MLJ: 2015 Volador, Jr! Wrestler of the Year? Still Sort of Crummy? 6: La Máscara, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs. Bárbaro Cavernario, Negro Casas, Shocker
Taped: 03/17/2015 @ Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
La Máscara, Mistico, Volador Jr. vs. Bárbaro Cavernario, Negro Casas, Shocker
As best as I can tell, this is my 200th MLJ. I might be one or two off, but I'm close enough that I'm going with it. That's a lot of them. I've kept up the 3x a week schedule which is a minor miracle. Once again, thanks to Phil and Eric for letting me do this. I'm not sure if we've kept up the everyday posts over this year like we did for last, though we've got to be close. In the midst of the kerfuffle over my first Volador match last week (and I finally got to look at things on Twitter a few days after the fact, even though I don't have an active account), one thing that Rob (and still, no hard feelings, Rob, I mean it) said stood out. He likened what I was writing and the impetus behind it to Segunda Caida not being on the Mistico bandwagon years ago. I got a kick out of that. I write here because I like and generally agree with what's been written on this site over the years, so thanks, Rob, for doing more than anyone in making me feel like I belong here.
So, we've got a throwaway 10 minute trios match as my 200th. That's great. Some of it was the timing. I tried to tack on the Leyenda hair match too but I just didn't have time, and you know what? I'm okay with that, because this match sums up a lot of things I've written about so far and a lot of things that I associate with CMLL.
First off, the rudo side is Shocker, Negro Casas, and Cavernario, who I have spent a ton of time on collectively. It features Shocker and Casas vs an Ingobernable in Mascara. It also represents, so very well, just how screwed up and nonsensical CMLL is. Mascara is a tecnico who is absolutely a heel. It has Casas and Shocker who are rudos that are cheered. Shocker went rudo just to be able to fight with Rush. He didn't really change anything he did, just who he teamed with. Casas is probably the most over babyface in the company.
And maybe there's something to all that. On paper, there's something interesting about the lines drawn and the contradictions inherent in Mascara teaming with Mistico and Volador, about Mascara being booed because he acts like a terrible jerk and Mistico being booed because they just don't like him and the whole dynamic therein. The problem is that over time, and this has run over so much time, everything becomes muddied and things that might stand out and snap just become an ooze of meaninglessness.
It was true in this match too. Mascara, for his failings, has done much better in his role as an Ingobernable, maybe not as well as Sombra has, but still, he's such a dick in this match. He spends the initial beatdown in the crowd with the fans. He teases going up against Shocker and then ducks right back out of the ring. He argues with his partners. When Shocker finally gets his hands on him, it's a big moment, even in such a small match. Except, then everything inverts again because Mascara's in the tecnico role. Shocker getting his hands upon him is a near catalyst for the tecnico comeback and almost immediately thereafter, Mascara gets to have a pure tecnico "vs the world" segment where he rope runs and ranas and faces off against hardship as he goes through the rudos one at a time. It's maddening, because the character needs of the match are absolutely different than the structural needs and the match tries to fit both. This isn't something that would happen anywhere but CMLL because at some point someone would step in and point this out and explain how it doesn't make any sense, how it is painfully (as in it causes someone pain to watch it) dissonant.
Yet I kind of say it with love, because even after months and months of it, it's this amazing trainwreck, and one where everyone does his job as he's supposed to, but it's like building an underwater bridge, or a stairway to nowhere. It's this incredibly misguided construction, one that is just fulfilling old contract obligations, worked hard upon, with some artist flourish, but without direction or thought. An earthquake changed the landscape two years ago and they keep on building like nothing's changed. That's CMLL. It's wrestling for wrestling's sake, but it's glorious in its own excess.
Anyway, this was ten minutes long. The rudo side was great, hard hitting, with Cavernario perfect in his role. Casas took a couple of bumps that no one his age should take. The tecnicos were spirited. I thought Volador was very good at fighting against odds during the beat down, which is something he often does well, though it doesn't usually translate into the comeback. It had the world's worst backcracker on Shocker, which in and of itself wouldn't matter but CMLL, wonderful CMLL, showed it THREE times from three different angles. In slow motion. Just amazing. There was even a callback spot to transition with Zacarias which I thought was very well done.
Of course this wasn't a great match; it's ten minutes long and deeply flawed, but it was a match with so much to love. Love's the right word too, because following CMLL is an act of love. There's so much to have affection for, to have feelings for, to be engaged with and that will make you happy, but you don't get to pick what you love most of the time, and there are so many traits that you wish would change but probably never will. Love is hard. CMLL is a brutal mistress.