MLJ: Virus Spotlight 3: Damiancito el Guerrero vs Cicloncito Ramirez [CMLL Minis]
Damiancito el Guerrero vs Cicloncito Ramirez [CMLL Minis]
I'm not 100% sure on the date. It doesn't match the match finder. That's not really important though. When you delve back deep enough into things and are only looking at a select few matches, it doesn't really matter. Here's what matters: this is a great match and you should watch it. It's not a perfect match and I'll get to why later. It's a great title match though and I'm kicking myself on the idea I almost missed it because I was daunted by the word "mini." I'm going to come back to that at the end. There's also a tag match from this period that I'll cover Friday that's really good too. It came right after this so even though I watched it first, not realizing, I rushed to see this. The tag match was good enough that I wanted to see if spots were repeated/built to/etc. and not give you guys things out of order.
Alright, so this was just a really pure, straightforward title match. There was very little rudo-ing out of Damiancito, which I think is a tenet of his title matches even now (though I'll come to learn that one way or another as I go forward) even though he can absolutely bring that element when he's in trios matches. I've only seen three matches so far and am only writing up my second here, but my impression is that Cicloncito Ramirez was very good. He had an awesome sense of timing and his ability to just jump up, get hold of someone with his extremities and flip them is a testament to his opponent, obviously, but also to him. He could also bring it on the mat, which this match is proof of, even if it was more a sense of hanging with Damiancito than bringing anything unique to the equation otherwise, except for, and really, this is the most important thing in any match, an honest sense of struggle.
I'm going to keep my cards to the vest on this one because I'd like people to take the time to see it and I don't want to spoil things. The primera was the feeling out process with matwork building to more faster paced things and a very exciting finish. I'm going to post a gif or too just to show the level we're looking at. Yes, Damiancito can do crazy tie-ups and at least one fall ends with one, but it's the little things that are so amazing to me, both how he moves his opponent around the ring and just tiny grasps such as this:
That's the coolest thing in the world to me because it seems so smooth and so natural. It seems like a small thing but when you realize how few wrestlers you see who can do it like that, it's suddenly no longer a small thing at all.
Likewise Ramirez' natural agility (I think even more so than his Mini-Estrella designation) has him do things that are just slightly different than you'd expect, like this clap kick that shifted the gears in the middle of the primera to lead it towards the finishing stretch:
So it was a nice long primera with a good build and great payoff. The segunda wasn't as long but there was more meat to it than you'd expect these days and everything was good. I try not to just post submissions and dives as a rule, in part because while I feel those are elements that make lucha stand out, they're the flash and not the substance, tools to the overall effect and not the point in and of itself, which is the opposite of the popular perception of lucha with more casual fans. Still, this submission was pretty damn cool (look at that torque):
It's not what finished the fall though. What finished the fall is so cool that I'm not going to post it, even though I want to. I'd never seen it done quite like that before and it came at a perfectly logical moment after a key reversal and it was awesome.
The tercera was very good but I thought just a little unbalanced with the selling, especially around the dives. I'm not sure if that's mini trappings or not, if the level of energy and stamina had to be just a bit higher due to what the fans expected. in a lot of modern title matches, there's a lot of laying around. Here, I think a few things didn't quite get room to breathe. They did a dive-dive-dive sequence where the recovery was just a bit too soon on each one for it to matter as much as it might have. Also there was a moment or two where Damniancito just went a bit too tecnico-y in his move choice (the way he plancha'd in especially).
I'm tempted not to pin these on the mini designation because this match was, in so many other ways, worked like any other title match would be worked, just with heightened agility at certain points. It wasn't nearly as "different" as I was expecting and I'm not sure either of the tag matches I watched this week were either. The one I looked at on Monday was a tecnico shine, get the crowd going, sort of match, with just a bit more comedy miscommunication. The one for Friday is more heated but with some of those same elements worked in. There's actually a decent amount of limbwork to it relative to most lucha matches. At the end of the day, wrestling is wrestling, and while the norms may shift slightly, the basic storytelling tropes and structures are what they are. That's true across genres, but it's especially true within them. I was able to overlay the models I've learned through watching lucha over this without much problem.
So, not a perfect match, but an excellent one. In some ways I'm glad we only have one or two more of these matches online, because I could absolutely spend quite a while in this era and I'm tempted to track down more from Ramirez, even after his gimmick change. Now, just saying, were someone to post some more of the matches from this 93-97 era, I'd probably review them, even if that meant putting some of my other projects aside.
Watch this. Make sure to stick around for the post match too.