Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Don't Ask if They Are Real, Pirata Morgan, His Lips Are Sealed

Pirata Morgan vs. Fabuloso Blondy EMLL 12/10/1989 - EPIC

It should be said that Ken Timbs sings our national anthem better than most. The Star-Spangled Banner is a notoriously difficult national anthem to sing, and he was doing it every night like it was second nature. I appreciate that. This match makes a very interesting contrast to Pirata's title match with Brazo de Oro, which was all about two guys who don't really fit the lucha title match style trying to adjust to it's standards. This is a match where reigning champ Pirata seems to have acclimated to the style, and it's outsider Blondy who initially finds himself at odds with it, and how that affects the way the match plays out. This means a couple of things. For one, this is easily the most matwork-heavy performance I've ever seen Pirata give, and I was genuinely impressed by how much depth he showed in that area. He pulled out a pretty wide variety of cool stuff that I did not know he had, and looked comfortable enough in the role that I'm almost surprised we don't see him working more of a Black Terry-ish brawler/maestro dual-class style today, because he could probably still do a lot of that and would be less physically demanding. Secondly, this is probably the closest thing I've seen to a territory era Ric Flair NWA Title defense in lucha. Georgia heel Timbs is even more out of place in this setting than Pirata and Brazo were in their match, but like that match, that's the fun of it. But watching him stooging while Pirata tangled him up on the mat reminded me less of any other lucha title match and more of Flair stooging for Kevin Von Erich's MUGA headscissors routine in 1983. And like Flair, when Blondy takes control, it's through more unsportsmanlike methods than you would normally associate with lucha title matches. Yet every time Morgan makes a comeback, he ends up going back to working holds. Yeah, this is a match where Pirata Morgan deliberately avoids brawling, and as uncharacteristic as that is of him, it really works for this kind of "my kung fu is stronger than yours" story. This had a pretty spectacular finish, too, as Gran Davis gets distracted, and Blondy takes advantage with what I can only describe as a foul suplex that gets the win. No friendly handshakes at the end of this lucha title match. I just hope I can find a nice, bloody hair vs. hair match to complement this.

Pirata Morga, Fuerza Guerrera, & Ricky Cruz vs. Scorpio Jr., Angelico, & Bobby Lee Jr. IWRG 6/4/2009 - FUN

This is right on the borderline of SKIPPABLE and FUN, as it's a match that didn't necessarily look good on paper, but did look intriguing on paper. It posed a lot of questions that I thought might be worth answering. How would Pirata and Fuerza - two of my personal favorite luchadors of all time - fare as partners? How would Pirata deal with the black hole of suck that is Angelico, whom even Negro Navarro struggled to get something watchable out of. Can Scorpio Jr. actually work technico? All these questions and more were not really answered to my satisfaction, so this was kind of a letdown. Pirata and Fuerza didn't really work together much, save for one bizarre sequence in the third fall where they tease dissension for no real reason and then hug epically. Angelico was kept in a supporting role, which was a good thing, but didn't answer any questions I might have had about him. Scorpio didn't really work any differently as a face than as a heel, though he was a lot more broken down, and at times, this almost felt like a Great Khali match, where you have to accept that he is not going to react to stuff like he's supposed to because he flat out can't. But while none of the questions I asked got answered, and a lot of the frustrations I expected from this crew were present, it was still mostly enjoyable. Ricky Cruz looks like he is auditioning to be El Mesias Jr. in case Ricky Banderas ever falls out of favor with AAA, and he acquitted himself well with his hurty power/brawler offense. He also was paired off with Angelico a lot, and he handled that task about as well as one could reasonably expect. For his own part, Angelico looked like shit throughout this, but he did at least bust out a Vader Double Stomp (that's a Vader Bomb ending in a double stomp instead of a splash), which was pretty nasty. Pirata and Fuerza both looked good holding the match together. Bobby Lee Jr. was unremarkable but fine. There was also a weird bit with the rudo ref getting involved that could've been lame, but ended too spectacularly for me to hold against it. So, yeah, very flawed, not very interesting, but Ricky Cruz beating on dudes was entertaining.


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Monday, May 28, 2012

CMLL on Galavision Workrate Report, 4/21/12

1. Diamante vs. Polvora:

So last week I was going nutso and being super impressed by Diamante Azul, thinking that Diamante (who I previously thought was good) had suddenly gotten really good and got pushed into main events under some sort of Blue Demon "Blue Diamonds" gimmick, and I fawned all over his somersault senton off the rampway last week. But now I found out that Diamante Azul was actually the repackaged Metro. And I'm a guy who looooves me some Metro. Metro is like a top 50 CMLL guy for me, which sounds pretty unimportant, but I'm a guy who likes CMLL more than the average joe. I genuinely think there are at least 50 really good wrestlers on their gigantic roster. Shoot, I like over 125 guys on the CMLL roster. If I ever get off our collective butts and do a 500 (totally my fault, as I know Phil and Dylan and Tom would be well on board if I spearheaded) then CMLL guys would likely take up 25% of the 500. Shoot, the top 100 would probably be 25% CMLL guys. So I dig Metro and would probably have him somewhere in the 101-200 range. And Diamante is a guy who I enjoyed last year, but would probably fall somewhere in the 400-500 range.

And then this match happened and made me feel like an idiot for doubting Diamante. And feel like an idiot for doubting Polvora. You know, some of these lightning matches feel like lame little exhibitions where the guys run through some tepid sequences in about 5 minutes (last week's Super Commando match felt like a guy who really didn't need anymore singles match time), but Diamante and Polvora treat this match as if their jobs depended on it, and it was full on best possible 1 A.M. Worldwide performance ever. Diamante is just nuts in this, spilling to the floor spectacularly on a couple occasions, making Polvora's baseball slide dropkick look deadly, taking a backdrop on the rampway, just throwing that body around. After one of the spills he gets up, runs back to the apron and immediately snaps off a springboard rana (then gets caught doing the same thing later in the match! Callback!). Polvora takes a nice Cassandro bump, Diamante breaks out a cool rolling armbar as if he just got done watching some 2001 Minoru Tanaka matches, and the match ends with a nasty spill from the top. I can't imagine a lightning match getting much better than this one. Well worth your 6 minutes.

2. Misterioso Jr./Shigeo Okumura/Namajague vs. Valiente/Stuka Jr./Hijo Del Fantasma:

Awwwww yeah! Valiente is starting to fatten up again and that can only mean good things for all of us. The chubbier he gets, the more awesome he gets, and he was pretty awesome here. Okumura is another guy I really like who I feel nobody else in the world of online pro wrestling fans really cares about. He really reminds me of guys like SUWA or Cien Caras who know how to rile up a crowd and stooge great for a tecnico. Here he helps Fantasma get a great reaction (and bumps great for Fantasma's awesome ramp-run flying clothesline). Stuka has a death with and his hands-to-his-sides tope en reversa to the floor is a thing of beauty and pure insanity. Misterioso brings big bumps and flawless tassles without fail. Here he takes a great Cassandro bump and a huge monkey flip on the floor (followed by Kemonito splash off the apron!). And then there was Namajague, whom I had never seen before this. Apparently he's a NJPW junior and here he's dressed up like Onibaba or some other Japanese ghost who has nothing better to do than hang around some Japan village waiting for some poor guy to break an insignificant promise or tell somebody an unimportant secret. Then kill him when he does after waiting for like 10 years. I feel that Namajague's matwork was about as interesting as that ghost waiting around 10 years for that guy to slip up and reveal a secret.

3. Averno/Ephesto/Mephisto vs. La Sombra/Diamante Azul/Rush:

So in my break from CMLL, it appears that guys have gotten fatter. Valiente has chubbed out again, Stuka looks fatter, and Averno/Ephesto/Mephisto have all packed on some weight. So things change, guys get fatter and still stay awesome...and yet Rush is still a tecnico. Why, oh why, is Rush still a tecnico!? This match was worked at a super fast pace, which some people will not like. Usually when you see a CMLL main event that has guys rushing through spots, then you know you're in store for about an 8 minute match with a bunch of quick, silly falls. But then this match kept going, and it kept up that pace. So really you just had a nice long match with constant action. Sombra/Averno/Ephesto put on a helluva show in the 3rd. I have no idea how those guys weren't just totally gassed. Sombra did tons of ranas, and (without checking the actual tally) I estimate that Averno/Ephesto took about 17 monkey flip bumps. The pace didn't stop for the duration, just constant bumps and neat movez. I can deal.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

CMLL on Galavision Workrate Report, 4/14/12 and Jon Polito's Jacket

So I kinda fell off the wagon (got onto the wagon? Whichever one means that I haven't written one in awhile) on these. LATV is showing nothing but reruns from last year, and I had to delete some Galavision episodes to make room for old episodes of Miami Vice. As you can see from the photo of Jon Polito's jacket, I have been continually making the right choice. How is that episode not a meme yet? I mean, that jacket, those gloves. There have been preliminary talks to just change the name of "Segunda Caida" to "Jon Polito's Jacket". He played a character named El Gato. There was a really great episode with Brad Dourif playing a coke dealer, too. So, I watched some Miami Vice and skipped some CMLL. I'm sorry.

1. Lightning Match: Super Commando vs. Angel Azteca Jr.:

This was alright but kinda short, even for a lightning match. Really felt like a match I would have flipped out for if I saw it on an episode of Worldwide in 1998, but now it doesn't do as much for me. Azteca is a guy I really like, as he's similar to the other wetsuit-top-wearing youngish guys, but he's shorter and more squat, like Virus squeezed into a wetsuit top. The dives were fun (although when did Arena Mexico get a BARRIER around ringside!?!? Goddamn does that look wrong and make me sad), and this was a fine 6 minutes.

2. Blue Panther/Hijo Del Fantasma/Black Warrior vs. Psicosis/Mr. Aguila/Olimpico:

Holy shit Blue Panther. This guy is the fucking argument ender. Any argument. "What do you mean you didn't reconcile your monthly reports!?" "Yeah, well...Blue Panther." And then both parties just kind of nod. What don't you do, Panther!? Last year my favorite part of CMLL was watching BP match up against a bunch of different young guys in a bunch of different 6 mans. It was always great, always the best couple minutes of the match. Here he is still breaking out things that surprise me. In the 1st he snaps off an absolutely gorgeous rana off the 2nd rope. I mean it was just so damn beautiful, and the guy is 50. There is also subtle beauty to be found in the way he casually double legs Psicosis and then whips him over by the ankle. It's like clockwork mechanics, just something you can stare at and get lost in all the amazing moving parts.

But you know what? The other guys looked pretty damn good, too. I LOVED the mat segment between Black Warrior and Olimpico. BW is a guy who I liked a bunch when I first started watching lucha and he would do bullet topes 3 rows deep, but he's been kinda diminishing returns for me over the last decade. But damn he showed fire on the mat like I never remember seeing from him, getting into all sorts of weird predicaments that didn't end the way I expected them to end. You get so used to seeing Malenko/Guerrero roll ups and then suddenly BW rolls through a single leg and tosses a guy in a weird fallaway slam variation. BW looked more motivated in this match than I've seen in ages. Psicosis had this awesome mini second who was dressed all Day of the Dead and how can you not get stoked for this guy getting into it with Kemonito!? This whole thing turned out way more awesome than I was anticipating. I thought "Mid card throwaway that will likely have some a cool BP spot" and I got a whip fast 6 man that was short on story but had tons of killer action. And Aguila finally got some more appropriate entrance music. Rad match that is WELL worth checking out.

3. Ultimo Guererro/Negro Casas/Terrible vs. Mascara Dorada/La Mascara/Diamante Azul:

Well I personally was not expecting a 5 minute match with two straight falls by the rudos. That doesn't mean it was bad. The 1st was a whirling rudo dervish of stiff kicks and elbow drops. Casas looks especially badass with his new close-cropped 'do (forgot to mention the same about BP in the prior match) and silver gear (with trunks that aren't hiked up!). Can't say much about something this short, but it was a hot 5 with some neat spots. Dear lord does Dorada have great ranas. His running rana from the rampway, over the ropes and into the ring was spectacular. And say what you will about lucha regularly botching camera angles, but if there is ONE shot they know how to film, it's a running somersault senton off the rampway. CMLL shoots from underneath and makes it look like Diamante flew 25 off the ramp. Awesome.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pirata Morgan's Heart is Black, and His Lips Are Cold

Pirata Morgan, Cien Caras, & Gran Markus Jr. vs. Lizmark, Rayo de Jalisco Jr., & Atlantis EMLL 7/2/1989 - FUN

This got pretty wild and out-of-control, which is a setting Pirata usually excels in, but he's actually one of the lesser guys here. Not that he's bad, of course. He had some great bumping in the primera caida. But he didn't get much of a spotlight in this match. This was all about Rayo and Cien hating each other's guts, Atlantis being spectacular, and Ken Timbs sitting in the front row and being a distraction to the technicos, roughly in that order. And well, they delivered on those fronts. Rayo and Cien looked great against each other and got a ton of heat from the crowd, Atlantis looked like a king on offense, and while Timbs didn't add a ton to the match, I don't think he was out of place. Indeed, even with a comparatively unspectacular Pirata performance, Markus kinda looking like a chump, and Rayo and Cien spending much of the segunda caida brawling in a dark section of the crowd where I couldn't actually see what was happening, this was still well on the way to GREATness. That got decisively shut down by a tercera caida that barely seemed to exist. It's not long before Cien fouls Rayo and pins him, bringing the match to a very abrupt and awkward end. But on the bright side, they cover for it with a crazy post-match brawl that has Rayo and Cien totally teeing off on one another, Timbs charging into action, the crowd throwing trash at the rudos, and ends with Rayo and Atlantis both getting unmasked, with Rayo trying to make his way to the back, swinging wildly at officials while his head is wrapped in a green sweater. Don't count on seeing this as a match on the 80's Lucha set, but the post-match stuff might merit consideration as an extra.

Pirata Morgan, Pirata Morgan Jr., & El Hijo del Pirata Morgan vs. Dinastia de la Muerte TxT 2/25/2012 - GREAT

I started this project with a match that had almost the same lineup as this, and which happened roughly a year earlier, but somehow, the later match features the more spritely Pirata performance. Yeah, he is still not quite his old self, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much he was moving around and keeping active during the match. At one point in the first fall, he misses a charge at Navarro and goes flying through the ropes to the floor, which was a pretty nasty bump for a guy that old and broken down. Anyway, like the match a year ago, this is mostly built around Pirata's kids vs. Navarro's kids, with Pirata and Navarro themselves largely in secondary roles. There are some differences, though. The younger Piratas show some growth since last time, and this is probably the best they've ever looked. They work really well with the Traumas, doing some great brawling and busting out some crazy double and triple-team moves against each other, including the horrifying double DDT by the Pirata kids with Trauma II's legs suspended on Pirata Morgan's shoulders. The other difference with the match last year is that that one kept the old-timers more in the background, like they were at their kids Little League game, only they were allowed to get into violent brawls with the other parents. Here, the focus is still on the kids, but they spend much of the match setting up a big Pirata/Navarro showdown....that never really happens. Instead, we have an odd finish with the younger Piratas pinning the Traumas while Navarro pins Pirata, resulting in a draw. Oh, well. There's still plenty here to recommend. Also, Mano Negra is one of the refs here! That doesn't ever really amount to anything, but I though it was kinda neat regardless.

Pirata Morgan vs. Heavy Metal vs. El Texano vs. Sangre Chicana AAA 6/15/2003 - SKIPPABLE

It's not entirely clear to me if this is a four-way, or if it's a handicap match with the three rudos against Heavy Metal. Honestly, I don't care. This was pretty boring in a way that doesn't lend itself well to witty criticisms, so I can't do much with it. Pirata and the other rudos were all serviceable, and Metal wasn't spectacularly bad, but no one was especially good, so it just ended up being dull as shit. This was just very tame by Pirata's standards, and if there's one thing I don't want from a Pirata match, it's tameness. I guess Pirata had earned the right to phone it in every now and again by this point, but it's weird seeing him phone it in in a hair match at the biggest show of the year for a major promotion a decade ago, while he's busting his ass in a minor promotion today.



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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I'm Living For Giving Pirata Morgan His Due

Pirata Morgan, Emilio Charles Jr., & Hombre Bala vs. Super Mueneco, Hurrican Ramirez, & Ciclon Ramirez EMLL 3/12/1989 - GREAT

Here's another heaping helping of Pirata Morgan beating the shit out of people. I really never tire of this. This isn't the greatest beating he's ever lain on a group of technicos, but it's a pretty hard thing to screw up. Hombre Bala provides ample support. He and Pirata bust out the awesome two-person proto-Go 2 Sleep on Ciclon Ramirez near the end of the first fall, and then Bala just flapjacks Ciclon clear out of the ring right afterwords. Ciclon eats a ton of punishment here and looks great doing so. Hurrican, meanwhile is probably the most offensively dynamic guy on his team, throwing some pretty armdrags and having Ciclon back body drop him over the top rope onto Emilio on the floor. He also eats a nasty somersault senton and a piledriver from Pirata down the stretch, because apparently, Pirata Morgan hates his guts. The main contribution of Mueneco and Emilio comes near the end when Mueneco has Pirata in a scorpion deathlock, and Emilio jumps in front of him and starts mocking his "lolling his head around" zany comedy bit, so Mueneco releases the hold and punches Emilio in the face. I'm not sure why Emilio thought that was a good idea, but I was amused nonetheless. Phil thought the finish was flat, but the finish was Pirata clearing Mueneco out of the ring so Bala could tap Ciclon was a scorpion deathlock variant while Emilio crushed Hurrican with a top rope splash, and then they all went outside and mercilessly kicked the shit out of Super Mueneco for a while, so I can't really hate on that.

Pirata Morgan, Herodes, & Gran Markus Jr. vs. Solomon Grundy, Ringo Mendoza, & Atlantis EMLL 3/4/1990 - GREAT

Solomon Grundy sort of seems like he should be Dean Rasmussen's favorite wrestler ever. In fact, I'm only convinced that they're not the same person because Luchawiki has a picture of him from 2007, and I actually met Dean in person in 2008, and I could see a difference. Anyway, there is usually kind of a ceiling on how good Grundy matches can be, but this managed to bypass it largely by being worked less as a showcase for zany fat guy comedy antics and more as a straight lucha trios match that had some zany fat guy comedy antics in it. Grundy gets a lot of his silliness in, yes, but he also mixes in a standing dropkick that maybe wasn't the best I've ever seen, but was certainly impressive for a guy that size. Moreover, the rudos took the second fall by ganging up on the big man, bringing him to his knees, and then making him submit to Markus and Herodes holding him in place (with Herodes digging his fingers into Grundy's eye) while Pirata kicked the shit out of him. And the third fall is built around angry Grundy, which is...not totally unlike silly Grundy, actually, but there's definitely a different vibe to it. There is a sense of purpose to his hip-wiggling taunt that wasn't there before, never mind his actual offense. There are a bunch of fun performances from all the supporting players here, especially Atlantis, who has his high-energy offense on display here, especially in an early exchange with Pirata where he breaks out that fancy armdrag he had back in the day, and busting out a wild looking tope right before the finish. Ringo's no slouch, either, and has a great dive of his own, and Markus and Herodes both look great stooging, brawling, and bumping, including Herodes taking a spill that almost lands him in the lap of a little old lady in the front row. Still, Pirata is the guy who proves why he has a Complete & Accurate dedicated to him. Still the best Grundy stooge, still the most badass brawler, and still the craziest bumper, taking a great Jerry bump in the first fall, and then going too far trying to scoot away from Atlantis in the third, causing himself to accidentally take essentially an inverted Halloween bump. This was right on the border between FUN and GREAT, as no one was really exceptional in this, but everyone was really good, it had no real weak points, and I was thoroughly engaged throughout. Inverted Halloween bump and angry Grundy with nothing really bad to say about the match makes me lean low-end GREAT.



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