Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Saturday, February 27, 2010

IWRG 9/02/04 from the archives

So in early 2005 an episode of IWRG showed up on Comcast on demand. Looking through cubsfan’s site I’m assuming the show was filmed on 9/02/04, although he has Lady Metal listed as La Seductora.

We reviewed it in the workrate report style (with the good on the top bad on the bottom) but you can easily piece it back together as a straight up 5 match show report if you want.

If you have comcast on demand you can watch this in the spanish section on deportes there will be lucha part one and two of this episode. Main event is second part. If you understand Spanish one of the guys on commentary is Javier LLanes who is a Guerrero relative through marriage and one of my favorite wrestling commentators as he'll not only tell you the proper name of move but who first used it and in what match. Show itself isn't a good intro to lucha if you've never seen it...but if you've ever thought "I would really enjoy watching really simple work from a strip mall suburb outside of Mexico City" than this will make your life complete.

PAS: So it turns out that a random IWRG show is on Comcast ON DEMAND. It really feels like the only people who would demand this are Tom and I, so we figure it is Workrate Report time.

TKG: FUCK. It's IWRG!!! IWRG isn't really about great wrestling but its always about long matches. Lo-ong matches. Matches paced like someone crossed lucha with Mid-Atlantic Tony Zane vs. Brett Wayne Sawyer opening match draws. I love me some IWRG.

What Worked

Mr. Libra v. Gato Fenix

PAS: This was your traditional IWRG first caida match. These are basically worked like New Japan rookies matches or GCW scientific battles. Dullish, but solid. This was better then most as Gato Fenix was a good rudo as he was taking stuff really well. I remember we used to fill out the 400's in the DVDVR 500 with IWRG una caida workers, if we were still doing that Gato Fenix would be all over it.

TKG: Yep its opening match mano a mano. a lot of Mr. Libra's stuff fell apart but Gato Fenix did a nice job holding it together.

Fantasy/Matrix/Suicida v. Fuerza Guerrera/Dr. Cerebro/Veneno

TKG: Fantasy is a guy who is getting a huge push on the last bit of IWRG I watched, winning lots of hair matches etc. Matrix is a guy in a really ugly Abismo meets Alebrije costume who is supposedly from Guatemala and is also getting a huge face push. Why is the Guatemalan getting this big face push in Mexico? Fuck if I know. Llanes hints that they're broadcast in Guatemala but that might be a work...But fuck they're on Comcast, being on Guatemalan TV isn't half as absurd. Mike Segura is IWRG mainstay who I've seen live in the USA a couple times (once against Virus, once against Damian) and he's always disappointed. Veneno is Panamanian heel leader of the IWRG stable the Corporation. And well he stinks for most part. Why is the Panamanian a heel and the Guatemalan a face in Mexico? I knew I should have thought about taking some Latin american Studies classes. Veneno and Matrix work each other really well on the mat but once they stand up its ugly. Cerebro and Segura match up fucking great as Cerebro really brings out the best in Segura.

PAS: I am also curious why the Panamanian and the Guatemalan have heat with each other? Are Panamanian death squads destabilizing the Guatemalan government. Fuerza looks really great here, as he takes armdrags really great, does his nutty through the ropes bump and flies into the front row taking a Suicide tope. This would have been straight up excellent if they hadn't had the Veneno v. Matrix brawling sections, which were not fun.

TKG: Fuerza does his old crazy Chris Hamrick through the ropes bump but does it in a way that seems really safe and sets him up to catch a dive...which he ducks. the dive train in this match is fucking great as Fantasy, Cerebro and Segura all have great topes and both Fuerza and Cerebro do an amazing job of eating those topes. Cerebro flies off his feat for the tope catch whileFuerza takes it on the side of his face and flings himself into the audience.

TKG: The luchadoras match makes my what worked side although pretty much agree with most of Phils criticisms. But its exactly what I watch IWRG for a looong match with only one good worker holding it together. Flor Metalica's big suplex really was uncalled for but the rest was worked in a really dull style that I was looking forward to when I saw that I was going to be watching IWRG. I was stoked to see Lady Metal work this match and disappointed that she's cut her mullet. She needs to grow it back if she ever wants to work as a Peggy Lee Leather partner. Lady Metal didn't bump as huge as I've seen her in the past but I enjoyed alot of the other stuff she did. I've never seen her neblina/sharpshooter finisher but damn Alex Shelley needs to steal that.

What Didn't Work

Lady Metal/Flor Metalica v. Josiphina/Lady Suiox

PAS: Apparently anyone who has Comcast cable can access this 35 minute dull as dishwater luchadoras match, just freak show. Lady Metal looks like she would be too Dikey for GAEA, and is the only lady in this match who looks trained. She is alot of fun, but this is spectacularly long.

Payasos v. Paramedico/Xibalba/Commando Gamma

PAS: Paramedico is really good, but these are some of lesser Payasos I have ever seen. The thing about IWRG is that they just randomly switch up who is under what gimmick, at one point IWRG had good Payasos, but those guys are probably Mega's or Commandos now. This was also seemingly 40 minutes and was just plum awful.

TKG: Undercard IWRG is often about six man matches with one really cool guy trying to hold the other five together. I've liked Paramedico a bunch in the past as he does a lot of Greco-ish stuff..not even catch as catch can amateur work but neat Greco stuff. He didn't get to do much of that here. Gusano Llanes on commentary explains how the red clown is the powerhouse, the white one is the experience and the Green one is the youth. They really work that gimmick. With green doing all the fast exchanges and white really working like an old guy clutching chest on every sell and doing really odd old school stuff like double stomping eardrums. Gama might be good who knows this match was awful and went on forever and ever. I liked the Dusty finish variation.

Shocker/Villano IV v. Scorpio Jr./Black Tiger

PAS: This is the main event, and certainly the best looking match on paper, but paper is paper. IWRG really tends to have some matches with only one guy working hard. In this match V IV is the only guy who seems to give a shit. Lots of focusless brawling and Que Monito comedy spots. They really need to give the monkey to a guy who needs shtick in his matches as he tends to drag Shocker matches down.

TKG: Yeah this was bad. IV looked really good but there would be these sections of IV and Scorpio Jr. working tightly while Black Tiger and Shocker just layed in stuff. I'm hoping TNA decides to bring in Scorpio Jr. as their new mule. Scorpio Jr. getting a Impact face push leading to a Hall PPV match would be worth putting some money down to see it.

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IWRG 1/28/10


Epidemia/Keshin Black vs Eragon/Guizmo

TKG: This was a complete ugly mess filled with blown spots and stupid ideas. Last time I saw Guizmo I conjectured that Keshin Black was the Black Thunder to Guizmo's Turbo: rudo expert at eating that particular tecnico's stuff. But they never match the two up in first two falls, match up for thirty second segment in third and a little bit near finish. And none of that looked good at all. Neither of these four guys is any good at brawling and this was match filled with almost nothing but brawling.

PAS: Yeah this was stinky, they do have an opening mat section, but you could obviously see Eragon feeding Keshin Black his limbs. I am blaming the rudos for this match, they have got to lead and deliver in a match set up like this and their stuff looked really bad, there was a corner clothesline section which was down right Arki Cannonesque.

Daga/Brazo Metalico Jr./Dinamic Black vs Gringo Loco/Hijo del Signo/Avisman

PAS: These midcard trios continue to deliver. Avisman and Brazo Metalico Jr. start out working the mat, and it is pretty clear that the Alvarado family train their offspring well. Basic trios structure for the first two falls with everyone looking good. Match falls slightly apart at the end, Dinamic Black starts the dive train with a totally sick in to out springboard somersault, but both Gringo Loco and Daga's dives kind of stink. Then Daga and Loco have an exchange which felt less lucha and more indyriffic. Lots of trapped leg falcon arrows. Still most of the match was very good, and I could even see other people liking the finish fine.

TKG: We actually get two primera caida technical pairings. Avisman v Brazo Jr was built around pinfalls with the arm drags and sub holds acting as extra spice, Avisman vs. Brazo Metalico on the other hand is all built around armdrags with the pinfalls and subs being the extra flavor. I expected I’d enjoy Avisman technical exchange but was shocked by how perfectly fine the Dinamic Black v Gringo Loco technical exchanges were. Second fall was Brazo Metalico Jr and Daga both winning exchanges with the rudos. Rudos take over after Gringo Loco makes Dinamic Black crotch himself doing one of his springboarding moves. I really like that Dinamic Black both is all about the Babe Rap type springboard move and also does the Rusty Riddle knocked off rope bump. His strength is also a vulnerability. Phil is right in that there was no reason for Daga or Gringo Loco to do their dives. “Two guys dive taking out the other two leaving one match up in the ring” is a formula that works. Everyone dives meant that everyone recovers before Daga and Gringo Loco have their match up and are left standing around like fools watching the final exchange.

Negro Navarro/Black Terry/Dr. Cerebro v. Solar/Sucida/Zatura

PAS: Great, great stuff. These are six of the greatest wrestlers in the world given some time to have a wrestling match. We start out with Solar v. Negro Navarro which is the best match up in wrestling today. They are playing a variation of the same notes, but this was less of an exhibition and more of a struggle. They didn't do the hold, release, hold style, things were being countered and reversed. The tapatia reversed into a tapatia was especially awesome looking. The youtube revolution has allowed us to see this match up a bunch in the last couple of years, that may be seen as a bit of a downside, but it is a weird criticism. They are traveling around the country and the world doing their thing, and they still mix it up a bunch. This isn't 80's WWE guys doing move for move replications of the same house show match, it is two maestros locked in a decade long battle of one upsmanship and I am eager to catch every installment. Next we get a long completely awesome Zatura v. Black Terry mat section, it may be the novelty of it, but this felt as good as the Navarro v. Solar section. They did a lot of battling in and out of leglocks which really felt like a Imanari fight, I also loved how Terry would use wrist locks to transition into throws. A singles match between those two would be unbelievable. The first fall ends with a really great speedy exchange between Suicida and Dr. Cerebro, with Segura flying all over the ring and Cerebro bumping like a king. Just an awesome first fall, as good as any opening caida I can ever remember seeing. Unfortunately the second and third falls were both about four minutes, good but really too abbreviated for this to truly be a classic. Both falls had great shit in them though. The second fall, had more Navarro v. Solar, with both guys jockeying for big throws. The third fall had Cerebro taking Suicida to the floor and beating the shit out him, it added a bit of violence to the artistry which was welcome. Honestly add three minutes to each fall and we have the match of the year, even as is, it is a beautiful piece of wrestling

TKG: Holy crap this was great. Solar and Navarro aren’t just guys exchanging technical holds but there is this real sense of escalation in their exchanges. They start off with arm drag exchanges which lead to arm locks and immobility knots which build into arm locks that can’t be reversed forcing rope breaks. From there they move into this amazing boxing in a phone booth section of mat wrestling (perhaps wrestling in a dumbwaiter) that transitions into both guys trying for ceiling stretches. Each of these sections is given its own weight and there is this real feeling of escalation to this whole exchange. This is followed up by Black Terry v Zatura, and I’m not a guy who particularly cares for shoot interviews and don’t believe in using them as source for actual facts. But listening to self aggrandizing stories told by professional liars gives you some insight into the value system of those liars (the values and morality of the stories). And watching Terry v Zatura after Solar v Navarro really reminded me of all the tales of shooters where there are two schools “yeah I’d stretch a guy see what he had, but I wasn’t a ripper those guys are assholes”. And you have this escalation from Solar v Navarro as pros stretching each other to Terry v Zatura “ripping” which leads into Cerebro and Suicida just wanting to beat each other up. Solar watches all this and goes “Oh this is how we’re going to play” and comes in and just goes at Navarro with added violence. Second fall we get a small little bit of Solar v Cerebro which ends with Solar doing a pretty cool deadlift into armdrag and backbreaker. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth but it’s kind of a shame we don’t get to see some of the Solar matches where he isn’t paired opposite Navarro, one of the people who taped the Angelico v Navarro match showed clips of Solar’s match on the 1/21 show which looked fun. But it’s back to Solar v Navarro trading big throws. Third fall is all about Cerebro and Suicida having unfinished business. This match just keeps on building and building, and is easily the best thing I’ve seen thus far in 2010.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

SLL's 2010 MOTY List

1. Suicida & Zatura vs. Los Traumas - IWRG 1/14
2. Sangre Azteca, Dragon Rojo Jr., & Misterioso II vs. Mascara Dorada, El Metro, & Stuka Jr. (Mexican Trios Title Match) - CMLL 1/6
3. Takeshi Morishima & Atsushi Aoki vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma - NOAH 1/24
4. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (IWGP Heavyweight Title Match) - NJPW 1/4
5. Solar I, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Negro Navarro, Black Terry, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/28
6. Christian vs. Ezekial Jackson (ECW Title Match) - WWE 1/31
7. Solar I, Ultraman Jr., & Angelico vs. Negro Navarro, Trauma I, & Trauma II - IWRG 1/7
8. Pantera, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Black Terry, Cerebro Negro, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/7
9. Ultimo Dragoncito, Electrico, & Fantasy vs. Pequeno Damian 666, Pequeno Violencia, & Pequeno Universo 2000 - CMLL 1/18
10. Centella de Oro & Lestat vs. Policeman & Fuerza Chicana (Una Caida) - CMLL 1/25
11. Takeshi Rikio, Mohammad Yone, Akitoshi Saito, & Genba Hirayanagi vs. Bison Smith, Keith Walker, & The Kings of Wrestling - NOAH 1/24
12. Centella de Oro, Blue Center, & King Jaguar vs. Ares, Alarido, & Crazy Black (Una Caida) - CMLL 1/11
13. El Metro, Stuka Jr., & Fuego vs. Virus, Polvora, & Dr. X - CMLL 1/11
14. Kensuke Sasaki & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Kentaro Shiga & Yoshinobu Kanemaru - NOAH 1/24
15. Asturiano & S.W.A.T. vs. Policeman & Mr. Rafaga (Una Caida) - CMLL 1/18

3. Takeshi Morishima & Atsushi Aoki vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma - NOAH 1/24

Where has this Makabe been all my life? Where has this Honma been since he left Big Japan? These guys' heel invader stuff has been pretty unremarkable so far, but they come roaring out of the gates this time and do not stop until they've left the arena. The early crowd brawling was a lot of fun. Then you had them heeling it up in the ring, which was great. Aoki was an awesome face-in-peril here. This was kind of an eye-opening performance for him, as I had never really seen him in this setting before, and he was great eating an ass-kicking but refusing to lose. Dude throws some great punches, too. Aoki as Japanese Ricky Morton is a career path I can totally get behind. Morishima rules off of the hot tag, but the invaders are not finished yet. Honma is such a great sneaky bastard here. Loved him lying in wait outside the ring with the chair, and his shit-eating grin as he did the Harley Race-style diving headbutt to Morishima's crotch. Makabe is an artist with a middle finger. Great using it to set up moves, punctuate moves, and right before getting cut off by faces. Finishing stretch is just nuts, with Makabe taking Morishima backstage, leaving Honma and Aoki on their own for a while until Makabe comes back on his own. They beat on Aoki for a bit, but when the ref gets in Makabe's grill over what happened to Morishima, Togi just chucks him out of the ring and gets DQ'd. Then they kill Aoki some more until THE CHAMP IS HERE and by the time it's all over, you are totally stoked to see Sugiura vs. Makabe, which you may not necessarily have been otherwise.

9. Ultimo Dragoncito, Electrico, & Fantasy vs. Pequeno Damian 666, Pequeno Violencia, & Pequeno Universo 2000 - CMLL 1/18

I don't usually praise matches on the basis of wrestlers giving shit performances, but in this case it really just helped to illustrate how good some of the other guys in this match were. Pequeno Damian 666 is my favorite mini right now. He is just such a surly pint-sized bastard, and that attitude carries over nicely to his partners. They all beat the shit out of the technicos whenever they get the chance, but Damian is definitely leading the pack. Fantasy and Electrico both gave strong performances here. They are both guys with spectacular offense. Fantasy had this crazy rolling leg pick thing, and Electrico had some nice dives, including a great Asai tornillo. They also both ate stuff really well, and I dug Electrico's spunk while selling. Violencia and Universo are holding him for Damian to attack, and Electrico is still trying to kick at Damian as he closes in. But Ultimo Dragoncito looked pretty bad here. He has his moments, like at the end of the second fall, Damian is on the outside, and Violencia and Universo try to whip him off the ropes. They even hook their arms for a double clothesline, but instead of coming back off the ropes, Dragoncito just dives through them and hits a boss tope on Damian. But for the most part, he looked really sloppy, and actually his bigger moments of sloppiness are the most memorable parts of the match for me, because the rudos don't try and pretend that he didn't fuck up. When he fucks up eating some sort of triple team maneuver, Damian punches him in the face. When he flubs a spinning armdrag on Universo, Universo doesn't go over like it worked. He stays upright and kicks him in the head. They don't allow one guy's mistakes to drag down the rest of the match, and that's always good to see.

10. Centella de Oro & Lestat vs. Policeman & Fuerza Chicana (Una Caida) - CMLL 1/25

For a match that I really, really liked, I had a lot of issues with this. Honestly thought Chicana and Lestat both looked bad here. Lestat moreso than Chicana, as Chicana at least got a laugh out of me when Lestat did one of his big flippy entrances as Chicana just clotheslined him out of his boots. But otherwise he looked like he was taking up space that should've been filled by Mr. Rafaga or Ares or Crazy Black. Kind of a disappointing performance from a guy who is usually pretty god. Match was still great because Centella de Oro and Policeman are two of the best guys in wrestling so far in 2010. I totally dig Oro's matwork, but this is really a match made by Policeman being an awesome rudo and throwing all sorts of neat touches into the match, like when he almost crotched Oro with the ringrope at the beginning, but Oro caught his gaze at the last moment and Policeman tried to play it off like he wasn't doing anything. Or the way he pulled up Oro's shirt before slapping him in the chest. Match ends on a bit of a sour note when Lestat delivers what might have been the most retarded looking dive I've seen in my life. Seriously, it almost seemed like Policeman catching it was more than Lestat deserved. After the 80th meaningless springboard, I probably would've just Mike Grahamed him. I'm kinda shocked something like that could find it's way into a match this good, but there you go.

11. Takeshi Rikio, Mohammad Yone, Akitoshi Saito, & Genba Hirayanagi vs. Bison Smith, Keith Walker, & The Kings of Wrestling - NOAH 1/24

The gaijins look like they're having such a great time here. Walker whooping it up for the crowd, Smith doing all sorts of big man comedy shtick, Hero throwing in all sorts of nice touches like "checking his watch" right before Claudio started the giant swing, and Claudio working like he actually gives a damn for a change. The natives are more than happy to indulge them, with Hirayanagi being the obvious standout in that regard. But there's also some real meat to this match beyond the shtick, as these guys are ready for a fight when it comes to that. The standout there is Akitoshi Saito. His exchanges with Hero were particularly good (wonder how Saito feels about getting hit with rolling elbows again these days...judging from the way he chopped the shit out of Hero, probably not too good), and he and Bison Smith also have the least shitty forearm exchange I've seen in a puro match in quite some time. NOAH is in the weird position of being a company that has almost no one who can work a great singles match with any consistency, but a ton of guys who look great in tags and multi-mans, and this match is a great example.

14. Kensuke Sasaki & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Kentaro Shiga & Yoshinobu Kanemaru - NOAH 1/24

I thought this was more fun than most of the pimped Kings of Wrestling in NOAH stuff I've watched, which isn't saying much, since I haven't really enjoyed them outside of the 8-man. Still, this was genuine fun. Kensuke really needs to be leading Family Gundan: The Next Generation. He is so much more enjoyable working the second match on the card than in working main events and semi-mains these days. None of your meaningless strike duels that become weaker-looking as the years roll by. Kensuke as established tough guy bullying cowardly goofball Kentaro Shiga is much more fun. Shiga starts working over Kensuke with mediocre looking strikes, and Kensuke just stands up and starts backing him into his corner as he does. Shiga's silent comedy reactions to his predicament are pretty great. Really, for a guy who has been consistently terrible throughout his career, I thought Shiga worked well in this role. I mean, I don't want to say he was the Charlie Chaplin to Kensuke's Eric Campbell, as really, it seems pretty absurd to compare someone of Shiga's talent to someone of Chaplin's talent. Hard enough to compare someone of Kensuke's talent to someone of Campbell's talent. And really, most of this match, Shiga is more "guy who Campbell pushes over on the way to his fight with Chaplin" than he is Chaplin himself. But he is good as unassuming guy getting pushed around by a much tougher opponent. I don't know how far you can really go with the "guy who sucks" gimmick when you are in the same promotion as Masao Inoue, but Shiga as Inoue-ish guy who is concerned with his hair kinda works for him. Ogawa is a guy I have pretty much always enjoyed over the years, and he delivers again here. Kanemaru is a guy who I have not enjoyed much outside of his team with Tsuyoshi Kikuchi until last year when he started doing his heel stuff with Kotaro and Hirayanagi. Guy who was the epitome of puro finisher overkill (until Go Shiozaki came along and outdid even him), who started working matches a lot smarter seemingly out of nowhere. He has dropped the heel act here. In fact, he's working much of the match as face-in-peril, and he eats a huge beating and looks good doing it. You get really fired up for when Shiga gets the hot tag, even though it's Shiga, and him getting a flurry of offense should be awful, you've gotten behind him too much to care. Finish fits in perfectly, too, as they have Ogawa down and have finally weakened Kensuke enough for Kanemaru to trap him in the corner. Shiga runs his fingers through his hair to taunt Kensuke, who dared to mock it earlier, before turning back to Ogawa to...immediately get caught in a small package and pinned. Oops. This is probably the sort of match that only I would like enough to nominate, but what can I say? I just thought this was way more fun than most of the "fun" matches that I've seen talked up so far.

15. Asturiano & S.W.A.T. vs. Policeman & Mr. Rafaga (Una Caida) - CMLL 1/18

I am digging these una caida opening matches. The Puebla crew seems to be really good at taking a typical good full-length lucha match and condensing it into under 10 minutes of all killer and no filler. I also kinda dig that there is actually a technico doing a law enforcement gimmick. That has always been strictly rudo territory, hasn't it? I mean, I thought Fierro was pretty sympathetic in his match with Freelance, but he's still a rudo. Seeing SWAT is almost like a small-scale version of Nikita Koloff's babyface turn. And you can imagine the natural animosity between SWAT and Policeman. I mean, you send in the SWAT team when the local policemen are out of their depth. His very presence suggests Policeman can't get the job done. He has to feel a little insulted.

Weirdly enough, they actually don't match up a whole lot here. Bulk of the match is SWAT vs. Rafaga and Asturiano vs. Policeman. I have no complaints about the SWAT/Rafaga sections. Rafaga looks like he's 100 years old and has some facial resemblance to Don Rickles. They do some fun stuff on the mat and trade a lot of armdrags, and it always ends with Rafaga getting shown up and having this expression like Don Rickles right after hearing something stupid and right before going off on a tirade as a result. Policeman and Asturiano are a lot faster and slicker. Asturiano is sloppy at points. He blows what should have been an awesome spot when Policeman tries to do a Whisper in the Wind type of thing where he leaps off of Rafaga's back, but Asturiano comes out out of the corner and leaps off of him first into a flying headscissors, but he botches the headscissors so it falls apart. Otherwise, Policeman did a good job keeping him in line. Also got a great spot where he tried to do an axehandle off of the apron onto Asturiano, but Asturiano dodged and Policeman took a facer into a chair. Good finishing stretch built on double team stuff. Highlight should have been the aforementioned counter that got botched, but it's backup was pretty choice - SWAT catching Rafaga with a sunset flip, Policeman trying to break it up with a dropkick, but SWAT rolling back and pulling Rafaga up so he gets dropkicked instead. Policeman did manage to score the fall over SWAT with a kimura, so that oughtta show the Chief that he can handle his business.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2010 Fab Four 1/18-1/24

William Regal v. Christian ECW 1/19

Cannot complain about getting this two weeks in a row. Not as good as the last match, mainly because there wasn't much of a finish run, but damn was the wrestling great. This had the same structure as every Christian match, but had different spots. They do a very cool greco knuckle lock sequence, and Regal may have been even more brutal in this match then in the previous week. At one point he counters a backslide by mule kickin Christian in the calf and elbowing him in the back of the head. He also does the headkick into the metal post, which really looks like it should put a guy on the shelf for a month. The run in finish was abrupt, as it didn't even break up a pin fall. Still if this is their last singles match against each other, it was a heck of a swan song.

Finlay v. Batista SD 1/19

Pretty much a violent Batista squash. Finlay is the worlds greatest Mike Boyette as he opens up with a couple of big right hands and then gets brutally smashed. No reason an old ass man should be taking the kind of bumps he was taking here. Thrown over the ringside table, hurled like a dart into the wall. Not the best use of Finlay but it is something he does really well.

Week 3 Rankings

1. Regal- Not much competition this week, but he was a murder machine
2. Finlay- Fun, if short performance
3/4. Rey/Punk: Both weirdly AWOL from in ring stuff, Punk's head shaving of Serena was some creepy awesome shit though.

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2010 Fab Four 1/11-1/17

ECW Battle Royal ECW 1/12

Battle Royals are Battle Royals. Punk wasn't the focus of this at all, although he did have some nice battle royal near falls and took a big bump when he was eliminated. Ezekiel Jackson looked like a total beast in this though. I hope he doesn't get RAWed when ECW folds.

William Regal v. Christian Superstars 1/12

This was the US match up of the year in 2009, great match after great match, and we get another corker in 2010. Regal was brilliant here, I loved how he and Christain chain wrestled with the arm during the opening part of the match. He looked like Negro Navarro. Then we get our requisite Christian big bump (which was fucking nasty looking) and then lots of different spots teasing the killswitch. Christian works a very formula match, but Regal is so great you can plug him into any formula and it will be awesome. He does so many little things well, everyone is going to eat a Christian missle dropkick, but no one takes it as well as Regal. Everyone is going to counter the killswitch a couple of times, but no one is going to do it as slickly and fluidly as Regal. Man given some time he really is the fucking best.

CM Punk/Luke Gallows v. Great Khail/Matt Hardy v. Cryme Tyme v. Hart Dynasty SD 1/12

Short match with Punk not really in it much. Khali and Luke Gallows were the focus, with both looking fine. As a Mean Street Posse fan from way back I am happy to see the Gas Mask back as a finisher.

Rey Mysterio v. Batista SD 1/12

This was a steel cage match, and a total blast. Rey is one of the best Steel Cage wrestlers ever, as he is so good at using his agility and speed to climb around the cage like a jungle gym. Batista was really good as the douchebag bully tossing around the little kid, but getting caught. Finish was really great with Rey worming himself out of the Batista bomb and flying out of the ring. A little short, but the shortness kind of played into the story they were telling.

Week 2 rankings

1. Regal- You give him 10+ minutes and he is damn near unbeatable.
2. Rey- Second by a hair, I love climbing a cage Rey, but a little less then punch you in the face Regal
3. Punk- Two matches, but really backroundy in both
4. FInlay-AWOL for the week

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2010 Fab Four 1/4-1/10

There was a point where I was watching all of the WWE TV and PPV and doing a top five for the week. With Black Terry Jr. uploading every tiny indy from Mexico, I don't really have the time or inclination to do that. Still the WWE has four legitimate wrestler of the year candidates, so I am going to review Rey, Punk, Finlay and Regal every week and rank their performances.

CM Punk v. Mark Henry ECW 1/5

Punk is the come out of nowhere guy in this competition. He was completely off the radar in 2008, turns heel and has a really great 2009, and his new sleaze bag gimmick really ups the stakes in 2010. Punk is a guy with great timing, bumps and shtick and semi-questionable offense. That package works so much better as a heel. The parts of this match where Punk was controlling were a bit weak (although I did love him yelling "Your not so strong now" and elbowing Henry in the head), but he was great trying to run away when Henry had his leg, and flopping around from Henry's awesome headbutts. I am not so sure about that high kick finish though, and I kind of wanted this to be better.

Finlay v. Mike Knox Superstars 1/5

Finlay and Regal are clearly going to be the dark horses in this race. Neither will probably have many PPV showcase matches, hell Regal might get stuck back on RAW when ECW folds. Still the addition of Superstars means we are still likely to see great under the radar matches like this. These guys had an awesome feud in 2008, and Knox is really one of Finlay's best all time opponents. Just a nasty little fight like it always is. Finlay eats a brutal powerslam on the floor, and Knox works over the small of the back. I really liked the end run, as we had close near falls, and a fun fake out before the Shillelagh shot. I could watch these two beat on each other every week.

Rey Mysterio v. Batista SD 1/5

Both Rey and Batista were really great in this match, unfortunately it was really shit upon from up high by goofy booking. Still the actual work was awesome, Rey doing a magnificent job sticking and moving and getting caught. I loved all of different ways he was sneaking in kicks, especially him knocking Batista off the top rope. Batista was also great as a douchebag, and had really good timing on all of his offense. Still the darkness and gong finish kind of threw some stink on this match

Week 1 rankings

1. Finlay- Got a chance to show all of his nasty bag of tricks
2. Rey- Really close second, great performance hampered by booking
3. Punk- Shtick and bumping were great, offense left a bit to be desired
4. Regal-AWOL for the week

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

SLL's 2010 MOTY List

1. Suicida & Zatura vs. Los Traumas - IWRG 1/14
2. Sangre Azteca, Dragon Rojo Jr., & Misterioso II vs. Mascara Dorada, El Metro, & Stuka Jr. (Mexican Trios Title Match) - CMLL 1/6
3. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (IWGP Heavyweight Title Match) - NJPW 1/4
4. Solar I, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Negro Navarro, Black Terry, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/28
5. Christian vs. Ezekial Jackson (ECW Title Match) - WWE 1/31
6. Solar I, Ultraman Jr., & Angelico vs. Negro Navarro, Trauma I, & Trauma II - IWRG 1/7
7. Pantera, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Black Terry, Cerebro Negro, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/7
8. Centella de Oro, Blue Center, & King Jaguar vs. Ares, Alarido, & Crazy Black (Una Caida) - CMLL 1/11
9. El Metro, Stuka Jr., & Fuego vs. Virus, Polvora, & Dr. X - CMLL 1/11

1. Suicida & Zatura vs. Los Traumas - IWRG 1/14

This past month, I've been fortunate enough to see a lot of great lucha matches that had great long opening mat sections, something I was starting to think was a thing of the past. Something anomalous that no one under the age of 50 did anymore. I'm glad to see that's not the case. This match starts with a long mat section between Trauma II and Suicida, and at first, it looks like the worst of the bunch. Kinda sloppy and ugly looking stuff. But then they get up and start slapping each other around, almost as though Dick Murdoch was commanding them from beyond the grave. "C'mon, what are you guys doing! That kid over there's got a video camera! This is gonna be on the internet!" And they realized that they could not not take the night off, nor could they clown around. They then proceed to have the best opening mat segment of any match I saw last month. Every move, no matter how tricked out, is applied smoothly and forcefully.

Then there are the beatings that the Traumas deliver all over the arena, which is where Trauma I really excels. He has been kinda overlooked next to his brother and his dad, but 2010 looks to be the year where he comes into his own. The technicos looked good and ate stuff well. I don't want to sound dismissive of them, because they are both really great wrestlers and give strong performances here. Still, this is a match that puts the spotlight on Los Traumas, and they shine.

4. Solar I, Suicida, & Zatura vs. Negro Navarro, Black Terry, & Dr. Cerebro - IWRG 1/28

For some reason, I am hearing otherwise sane people arguing that Negro Navarro is starting to suffer a bit as a worker because he gets paired up with Solar I too much. "Navarro is gonna slip if they keep pairing him with Solar. He needs fresh match-ups." You know, like how Flair slipped in '89 because they kept pairing him with Ricky Steamboat. Like how Jerry Lawler was really good, but never got to the next level because he kept getting paired up with Bill Dundee. Like how El Hijo del Santo's career stalled because he had all those matches with Negro Casas. Like how Benoit having all those matches with Regal where they would headbutt each other until they bled hardway hurt his car...wait, scratch that last one.

Point is, I don't see how having an opponent who you regularly have awesome matches with is supposed to be a bad thing, but it's extra weird to see that argument springing from this match which, aside from being great, is a bit different than your average Solar/Navarro showdown. The other match with those two on my list was about building up the their epic one-on-one encounter. This match opens with it. Actually, it opens with Solar and Black Terry, but Solar wants Navarro instead. Terry and Navarro have a nice little intra-team rivalry starting here, as Terry seems to feel slighted by Solar dismissing him, and Navarro taking a cool, all-business approach in telling to go back to their corner and let him do his thing. So Navarro and Solar rule it on the mat for a while, and then Terry gets to pair up with Zatura, and they have a mat exchange where Terry seems to be cranking his stuff in harder, trying to one-up his partner. Then Cerebro and Suicida come in, and Cerebro says "fuck it, I'm just gonna beat the shit out of this guy", but ends up getting sent to the outside and blasted with a Suicida tope. Unfortunately, these guys pretty much disappear until the very end of the match, but the four guys we're left with aren't exactly slouches. Solar and Navarro would face off again, and this time, they're brawling and doing rope-running stuff. I mean, I know Navarro can brawl, but when these guys fight, you have a certain idea of what you're going to see, and it was cool to see them go outside that comfort zone for a little while.

Also of note was Cerebro's nasty post-match beatdown of Suicida. Did somebody put a hit out on this guy? Every other match, his opponents are dragging him around the arena trying to kill him.

5. Christian vs. Ezekial Jackson (ECW Title Match) - WWE 1/31

I had some friends over for the Rumble. They don't watch wrestling regularly anymore, and they were a little slow to buy my claims that Christian became awesome when the came back to WWE last year. Thankfully, this match made a much more convincing argument for Christian than I was able to, but it also made a very convincing argument for Big Zeke, which surprised me. Not that he hasn't been making big strides over the last few months ("Hey, this pasty guy could hang with Goldust, and now he's WWE Champ...maybe if I can hang with Goldust, I'll get a belt, too!"), but my friends still think I'm talking crazy talk when I try to tell them that John Cena and Mark Henry are great wrestlers. I figure if you're not sold on Henry by 2010, you're not going to be sold on Ezekial Jackson. But he hit this one out of the park, mauling Christian like a bear, and everyone was rightfully impressed. His enzuilariato might be the harshest thing I've seen anyone do to anyone other than Suicida so far in 2010. Hell, at one point, he just palmed Christian's head like a basketball, picked him up, and threw him to the mat. Just a total beast. In fact, the only real knock against this match was that Zeke came off as such a badass, it was hard to believe he lost as easily as he did. And it's not like they haven't done a good job of establishing the Killswitch as a guaranteed match-winner. Christian works a lot of matches based around getting his ass kicked, but staying in the fight long enough to find an opening to hit the Killswitch, and grabbing the win off of that. That's what they went for here, but something went wrong. Christian landed kinda out of position somehow, and he had trouble shooting the half, and by the time the pin actually happened, you feel like Zeke was too hardcore to stay down for that. I'm sure that was all an accident, but it did throw me a bit. Still, this may end up being the last great ECW Title match ever, and flubbed finish aside, it was a great way to go.

9. El Metro, Stuka Jr., & Fuego vs. Virus, Polvora, & Dr. X - CMLL 1/11

Virus looks really crazy now. He's wearing this spike-laden gear and facepaint, and he's starting to put on some weight. Between his gear and his gut, it looks like he's turning into Oderus Urungucito. The important thing is that he's still Virus, and he still rules. And guess what? This match starts witha great long mat section with Virus and Stuka Jr.! I'm the luckiest boy in the world. Stuka Jr. is definitely a guy you should be keeping an eye on this year. Great, smooth high-flier, and as he shows here, he can take it to the mat as well. Keep your eye on Metro, too. For powerhouse technicos, he's getting better faster than Dos Caras Jr. did. Polvora and Dr. X are good, solid rudos. I dug Dr. X cowering in the arms of a little old lady in the audience after the technicos took the first fall. Fuego looked pretty sloppy, and dragged things down a bit, but overall, I still liked this a bunch.

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IWRG 1/24/10

First match and HH version of the second match (with post match locker room stitching of wounds) are on

TV version of second match and third match are on

El Hijo del Signo/Alan Extreme/Heavy Boy v. Zatura/Eragon/El Hijo Del Pantera

PAS: This match starts out with a really nice Alan Extreme vs. Eragon mat section which was kind of weird, why would you start with that and why would it be good? Match falls apart for a bit as the rest of the first fall, the second fall, and the first part of the third fall are all a mess. They bring it back together a bit for then end of the match as both Zatura and El Hijo Del Pantera have great rope running sections and dives. Still mostly pretty bad.

TKG: I don’t know what Phil’s problem was with this match. They do the two guys pair up to work the mat untill rudos say “screw this” and start the beatdown first fall,/rudo beatdown until face comeback second fall. I liked all of this. This format that they’re using kind of needs meaner rudo triple teams and better underdog sympathy faces…but it didn’t really go long enough for that to be real complaint. I thought the Heavyboy corner bump into face comeback was a good opening for face comeback, and I dug the actual work in the facecomeback. Faces win the second fall with dual topes taking out two rudos and Eragon awkwardly doing a top rope super drop thing. Once the faces are back in control they regroup for third fall, Eragon and Zatura do a “one technico wins exchanges with all three rudos in succession” thing, which I don’t really think of as a third fall series but worked for me here. The rudos try to regroup only to have Hijo Del Pantera take out Alan Extreme.

Black Terry/Dr. Cerebro v. Gringo Loco/El Hijo Del Diablo

PAS: This was a Super Libre match and an old fashioned bloody brawl. It reminded me of the kind of brawls we saw on the Memphis set. This is as basic as it gets, four guys beating the shit out of each other and painting the canvas red. Really cool start with Terry and Cerebro trying to rush the USA team in the aisle, but end up getting faked out and jumped from behind. The Gringos get the advantage and Cerebro and Terry are bloody, and they go back and forth, punching each other and slamming each other into things. Gringo Loco brings out his bag of cactus, that felt like a comedy spot other times we have seen it, here it had a real Abby feel as he drove a Cactus into Black Terry's bloody head.

TKG: This was a blast. Brawling asskicking Black Terry is awesome as he is always super tough and vulnerable at the same time. I saw Hijo Del Diablo working as a main event babyface teamed with Santito on one of the Juster shows. You watch this match and that just feels completely unbelievable. That scumbucket worked as a main event face? I’d recommend watching the handheld version. The HH misses some of the nasty hammerfists where Dr Cerebro and Hijo Del Diablo appear to be trying to break each other’s cheeks. And I think the wider TV shot of Diablo and Terry trying to bathe the audience in their blood is probably cooler, and there are a couple of other things you miss with the hand held. But you miss a ton with the TV. One of the things that lucha fans always have to explain to people is how much heat lucha matches can have and how poorly the television gets that across. I mean the TV never captures the heat of stuff in Arena Mexico as well as the handhelds capture the heat for this in Naucalpan.

Brazo de Plata/Brazo de Plata Jr. v Fuerza Guerrera/Juventud Guerrera v. Hijo de Pirata Morgan/Pirata Morgan v. Máscara Año 2000/Máscara Año 2000 Jr.

PAS: This is the second part of the tourney to crown new tag champions (first part is unavailable so far), it is set up the same as the father/son match on 12/20/09 with all four sons starting the match and the fathers coming in when they are eliminated. Only having four teams match the match less clusterfucky then the Dec. match. Juvi was the standout of the sons portion, he was jazzed up and working hard, although everything wasn't hit cleanly. Fuerza also had some pep in his step as he was fouling folks, spitting on them and being a total bastard. The match builds to a Pirata v. MA2K showdown which I was totally amped about. The actually face off is a little disappointing, we got some crusty old man brawling, but it was mostly based around MA2K Jr. interference with the Dinamita team finally getting DQ.

TKG: The December father son tourney had similar problems with it's finish. I mean this at least makes sense in setting up future challengers. It does feel like this is a tourney format that they are slowly polishing as this was far less of a cluster. This actually hada build and some direction. Again there is a sense that this could use some face/heel parity as this was pretty much all rudos and the Brazos.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

IWRG 1/21/10

Hijo Del Signo/Gringo Loco/Avisman v. Brazo Metalico Jr./El Brazo Jr./Daga

PAS: This is our first look at the next gen Brazos, and it was a pretty fun match. Kind of a strange structure with the first and second fall being pretty much a rudo beatdown. The rudo team has a bunch of fun double and triple teams and Avisman is always awesome stretching someone on the mat. The third fall we got to see the technicos break out some stuff, El Brazo Jr. (I think, no intros and they look pretty similar) has a nice dive and some pretty armdrags, and Daga had a really great tope fake. Basically a rudo showcase though, and all three rudos are guys to watch for 2010.

TKG: This was bad. I’ve mentioned this trios formula they’ve been working (on top half of card under main event) where instead of having everyone pair off one on one to feel each other out on the mat, in the first fall they have one pairing and then move straight into rudos beat down. Here they switched that up by having everyone pair off in the third for a rope running highflying fall. And it really failed, as the third fall really felt off, like a match restart where despite all the dives, it really felt like a feeling out fall. I liked the first two falls fine. Avisman v El Brazo Jr on the mat was fun in that it really felt less like feeling out and more like both guys moving for pins, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Signo/Avisman double stomp double team that they used to take out Daga. Maybe if you put the dive fall first.

Angelico v. Negro Navarro

PAS: Navarro has been the best wrestler in the world for the last couple of years, and this was a big test for him. Angelico is for the most part an abomination, can Navarro validate his skill and his training by carrying the worst thing to come out of South Africa since P.W. Botha, to a title match? I consider it a passed test, Angelico looked like a green but tolerable here, at no point did Navarro let him get creative, and kept the horseshit to a minimum. Navarro did a great job selling frustration, he should be tooling this punk, but he keeps getting caught. Angelico was mostly able to take control using his speed, Navarro is deliberate and punishing but Angelico was really getting into submissions quickly. The finish of the first fall was pretty cool, Navarro avoids all of Angelicos kicks and really looks in control, but Angelico is able to roll into a leg submission. The second fall has a pissed off Navarro trying to punish the kid, and the rolling keylock he finishes the fall with was fucking awesome looking. Third fall had some really cool moments (Navarro turning a missed shining wizard into a submission was sick) but I thought it went too quickly. This was a title match, it felt like it needed to be dragged out a bit. Also I think the structure of this was a bit too even, Navarro really should have taken 70% of the match on the mat, it felt more like 55%/45% which made the flash submissions mean less. He did a similar thing against Electroshock and I think it a chink in his armor. Still this was way better then it had any right to be. All hail Negro Navarro.

TKG: I have no problem with this being worked so evenly. For title match between overpushed IWRG 22 year old and 50+ trainer, Multifacetico may have been booked stronger opposite Terry (I mean that was a very different match). I understand how wrestling works. Angelico has always been booked less like Multifacetico (inexplicably overpushed youngster) and more like a money mark. You don’t book Otto Wantz to look weak when he’s buying your title. I mean Otto Wantz is a pretty good wrestler and I have never seen Adam Windsor v Dory so don’t quite have a perfect comparison. I imagine Trauma I will get some bookings to challenge for the America’s Title in Orania and NWE. We’ve all seen Shane Mcmahon or HHH matches There was no doubt in my mind that this would have to be worked evenly. Cash Money is an army and even a title. Given that parameter they did do some interesting things. Negro Navarro absolutely dominates the first three to four minutes of this on the mat, then Angelico starts pulling things out and they start trading submissions, showing off what they have in the bank, for the rest of the fall. Angelico eventually wins with a submission that comes off the ropes (comes off the ropes with a rollup spun into a sub). Second fall is more trading with Navarro doing a slow burn and eventually winning with awesome punishing rolling short arm scissors. Third again has Angelico win off the ropes as he goes for a shining wizard where Navarro both ducks and simultaneously hooks Angelico’s arm and Angelico uses the momentum to pull of final sub. The real problem with this match is that Angelico still stinks, and I don’t think he really pulls off either of his finishes particularly well.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

IWRG 1/14/10

The Winter of Black Terry Jr. continues, IWRG HH from heaven,

El Hijo Del Signo/Commando Negro v. Dinamic Black/Imperial

TKG: You can do something with Dinamic Black without Alan Extreme but I don't see why you'd bother. I didn't much care for the finish to the first fall here. Comando Negro and Dinamic Black work opening mat exchanges with Dinamic Black doing all of his of inner thigh stretching stuff. Imperial and Signo then do some mat exchanges that end when Signo starts to just shove the smaller Imperial. Hijo Del Signo does a “I am stronger” Fargo strut type taunt only to get armdragged out of ring. Then Dinamic Black eliminates him with a lackadaisical tope. And then after establishing that Imperial isn’t a strength based wrestler we again get Bret Hart lifting Comando Negro for Jim Neidhart to do running clothesline. Next two falls are perfectly fine lucha and Imperial and Hijo Del Signo are fun opposite each other.

PAS: El Hijo Del Signo is definitely a better wrestler then Alan Extreme, but he isn't as good a Dinamic Black opponent. The tag match earlier in the week had everyone hitting on all cylinders, while this had more off spots and stuff slightly blown. Imperial is still really fun to watch, especially when he gets on a roll and starts armdragging and ranaing everyone. I get a sense he would be an awesome hot tag in a southern tag match.

Los Traumas v. Zatura/Suicida

PAS: So in the last week Trauma II turned into Fit Finaly. He is just smacking the living fuck out of Suicida here. I loved their mat section with both guys laying in short punches to attempt to break the holds. Then the brawling on the floor is just brutal, with both Traumas bringing it, with II being especially stiff, I also has these great looking thai knees, and a sick headbutt. Second and third falls were too short, although I dug the double pin restart. Trauma I's spinning reverse figure four ankle lock is one of the coolest moves in wrestling. Suicida and Zatura were basically foils in this match, but they played their roles well. Best match of 2010 so far.

TKG: Trauma II has switched out of his Slipknotesque mask and is wearing the more Espectrosih style that we last saw on 12/20/09. I remember him being particularly awesome throwing hands there too. He wasn’t this badass and he was playing hopscotch with his submission exchanges, not punching his way out of them. Still the guy I want to talk about is Truama I, it may not all be working a training partner as he came off super crisp and bruising here. It’s three matches in a row where I’ve really enjoyed his Yoji Anjoh knees and clubbering.

Solar/Pantera/Angelico v. Hijo Del Pirata/Bombero Infernal/Negro Navarro

PAS: Trippy match. Parts of it were pretty bad, pretty much everything Angelico did sucked, and there was a moment where Bombero Infernal tried to kill Pantera by blowing multiple spots. So not a great match, there were some great moments though. Navarro v. Solar rock out and do their thing, which I never get tired of. We also get a chance to see Solar mix it up with Pirata which was pretty fun. Finish made this though, there is nothing shittier in wrestling then Angelico kick offense, and Navarro somehow works a Ki v. Red exchange around that garbage. Navarro evades the kicks and drops a abdomen lacerating right hand, before getting a little cocky and caught. Man is Negro Navarro fucking awesome.

TKG: Captain Muerte was one of the best looking most polished wrestlers in IWRG last year. He looses his mask, goes back to the Bombero Infernal gimmick and he looks to have lost a ton of steps. Outside of his section with Solar he felt really off. Maybe that’s the fault of the other faces in this. This was one match when Solar was in it and pretty messy when the other tecnicos were involved. We’re so used to seeing Navarro v Solar as a “touring match up” that it feels completely fresh and is just completely awesome to watch it as an actual main event series. They work with each other differently and Solar gets to mix it up working pairings with each heel.

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IWRG 1/10/10

2. Imperial/Dinamic Black v Comando Negro/Alan Extreme

TKG: Alan Extreme and Dinamic Black are clearly guys who trained together, perhaps brothers and they have their stuff against each other down. I haven’t had much good to say about either one against anyone else but they had a Willow Wisp v Surge level of polish. I’m not a big fan of touring matches but they structure the tag match around their stuff really well. The structure of the tag match means they do some switching up but it’s kind of kept to a minimum and really is done in a way that keeps both of them from being exposed. There is some goofy stuff in this match, Imperial being the guy who deadlifts Comando Negro for Dinamic Black’s front cracker feels like the wrong guy in the wrong position on a double team but this is the best “second match on the card” that we’ve seen in 2010.

PAS: This class of young guys have had individually strong moments, or good secondary performances, but this is their first really good match. Tom was right about Alan Extreme and Dinamic Black, they really have their stuff down and it is some nice looking stuff. I also liked how Negro and Imperial matched up, they also worked well together in a way which didn't look as rehearsed. Good building first fall with nice matwork and standing exchanges, solid beat down second fall, building into a big move third fall with some crazy dives (Alan Extreme does a twisting spinning top rope quebrada which was Flip Kendrick crazy), this is lucha libre right here.

3. Hijo Del Diablo/ Gringo Loco/ Masada v Chico Che/ Eragon/ Hijo del Pantera

PAS: This was really a match of peaks and valleys. When Chico Che is on, he is one of the most fun wrestlers in the world to watch. I love an agile fat dude, and his flying spots look great, floats in the air on his headscissors and splashes and moves shockingly quick for a big dude. I can't remember the last time I have seen Masada, but he is a welcome addition to the Gringos team, he is really expressive and charismatic, and he pulls off simple stooging and shtick so well. He also isn't afraid to take a weak Eragon tope by flying backwards through six rows of chairs. So a lot of good in this match, still there was some bad, a couple of spots near the end of the first fall get blown badly, and the big comeback face brawling didn't look good at all. El Hijo Del Pantera has some strenghts, but asskicking is not one of them.

TKG: Yeah I can't say enough about how fun this rudo team is. On the 1/7 show I described Eragon as a guy who is awesome at primera caida technical exchanges and not knowing what to do in the other two falls. The more I watch I think it’s less that he doesn’t know how to fill time in caida 2 and 3 then it is that he actually is uncomfortable drawing attention to himself there and kind of works tentative trying to fade into the background. Gringo Loco, Hijo del Diablo, and Mazda are super shticky stoogeing bumping guys who really do everything to make the technico look effective and won’t allow him to fade into the background. Eragon does do the really odd move of being the tecnico who looses all chop exchanges, which only works if you’re doing really underdog tecnico and I don’t think he’ll ever be able to pull off. I really like the pairing of Chico Che and Eragon but this could have used Rigo. Maybe they could regimmick Eragon as Perez Prado or replace the dragons on his mask with Farsifa Organs.

4. Dr Cerebro v Bushi (IWRG IC light title)

PAS: This was a really odd match, I am not 100% sure how I feel about it. Dr. Cerebro is an amazing performer, but this is the second singles match in a row which has felt really strange. For most of this match Cerebro was just squashing Bushi. It almost felt like a guy on his way out Mid-South wrestling. The handhelds which Black Terry Jr. are really awesome, you get a great close up look at how lucha is performed, when Cerebro applied his crazy upside submission to win the first fall, we really get a great view of exactly how it is applied. The first half of the second fall is also dominated by Cerebro, but then they go into a weird 2.9 section. Cerebro hits an insane top rope uranage for a two count, and Bushi hits the next move, all of a sudden this was a 2002 Chris Daniels match. Finish is kind of odd too, Bushi hits a tope, just smashing Cerebro into rows of chairs, while Cerebro is selling his thigh and the ref is distracted, El Hijo Del Diablo hits a martinete on Bushi, rolls Cerebro into the ring and he wins in two straight falls. So after being eaten alive by Cerebro for most of the match, Bushi leaves the country looking strong because it took two guys to beat him. You would also think this would lead to Bushi v. Diablo in a hair match or something, but Bushi is on a plane the next day. Lots of good stuff in the match, but this wasn't a good match.

TKG: I dug this more than Phil but it still is problematic match. I described Avisman as working like a “poor man’s Dr Cerebro”in his title match with Bushi so I was expecting a lot more from this. Dr Cerebro really dominates the first fall and it’s a really cool matwork fall as everything feels less cooperative than it often does (Cerebro and Bushi appear to be forcing their ways into and out of holds) and you don’t see either releasing holds on their own. Dr Cerebro isn’t Avisman (guy who can be beat off the ropes) as Dr Cerebro is a pretty solid highflyer himself. And it felt like the rope running fall was being worked as the highflying equivalent of volume puncher v power puncher where Bushi would try to overwhelm Cerebro with the speed and volume of his aerial stuff while Cerebro would slow Bushi down with harder stuff.. It’s more complex story than the Avisman one and I don’t think the match fully accomplished getting it across. For a match that was really one sided, it did accomplish giving you the sense that both Dr Cerebro was tough for being so dominant and Bushi was tough for surviving that level of beating.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

IWRG 1/7/10

Black Terry Jr. putting up all of this HH IWRG is truly the best news of the new millennium. Let's hope this keeps up and we get some real gems.

Imperail/Eragon v. Commando Negro/Flama Infernal

PAS: I am really enjoying all of these undercard IWRG matches, solid basic lucha libre given some time is always going to make me smile. Imperial is one of undercarders that has been standing out. He does some nice basic mat work with Commando Negro, and has a fun little poor mans Helios offense. He doesn't hit everything he tries, but he is about 80% which ain't bad. I can imagine how good the CMLL undercard matches would be if they were worked on the same style.

TKG: They brought back Flama infernal??? I can’t believe they brought back Flama Infernal. He looked like a complete backyarder last week doing his exchanges with training partner Volaris. Is Flama Infernal a guy who drives with someone else? Why would you bring him back? Eragon has gotten really really good at first caida mat work and masterfully carries Flama Infernal through the exchanges. Watched their exchanges twice now and it really is an impressive carry job. I hope Eragon develops some more skills at 2nd and 3rd fall work so he can move up the card. Between Commando Negro controlling traffic and Imperial’s natural underdog sympathy babyface charisma, they’re able to hide a lot of Infernal’s weaknesses in the 2nd and 3rd fall as well. But Imperial and Eragon deserve better. Where is Radamantis? Where is Judas El Traidor?

Cerebro Negro/Dr. Cerebro/Black Terry v. Pantera/Suicida/Zatura

PAS: Cerebro looked pretty great really nice looking overhand slaps, and an reckless tope. This was just super solid lucha libre, a little shorter then a normally IWRG trios, so we only got one longish mat exchange (Terry v. Sucida and it was pretty sweet) and it was mostly slick armdrags by agile technicos and bumping and stooging by great rudos. Amusing finish with Cerebro grabbing Pantera's leg and causing him to low blow the ref. Nothing which will stand out by the end of year, but if we keep getting twice weekly stuff like this 2010 will be ok.

TKG: Without the hair dye and gel, Cerebro Negro looks like a really scummy Bruno Campos gone to seed. This was laid out really similarly to the fourth match on Sunday’s card: instead of establishing everyone's character by having everyone pair up for a mat section in the first fall you just have one pairing work a mat section and then move directly into first fall brawling. Here you had Black Terry and Suicida pair up for some mat work which led to Dr Cerebro and Pantera doing some first fall toe to toe brawling and Zatura and Cerebro Negro pairing for first fall fast exchanges. It’s a format that I imagine will play well to the Jr Piratas or Oficiales strengths (keeping a match moving). It doesn’t really play to Terribles Cerebros (character work) but it made for a fun match that kept moving at a nice clip.

Angelico/Solar/Ultraman Jr. v. Negro Navarro/Trauma I/Trauma II

PAS: Angelico looked like the worst wrestler in the world the first time I saw him, but apparently Negro Navarro can teach a guy something. The first fall had a long Angelico v. I llave exchange and it was shockingly watchable. Angelico was doing a lot of Alex Shellyish World of Sport looking stuff, it wasn't anything approaching WOS level, but it was Alex Shelly level which is a lot higher then Angelico level. He has a terrible looking exchange in the second fall, but hits a sweet dive in the third. Shocked that we have a match where Angelico was a net positive. Solar v. Navarro was Solar v. Navarro, we got a really slick fast exchange in the first fall which is a little rarer.

TKG: WTF? Either Trauma I just improved by leaps and bounds or he’s a guy who has perfected an act with Angelico as training partner. I mean it isn’t just that Angelico looked better than he ever has before but really Trauma I looked smoother than he has before. These two pretty much staid paired off for the whole match and they had their stuff down. In AAA you’d never separate the two, in EMLL you’d also keep them a permanent pairing like Super Commando and Sombra De Plata but they’d never move out of the opening match slot. In IWRG this is the first I think I’ve seen of this pairing. The Ultraman Jr v Trauma II stuff was kind of disappointing compared to their interactions on Sundays show, but I imagine they’d probably be a little more tentative after the injury. And well then there is Solar and Navarro who do a superfast arm drag exchange segment in the first fall, in seocnd they offer neat new pairings by matching Solar with II and Navarro with Ultraman and then pair again in third for super hot finish. I hope Solar sticks around for awhile.

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IWRG 1/3/10

More IWRG HH courtesy of

1. Comando Negro v Dinamic Black

TKG: So it’s a face working “charismatic peppy black” gimmick vs. a heel working “militant negro” gimmick. I have seen this booking a million times. Never before have I seen it worked with two wrestlers with no African ancestry. Comando Negro does a convoluted elaborate set up for a roll up that starts with a knuckle lock leading to him climbing his opponents back; it really felt like a spot Johnny Saint should steal. I always like Comando’s big dropkick and his flying yoke but he didn’t really do anything as cool as Elijah Akeem’s big elbow drop. Dinamic Black didn’t have Sweet Brown Sugar’s ups either.

PAS: The opening mat work in this match really felt like two guys workshopping a match at half speed. They had some cool ideas and I would like to see them work it for real. Dinamic Black really does nothing in the match except a crazy tope. He smacks Comando Negro three rows back and bends the fuck out of a plastic chair seat. Not something I was expecting from this match.

2. Alan Extreme/Hijo Del Signo v Gemelos Fantasticos

TKG: First fall of this had Hijo del Signo paired off with the Gemelo Fantastico who facially looks more like a young Fred Willard. They don’t do anything overly elaborate but I enjoyed their really basic headlock/leglock and hiptoss/armdrag exchanges. Alan Extreme and the Gemelo Fantastico who facially looks like a young Eddie Mekka do some awkward looking exchanges but they pretty quickly move into rudos double teaming on Fred Willard. Second fall starts with lots of Alan Extreme clapping his hands while doing drop kicks and leg lariats, and the fall doesn’t pick up till the Gemelos go on offense and Eddie Mekka attacks Signo on the floor. Somewhere in the end run of the second fall Signo gets his nose busted which results in a super abbreviated third fall.

PAS: The Gemelos have consistently been some of the crappiest guys in IWRG, but here they looked almost watchable. Their poor mans Young Bucks combos aren't my thing, but they seemed well executed enough. And the slimmer of the two had a perfectly fine low end mat section with El Hijo Del Signo. Honestly all I ask for IWRG undercarders is a basic level of competence and they seemed to have that.

4. Traumas/Barba Roja v Exodia/Hijo del Pantera/Ultraman Jr.

PAS: We have talked a bunch about how great Trauma II has become, he was my wrestler of the year for IWRG and is one of the top under 30 wrestlers in the world. Trauma I has lagged behind, but damn has he gotten good too. He is the bigger and thicker of the brothers and is a pretty great bruiser, he looks like his blows leave dents, and has some of the best headbutts in the world. Also his spinning reverse figure four leglock is the coolest finisher in the world. II ruled here as usual, as he looked just awesome in his mat section with Ultraman Jr., Barba Roja looked fine too although he botched a senton and may have crippled Exodia. That kind of blew the flow of the match, which was going fine before hand. This wasn't a blow away match, but anytime you can see the Traumas, you want to see the Traumas

TKG: This is a match that should have been a complete trainwreck but weirdly wasn’t. Ultraman Jr lands a leg drop on Trauma II’s face in the first fall that leads to the doctor removing Truama II in third fall. In the third Barba Roja lands a senton right on top of Exodia’s head and shoulder that necessitates a doctor removal. This should have been a complete mess and instead it was just a small mess. Once in a while I get the impression that Ultraman Jr is a lot better than I give him credit for being. Maybe it’s a result of him being teamed with such green guys but he really felt like guy who was keeping large chunks of this together. I dug the opening exhange between Trauma II and Ultraman Jr. I even liked the set up to Ultraman Jr facecracker leading to Truam II backcracker receipt. Trauma II's elaborate carny matwork never felt out of place opposite Ultraman Jr's real 70s Florida matwork. I think you need to give both guys credit for how natural they made this feel. I was also surprised at how much I dug Ultraman's little section opposite bruising Trauma I in the third fall. I may end up giving him more credit than he deserves. Other guy worth mentioning is Hijo Del Pantera who hits a really nice dive in the first fall and is super expressive as sympathy babyface selling a beating for the rest of the match. Hijo Del Pantera is a guy who makes you want to root for him which is important for a guy working face.


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Thursday, February 04, 2010


So barring any new stuff showing up (and we can always hope) we have now watched and reviewed the totality of available 2009 IWRG. So here are some year end awards

Wrestler of the Year

PAS: Trauma II

Negro Navarro was my 2009 wrestler of the year but some of his best stuff was outside of IWRG (Solar title match, Delaware trios). His baby boy however made 2009 his. Turned into a world class wrestler in front of our eyes, had a pair of awesome title matches (vs. Avisman and vs. Zatura) and owned it in trios as well. Right up there with Danielson and Yujiro Yammamoto as the future of wrestling.

TKG: Dr. Cerebro

This was a two man race between Black Terry and Dr Cerebro. . Los Terribles Cerebros were the best team in wrestling in 2009. And the two really complimented each other well. Terry was really the heart of the team while Dr Cerebro was the workhorse. Cerebro was performing on a level that allowed Terry to concentrate on subtler character stuff. When you saw Black Terry without Dr Cerebro he would end up doing a lot more ring work, and when you saw Dr Cerebro without Terry, Cerebro would put in a little more character work. Dr Cerebro was in four hair matches in 2009. While we didn’t get to see the Dr Cerebro v Juve hair match we got to see the awesome match that set it up. We only got to see one hair v hair match, the Cerebro v Mikey Segura one which was pretty great if not for the overbooked finish. It was a two man race and showcase singles matches put Cerebro over the top for me.

Match of the Year

PAS: Zatura v. Trauma II 6/18(REVIEW)

Lucha Libre is kind of a dying artform, really all the great work is being done by wrestlers in their 40's and 50's and both major promotions push a crappy approximation of the style. So it is great to see to young guys have a match this good which felt actually modern. This wasn't a 1992 title match being done in 2009, it was something new but still great.

TKG: Negro Navarro/Trauma I/Trauma II v. Black Terry/Cerebro Negro/Dr. Cerebro 4/16 (REVIEW)

This was the feud of the year and this was the match that set it up in Naucalpan, that established the relationships between all the participants, teased match ups, established the basis for a feud, and it's the match that all the rest of the matches in the feud reference. And untill they have a match that equals this I won't buy that any payoff match is actually the last match in the feud.

Team of the Year

PAS: Terrible Cerebros

Cerebros v. Navarros was by far the feud of the year, and the Cerebros family also had fun matches against the Oficiales and a Jr. Piratas. This could have gone either way, but since I gave Trauma II wrestler of the year for IWRG and Negro Navarro wrestler of the year for the world, I can give this one to Terry and the Boys

TKG:Terribles Cerebros.

The further you get from 2009 the more obvious it is that these guys dominated it.

Most Improved

PAS: Zatura

Both Trauma's made huge leaps in 2009 too, but Zatura went from a guy dragging down trios matches to one of the top 15 guys in the world. Great on the mat, awesome agility, great selling, and cool dives. He pretty much is the total technico package.

TKG: Trauma II.

Trauma II is a guy who you watched get better from week to week. Constantly workshopping new stuff. I am normally not a fan of wrestlers who are constantly trying to “innovate” but I think that’s because “innovative wrestlers” tend to have really bad aesthetic judgements. Truama II is trying things and improving in ways that actually interest me.

Worst Wrestler of the Year

PAS: Angelico

There is some semi watchable stuff in 2010, but in 2009 he was a plague on all that he touched. His fake British matwork, awkward Chikara flying, and awful fake Low-Ki kicks, just unbearable.

TKG: Arlequin Amarillo

A quick finger count tells me that we watched a total of 106 wrestlers in IWRG in 2009. Sexy Gladys was so bad that they edited him out of a match. We only saw Arlequin Verde one time and he looked awful. Honestly this should go to Angelico. Arlequin Amarillo at least has a better sense of how to put a match together. But I said after the 12/20 match: “I’d like to stop writing about the poor wrestling of Angelico. Yes his South African diamonds has bought him an inexplicable main event push. But I figure those same South African diamonds have paid for Black Terry Jr’s digital video camera. So I’ll take the bad with the good. It totally makes up for it.” Arlequin Amarillo was worlds better than Angelico in 2009. But he didn’t buy anyone a digital camera.

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IWRG 1/1/10

Black Terry Jr., IWRG and Segunda Caida open 2010 with a bang

1.Avisman/Flama Infernal v. Eragon/Volaris

PAS: First fall is pretty fun, as it is about 8 minutes of Avisman twisting and stretching Eragon, as he does a pretty passable Negro Navarro impression. The rest of the match was pretty bad as Volaris and Flama Infernal are super green and it had a real Chikarish awkwardness. Still Avisman matwork is always a blast and if we got weekly tastes of him stretching rookies I could dig that.

TKG: Flama Infernal and Volaris have clearly worked together but weren’t good and their WWEish stuff Batista powerbombs, bronco busters, and spears were just painfully ugly. I don’t know what was going on but Avisman’s third fall throws looked far nastier and more punishing than they have ever looked before. He had a hundred ways to pick up Volaris and then drop him kidney first across Avisman’s knee. They would start all Kanyonesque and end with real Gary Albright/Ron Simmons type thud.

This was a tag tourney, for what purpose I do not know

2. Veneno/Keshin Black v. Ultraman Jr./Guizmo

PAS: This was better then it looked on paper. This was a showcase for Guizmo and he looked pretty good. You don't really think of Veneno as a maestro, but their mat section was pretty nice, with Veneno showing me something. Guizmo also had some nice ranas and armdrags, including winning the match with a sweet looking dragon rana. Still clearly green as goose shit, but totally a guy I wouldn't mind check out again.

TKG: As a general rule, lucha tourney stuff disappoints. All matches being single falls means they often don’t have a sense of development, they come across really abbreviated, and they normally feel like you’re only getting to see the second fall in what would’ve been a neat three fall match. But this is IWRG where stuff gets some time and this goes almost twenty and builds from ground up. Veneno and Guizmo match up on the mat followed by Ultraman Jr and Keshin Black, then they switch off for brawling section, switch back, build to some big dives etc. Keshin Black feels like the Black Thunder/Averno to Guizmo’s Turbo/Mistico. He’s a guy who does an amazing job of eating Guizmo’s stuff. His own offense left something to be desired. I really dug Ultraman Jr’s “early 80s Florida technical worker” style matwork, was less pleased with his “early 80s Florida technical worker” style indifferent selling during brawling.

3. Dr. Cerebro/El Hijo Del Signo v. Imperial/Rocket

PAS: Same idea as the first match with a single veteran rudo in with three rookies. Rocket showed me nothing, but Imperial had some fun if slightly awkward highspots. He got some really height on his tope con hilo, and a really nice rana. Cerebro is super solid at this point, probably at top 20 worker in the world. His carry the rookie matwork was a nice carrying of a rookie.

TKG: Hijo Del Signo is really developing fast and all his stuff looks crisp. His huge superfly splash was nice looking as well. Imperial really flays his body awkwardly as he's eating a beating and also just kind of tosses himself out to rana (or hit whatever other move he's going for on) his opponet in a style that really reminded me of Masato Yakashiji. I don't know how to describe that style. It isn't spastic or sloppy but it's just throwing himself out there without abandon.

4. Black Terry/Alan Extreme v. Chico Che/Dinamic Black

PAS: This tourney is pretty much a testing ground for rudos. Each match basically tests how your veteran rudo can run a match, and as why might have guessed, Black Terry throws off the curve. This was a virtuoso one man show, as his carry job of Dinamic Black may have been as good as what he did with Multifacitico in 2008. Chucked him around the mat, kicked the shit out of him, and then bumped and put him over when he needed to. I liked everyone else a fair amount too, and this was the match of the show and goddamn is Black Terry spectacular.

TKG: Alan Extreme is now a rudo. Not sure when that happened. He also now has the star with tassels on his belly and not his buttocks. Still don’t know what his gimmick is. Is he supposed to be an Extreme version of Alan from the Barrio Boys? What is more extreme than an underage boy prostitute? Does Alan Extreme insist on bareback, only work for IV drug users, have no safe word? With Extreme Barrio Boy working rudo, I’m assuming Dinamic Black is part of some type of face version of the Black Family. Was there an episode of the Munsters where they tried to rid the neighborhood of the child street whore menace? Both Alan Extreme and Dinamic Black have some entertaining multiple springboard armdrags.

5. Oficial 911/Comando Negro v Bushi/Guerrero 2000

TKG: This was more what I expect out of a lucha tourney, super short match that starts with the brawling into highflying, Guerrero 2000 is a chubby guys stuffed in a smaller ring gear, he has the Abismo Negro white face paint and a look that’s a little too close to IWRG’s Mascara Magnifica. He got huge height in his jump into a rana but outside of that got no sense.

PAS: The faces had a nice double tope, and it fun to watch an Oficial eat a tope, but outside of that this wasn't much. I did like the red and black Oficial gear though.

6. Trauma I+II v. Gringo Loco/Fantasma De La Opera

PAS: Gringo Loco is a Chicago luchadore I remember really digging, and he looked very good here. He bumped well, hung with Trauma II nicely on the mat and had some amusing shtick. First fall was pretty darn good with some really nice mat wrestling between II and Loco. Match never really lived up to the promise of the first fall withe some uninspired brawling in the second and third. Fantasma De La Opera was wearing a CM Punk t-shirt, straight edge Phantom is a really weird gimmick. Is he living the bowls of the Black Cat and Gillman Street? Do people hear ghostly hardcore rifts late at night?

TKG: This was a non-tourney match and disappointing considering the folks involved. First fall had a lot more momentum changes than I expect in a primera caida: there is a mat section between Loco and II, double team rudos section and a Trauma I based fired up tandem combo section. For a second I mistook it for another single fall tourney match. And that first fall would have been a fine tourney match. Second fall was rope running fall and I thought it looked very sloppy and off. Post second fall they had the start of a fun streetfight, and there were sections of entertaining brawling in the third but I expected better.

7. Dr Cerebro/Hijo Del Signo v Ultraman Jr/Guizmo (semifinal match)

TKG: This was actively disappointing. At times this year, Dr Cerebro has looked like one of the top 20 wrestlers in the world. Hijo Del Signo and Ultraman Jr lately have been some of my favorite of all the anonymous interchangeable masked IWRG underders. Both Hijo Del Signo and Ultraman Jr used big top rope splashes in their prelim rounds, and I love a “battle of the top rope splashes”. Plus it’s a son of a Missionero De La Muerte v son of Space Cadet. I wanted more than this. Ultraman Jr wussies out on taking a posting, Hijo del Signo does a really bad eat of rana out of a ring, and this just felt like a real throw away match. This was the typical underwhelming meandering lucha tourney match with guys who you expect more from.

PAS: I liked the first four minutes of this, Ultraman Jr. and Cerebro have some perfectly fine matwork and a nice rope running section, with Ultraman taking a fine bump to the floor. Last five minutes weren't much, and after Cerebro's first round performance I was hoping for more.

8.Oficial 911/Comando Negro v Chico Che/Dimanic Black (semifinal match)

TKG: Neither 911 or Commando Negro are Black Terry. Nope they aren’t and neither really could do much of anything with Dinamic Black. This came together for a bit when Chico Che was in it. I imagine Chico Che and Oficial 911 have matched up as captains multiple times before and they do essentially a captain face off that was fun. Chico Che also does his fast spot exchange with big in ring shoulder tackle opposite Comando Negro. It’s a good looking spot but this match was less a big semifinal than essentially just one Chico Che segment.

PAS: Pretty disappointing performance by the rudos. I figured they would throw a bit of spark into the proceedings, but they seemed like they were sleepwalking a bit through the match. Black was green, although I did like his out to in second rope rana, Chico Che has a really great looking flying shoulder tackle.

9. Dr Cerebro/Hijo del Signo v Oficial 911/Comando Negro

TKG: This is rudo contra rudo which is also an odd way to end a tourney. The Oficial/Comando team dumps Signo out of the ring and double teams Dr Cerebro until he is able to dump Comando out of the ring so that Signo and the Dr can double team the Oficial and then isolate the Comando; the Oficial/Comando team threaten a Zbysco walk to the back and then come back to settle into a Commando v Signo one on one exchange that leads to big dives from the Signo/Cerebro team; and then it’s back into the ring for some near falls. There was a second there where it felt like both uppercard heels were going to pin both lower card heels and we might get a singles match up between Cerebro and 911. It felt like we were about to get something epic and then instead we got a straight forward second fall finish. This match was short and again felt more like a second fall then an actual match. But it was an actively good satisfying second fall where I left wanting to see the full match. Unfortunately, it’s a match I can’t imagine them ever booking toward in any other context. This was a weird tourney where for the most part I enjoyed the long opening rounds which felt like complete matches. I thought the semifinals both felt like mediocre segunda caidas while the final felt like an actively good one.

PAS: Cerebro comes flying back after a mediocre Segunda, as he is just killing it here. He has a really great punch section where he is mixing up hooks to the body and the head. He also breaks out a sweet looking tope. 911 looked good here too, but I was a little underwhelmed by Signo and Commando. Tom is right about this feeling abrupt. I don't like lucha tournaments, they are often really intriguing match ups which invariably disappoint. This actually had some match ups which overachieved, but it was still less then the sum of its parts.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It Reassures Me Just to Know That Cassandro's OK

~Pimpiniela Escarlata/Casanova/Sangre Chicana vs. Cassandro/Zumbido/Antifaz (Arena Coliseo de Monterrey, 1/8/06) - FUN

Cassandro attacks Pimpi to start and it is ON. Pimpi looks insanely awesome here. He looks like the freakiest awkward stage of a 12 yr. old girl's life. He had a bleach blonde bob with a singlet that made him look like a demented aerobics instructor. Cassandro has rad Fabulous Moolah hair here and worked really stiff the entire match. His opening punch to Pimpi looked completely bell-ringing. Once back in the ring he lands a couple of really painful dropkick variations, getting vaulted into the air by his teammates and just nailing dudes in the corner.

Cassandro and Pimpi have been working together for about 16 or 17 years at this point, so it's no real surprise that they know how to run a great sequence together. Nobody's ever surprised when Negro Navarro runs through a decent sequence with Solar, nobody was ever surprised when Gena Rowlands turned in a good performance in a John Cassavetes movie. Some things just go well together and never get old. These two run through different sequences every time I see them work, and they have a hot run here. Cassandro tries to powerbomb Pimpi off a hurraranrana attempt, only to have Pimpi counter with his weight and turn it into a balls-to-the-face seated senton. Cassandro tries his own running flying headscissors and Pimpi just ducks, causing Cassandro to just land hard on his butt, legs out. Then Cassandro charges into the corner and gets tossed head over heels onto the floor. If you haven't noticed, Cassandro can take some massively dangerous bumps to the floor.

Arena Coliseo de Monterrey never has a shortage of juiced up former strippers working as luchadors, and Casanova is exactly that. Cassandro wanted Casanova's business, and did not keep it secret in a hilarious secret. Cassandro kept purposely blowing a "slide through the legs" spot with Casanova, the first time not sliding far enough through and ending up face first in his crotch, the second time trying to slide through Casanova's legs saw his slide come up too short, ending in some rump to groin that Casanova had to pretend he hated. Casanova was torn. The men in the crowd saw his longing, saw the pain through his cut stripper physique. But Casanova is paid because the ladies love him. True love, or your dedicated lady fans? Their love was a lie.

Sangre Chicana can still go, man. He had lost his hair about a week before this, so was just a maniac with a shaved head, just punching and bumping and just generally being a bad ass. Finish comes when poor Pimpi gets punted right in the balls by Zumbido, who just looks like someone who would punt you right in the balls.

~Jesse/Nygma/Polvo de Estrellas/Yuriko vs. Cassandro/El Ángel/Pimpinela Escarlata/Super AAA (AAA, 10/18/07) - SKIPPABLE

God damn you Night Queens. You always have a few good spots in you, but most of the time your matches are a race to see who can get in the worse position possible for the tecnicos' offense.

The Queens are wearing some garish purple get-ups, with Polvo's torn leotard holding tight his round physique, and Nygma's velveteen flared jumpsuit hugging his body in all sorts of unflattering ways. Their fashion just cannot compete with Cassandro and Pimpi's stereo satin white robes (with Cassandro rocking a kicky white top hat to boot!).

The Night Queens don't blow it until the 2nd Caida, as they had some decent moments during the 1st. Polvo hit a nice pudgy senton and Jesse hit a colossal Alabama (Nuevo Leon?) Jam while Pimpi was draped across somebody's knees. Those were good looking spots right there.

And then the rest of the match happened. Night Queens just try and make every base spot as awkward looking as possible. Angel tries a rana from the apron to the floor, and Nygma starts backpedaling as he catches him then just kind holds his crotch to his face, then finally regains his balance enough to do a really poor somersault out of it. Later on he gets into position for a armdrag a good 15 seconds too early. They stumble through some rote sequences and then Night Queens expertly try and screw up the dive train (which is beginning to seem like their specialty). Pimpi had to stop a dive in mid air (he was doing a somersault tope and never let go of the ropes) due to the Queens not looking in the right direction (you know, towards the ring) in the 12/14/07 match, and here they do the same fucking thing!! Except - AWESOMELY - Pimpi at full speed does NOT put on the brakes and just barrels through them coming out totally sideways like Mike Knox's flying crossbody, just obliterating a Queen. Cassandro is smart and opts to stop his dive, as it would have been sure death to rely on one of these clowns to catch him.

The end is really fun as Cassandro misses a moonsault on Polvo, opts to try it again, and Polvo gets up and just clubs him off the top rope, with Cassandro getting dumped back in the ring right on his head...which AAA's expert camera's naturally miss.

There are still more Night Queens match ups left to go. I am frontloading them. At least the 10/26/07 one was awesome. Naturally that was the one I watched first, and when the outlier happens to be the first match you see...God damn you Night Queens.


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IWRG 2009 Errata

We wanted to go ahead and put a close on 2009 for IWRG by picking up and reviewing some matches which are floating around Youtube.

Trauma I/II/Negro Navarro v. Black Terry/Dr. Cerebro/Cerebro Negro 3/28

PAS: IWRG ran this series twice in Arena Xochmilco before running it twice in Naculpan. This was the feud of the year in wrestling, four great matches between six great wrestlers. We get a long opening mat section between Terry and Trauma II which was really spectacular stuff. One of the problems with IWRG matwork is that is often worked too even, here Terry is clearly superior, II is able to get some reversals using speed, but Terry is the veteran tooling him. There is this great moment where Trauma II tries to lift Terry and can't execute it because his arm has been shredded. Navarro comes in and does a similar job on Cerebro Negro and it really has the feel of the Maestros punishing the lesser members in an attempt to show the other guy up. I would have liked that to lead to a battle of matwork, but instead those two brawl it out, and goddamn is it spectacular. There is a punch exchange between the two on the floor which rivals your best Todd Morton v. Mitch Ryder exchanges. I really loved the finish too, with Terry stealing the fall, after Trauma II had Dr. Cerebro beat. Perfect example of the crafty rudo always being one step ahead.

TKG: I wrote a lot about the Xochmilco match in my review of the Naucalpan one. And I pretty much stand by what I wrote before. The Naucalpan one was built on mismatches with Terry matching up with Trauma I (weakest matworker in Dinastia Navarro) and Navarro working Cerebro Negro (weakest mat worker in Terribles Cerebros). The Xochimilco match is far evener with the two maestros matched up opposite the two stronger non-maestro members of the opposite team. You still get a sense of it mot being even, but it’s not as stark as in the Naucalapn match, and it doesn’t affect the match flow as much. The Trauma II v Terry match up is really neat as you have Trauma selling the arm to the point where he needs to release a hold, and Terry doing the same with the leg. Terry’s leg sell is a really neat realistic working through a pain sell. This match isn’t as good a match overall compared to the Naucalpan one but you still want to see it just for the Terry v Navarro street fight section.

Trauma I/II/Negro Navarro v. Black Terry/Dr. Cerebro/Cerebro Negro 4/4

PAS: This was your Xochmilco revancha match, and worked as a brawl. They pretty much went after each other head on the entire match. Navarro was amazing here, just brutalizing everyone he was in the ring with. There was a point where he had Terry in the corner and he just unloaded with combos and finished up with a nasty headbutt, great stuff. I liked the rudo trickery, with Black Terry faking a foul to win a fall, and Navarro coming back to rip off the mask of his own son to DQ the rudos. Pretty great brawling by everyone else too, as Trauma II is starting to develop the asskicker which he is unleashing in 2010. I think we only get the last two falls here, which is a shame, but what we get is damn great.

TKG: This is JIP but I still counted three falls. This is an absolute blast. One of the things I picked up rewatching these four matches is that Cerbro Negro really contributes a bunch more in these Xochimilco matches then he did in the Naucalpan series. In Naucalpan he really felt like the third wheel. In Xochimilco he is a blast working almost a Dougie Gilbert type role. He isn’t as tough as Dr Cerebro, or Black Terry but he is a dick who will run in to sneak his shots in, then run away. He bumps around a bunch stoogeing constantly getting caught in the wrong place.

Avisman v. Mike Segura v. Freelance v. Testsi Bushi 7/5

TKG: This was kind of a mess. It is a prison fatal: four man everyone for themselves cage match where after ten minutes the participants are allowed to try to escape and the last guy in looses his hair or mask. I can’t remember Avisman using this many headbutts at any other point this year, as he wastes Freelance with one early on, leans into a Segura headbutt later and throws multiple nasty top of the cage headbutts at another point. I enjoyed any point where Freelance and Avisman were matching up. The other matchups (Freelance v Bushi, Avisman v Bushi, Avisman v Segura, Segura v Bushi, Segura v Freelance) had their moments but weren’t as dynamic. Once the participants were allowed to leave the cage, there were way too many battle royale moments where a guy is just standing around, too many points where guys would inexplicably do dives when they could just as easily climb out, and too many points where guys had to wait or had to get into position to slowly climb (including a point where it looked like Avisman didn’t have the upper body strength to pull himself up on the cage and then miraculously got the upper body strength to suplex Mike Segura).

PAS: Yeah this wasn't good, I don't really like multi man lucha cage matches, it is a match which places real limitations on the guys in it. Avisman can't really work the mat, Freelance and Segura can't fly as much and Bushi can't do what ever he does. Freelance was really the only standout, he takes some huge backdrops, rips off some nice ranas and does a sweet moonsault 3/4ths of the way up the cage. Mostly a mess though with all the problems Tom mentioned.

Avisman v. Trauma II 8/16

TKG: This was disappointing. This is a title match and pretty much three falls of guys working submissions. Trauma II isn’t as crisp or smooth here as he is at other points in the year. First fall starts with Avisman mostly making attempts to tie up Trauma’s leg’s, while Trauma II makes attempts at arm based submissions. Neither gets anywhere that way and Avisman switches to going after Trauma II’s shoulders (one of which is bandaged) and Trauma II switches to going after Avisman’s legs (both guys sell that this is the better strategy). Trauma II wins the first fall with a leg arm and neck cranking submission. Second fall is mostly Avisman whipping out shoulder cranking surfboards while Trauma II occasionally gets in some neck cranking surfboards. Avisman wins the fall with the same knee submission that he used to win the non-title brawl ( except there it was set up with the Gory bomb on the knees, while here it came out of nowhere. The third fall contiues the neckcrank v shoulder crank thing until Trauma II gets in a big tope. He reinjures his shoulder on the tope. The ringside doctor snaps it back in, which gives Avisman enough time to set up his big tope. He takes Trauma II back into the ring hits him with a Satanico style arm DDT, Fujiwara arm bar and then just cranks and the end is a given. It reads better on paper than it comes across watching it. And while I don’t want to say the match was formless, at times it seemed really directionless and rhythmless.

PAS: I liked this a lot more then Tom, this wasn't as good as either Avisman v. Bushi or Trauma II v. Zatura but it wasn't far behind. Your first two falls strictly mat work but that is what you want these two guys to do. I liked how you had more counter wrestling, with guys finding ways out of submissions. I also like how as Trauma's shoulder got worse he had to attempt more rope breaks. You normally don't see that kind of body part selling in a lucha match, but Trauma did a great job getting over the deterioration of the shoulder. I thought the finish was bad ass, with the young guy making the mistake of going for a tope, and the veteran viciously going after the opening. I admit the execution was slightly off for parts of the match, but I thought this was really great and one of the better matches of 2009

Ultraman Jr./Hijo Del Lizmark/Zatura v Oficiales 11/12

TKG: 2009 was a weird year for the Oficiales All three have had individually impressive performances, but as a unit they haven’t done a ton this year. Part of the reason for that is the other major teams in IWRG have been Terrible Cerebros, Dinastia Navarro and Jr Piratas who are all really guys who work outside of the basic Oficial formula. Here though it’s Oficiales working their match: Oficiales vs. three guys with some hot highflying moves. The Oficiales may not know how to fill time to highlight what the Trauma’s bring to the table but they can do this match in their sleep: Oficiales beat up faces, Oficiales then bump and fly around for face offense, then Oficiales catch face dives.

PAS: This was a bunch of fun, Zatura is awesome, but neither other technico is much, but when the Oficiales are on their grind it really doesn't matter. They are just so good at working this basic lucha formula. I do think that 2009 exposed them a bit, they really can't stretch, but I would be fine seeing them work a bunch of highflyers every week all year. Zatura was a freight train in 2009, at the beginning of the year I was calling for them to dump him and find someone else to team with Chico Che and Freelance, by the end of the year he was a top 5 guy in IWRG which is pretty incredible. He did his thing here, crazy ranas, great quebrada into the stands, just looked like a total package.

Also for some reason Telfortuna showed the undercard of the Nov 11th show

Carta Brava Jr/Hijo del Signo v Mascara Magnifica/Star Boy

TKG: I really dug this. We already know that Starboy and Carta Brava Jr match up well, but Hijo del Signo and Mascara Magnifica really stepped it up here as well. Hijo Del Signo and Magnifica work a fun first fall mat section where every sub attempt is reversed into a takedown, (leglock turned into leg scissors takedown, arm lock is turned into armdrag etc.) Hijo del Signo really launches himself across the ring eating armdrags.. Second fall was all about Mascara Magnifica selling like he was Misawa. He does nasty SuperCalo style skull first eat of a Signo clothesline, which is followed up by a giant swing into a dropkick to his dome, followed by a double backcracker where his arms are crossed around his neck. Mascara Magnifica ate all this and sold in away that made me totally buy “that guy just had his spinal column broken”. Later he did one of the better sells of a dropkick to the inner thighs. His offense in the third fall wasn’t as cool as his selling in the second but this was still a match well worth seeing.

PAS: I wasn't in love with either Star Boy or Carta Brava Jr. in this match, but El Hijo Del Signo is becoming one of my favorite IWRG undercarders to watch. He doesn't do anything spectacular, but he does everything very solid, eats things well, has nice offense. Magnifica selling and bumping was really awesome, but his offense wasn't much. I really like IWRG undercard wrestlers

Flor Metalica/Josseline v La Diabolica/Lady Metal

TKG: LADY METAL~!!! I haven’t seen Lady Metal in ages, and she’s one of my favorite luchadoras: stiff, big bumping butch ruda with a mullet and light mustache. Essentially the story of the match was Josseline and Flor Metalica are too tough girls who are being beaten into La Diabolica and Lady Metal’s gang. And you have three falls mostly built around the rudas beating and humiliating the tecnicas leading to a third fall of tecnica fighting spirit where they show their toughness by New Japan selling clotheslines and answering in kind. A couple awkward moments; Lady Metal blows her Halloween chest first baseball slide bump (although taking it knee first may be even more nasty) and Flor Metalica really shouldn’t try springboard moves, but otherwise this delivered exactly what it was supposed to deliver.

PAS: Total cosigning this match. Great shit, nasty little fight. It felt like a barfight in an El Paso Dykes on Bikes bar. There is a point where Diabolica is on top of Josseline and she is grabbing her by her hair and smashing the back of her head against the mat. Diabolica is a monster here, awesome devil mask, crazy bumps and vicious brawling, she was like a distaff 1989 Pirata Morgan. Lady Metal was great too, she looks like Cagney and Lacey era Tyne Daley and will kick a bitches ass. Technicas bring the fight right back, and I enjoyed this more then any ladies match in years.

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