Segunda Caida

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The King Made it Known He Could Make it On His Own

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee v. Brian Christopher/Shane Williams Gulas OSW 7/30/11-GREAT

This was a really fun nostalgia match from a nostalgia fed. They bring out Jackie Fargo to talk some shit and then have a classic Memphis tag. Christopher and Williams are basically pinball stooges and are they are great pinball stooges. Lawler and Dundee have forty years of experience at setting up heels to pratfall. Lawler takes some bumps and both guys unload with some beautiful punches. Lawler gets a hot tag and just unloads on Christopher with a multi punch combo. It is a little weird to watch Lawler pound on his son, it is a known fact now, and makes him sort of unsympathetic.

Complete and Accurate King

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 11: Místico, Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero vs Atlantis, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero

Aired 52MX: 2006-07-01
taped 2006-06-25 @ Arena Coliseo 
Místico, Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero vs Atlantis, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero

So, even despite hitting some less than pertinent matches, I still missed a thing or two due to footage availability. There was a bit more of a build to Dos Caras, Jr. vs Ultimo Guerrero for his World Light Heavyweight Championship and also the title match where UG defended it. There was also a tag match between Atlantis and Rey and Mutoh and Dragon where Atlantis accidentally hit Rey to set up the turn to begin with, back from May 12 or so. I only see it clipped so I didn't do a full write up but I'll attach it at the bottom of this entry. It's fun to see Rey eat Mutoh's offense as well as some of the fun Guerreros tandem moves. I also don't have the match where Atlantis and Tarzan Boy turn on Rey. Ah well.

What I do have is this, which is either the first real Rey vs Guerreros match or close enough to it for my purposes, and it's pretty satisfying. Rey got to face off against all of his former teammates. It set up the title match to come vs UG. The crowd was hot the whole time. There wasn't a ton of depth to the structure here but sometimes basic really is the way to go. Rudos ambushed and thoroughly won the primera. Tecnicos came back to win a quick segunda and then they got to shine in the tercera to set up the matches to come. Paint by numbers but with a lot of frenetic offense and visceral hate. Who can argue about that?

The details were pretty great too. Los Guerreros' beatdown was full of flourishes. They hit the clothesline over the knees/top rope move on Rey. Usually that was Rey's corkscrew senton to finish it. This time it was Tarzan Boy's legdrop. The evolution of UG's press slam on Mistico continued. Here it was onto both Atlantis' and Tarzan Boy's knees (He'd do an awesome one handed slam in the tercera). They finished it with this insane multi man submission (including power bombing Mistico onto the other two). Skip ahead to 6:10 on the video to see it. It's nuts.

The tecnicos really got to shine in the back half of the match. In the segunda, Rey got to make the comeback out of the corner and then hit the Guerreros' alley oop body splash. Mistico flew with his giant one hand dive even as Casas hit his seated senton dive. Rey got to fight off Atlantis and UG at once in the tercera, and then recover from a Tarzan Boy cheapshot to take him out as well. Mistico had some brief but fun exchanges with UG and Atlantis too. Casas got to tough it out with Tarzan Boy and then they all came together for a triple tecnico pin at the end.

There were a few tiny issues, though; things to worry about in the future perhaps. For one, Mistico was still way more over than Rey. He got to come out last, was the captain, and was the first one that the crowd chanted for. To be fair, later on, when faced off against Tarzan Boy in the tecera, they did chant for Casas too (it was just that sort of crowd) but even when they chanted for Rey during his comeback, they couldn't wait for Mistico to get back in there. There was an absolute cap for how far Rey could go as a tecnico, just like there had been for him in Los Guerreros after the Atlantis turn. Mistico also had picked up Wagner's terrible habit of trying to get the fans to cheer for him by holding his hand to his ear during a beatdown. Terrible stuff. And mainly, like I said, there wasn't a whole lot to the match. The tecnicos took almost the entire back half which let them have plenty of time to shine, which was what the situation called for, but also means that this won't end up on anyone's match of the year lists.

That's fine. It was a match with a purpose and it served that purpose very well, setting up the title match and showcasing tecnico Rey Bucanero vs his former teammates. For the moment at least, things had to seem pretty promising.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

MJL: Hijo del Santo vs Blue Panther 3: Fuerza Guerrera/Blue Panther/Espanto Jr./Psicosis vs Hijo del Santo/Octagon/El Mariachi/El Mexicano

Either 1994-12-8 or 1996-8-19
Fuerza Guerrera/Blue Panther/Espanto Jr./Psicosis vs Hijo del Santo/Octagon/El Mariachi/El Mexicano

I'm not sure about the date here. It's a big difference if I'm trying to watch the matches I have available to me in order, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter all that much. It's either twenty years old or eighteen years old. It's also one of those cases where I just can't be sure if what I've been watching is just very, very average or if this was very, very good. I'm a few months into the project now but I've just not delved backwards too much. This had even different generations of luchadors than what I've been used to and while some of the general principles were the same (anticipation!), the match was given more time and room to breathe than a lot of what I see these days, and the level of skill and experience involved here was just off the charts. The match was constant action, with a visceral beatdown and spirited comeback. I've found that eight-man matches can really take things into a different gear due to the extra bodies in the ring.

Mexicano and Mariachi, as far as I can tell, were part of a group with El Charo. Mexicano had been using the gimmick forever and had super cool pants, but Mariachi was actually Solar I with a nice mask that had a music note on it, a tendency to dance, and all the skill of, well, Solar I. Once again I am thankful for luchawiki on this because trying to google "mexicano" and "lucha" was not the most fruitful thing in the world. Both of them were very good at their roles and had a real connection with the crowd. Mariachi took the brunt of punishment in the beatdown. Espanto, of course, was Santo's long time rival. He had lost his mask to him in a great match from 86 but still wore a mask here for most of the match. I suppose that's the sort of thing a rudo can get away with? It's a great mask so I don't really blame him.

There's just too much to note in this match. I can't begin to hit it all. Let's start with structure. There was a long primera which was set up in a series of switch exchanges, with things breaking down and reforming. In the last Santo trios I saw, there were clear demarcations in style between the different pairings. Here, there was much less of that. Maybe Blue Panther and Mexicano did more matwork and Santo and Psicosis turned up the pace a bit, but it was all pretty much along the same lines in the end, with an amazing level of fluidity as one exchange smoothly led into the next, really no matter who was in the ring. The tecnicos take the first fall after a great finishing sequence. What truly made the match work, however, was the way this primera led into the beatdown. Early into the segunda, the rudos finally got an advantage and the pressed it, using the numbers game to isolate Mariachi. They beat the hell out of him, ripping at the mask, bloodying him, biting and swarming and pounding while they kept his partners out of the ring. I feel like there's an element of pressure building up in lucha. During the primera where the tecnicos were winning exchanges, this was building up and up. Then it was unleashed upon Mariachi, and as it was, the pressure began to build again. It paid off in the tercera with Mariachi ducking a double clothesline and coming back just enough for his partners to storm the ring. The moments of revenge were both brutal and sweet with mask ripping and righteous fury, but ultimately, the tecnicos made a huge mistake in the form Mexicano accidentally hitting a dive on Octagon. That allowed Psicosis to hit the most insane senton ever onto a prone Santo on the floor and his partners to swarm Mariachi once again. This time they get the mask off, losing the match, but very much winning the war.

There was too much to note and too many great moments to mention. Panther locked on a hugely cool hold on Mexicano that he had to keep handstanding out of. They even shook at the end of their exchange. Psicosis brought not just the crazy senton but also a couple of huge bumps over the top. Fuerza was all over the place with his usual dickishness, including two pretty blatant fouls when he was holding up an opponent. Santo was smooth as hell, just floating around the ring like he was as light as air. He ended the primera by hitting his big somersault senton on Psicosis (who had just missed one on his own) that goes right into the tope suicida by the corner on another opponent. Fuerza bumped all over the ting. Mariachi had these cool throat thrusts on the outside. Mexicano did a very fun flip from inside of the ring to the outside on his feet. Psicosis finished the segunda with a weird frog-splash elbow drop.

The match had a ton of character moments too. In the primera, Santo drew "Ole"s from the crowd by dodging Psicosis and his horned mask like he was a bull. Espanto fooled Mariachi with a handshake and later on Psicosis actually took over the match by hitting a dropkick after teasing a test of strength. Mariachi had the well-placed dancing. Octagon wasn't fooled by a handshake and instead did a look high-punch low to the stomach that was so good they actually replayed it. Espanto had almost gotten Santo's mask off and during the comeback Santo returned the favor by unmasking him so he had to wrestle the rest of the match without it. I could go on and on here. There was so much cool stuff and all of it was very fluid and fit perfectly within the formula.

Obviously, the finish was there to set up another match. Santo ended up on a gurney and then, because this is wrestling and wrestling is awesome, attacked by the gurney as the rudos just wouldn't let up. To my still somewhat uninitiated eyes, this was the good stuff.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Night Digging in the Crates: Requiem for a Saint

El Santo/Gori Guerrero/Hurricane Ramirez/ El Solitario v. Missonaires De La Muerte/Perro Aguayo 9/12/82

A true lucha holy grail, El Santo's retirement match has show up on youtube. So much fun to see all of these legendary guys mix it up. Pretty much a brawl from the start, which is a bit of a shame as I would have liked to see what exchanges Gori and Santo still had in them, although this kind of kick and punch thing is easier to protect old guys in. The atmosphere was insane, although the actually wrestling highlights were limited to Perro Aguyao and Solitario having a blood soaked war in the middle of this tribute to a legend. They sort of hijacked it and totally stole the show. Man was prime Perro Aguyao a world beater, the more I see of him, the more I think he was a top five brawler of all time. Would have liked to see Santo's team go over stronger as they won both falls by DQ, with the rudo's surprisingly left to rule the roost celebrating at the end, I guess they had to come back to sell tickets.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report 6/8/14

These matches all took place at the 5/25 Arena Coliseo show. So glad they're back in Coliseo on these Sunday shows. I was getting a little burnt out on Arena Mexico performances.

Blue Panther, Fuego & Sagrado vs. Ephesto, Mephisto & Dragon Rojo Jr.

Hoo boy we get a mostly toothless woman in the crowd yelling at Mephisto, looking like Sir Cecil Creape, to start the show. Oh my. This is my favorite Blue Panther performance of the year, guy moved around like he's still in his 20s. We get a long mat exchange with he and Ephesto to start which is filled with all sorts of nifty things. I really loved is headstand reversals which seems like a young man's game but he pulled off fabulously. All throughout he had some great exchanges, on the mat, super fast standing reversals like he was a young junior, in the tercera he hit a gorgeous rana off the top (him leaping off the top to his opponent standing on the mat). I mean just incredible stuff all through the match, not just one quick segment and then catch your breath on the apron. I really liked everybody here, really. Sagrado even had a nice showing, probably the most I've ever liked Sagrado. He did some cool exchanges including a nice rana off the apron onto Mephisto. We got a bunch of fast dives with guys given hardly any time to set up to catch which is always exciting. For example in the tercera Sagrado takes a move to the floor and right when he lands Ephesto hits him with a tope. Fuego hits some really nice stuff here including a couple flip dives and some slick armdrags. The team of BP/Fuego/Sagrado seems a little random but it totally works here as all three worked like they had something to prove. Awesome little match.

Shocker, Niebla Roja & Comandante Pierroth vs. Marco Corleone, Titan & La Mascara

Damn this match had some crazy heat the whole way through. I don't know if it's just because Coliseo is smaller and the sound is more cacophonous, but it really made a match-up like Shocker/Marco seem like a big deal. Nothing mind blowing happens here, but the crowd is so amped that it sucked me right in. They cut back to that Sir Cecil woman again and have to blur out the foul atrocities that she screams, and then they regularly cut back to a foxy redhead woman who screams for Mascara's shirt removal and acts completely unimpressed when Marco flexes. Marco is really entertaining here as I'm starting to like him working more equal with other luchadors. Before there was always kind of a Giant Silva disconnect where (even though Marco is a WAY better worker than Silva) the whole match was always everybody else working Silva into the match and selling all his stuff like death, and it was the same with tiny Mexicans always running from giant Marco. But I think it's much better to just treat him like another worker, as it keeps the match moving at a more brisk pace. You still get spots where guys gang up on Marco and he believably throws lefts to all of them to break free, but it works better within the match. Niebla Roja was really good here, always keeping busy and working a bunch of high traffic spots with his team, always interjecting himself at the right moments to eat a rana or kick a tecnicos leg out.

Rush vs. Volador Jr.

Disappointing match but it served its purpose I suppose. Things got way too Attitude era for me, with the finish being Rush taking some backcrackers, bumping the ref, Mascara hitting Volador with his own backcracker, you know the drill. The kinda finish that more makes me eye roll than anything. Primera makes Volador look like a weenie because he only wins because Rush gets DQ'd, then Rush wins the segued by kicking the hell out of him more. The tercera makes Volador look like a dummy as he sees the ref get bumped but still holds the pin on Rush for way too long. Just sloppy work most of the way through from Volador and Tirantes. Rush looked good and had the crowd all fired up, and I even liked some of Volador's comeback in the tercera, with him hitting a couple low superkicks on Rush in the corner. But too much overdone and dated booking took me out.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Rifling Through the Trash: The Unfinished Segunda Caida

We here at Segunda Caida all watch a lot of wrestling. We also start a lot of projects. More projects than we can ever ever possibly finish. We start watching something, write about it, don't finish writing about it, and there it sits. We have about 80 unfinished drafts dating back 4 years. Some of them may get finished some day (IWA-MS show reviews, WAR show reviews), others are kind of pointless to ever finish (old CMLL TV write-ups, reviews of WWE Superstars episodes). Still these write ups all took at least SOME time out of our schedules, and it's only fair that we get SOME use out of them.

Snippets from Eric reviewing an APW show from 3 years ago:

1. OMEGA (w/ DARKNESS!), from Santa Maria, CA (my buddy Sean was from there and he went through a long gothy thing too when he was OMEGA's age, so maybe something is in the water there. Sean says they're famous for their tri-tip, and Food & Wine magazine says their wineries have "demonstrated strong progress", and Ozzie Smith lives there! Santa Maria! Check it out!) vs. KIMO starts us off this week. KIMO I've seen live a couple times working an indy wrestler wearing kickpads gimmick. He has a good look but I hasn't really stuck out too much to me the times I've seen him. Let's see if that changes here. Kimo does a whole bunch of emotionless sequences to start, powerslam, STO, really looks like he's counting in his head to keep his time. 12&3 slam 12&3 knee. Jazz, tap, modern, indy wrestling, it can all basically be the same. OMEGA has some decent kicks, Kimo wins with a guillotine DDT deal. Kimo is basically Ricky Romero, but with less randomly generated moves.

2. Levi Shapiro vs. Shane "Wild" West. Never seen West before, but this is indy wrestling and it's good to see a guy named Shane. Every card needs a Shane, as signed by everybody in the American Indy Pro Wrestling Charter of 1999. "A Shane on every card, kickpads on every junior, and a Play of the Day finisher at least twice per card." West actually looks alright, throws a nice dropkick and gets good snap on a leg lariat. Shapiro is decent playing controlling vet, working stiffer than I've seen him work before. The finish is a spot I cannot fucking stand, with West hitting a crossbody and Shapiro rolling through for the pin. The problem is, the roll through NEVER happens with the momentum of the crossbody. It always looks like a guy taking a full crossbody, then just pinning the guy immediately after having just taken a crossbody, If someone can alert me to an instance of this spot actually looking like what it's supposed to be, as opposed to a guy getting crossbodied, then just flipping over and pinning the guy without using the momentum of the roll through, I'd appreciate it. Because the crossbody within kayfabe at this point is just a pointless move, as half the time a guy can take it and just pin you immediately after taking it. I also hate when that happens with ranas off the top. Guy takes a rana, but is supposed to roll through into a sunset flip type move without taking damage. But what always happens is a guy takes a full rana off the top, hits the mat hard, then rolls through. So....

~APW Classics: El Chupacabra vs. Dave Dutra, previously aired on 10/30/10. Let's travel back in time when things were just simpler, way back in October of last year. Acts from yesteryear like Rihanna, Katy Perry, Ke$ha were burning up the charts, The Social Network was making us laugh AND think at the box office, and Americans everywhere were mourning the death of President Gerald R. Ford, 12 years after the fact. Match was JIP, had a decent chop exchange, Chupacabra hit some nice kicks, and it had some nice move reversals. Dutra hits a nice sliding knee and then a neato rolling Northern Lights Suplex. They do some things, Dutra catches a rana and throws him overhead in a reverse powerbomb, meh punch exchange, one guy does a move, the next guy does one, both run the ropes pretty quick, match ends around 7 minutes later. Both guys looked good without having a very good match, if that makes sense. emotion-free moves exhibit, which is what it is and they're enjoyable for what they are.

TomK snippet from a 4 year old IWRG show:

Comando Negro, Hijo Del Signo, Eterno v Daga, Eragon, Freelance

TKG: Again this is another Freelance showcase, and you want to watch this for the second fall where rudos make the mistake of throwing Freelance into the ropes through the third fall of Freelance nuttyness. This is my first time seeing the Comandantes de la Muerte and amusing team with Eterno being amusingly shticky, Comando working more bruising and Hijo Del Signo being technical rudo. Eterno and Daga are guys who’ve paired up in Coacola since at least 2008 (you can watch 7 minute and a half clips of their hair match from 16Nov08 at ). Neither of them are particularly comfortable with the IWRG style yet and they are essentially kept away from working each other in the ring (outside of their elaborate finishers). Eragon walks Eterno through opening technical exchanges and Comando Negro does the deed for Daga, leading to Hijo Del Signo v Freelance fast armdrag and throws section. Hijo Del Signo and Eragon have been paired for so long that it is nice to see them seperated. Eterno sells rudo but is pretty loose and not really clear on when to release his stuff. Daga has similar problems although he feels like a guy who got into wrestling by watching Rob Eckos v Josh Daniels matches, so he seems to care about crispness although not quite pulling it off. But it ends up almost feeling like match build here. Like a Steamboat v Flair match where you start with looser chops and build to first stiff one; here you go from the really loose Eragon v Eterno feeling out technical stuff to the tighter Comando Negro ones to the Hijo Del Singo v Freelance throws/armdrags. I don't think it was intentional but it worked.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 10: 2006 CMLL Infierno en el Jaula

Aired 2006-06-24 
taped 2006-06-18 @ Arena Coliseo 
Rey Bucanero, Shigeo Okumura, Negro Casas, Heavy Metal, Universo 2000, Terrible, Tarzan Boy, Máximo in a cage of death match

This is another match that's only tangentially related at best. In fact, the only interaction between Tarzan Boy and Rey was TB actively avoiding him, but it's still well worth me watching for a few reasons. The first is that it's a CAGE OF DEATH match. I've never seen a CAGE OF DEATH match. The second is that it was all part of the building (or rebuilding) of Rey as a tecnico leading up to his title match with Ultimo Guerrero that I'll be getting to soon.

Sometimes, I just assume that anyone actually reading this knows more about lucha than I do. That's probably fairly short-sided but I can't understate how little I knew about lucha before the start of this year and how little I still know in the grand scheme of things. For that reason I don't spend paragraphs talking about history and context and what not and instead try to focus on the matches and what patterns I can find within. It's why I haven't explained Rey and UG's history, for instance, or certain other bits of backstory unless I find them very interesting. I will go back for the two of them when we hit the title match, though. In the here and now, I think it's worthwhile to explain how the Cage of Death works. All eight luchadors start within the cage and one after another, they escape, until they're left with the final two. At that point a one fall apuestas match begins. It's a little bit contrived, but ultimately a fun twist on the escape-the-cage rules that never, ever make for a good match, since for once, people have a good, logical reason to escape.

In this match, it was all a bit of a mess, but a fun one. We're obviously not dealing with the best VQ and camera work in the world, and usually that doesn't take away from things. When you have eight wrestlers in the ring though, none of them wearing masks to stand out from one another, it all got a little muddy. In fact, until the eliminations started, it was just a lot of senseless climbing and even more senseless holds, everyone making a wish on some poor fool and one giant (ill-conceived) leap from the top of the cage by Okumura on everyone. There wasn't even much room for character work, save for Maximo's over the top antics in not wanting to get in and then not wanting to get near anyone. As an aside, Maximo had a TON of hair matches in 2006. Wikipedia says he had six in 2006, if you include this one. A lot of them look to be more local but still. That's one way to establish someone.

The best part of this match was how dickishly each luchador managed his escape. Universo was out first, just climbing out in the chaos. Amusingly, he sold a blown Maximo kiss on the way out. Talk about a protected finisher. Casas escaped when he was tossed into the corner. He just darted right up as he hit it. Tarzan Boy totally messed up the point of this exercise in his escape. They'd set up Rey for the Guerreros three man alley oop body press and instead of hitting it on the guy he should have been pissed at, he valued his hair more and bounded to the side of the cage and up and over. Heavy Metal convinced Maximo to come back in at one point, then tossed him into Terrible in the corner as a show of teamwork. When it came time to charge in after, though, he escaped instead. Shortly thereafter, Maximo was able to use his speed to dart right out. The best one might have been Terrible convincing Terrible to missile dropkick Rey instead of escaping and then, after Okumura slammed Rey for Terrible, so that he could hit a top rope move, he climbed his way out instead. It was all a lot of fun even if you didn't really differentiate between one guy in the other in how he escaped. Everyone was a jerk, basically.

In the end, it was more of a showcase for Rey than anything else. The actual match with Okumura only lasted a minute before he ducked a move and hit his wheelbarrow drop finish for a pin. On some level, you'd think that the person who ended up in this situation and didn't escape would look bad because of it, but it didn't feel that way at all. Instead, the fans were chanting for him. He was back to black gear here, with the facepaint instead of the unfortunate white look of the week before and they were definitely into him. To his credit, Okumura demanded that Rey be the one to shave his head and took it like a man. All in all, it was a fun eighteen minutes spent and I wouldn't mind watching a few more of these. It certainly felt like Rey's tecnico run got off to a good start and I'm excited to see him really get in there with his former Guerreros partners.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 6/14/14

These matches were from the 5/30 Arena Mexico show.

Ephesto, Mephisto & Gran Guerrero vs. Valiente, Atlantis & Titan

They had been getting away from these short inconsequential matches, but that seems to be the style de rigueur again and it's obnoxious. I do like the energy levels in these shorter matches as there's a lot of action and things are so short that nobody has time to gas out. There's no down time, but everything is too rushed and there's no drama. I had hardly written down who the participants were when Guerrero had already won the first fall by powerbombing Atlantis. There was a nice little Valiente performance in here, including a beautiful rana with him running up the ropes. Atlantis showed a lot of fire here too, and Titan hit a top rope Asai moonsault to the floor that was pretty crazy. But this was all pretty insignificant. Everything was done so quickly that nothing stuck.

Terrible, Vangellys & Rey Bucanero vs. Stuka Jr., Maximo & Super Porky

Fun enough match, with there being way more Porky focus than most recent Porky matches. That can be both a good and bad thing, as his offense is fun, namely when the rudos implausibly always end up sitting three in a row so Porky can run at them butt first. There are also things Porky does that would be completely inexcusable and get any other worker ripped to shreds. He rarely sells strikes and almost always seems to be just waiting for guys to stop hitting him to get to the next spot. Numerous times here guys kick him in the stomach and he can't even be bothered to slightly bend at the waist. It would be one thing if he was doing a comical "your kicks don't hurt me due to my large tummy" thing, but he's clearly not and mores just looks tired. The match did have one extremely watchable segment, with Maximo squaring off against Terrible. Maximo has a bunch of these super cool fast flurries in him, which somehow still surprise me even though I've been watching him for 8 years. He breaks out these cool hanging armdrags that nobody else does and really has a great rhythm with Terrible. Stuka also regularly has standout moments in match. He arms-at-side splash always looks incredible and he and Maximo hit synchronized dives in another big moment. Porky had some good moments where he fought back against numerous guys, and that seems to be the moments where he works best now, as an easy target who gets pushed to far by bullies and then ends up snapping and chopping and punching and flattening them all.

Relevos Increibles!

Rush, La Sombra & La Mascara vs. Negro Casas, Shocker & Volador Jr.

So, this was the first time I kind of started to get bored with the Rush v. Casas/Shocker dynamic. A lot of heel dragging at this point. I like the participants, I like the energy, but it's on Lucha Azteca *every* week it seems like, and they really need to bump things up to a different level, mix up the combatants, something. This isn't quite Dolph Ziggler/Kofi Kingston levels of "how many times can they run this match!?" but I hate that they're even making me think that may be happening. I love Rush mowing throw Casas/Shocker/Volador and kicking torn t-shirts into the Arena Mexico crowd, but whatever direction this story was headed has stalled out. They've upped the heel antics from Sombra/Mascara so that is a slightly new wrinkle, but this is starting to really feel like "this is good, but something I regularly see, and it's no better than their best stuff, and worse because it feels like a rehash". So again, this had elements that you liked in previous encounters. It started as the same squash match formula that happened this week, except this time the tecnicos actually got their comeback. Casas is a great fired up comebacks guy, and his running "balls to Rush's face" off the apron was pretty epic. La Mascara is starting to find his role in the rudo stable. He was kind of lost once Sombra starting being Rush's cheapshot artist. But this match he was good at hanging back and kinda playing bouncer for Rush and Sombra. Rush would be kicking the shit out of Casas and Volador would be all "man my friend is over there! I need to get over there to help my friend" and Mascara would just be all "Hey buddy, a lot of people's friends are over there. Hang behind the rope." Or Sombra would be choking Shocker and the ref would be all "Hey I'm supposed to be over there." And Mascara would be all "Hmmmm...what was your last name again? Says you're not supposed to be over there."

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 9: Averno, Mephisto, Último Guerrero b Damián 666, Misterioso II, Mr. Águila

Aired 2006-06-17
Taped 2006-06-11 @ Arena Coliseo
Averno, Mephisto, Último Guerrero vs Damián 666, Misterioso II, Mr. Águila

I've been actively avoiding Los Perros del Mal in 2006. For one thing, I get the feeling that we have a lot of them available, which means that I could double back and do another sweep of the year at some later point. Some of what I look at is dictated by availability. It also just seemed sort of tangential to what I was doing. There are some rudos vs rudos matches with Los Guerreros but they seemed to mainly be feuding with the same tecnicos. I do have a fairly long gap in June of 2006 when it comes to Los Guerreros though, so I figured what the heck. If this match just had Tarzan Boy or Olimpico, I probably would have skipped it, but since it's Ultimo, I took a look. He was teaming with Averno and Mephisto, which is fun too, since I just saw them teaming with Rey in the match that his turn started in.

I really don't know the rudos well at all. Damian I've seen from a couple of tags with Halloween and some from WCW. I love the idea that when he was given the gimmick, he was working as Ultraman (II). That's really nice dissonance. Mr. Aguila I know from the WWF run and Misterioso Jr. I don't think I've seen much at all. Wikipedia says his nickname is El Rey del Yogurt, which is one of those things I could probably waste too much time trying to figure out googling, so we're just going to put it out there and move on.

I need to get something out of the way before we talk about the actual ringwork. I will chalk this up to a production issue but there is something seriously wrong with the world when they call Ultimo, Averno, and Mephisto the tecnicos in the match.

So in general, it was fun to see UG working against a few different luchadors and teamed with some others. Averno, as best as I can tell, didn't really get pushed up the card until after Perrito left, which is when they switched Perros del Mal's role over to Hijos de Averno. I really do think he's somehow less special with the mask, and that's something you don't say about too many wrestlers. I'm not saying that UG's side work like tecnicos here, but they do play to the crowd. That's not too surprising with UG considering he always had pockets of fans. Standing out the most were things like how the Perros knocked him into said pocket during the end of the the beatdown in the segunda and Averno signaling to the crowd before his big dive in the tecera.

To be honest, the Perros didn't stand out all that much to me, which might have been the nature of the match as much as anything else. This definitely wasn't a match full of crisp exchanges and paired off opponents. It was worked sort of rudos vs rudos with a decent amount of chaos, but maybe without the sort of violence I had come to anticipate from that. The Perros ambushed their opponents before they could all make it out and took the first fall, right on until UG got to fight out of a corner in the segunda. Then his side had the advantage until Aguila slipped through the cracks and they pushed towards the dive and the finish of UG pinning Damian after a power bomb reversal off the top. It was almost worked like each side had their own tecnico style comeback which was kind of neat but given how unfocused the chaos ultimately was, wasn't enough to take the match over the top.

I think Misterioso had a cool look and Aguila seemed like the sort of guy that someone could get a lot out of due to his physical charisma. I thought his flippy evasions of Averno and Mephisto to set up the comeback in the tercera were impressive. Damian was gritty and had good presence. He hit a sliding-on-his-belly splash out of the ring on Ultimo during that first beat down. UG later got revenge by tossing him out of the ring face first that same way. Averno and Mephisto worked well with UG, including setting up a big flip powerbomb on Misterioso and all three of them doing corner attacks ending with UG's seated senton. You could probably have slotted them in with most other rudos at this point to make a serviceable trios side.

This was probably one of the more skippable matches I've seen in this, but I will probably hit one or two of the big Guerreros vs Perros trios later on in the year. I know there's a title match or two and those might be more interesting.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Reader Request: Drew Gulak vs. Green Ant

Drew Gulak vs. Green Ant, Wrestling is Respect 6/30/13

So after watching and loving the recent Gulak/Busick match from CZW a helpful and friendly reader of the blog suggested we check out some recent Gulak/Ant matches from the Wrestling Is… feds (I assume those feds are part of the Chikara banner?). Apparently there was a recent match between the two, and this one is from a year ago, but this match was a real beauty. Gulak is apparently a former ant (Soldier) and I haven't seen much Green Ant but I've watched a bunch of Chikara (granted much of it was from 2006-2009) and I don't remember the Ants being this awesome. Maybe my brain is just thinking of too many awful Egyptians matches, but I remember the Ants being fairly so-so. But now I find out Gulak was an Ant and here we have Green Ant working as a non-ironic Volk Han. Shoot for all I know Green Ant could have been Timothy Thatcher. This match is just 10 minutes but didn't need any more time. There were no highspots the whole match, no rope running, no strikes, just a bunch of cool grappling based around headlock takeovers, wrist locks, knee bars and awesome leveraged pinfalls. Green Ant has a cool assortment of rolling ankle picks, and breaks out the old Volk Han flying body scissors. Both guys are really good at turning the other's knee bars and ankle locks into pinfall attempts, sometimes holding onto their own legs to get a better grip on a pinfall. A lot of cool stuff with using the other guy's weight against them. At one point Ant reversed an O'Connor Roll into a sweet rear naked choke w/ body vice and I flipped out. This was an excellent mat display, really cool stuff. Makes me want to go back and watch all the Ants stuff from old Chikara shows. Complete & Accurate Ants!!

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