MLJ: Rush vs Negro Casas 18: Negro Casas & Shocker vs La Sombra & Rush
taped 2014-07-18 @ Arena México
Negro Casas & Shocker © vs La Sombra & Rush for the CMLL World Tag Team Championship
This was the rematch, of sorts, from Shocker and Casas winning the titles (just with Sombra subbed in for Mascara). As recounted earlier, I liked the primera of that match a lot, because I felt like it really hammered home Mascara and Rush spitting upon the traditions of the title match to get heat, but that the ultimate payoff within the match itself just wasn't good enough. Eric hit this match a week or two ago and liked it far more than the first. I thought it was good enough that it just might be my CMLL MOTY.
Mascara wasn't at ringside so Sombra and Rush did their own introductions without him. Shocker had an awesome jacket but came out separately from Negro Casas. Structurally, this was B-A-C again, with Los Ingobernales taking over much as they did in the last match, swarming after a bit of chain wrestling to tease the title match norms. It had less of a dramatic effect since we already saw it before. They took the primera with a beatdown, ate a comeback in the segunda, and reset for the tercera. The tercera, however, wasn't straightforward at all, with a lot of ebbs and flows and callbacks to moves from earlier in the match. It felt a lot more like a title match tercera, with a lot of saves and some deep cumulative selling.
Having Sombra in the match instead of Mascara made a big difference. Sombra brought both more offense and character work to the table. His knee in the corner finish is dynamic as hell. He's also a bit more willing to sell than his partners, especially at key moments. Rush can be too quick to pop up after a German Suplex to hit his stuff for instance, but Sombra will stay down for the good of the match. He also knows exactly when to kick out the dickish reclining pose, doing it at the end of the primera while Rush was pinning Casas and again later on in the ropes, which had a great pay off of Shocker going over and kicking him. Rush's character is very in your face but I like the passive aggressiveness of Sombra (like when he hangs out in the crowd after a loss).
There was a plenty of payoff to be had in the match. Rush refused to hit the corner dropkick during the primera, dickishly teasing it for later. Casas finished the segunda with a STF and then they went back to it a couple of times later on. There wasn't a dive until the tercera and that was a tope from Shocker to set up a Rush vs NC showdown. The Casita was teased a few times until it happened at the end (after Sombra tried one). Casas had his apron senton cut off once until he was able to hit it. It was one of those matches where they just paid attention to everything and showed what lucha can do when they're really, really trying hard. The comeback in the segunda was just satisfying enough, a reverse whip on the floor that sent Sombra over the barricade and Casas getting the advantage on Rush in the ring. It was just enough because Rush and Sombra would have the advantage off and on in the tercera, so there were other mini comebacks layered in, the best of which being Shocker, Rush and Sombra doing the stunner/low dropkick attempt/heel miscommunication spot twice in a row.
In general, I lean more towards apuestas or just general trios matches. I like the anticipation and the payoff, and title matches tend to have a lot of back and forth both early on and late and, these days, a lot of laying around in the tercera without that laying around necessarily being earned. Here, though, they replaced that with a lot of pins and submissions being broken up and the match was definitely both heated and competitive with selling in the tercera that felt completely earned and a great finishing stretch; after Casas hit his apron dive on Sombra, Rush was left with Shocker, who went for his tie-up finish, but ended up eating the double arm piledriver for three. Casas came back in and they fought on the top rope until Casas headbutted him off, hit a missile dropkick, and then locked in the Casita for three. Finally it was Casas and Sombra, who hit a big powerslam. When he went for his ridiculous double jump moonsault, however, Casas actually made it work for once, rolling to force the second jump and then getting his knees up. A brief fight over the Casita later and the champs retained. It was great punctuation to a match which stood out as four guys who really knew what they were doing and weren't afraid to shoot for complexity and a very complete match. Well worth watching.