Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

AN END TO HOUSEBOAT SEDUCTION: CMLL at Arena Mexico, 7.30.2010

Focus of the show was part one of the Campeonato Universal tournament, in which the sixteen guys holding titles in the company face off in bracketed single fall matches. It’s set to run for three weeks, but most of the matches are short as hell given the unica caida format, and by trying to squeeze a full six match block into each of the first two nights. Block A aired this weekend on TV and moments later on the Youtubes, let’s go to the videotape:

Mascara Dorada vs. Stuka, Jr.: Only good spot was Dorada’s running splash from the ramp into the ring that gets stopped by a Stuka dropkick. Kinda fun to see Stuka as a de facto heel but otherwise this was a massive disappointment, and possibly clipped as hell. I wanted this to be the Doink-Hennig match that surprises everyone by going long and having great chemistry. Instead these two are frequent tag partners who seemed weirdly clueless about how to take one another’s offense and are given roughly a minute of airtime to put a pinfall together.

Averno vs. Ultimo Guerrero: Averno’s early assault is a helluva beatdown, this is JIP as he wails on Guerrero with a vengeance, then does Hogan’s earpiece posing for the crowd. UG takes a great post bump out of the ring, and Averno follows up with a killer corkscrew plancha. Guerrero recovers and is able to hip toss Averno out of the ring with abandon before cross bodying him half to death. This is all to set up the Guerrero Special, which remains a very cool finisher. These are two guys who are pretty fat by lucha standards, so there’s an element of it that feels like One Man Gang-Big Bubba Rogers in their hardnosed collisions. I never would have guessed this would be the match of the night, but you can never count out Averno, an underrated sergeant of a worker who knows how to throw together a match of any length. Of late he rarely gets to show his best stuff, as he’s become a trotted out dictator type, never getting his hands dirty with guerrilla dung, but this was a lot of fun and refreshingly chaotic.

La Sombra vs. Mephisto: What I liked about this match and have liked thus far about the tournament at large was that even when working intricate spots, it looked like the opponents had flagrant disregard for one another’s safety and wanted to kill one another with reckless moves. These two work a crucifix powerbomb spot off the top rope where the aim genuinely seems to be to drop the opponent on their head from a high, sharp angle that will render said opponent unconscious and destined for the rest home bowl of mush. Point being everyone seems desperate to win this otherwise meaningless tournament. Sombra pulls it off suddenly with his springboard senton into a hurrancarana, a likable move even if it diminishes the impact and usefulness of both sentons and ranas, and looks like a cooperative, choreographed move caught in between Rewind and Pause. Tirantes counts the pin sharply to assure us that he’s a great guy who’s seen the error of his ways, ensuring no shenanigans will shenanify the show’s proceedings.

Ephesto vs. Texano, Jr.: This starts with the same handshake/hug/betrayal that Dorada-Stuka started with. Fortunately these two are rudos, which means they can wail on each other more viciously. And holy shit, can Ephesto throw some chops. This is a sloppier Ephesto than we saw in the late ’08 Sombra challenges: he’s gained ten pounds of tit and seems to gas out just a few minutes in. But he still has the best dropdown in the business, a James Bond under the lasers lunge that aims to cut Texano’s legs out from under him. Ephesto gets that running the ropes and throwing your opponent into them is in itself an offensive move, not a prelude to one. Even when dogging it, he’s miles ahead of Texano Jr, a poor man’s Rhyno with less energy. Texano would probably be kinder and more rewarding in bed with the Blue Meanie’s sloppy seconds, but otherwise he’s no Rhyno. He’s particularly lame for a guy related to El Dandy and the whole Navarro dynasty. Bummer to see Ephesto lose as we know that him and Sombra can have a good semi-final.

Mascara Dorada vs. Ultimo Guerrero: This starts with a stiff lariat from Ultimo. As Dorada recovers he seems to have the wind knocked out of him just long enough for you to wonder if he’s selling or actually hurt. He follows this with an amazing arms-out free fall style dive where he runs and launches into a senton from the middle of the second rope, this was better than anything I can recall from Inception. No one outside of Freelance can touch this kid for speed and accuracy on dangerous dives right now, but credit Guerrero for catching him so well on a scary low angle head first spill to the floor. A savage powerbomb from UG later precedes the slowest, crappiest count ever from the ref. Actually every count from this ref sucked on Kiniski-at-Starrcade levels. Match ends abruptly with Ultimo playing possum while Dorada crouches in moonsault position to set up another Guerrero Special.

La Sombra vs. Texano, Jr.: Even Texano on his way to the ring seems baffled by his presence here. This goes comically short to set up the final, exposing a fatal flaw in worked one night tournaments. Texano does a couple lame press slam variations before Sombra hits two solid dives and mercifully puts this Xeroxed Bryan Clark to bed.

Ultimo Guerrero vs. La Sombra: Tirantes is the referee, so thankfully this will be called down the middle without any margin of error. Woeful are we that our Americans checks and balances are not placed within reach of his stubby, virtuous fingertips. Sombra does most of the legwork here and looks (as he has for some time now) like the closest thing we have to Sting circa '92. Ultimo is not his long lost Vader, but does bust out some more snapping powerbombs and clubbering. Guerrero looked better on this night than he had to me in some time, enough to make you remember that our colleagues seven or eight years ago were calling him one of the top ten workers in the world. The nearfalls are genuinely suspenseful, as both guys work with an increased frenzy to a finish I didn’t see coming.

Mistico vs. Psicosis: Mistico pulls diva rank and gets most honorable Tirantes tossed from the match. A more flagrant abuse of celebrity, I cannot recall. This is the new V.3 take on Psicosis, with the former Toxico II in the role. First fall is a pretty by-the-numbers rudo sneak attack victory with Psicosis hitting some safe headdrop spots and looking like some Senor Spielbergo style cheap knockoff, a mediocrity wearing Nicho’s gimmick. Second fall starts with him smashing Mistico through the wooden side of the ramp, which I liked very much. Mistico takes the segunda upon hitting the same tope Sombra and co. used throughout the night, though his is frail, due to his body being made out of the same Tupperware that Edge was fashioned from. His corkscrew Pescado that starts the third fall is a marked improvement. This Psicosis’ dives look like the kind of stop n’start, hurky-jerk dance moves a middle aged salesman uses when strip teasing for the Applebee’s waitress he’s lured back to his houseboat. Most amusing part of the match comes when the camera cuts away to an all-black screen that when panned out is revealed to have been an arbitrary extreme close-up of the ref’s butt. A clumsy home stretch ending in La Mistica closes out a main event inferior to about 75 different matches that WWE's run this year alone. This hot-shotted pairing is rumored to be in the running for the Anniversario main event. Unlike the Casas-Mistico cock and bull story from last March, nothing here would make you want to see this match again, and Mistico’s quickly wedging himself between itchy sweaters and half-hearted HJs among life’s most unwelcome anniversary gifts.

Block B of the tournament will to my knowledge be comprised of Negro Casas, Jushin Liger, Hector Garza, Mr. Aguila, Valiente, Volador Jr., La Mascara, and Metro. On paper that’s roughly as strong a group as this one, particularly if we see a Casas-Valiente throwdown. I have no idea how CMLL TV works, but we’ll try to have more on this next week if it ends up airing.

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Blogger the Cubs Fan said...

This was the v2 version of Psicosis, the third one is in AAA.

The other half of the tournament should air this Sunday

3:18 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

It took me only the first line of the review to realize this wasn't a PhilTom job. Not to mention it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too positive and open-minded to be their work. Though you almost had me sucked back into thinking it was Phil when all the Mistico hate was spewing.

Very enjoyable read. Don't get the Texanito hate. He's good! This was a bad night for him. I did like how the finishing spot to Sombra/Texano actually played off their finish from last year where they did the same sequence leading to Texano making the finals but this time Sombra countered the move into a small package. The Sombra/Guerrero final was fun. Mainly due to the crowd really wanting Sombra to win and legit thinking he was done after the Guerrero Especial which made the finish so cool to watch. If I hadn't read spoilers I would have just shut the feed off after seeing Guerrero hit his move since it's so protected (outside of that horrible Rey Bucanero feud from '06).

I thought Mistico/Psicosis was alright but nothing special. I like the way they work so wild with each other as Psicosis isn't afraid to viciously power bomb Mistico on the table or drop him off the top rope unprotected. It's a nice change from the overly choreographed let's protect each other matches between Volador Jr. and Averno.

And for what it's worth - Mascara Dorada > Freelance. Probably gonna stay that way since most people won't be seeing any more Freelance this year.

5:29 PM  

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