to counter Panther's skill. Fuerza had the most personality though he never went too deep into shtick at the expense of the competitive mood they managed to create. He's someone I badly want to see more of. Casas fell somewhere in the middle and was also the most frenetic of the bunch. He also had a pretty awesome punch exchange with Hamada.
This was a showcase for the tecnicos, in that the rudos mainly got to show off by eating their offense and stooging well. Santo looked great, hitting all sorts of elaborate stuff in his exchanges, especially with Casas. The end of both the primera and tercera were pretty with Santo hitting big spots while action went on around him. I wish we had multiple camera angles and replays. Hamada was gutsy. My favorite spot of the match with him was when he fought off all three rudos in the primera, which culminated with him kicking Fuerza in the butt so that he would dropkick Panther through the ropes by accident. Asai served his purpose, showed a lot of promise and felt like he belonged in the ring with them, though again, I don't think they used him well enough as a foil. There were little moments like when Fuerza goes for a handshake and then a hug and he's left bewildered in the face of the mindgames.
It was just too much in the way of tecnico control. In the primera, that felt intentional, like a shine, with the tecnicos getting the best of the exchanges due to their skill and agility. As the match went on though, it became an issue. The rudos momentarily caught them to end the segunda, yes, but they went right to a reset after the fall ended. Then there was a moment late in the match where Hamada had an armbar on and the rudos all sort of looked at each other and decided they had enough and that they were going to rush him, but after a moment of swarming advantage it went back to another reset and they started on towards the finish. A little bit of heat would have gone a long way. Good action, fun start to Santo vs Panther, but not ultimately what I'd consider a great match.
Labels: Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera, Gran Hamada, Hijo del Santo, My Lucha Journey, Negro Casas, Ultimo Dragon, WWA