Segunda Caida

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

MLJ: Rush vs Shocker BONUS: La Máscara & Rush © vs Negro Casas & Shocker for the CMLL World Tag Team Championship

CMLL on Fox Sports (Mexico): 2014-06-21
taped 2014-06-13 @ Arena México
La Máscara & Rush © vs Negro Casas & Shocker for the CMLL World Tag Team Championship

Alright, I'm jumping back to the present day for this, and I'm doing this in the exact opposite of the way that I'm supposed to. Part of the point of the Rush vs Shocker series was to show how this stuff really does mean so much more in context and that we live in very lucky times when people are posting matches weekly and you can really follow along and that it's not ALL that hard to get into Lucha if you pick something and watch it like that. I'm not doing this here. Frankly, I wanted to watch this match and even though I KNOW there are trios that build to it, I'm going to jump in. I think I know these guys well enough to do this. The honest truth is that I haven't been watching much of the current weekly tv. I've seen very little of En Busca de la Idolo for instance. I've got limited time and I'm focused on my personal map-expansion efforts.

I really did have to take a look at this though, because it had Rush, Shocker, AND Casas in it, and looked, on paper, very much like a logical progression from the Rush vs Shocker series, with Casas tossed back in and Mascara rounding things out. I know they have been really doubling down on the heel leanings for Mascara and Rush (and maybe Sombra too?), especially at Arena Mexico, but I wasn't quite prepared for what we got here.

There's a certain sanctity to title matches. At least, that's my impression. Now, I haven't seen THAT many of them, not really. I actually thought I'd maybe do a month of them to get more acclimated, before I decided on focusing on 2006 instead. My understanding is that they're a legacy of the commissions having a lot of influence, in that title matches were specially sanctioned and there could be real, honest fines for cheating, which is why they were wrestled cleaner. This remained for the most part, in a normative way, and that's why they usually start out with a lot of matwork and with luchadors really trying to show their best maestro stuff. This seems true for singles, tag, and trios titles. This match plays against that norm to a huge degree. It's the sort of self-aware genre-breaking that if done very, very rarely, can be extremely effective. If it's done every week, then the entire tower topples down upon itself, but in this case, it was a blast, at least in the primera caida.

This started with the usual pomp, with all four guys posing for a picture with the belt and the introduction of Tirantes and what not. Shocker even started vs Mascara like it was going to be any other title match, immediately going into matwork with him. He had just gotten him down and locked on a wristlock, when, literally in the span of seconds, Rush came in and kicked him in the back, to the nominal rudos' exasperation. Mascara tried for a few strikes, instead of going back to the mat, but Shocker caught the leg and locked on another hold. Rush came right back in and nonchalantly stepped on Shocker's face, before doing a double stomp off the ropes that Shocker sold like death. Casas pushed his partner out, faced off against Mascara, went for a lock up, and Mascara ducked under and walked to his corner so he could fix Rush's hair and then stall, as the crowd got increasingly irate. Rush finally came in and Casas got the better of a strike exchange only to get kicked in the throat, off the ropes from the outside in by Mascara. Mascara and Rush dominated the rest of the primera. Shocker got one hope spot in but was double dropkicked and they finished them off with a tandem beating, stooging and posing in between, like when they had Casas up in a double suplex and made sure to flex before dropping him.

I talk a lot about momentum and building anticipation in my attempts to make sense of what I'm watching, and this was all about that. It played with the traditions of title matches, whereas you had these two young bastards who refuse to act like tecnicos despite the fact they're categorized that way, who refuse to respect the sanctity of the belts that they possess or the match that they're in, even within seconds of the match starting, even when the rudos they're facing are trying to wrestle "the right way." When it looked like Casas and Shocker might get a chance to fight back, they stalled or cheap-shotted, or swarmed. When they had the advantage, they taunted and refused to take things seriously. Look, I don't get how often something like this happens, but I get the feeling it's pretty rare. It's dangerous, because it can tear down the structure that everything stands upon but used sparingly, or with purpose, like this, especially with a crowd that is absolutely sure that they hate them, it was amazingly effective. Every person in that arena was booing and frustrated and desperately ready for Casas and Shocker to make their comeback. Hell, just watching this, I wanted it badly too.

It was great. Unfortunately, I don't think the comeback really lived up to the set up and the tercera, which was admittedly spirited, didn't really have the focus or purpose of the primera. The segunda started out well enough, continuing the theme. Now, Mascara seemed willing to do something a little more hold based, but what he decided upon wasn't beautiful matwork, but instead to drag Casas around the ring by his hair. Likewise, Rush decided to twist his leg over the ropes. They also did a good job delaying the comeback with cheapshots and doubleteams cutting off attempts of it until Shocker finally fought his way out of the corner, forced them into a bit of miscommunication and hit a nice, high impact roll up on Mascara.

The segunda ended with a fairly odd choice narratively that sort of lessened the impact of the comeback, maybe in order to make the finish of the tecera more impactful(?). They had Rush pin Shocker with a cheapshot and the corner dropkick before Casas hit La Casita to take the segunda for his team. My guess there is that it was to let the champs keep some heat since they were going to ultimately lose the match, but still to allow the finish (which was a simultaneous double roll up) to be quick and sudden. If they wanted to end it that way, they couldn't do a staggered elimination in the tercera. It also allowed for another Rush vs Casas one on one match up within the match, which is the narrative throughline that eventually will build to an apuestas match, one assumes.

I don't really have a lot to say about the tecera. I don't think it had the focus it needed to payoff the primera, even if the end result would almost do that on its own with the crowd. They did a fairly good job of delaying the dives a bit and made Casas and Shocker work for theirs, which made them mean a little more. I liked when they did a simultanious submission to tease the crowd too, and a double roll-up nearfall. There was some popping up that I found frustrating, with Shocker and Rush trading suplexes (Shocker hit a German and Rush rolled through, walked right up and hit a belly to belly of his own, and then they both got up and pushed each other), and Rush selling a missile dropkick from Casas by bouncing off the ropes and clotheslining him. The finishing stretch was okay, finishing with Casas hitting the Casita and Shocker doing his duck under roll-up. It was a little mistimed but that wasn't a big deal.

So, ultimately, the young punks got their comeuppance and the "rudos" took the titles, leaving the crowd happy. I think I would have liked a segunda caida which had Casas and Shocker make their comeback at the same time, even if they were going to stagger the pins like they did. It deserved to feel bigger than it did. Also, a tercera that was a bit more focused and didn't feel so much like people hitting a lot of stuff that didn't matter all that much would have helped the match. I is absolutely worth watching though, especially the primera, which had one of the best heel performances I've seen all year, even if sort of felt like a cheat given the way it twisted genre conventions to draw heat instead of drawing it within the confines of them. I get why traditionalists might hate it, but I think that's sort of the point. I don't think this sort of thing is sustainable over time, but for this night, it was really effective.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Les Celtes are Human, Human After All

Les Celtes (Jean Corne/Michel Falampin) v. Inca Virraocha/Jose Gonzales 1968 (?)- GREAT

Another really fun high speed French tag. Lots of very fast rope running, headscissors and arm drags. Jose Gonzales was the real discovery here, he looks just like David Crosby and is a lunatic in ring bumper. He just flies around on armdrags and monkey flips, really fast, violent looking and high in the air. Your opening Corne v. Gonzales section would blow away a CMLL or US Indy crowd. I also really liked the nastiness of his uppercuts in the uppercut exchange section. Les Celtes were a perfectly fine baby face tag team not the athletic highs of the Cesca/Chemoil team, but everything looked sold and they timed their offense good. Match never hit that next level but it was a treat to see Gonzales and watch him do his thing.

La Complète et Exacte French Catch

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Return of Segunda Caida Radio!

It's been two years (two years!) since Phil and I recorded a telephone conversation with each other and decided to allow others to hear it. And we figured two years was long enough. So on the afternoon of Saturday, 6/28/14, the two of us had a conversation, recorded it, and there's the link above. Episode 15.

I honestly think it's one of the best things we've ever done. We talk about Cam'ron, Jason Biggs, respond to SC blog commenters, voice opinions on professional grappling and enjoy each others' presence like true friends and partners should.

Come listen to us entertain ourselves with jokes, which fall much more flat without one Dean Rasmussen there to laugh at everything. No bones were thrown for any of these dogs.

Enjoy. This may not happen for a couple more years.


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Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

8. Biff Busick v. Drew Gulak CZW 4/27

PAS: Man there is some weird stuff going on in CZW. The land of Wifebeater and Nick Mondo is apparently putting on almost Jack Briscoeish long mat based title matches. These guys hit the mat hard for 10 or so minutes and it is really great. Gulak can make simple things like go behinds and headlocks look really good, and Busick is a strong looking guy who has some nice powering out counters. Gulak has some nice douchey cheapshots too, kicks to the temple, biting the fingers, twisting the ankle and knees. He controls the match, and Busick does a nice job working from underneath, making some big comebacks and near falls, but Gulak always finds away to take over. Happy to see some indy wrestling I can get behind and get excited about.

ER: Wow. Sometimes when you're not paying attention, two guys you've never watched before go and get really damn great. Suddenly CZW has a whole crew of Billy Robinsons, with Timothy Thatcher, Drew Gulak and Biff Busick. This match is 30 minutes of pure greatness. I think the word "solid" gets both overused and misused a lot when talking about wrestlers, in the same way people often use "average" or "mediocre" to mean "awful". But these are two solid motherfuckers right here. Everything they do is snug, and not just mindless stiffness, just tight solid ringwork with no light showing between contact. The shoulderblocks thud, the back elbows land, the kneebars wrench, everything just works and looks great. It's like two Cesaro's spending 30 minutes just wearing the other down. The first 10 minutes of grappling is great, and really the whole thing is a war which had me wondering which guy was gonna break first. Truthfully I tend to get a little distracted during longer matches, but I think that's mostly due to most matches not actually needing to go very long to effectively convey the story they're trying to tell. I think it's a testament to how engaging this long match was that Phil told me it went around 19 minutes, and it really went 30. By the time I realized the match had overshot the 19 minute mark it was almost over. Everything in it is just so damn good. Gulak's middle rope elbow drop, Busick's body shots, Gulak's rolling wristlock, the tangled leg lock they end up in, a couple nasty suplexes, a dangerous top rope tease that ends with Gulak throwing back headbutts and his elbow point to Busick's face. If this is the new direction indy wrestling is trending, sign me the hell up.


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MLJ: Atlantida Rising 2: Dos Caras Jr., Negro Casas, Último Dragón vs Olímpico, Rey Bucanero, Tarzan Boy

Aired 2006-04-08
Taped 2006-04-02
Dos Caras Jr., Negro Casas, Último Dragón vs Olímpico, Rey Bucanero, Tarzan Boy

Jumping into 2006 proper, I don't see a steady amount of matches easily available before April. One problem in watching these as opposed to Rush vs Shocker or even something like Marco vs Universo, is that I have no real sense what these matches are heading towards. I know there's a title match or two in here, but in general, I'm looking at these in a vacuum. Hopefully, just in the act of watching, I'll have some sense of where, if anywhere, everything is going. Certainly the matches in Fall 2005 around Leyenda de Plata, didn't feel like an endpoint but instead like another step on some larger road.

This was a fun match. It let me see some more tecnico Casas, some broken down Ultimo Dragon in Mexico and my first real look at Dos Caras, Jr. Just looking at the matches I have on tap for this, I have a lot of Rey Bucanero. I know a few years earlier, he was ranked very highly on DVDVR 500s and what not, though I don't really see him on later WKOs. So far, I have no feel for him at all, but i'm hoping to pick one up as I go. He turned tecnico fairly early into the matches T'm watching, so it should be interesting. Tarzan Boy is another guy I don't have a great sense of. Olimpico I've seen once or twice and his shtick is based on his size (I think Niebla Roja sort of plays his role in the group now), but he made a great foil for Casas in this match.

In general, this was the Casas show, which was actually quite nice to see as I'd been slightly underwhelmed by what I saw of him as a tecnico during this era. Some of that was just him being the third guy on a tecnico side and not given as much to do. Here though, he shined. Past an early, fairly engaging bit of matwork with Tarzan Boy, he was paired off with Olimpico throughout the match and it was all a ton of fun, with the best stuff found in the tercera caida, both in the form of comedy (for example, Dos Caras lifted Casas back into the ring when he seemed reluctant to face off against Olimpico and it was all pretty funny) and through character work in the face of a much larger foe. Multiple times Casas tried to rapid fire chop Olimpico only to have it no-sold, followed by him being swatted around the ring, until he gave up and hit a well-placed ddt. Right towards the end, Olimpico had him in the corner and I swear Casas did the most hard-boiled, dickish thing in the world. While getting pummeled (and selling it big), he managed this little flexing motion to taunt the guy beating the hell out of him like he was some 1940s gumshoe taking a beating by the mobster's goons and mouthing off to them to show that they couldn't get to him no matter what they did. In 2014, I swear sometimes he even directs the camera people from inside the ring before a spot. Negro Casas is an endless bounty of little moments. It paid off well too within the narrative as he ultimately overcame goliath and took the last fall of the match by submitting Olimpico.

This was sort of Los Guerreros Del Atlantida B-Team but they still worked well together for the most part. They stared things off with the huddle and after a fairly back and forth opening stretch with some good moments of fighting back out of adversity by Casas and Dragon, they took over by tossing Dragon and Casas so they could focus on Caras. There was a sort of silly flub where Olimpico picked up Dragon in a bearhug so he could get chopped by Tarzan Boy, but Tarzan Boy was way out of position. In general, though, Tarzan Boy did fine with his exchanges with Caras and played to the crowd fairly well, but he still sort of felt like the Paul Roma of the group. I need to see more of him before making any real judgment. Their biggest move was probably to end the primera caida, a nice looking double team set up for the Rey's Castigo.

On the tecnicos side, Dragon could still do some of his trademark spots/strikes, and there's just something special about the Asai Moonsault in this setting in 2006. It felt both important and iconic. It probably didn't hurt that it followed a crazy monkey flip bump by Rey over the top. I have a feeling that it was things like that which made him so highly rated earlier in the decade. Caras, on the other hand, didn't show me a heck of a lot. He had something in the way of size, and had one sort of nice kick to the throat that was set up by a Casas anklelock and in itself set up a beautiful La Casita to end the segunda caida. The tercera caida ended pretty soundly after said bump/moonsault, with the tecnicos making short work of the rudos in a 2 on 2 setting. This would fall more on the fun side of things, but it was great to see Casas in such a featured role instead of just filling out a side. Just as important, the Guerreros definitely kept a sense of identity even without Atlantis or UG there.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

30. Blue Panther/Valiente/Diamante Azul v. Terrible/Vangellys/Rey Bucanero CMLL 4/11

ER: Wasn't really thinking tons of it from the on-paper line-up, just kind of an unhyped Arena Mexico midcard trios, that ended up really delivering. Primera had a bunch of Blue Panther/Terrible mat work and it was so damn good. Terrible is not a guy I think of when I think of matwork, and this is probably the most I've ever seen Terrible hit the mat, and definitely one of Panther's longer mat rolls of the year. It's all really good stuff too, with Terrible working around a keylock and Panther finding ways to reverse out of it. Panther breaks out a cool British style backspin wristlock and a smooth arm drag into a headscissor lock. Terrible yanks on his arm a bunch and BP does simple little things to relieve pressure such as grab his own wrist for leverage. Terrible at one point floats over out of a BP head scissors to grab a headlock in one beautiful motion. Just a bunch of cool mat stuff from two guys I don't recall going at it on the mat (Terrible almost always sticks to brawling so him looking so damn good on that mat just makes me a bigger Terrible fan). We also cut to a Mexican girl in the crowd wearing an Arctic Monkeys trucker hat. That's weird. Plenty of cool moments after the awesome Panther/Terrible twisting. Terrible did leaping punches to guys in corners (abandoning the matwork that got him NOWHERE!), Valiente plastered Bucanero into the barricade with a dive, Comandante looks slimmed down and was on point with the interference, Terrible kicked some guys in the taint in vicious style (Panther even sold it like he was guesting on Chavo, with an incredible Ay Dios Mio hard sell eyeroll into the back of his head, right at the camera). Killer match.

PAS: Yeah I was totally blown away at how comfortable Terrible looked hitting the mat with Panther. He wasn't just a passenger he was delivering as many cool little additions as a Panther. Loved that backspin wristlock. Middle of this match meanders a bit, and then it comes back together with a really cool finally run. Vangellys is a big dude and he takes a really high monkey flip, and I loved Azul's delayed Tamon Honda style german suplcex. Good overall lucha match with the matwork being truly first class


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Lucha Journey: Atlantida Rising 1: Atlantis, Ultimo Guerrero, Tarzan Boy vs Dr. Wagner, Jr. Mistico, El Hijo Del Santo

taped 2005-9-30 @ Arena Mexico
Atlantis, Ultimo Guerrero, Tarzan Boy vs Dr. Wagner, Jr. Mistico, El Hijo Del Santo

I'm looking at this match as sort of a bridge into 2006 and the small army of Los Guerreros del Atlantida matches i'm going to be watching. I just saw Santo vs two of the rudos in this match, and while those encounters took place a month or two later, this is all part of the larger whole. I also saw a match with Wagner and Mistico (and a pretty boring iteration of Negro Casas) vs Pierroth, Halloween, and Damian that was definitely enjoyable for Wagner and Mistico's big dog/little dog routine, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and this is where I'm drawing it.

This was actually a hell of a Trios. I really wanted to start in 2006 because it felt cleaner, and I look to have almost weekly matches from April into the summer which seemed like a nice little project. This dropped on the youtube search, though, and I just couldn't pass it up. It had both Wagner and Santo in it as well as an Atlantida trio with both UG and Atlantis. I'm glad I stopped to take a look.

First, let me say some things, of which I reserve the right to completely change my opinion on later. Remember, I'm still trying to find my way with all of this and I've come to some conclusions that relate to this match.

This isn't true for every match or even every trios match, but so much of what I think to be the best lucha is based on anticipation and paying off that anticipation. That could be anticipation of a dive, of the loss of a mask or a hair, of the two captains to square off deep into the tercera caida, or in its simplest, most primal form, anticipation of the tecnicos turning the tide after being dominated, of the rudos getting their comeuppance for what they've done either earlier in the match or in earlier matches. 

This match had that in spades, both the anticipation, well-executed, and the payoff. The only real problem with the thing was that the key moment of transition was a complete and utter mess. That hurt it just as much as you'd think, but not so much that it completely invalidated the rest of the match. 

There are different formula on how a match like this could go. This one had the rudos dominate from the get go, in the most brutal fashion possible, to the point of getting themselves disqualified. This is actually a pretty useful narrative device because it lets the tecnicos go up a fall while further delaying that moment of gratification that comes with the tecnico comeback. They're running two-three falls matches in front of the same crowds every week, so changing things up as much as possible is necessary. Anyway, the rudos got themselves disqualified but maintained the advantage. Finally, the tecnicos mounted a comeback based on a big moment, getting a fairly well paralleled revenge for most of the slights afflicted upon them, and they ended up paired off on a near reset (though one that did not invalidate all that had happened) in order to set up the finish. 

Really, though, the devil's in the details, and the details here were great. The level of anticipation for the comeback is directly proportional to how good the beatdown is. I think that's a fairly safe equation of lucha. The initial beatdown of the tecnicos had such a chaotic feel, with every wrestler from Mistico to the rudo mascot playing their role well. Mistico, I've found from watching matches from this era, was an amazing pinball. The guy could take offense and his opponents seemed more than willing to make the most of that, be it due to hazing or just knowing what they had as a tool. The height he'd get on a pancake toss was nuts and no one gets chucked out of the ring with quite as much gusto. He was a good size to take things like UG's spinning press slam from the apron to the inside, which was probably the coolest thing I've seen all week. He also ate both the triple team Guerreros alley-oop jump on the rampway and a downright crazy Atlantis powerbomb rocket launcher. If these all sound like complicated things, they sort of were, but none of them felt contrived. The only thing you remember was Mistico constantly landing on his face. He did garner sympathy throughout all of this, between just what he'd take and his size and yes, his selling, but almost anyone would, getting beat up to that degree. 

They shared the wealth too, with Wagner eating the humiliating attacks of Ultimonito, including both a splash off the apron and a dropkick foul on the ramp. Just to be clear, Ultimonito was the evil monkey mascot, the enemy of Que Monito or Ke-Monito, who was the good monkey mascot. He eventually became Zacarias, a personal hero. I was pretty damn confused because I saw Ultimo beat up a mascot in one of the Santo singles matches, and I didn't realize the difference. Now I do. Ultimonito is sporting an Atlantis mask (which is, by the by, still white at this point. He wasn't wearing the black rudo mask here). All the tecnicos got their masks ripped pretty severely, including a great moment where Wagner lays his leg over Mistico's head to prevent the rudos from getting to his mask, even as both of them get swarmed. 

Everything was going great until the transition point. I'm not even sure what it was supposed to be. Mistico was on the top, seated there by the rudos. UG and Atlantis looked to give him some sort of double superplex, but then Wagner and Santo came in get under them in electric chairs. So far, so good. Tarzan Boy rushed up, bounded on to the top and then everything sort of froze in confusion. We ended up with a leaning tower of stupid, and it all just sort of paused until Mistico haphazardly toppled it. Time froze. That happened. The tecnicos took over.

At least they took over with flair, with the second half of the match full of revenge spots and visceral satisfaction. The tecnicos had a go at the rudos' masks. Atlantis got dragged down the ramp. Wagner got full revenge on Ultimonito, which led to the rudos starting to fight back (which is one thing that happens quite a bit when tecnicos go too far). In this case, Mistico was about to come off the top onto the mascot but he got nailed from the apron by the surviving rudos. This led to the finishing resets, with Wagner pairing off with UG. He's so much fun to watch when he's hamming it up, kicking out the hyper-chops and this huge tornado DDT while whole families wearing his mask in the crowd pose. He capped it all with an awesome dive from the inside to the ramp and then, after basking in the glory of it, another one from the ramp to the floor. Then we had Mistico with a nice little exchange with Tarzan Boy, ending with a huge plancha from the top, the ripped mask making the whole thing feel more visually spectacular somehow. 

Speaking of formula, falls in trios matches usually follow one pretty tightly. Most of the time it seems like either the captain gets pinned (before or after they're left alone) or the other two get pinned instead of the captain. It feels fairly rare in modern lucha for one person to get eliminated and then the captain to eat a fall, especially if there isn't some level of balance, but that's what happened here. They reset again to Atlantis vs Santo and after a caballo tease, Atlantis submitted him with the Atlantida. In the midst of the chaos, while the refs were distracted by what was going on outside, UG rolled right in and hit probably the world's greatest foul, launching Atlantis over his head and mule kicking him on the way down for the pin. It was a really satisfying end to a very good match. If only they hadn't botched the transition. I don't follow the Segunda Caida Grading Conventions, in part, because they're all relative to one another and I just haven't seen enough yet, but relative to all the modern lucha I HAVE seen, this was an Epic match. I imagine it's at least a Must See relative to everything out there and I'm definitely excited to roll on in to 2006. 

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

20 Plus Years of Selling Johnson and Johnson, Dick Togo Started Out Life as a Baby Faced Monster

Dick Togo/Satanico/Pirata Morgan/Pierroth Jr. v. Ricky Marvin/Negro Casas/Ultimo Guerrero/Super Parka CMLL Japan 11/5/99-EPIC

Holy moly, look at that team of rudos. This is a total out of nowhere youtube gem. I was watching a shit ton of Puro in 1999 and I had no idea this match existed. You get all of these great dream matchups you never really thought about. Satanico and Negro Casas both work the mat and beat the bricks off of each other. We get a great Dick Togo v. Negro Casas section, where they just exchange super fast stiff chops and kicks. With all of that, I think my favorite part of this match was Pirata and Pierroth as nasty lucha Anderson brother total crowbars, just laying in an asskicking on cuter then Menudo Ricky Marvin and fun endearing Super Parka. I just got this image of Pierroth and Pirata vs. the Rock and Roll Express being the greatest match that never happened. This goes about 25 minutes and we get pretty much all you want from a lucha match. Some matwork, some violence, some triple teams, some nifty dives. Finish was a bit weird as Pirata is just killing Marvin and you keep waiting for the comeback or the tag, and instead Pirata just pins him. There is also a post match angle where Pierroth taunts a Japanese guy with a cast I didn't recognize (who was CMLL Japan's late 90's young up and comer) into the ring, and the whole rudo crew (including a pre-Juggalo Nosawa) just beat this kid half to death with baseball bats. Who ever this guy is, is covered in blood and they pound on his leg, and man alive is Togo, Pirata, Satanico and Pierroth the fucking greatest fake NWO ever (I don't even mind NOSAWA as their Brian Adams).


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Monday, June 23, 2014

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report 5/11/14

These matches were from the 4/27 Arena Mexico show, billed as the Arena Mexico 58th Anniversary, and also Kids Day! Traditionally I know that there have been a lot of fun matches on Kids Day, so hopefully that's true here. Anniversary show and a Kids Day show, should equal something worthwhile.

Negro Casas, Barbaro Cavernario & Mr. Niebla vs. Maximo, Titan & Super Porky

Fun but inconsequential match. I've been one of the longer term Porky supporters, but at this point it sure seems like he mostly gets in the way as opposed to adding much. A lot of his trios feature long segments focusing on him and it can really drag things. I'm thinking his tecnico work with Escorpion may have been his late career peak. Maximo had a real shining performance here, working in his schtick (along with a bunch of rarely busted out schtick such as fainting into Niebla's arms when Niebla charged him). Maximo got to work some cool arm drag reversal segments with Casas, and Casas isn't a guy I've seen Maximo work very long segments with so that was cool. We've all seen what Cavernario can do now that the Busca is over, so it was kind of a bummer to watch him play 3rd fiddle in his team here. I much rather would have seen him tearing it up with Titan and Maximo (which we did get a little bit of, with him catching a nice Titan rana off the apron on the floor) but instead we got some assbiting comedy spots as if it was a midget match at the county fair. Of course we also got Casas performing violent CPR on Kemonito, so the comedy wasn't a total wash. Casas pounding on Kemonito's chest and listening for a heartbeat, combined with Maximo's performance among other things kept this worthwhile.

Reyes Del Aire, w/ Puma, Tiger, Ephesto, Averno, Mephisto, Niebla Roja, Valiente, Stuka Jr., Rey Cometa, Guerrero Maya Jr., Triton & Delta

Nice seeing Maya back on TV, feels like it's been a few months. He and Mephisto get a fun sequence together, fun armdrags and some brief quirky mat stuff. Valiente/Ephesto is the burliest possible match up this match can give me, and they deliver immediately. Ephesto levels Valiente with a sweet flying back elbow, Valiente does the fastest Fuerza bump to the floor and immediately gets smashed by an Ephesto tope. More please. Tiger is really great at occupying himself while Cometa flips all around him, missing moves and making it really look like Cometa is one step ahead of him, and he makes Cometa look like a star by bumping his slick rana on the floor. The dives start coming fast, with Cometa hitting his awesome tornillo on Puma, but then Maya completely obliterating Roja with a flip dive. He just plastered him into the barricade, hitting him horizontally and with insane speed. One of the most awesome dives I can recall. Just Roja taking a cannonball to the chest. Triton starts going off, springing all over the ropes like a spider monkey, ending with him hitting a wild moonsault to the floor. Things slow down a bit and we get a couple too soon eliminations, with Triton, Maya and Ephesto getting the boot. Maya especially I was hoping would go long. Cometa runs face first into a Puma superkick that folds him right in half (it's fine, since Cometa just hits his own seconds later. d'oh.), but the Puma submits him much to my surprise. I assumed Cometa would be around at the end. And Valiente punishes Puma for the elimination by hitting a stout man tope. God the dives in the match have been incredible. Poor Tiger hardly gets to shine in this, and then gets eliminated by Delta, having to do that old stupid Scoot Andrews/Billy Kidman "I'm draped over the middle rope killing time while you jump off onto me" that I thought people had retired by now. He makes poor Averno go through the exact same fucking thing minutes later. It's a cool double foot stomp, but man do the poor rudos look dorky seated on the middle rope waiting to be leapt on. Retire this move set up!!! Puma and Valiente find neat ways to give each other weird chest breakers, that kind of defy all believable physics if you think about them for more than a second (so just don't do that and enjoy Puma taking Valiente's knees to his chin). Valiente Especial is still spectacular and it's a wonder he hasn't died doing this yet. That's a lot of man crashing upside down into other men at very high speeds. Mephisto and Stuka are weird finalists. Not Stuka really, but Mephisto is maybe the last rudo in this match I wanted to see work the extended finale. They work okay together, but really would have liked to see Puma or Tiger be the final rudo since those guys have really come on strong this year. It would have been nice to see them get some extended time. Still this was almost a half hour of awesome dives and cool moves, probably what a lot of us originally thought lucha was going to be like whenever it was that we all started watching lucha (personally, when I started watching lucha in 1998 I assumed it would be a lot like the luchador matches on WCW Saturday Night. I assume I wasn't the only one who thought that way). This is well worth going out of your way to watch. Tons of fun.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Lucha Journey: The Marco Corleone Experience Final: Marco Corleone vs Lizmark, Jr., Cabellera vs Cabellera

2008-10-17 @ Arena Mexico
Marco Corleone vs Lizmark Jr., Cabellera vs Cabellera

I wasn't actually going to look at this one. I never intended to do a career retrospective on Marco, after all. I just wanted to get a sense of him and how he was in different situations, like I did with Valiente. I think I've got that more than down at this point. He's a great foil for very good workers, can work some fairly elaborate sequences, especially comedy ones, that play up his size, can work the crowd fairly well, but ends up doing stuff that maybe he shouldn't be doing anymore. Back in 06-07, he was a lot smoother and his physical stuff looked more impressive, but he hadn't yet honed the more mental aspects of his work. You could sort of do a chart where one element rises and the other one sinks. That's, in a way, why I'm stopping back here, a year and a half after the hair match with Universo, at a point where he was still physically in his prime, but had amassed more experience. That sounds good, doesn't it? Really, this was always the first youtube result and I just never took a look at it. I figured I ought to before I tied all this up, not expecting to write it up, and then it was good enough that I felt like I sort of had to in order to end all of this on a high note.

There were some trios leading up to this, but let's not go more overboard here than I already have. Ten is a nice round number. Fourteen is, perhaps, a little much. Also, now that I've gotten a taste of it, I am definitely itching to go back and see more 2006 that doesn't involve Marco, so I'm done lingering. I don't think anyone can blame me too much there. That said, if I learned anything from the Rush vs Shocker series, it's that context really does matter, so I'm going to miss some nuance here. Thankfully, it wasn't really a "nuance" sort of match, and what did exist, I could pick up from just having seen a lot of Marco. I haven't seen a lot of Lizmark outside of WCW, just that one trios match from before and he was a tecnico then. He had lost his mask the year before this in a big multiman cage match but he developed a pretty good look without it, with the contact lenses and the long hair. Of course, losing his hair here probably didn't help that too much.

Frankly, this was pretty much how Marco should work every match he's in, at least the big ones. They beat the crap out of each other. At least half the match was Marco's really nice punches and him eating chops from Lizmark very, very well, with big spots, moments, sequences, and selling interjected in at the proper times, paced well. It didn't have as much of a big match feel as some of the previous hair matches I've seen. It looks sort of like it was just on a random episode of TV, but that's a guess. The crowd is very hot for it, however, with the huge majority of them behind Lizmark, and I think every female in the arena (and it looks and sounds like there are plenty) rooting for Marco. They had good reason to be into the match as it was worked with an intensity that I really had no idea that Marco could reach. It definitely wasn't boring. It wasn't some sort of frenetic mess either.

The first two falls were fairly smartly put together. They would go back and forth from trading blows into a larger move or sequence and back to the measured striking. This led to Marco hitting his back suplex/chokeslam and the first superman leap of the match for the pin. He celebrated it by playing to the crowd in a fairly cocky manner, which would come back to haunt him in the segunda. There, after some more back and forth and strike exchanges, Marco hit a big top rope press only to lift Lizmark up at two and mock him to get back up. Well, he did, and Marco ate a superkick and a deep half crab for his trouble. When against someone who's got a fairly decent offense, Marco's size could be a huge advantage visually. The kick is way up high and looked great and even something so pedestrian as the crab looked interesting between Lizmark's facial intensity and just how long Marco stretched from head to toe.

It's not as if the tercera immediately shifted into a higher gear than what they had been working, but then again, it didn't really have to. The back and forth strikes were carrying the match and dropping that for a bunch of dives and rope running would have probably been a mistake. Instead, they escalated the stakes, interjecting more big moves, whether it be a pretty impressive powerbomb by Lizmark (who didn't have Marco jump up into the position like  he usually does) or a superplex or Marco's clothesline from the ramp to the floor. Lizmark more or less had the advantage throughout, with him hitting the larger moves and Marco getting a reversals or snap pin attempts in. It all came to head in a very fun finishing stretch. They let loose with one final strike exchange, which didn't veer into annoying fighting spirit mode since it played upon the earlier parts of the match, had very good selling, and was ultimately fairly brief. It ended with Lizmark charging at Marco who backdropped him over the top to the ramp. He then flew at him at high speed, hitting the Superman leap from the inside out and set him up to do it from the ramp back in. Lizmark rolled through for a near-count which completely and utterly had the crowd. It was a downright brilliant sequence. I think the body presses are overdone in a lot of Marco's matches and make him look fairly limited, but rarely they can make them really pay off like they did here. They took it home immediately thereafter, with Marco hitting a corner splash and then a sunset flip from the outside in. Lizmark grabbed the rope at the last second but the ref missed it, so he was able to save some face but not his hair.

It's funny. Marco's selling of strikes is very good. His punch is great. In some ways, his size is almost a detriment in that regard, because on a visual level, he rarely gets to just walk around the ring brawling with guys. He could have a great match with a wrestler like Lawler, for instance, especially if we're talking back in 2008. He's always going to have the size and he can use it more subtle ways like he does now with some of the comedy sequences he works in trios. It doesn't always have to be him changing momentum of a match with a big body press or his clothesline of diminishing returns. I think it'll be interesting to see where he's at in a couple of years when he's been forced to adapt his act a little bit due to aging. This match, however, might have been the peak intersection of his physical gifts and his development as a wrestler. I'm sure it didn't win any match of the year awards, but I think it was well worth watching.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Complete & Accurate WWECW

WWECW was a cool little booking vacuum that I missed most of during the initial TV run. I started watching when Finlay and Regal were on regularly, but that was a few years into the run, and much more towards the end of it. I don't think it was very popular at the time, but it seems like it has a cool WCW syndicated vibe. A quick internet search for "WWECW" brings up hilariously whiny web musings, including an article titled "Why the WWECW is a Waste of Time" (sample quote: "Vince MacMahon and the WWE has destroyed what was once a great wrestling company and turned it into your typical WWE program.") and urban dictionary defining it as "The WWE's attempt at resurrecting ECW under Vince's control. WWECW will never be as good as what ECW used to be." So yeah.


One Night Stand






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En Busca de la Idolo -FINAL


Very good final, between the top two wrestlers in the tourney. Match was going good with Hechicero throwing Cavernario around early. Cavernario took briefly over until he caught his kneepad on the ring pad and ended up crashing and burning on a dive. Hechicero clearly called an audible and really worked over Cavernario turning this clearly into an underdog fighting to survive match. Cavernario got a couple of big hope spots, including the craziest superfly to the floor yet, but was mostly on defense, absorbing a beating and clawing his way back by biting at the knee, and headbutts. The finish was great, Cavernario survives some big spots, including a Liger bomb and a powerbomb into the turnbuckles, and as Hechciero gets him up in a submission he squirms down and hooks in his knees to the back camel clutch which has been his kill move all tourney. Really great match, with both guys on the fly working in a blown spot into a compelling match. Hell of a finish to a hell of a tourney

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Beyond Wrestling Secret Show 4/13

I heard some good things about this show, and I always like Beyond Wrestling more then I should, so I threw down $5 and checked it out

Connor Claxton v. Frankie Pickard

Both of these guys are CZW trainees, and this was a hell of a four minutes. Really aggressive amateur wrestling by both guys. Reminded me of the Steiners v. Gordy and Williams matches in WCW, like UWFI with a colligate wrestling base, instead of a Martial arts base. We had one strike, a great headbutt by Claxton, and one suplex an overhead by Pickard. The rest was just grappling. I am not sure if they have a longer match in them, but they are on my radar.

Supercop Dick Justice v. Leon St. Giovanni

Justice looks like a young Ron Jeremy and is working a 80's patriotic babyface gimmick. Giovanni hams it up as a heel. A couple of clever spots, but the whole thing was turned up to 11, and I didn't find it nearly as amusing as the participants did.

DJ Hyde v. AR Fox

Really surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Fox was working heel, as was fun as a cocky asshole who would flip around and taunt Hyde. Meanwhile Hyde was working as kind of a poor man's Ian Rotten, as he was countering the flippy taunts with some nasty potato shots. I really liked him countering Fox's lucha armdrag by just chucking him face first into the mat, and he threw a elbow that knocked Fox across the ring. Finish was cool as Hyde survived a couple of cool in ring dives before obliterating Fox with a lariat.

Darius Carter/TJ Marconi v. Det Dan Berry/Monsta Mack v. Kevin Graham/Punisher Van Slyke v. Thomas Dubois/Mathieu St. Jacques

I like that they have been keeping these matches pretty short, without the bloat which can effect indy wrestling. This gave everyone a chance to hit some big impressive stuff, get in and get out. Mack is the vet here and he looked the best, he took a bunch of big bumps, hit a diving rana off the top, and a superfly splash. The Dubois/ St. Jacques team looked like the French Canadian mafia guys that killed Dino Bravo and I wouldn't mind seeing more of them.

Jay Freddie v. Eric Corvis

I have always dug Corvis, he was a JAPW guy back in the day, and is a Beyond guy I look out for. He kind of reminds me of Sami Callihan. He has an innovator gimmick, but usually has pretty cool sensible innovations. Here he seemed to be less about innovation, and more about Tenryuish stiff shots from odd angles. He had this great spot, where he placed his foot on Freddie's knee and smacked him with a jab. Freddie is a little bland, but isn't afraid to deliver some shots of his own. Fun stuff and Corvis is as nifty as I remember him.

Brandon Watts/Randy Summers v. Sugar Dunkington/Pinkie Sanchez

Didn't love this. Lots of dancing and gay shtick with out much substance. There was a nice running boot by Watts, but not much else of note. Smirky Beyond Wrestling is not my bag, it comes off like a a bunch of Vine making hipsters winking at their inside jokes.

"Dirty" Buxx Belmar v. "Speedball" Mike Bailey

I like Bailey, he is a spot guy with some fun variations on spots, kind of like Matt Sydal back in the ROH days. Belmar is working a dirty guy gimmick, and this match was a victim of him needing to get in all of his "I don't take a shower" spots. We only get glimpses of what Bailey can do, fun glimpses and I want to see more, but this was a waste.

Nicholas Kaye v. Benny Martinez v. Ryan Rush v. Shyron

Spotfest with four dudes doing some stuff. Not as many big spots as the tag spotfest, but everything was executed fine. This kind of match has diminishing returns this late on the show, probably would have been better off as an opener.

JT Dunn/David Starr v. Jaka/Chris Dickinson

This was set up earlier in the show with an angle and was a big workrate tag. Workrate tag wrestling is not my cup of tea in 2014, but I enjoyed this. Dickinson, Starr and Dunn are basic indy American Wolvesalikes, but Jaka is working as indy Haku, and indy Haku makes the rest of guys more tolerable, Dickinson has gotten a lot better too, his stuff is really solid looking, stiff kicks and nice amateur take downs. Dunn and Starr didn't make a huge impression on me, but this built to an exciting finish and didn't have an overdose of near falls.

Biff Busick v. Timothy Thatcher

These are two of the three (along with Drew Gulak) of the most exciting new group of guys in Indy wrestling. They are working Euro style matches, although Euro style that owes more to Billy Robinson and Terry Rudge then Johnny Saint and Mark Rocco. Tight agressive mat wrestling and nasty uppercuts and punches. Nothing fancy just hard hitting and rough.  The big highspot was an uppercut that knocked Busick into the wall, and came off as a bigger deal then any of the crazy shit in earlier matches. I loved Busick finish here too, great sensible counter to lock in the choke nastier and looked really tight, I bought Thatcher going out. I could watch these guys work each other a ton of times.

This show was really good, 5 matches which I enjoyed and nothing I hated. Worth your $5, throw them some cash.

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My Lucha Journey: The Marco Corleone Experience 9: Marco Corleone vs Universo 2000, Cabellera vs Cabellera

Homenaje a Dos Leyendas:
Marco Corleone vs Universo 2000, Cabellera vs Cabellera
2007-3-30 @ Arena Mexico

I was going to maybe finish with this, but it's really not a great choice for it. This was another big final match of a big event, with a big trophy at the end and the dancing girls to begin and what not, but frankly, it wasn't all that great, even relative to my current breadth of watching. I think there's one ultimate sin that a hair match can commit, the absolutely worst thing: being boring, and this one sort of was. I was expecting a little more out of Universo based on the scope of the match, but I guess Marco just maybe wasn't ready for something at this level yet.

There wasn't the same feeling of pomp for the entrances or really excitement for the match itself compared to the tag hair match. In general, I do like Universo's look. That's the way to survive losing your mask (which he had only lost a few years before): to have this weird facepaint under the eyes, cowboy hat and goatee look. It was sleazy and iconic all at the same time. The crowd was mostly behind him, though he did work rudo, but in general they weren't into this like they were the previous one.

To be fair, Universo did kick out a number of fairly good touches, even if, in general, he was somewhat sluggish (especially coming off the ropes) for a match of this caliber. His very early beatdown attempt was effective, in part due to the fact it was sold well (like usual) by Marco. The abrupt ending of the primera was pretty good, as it looked like Marco was going to do one of his usual agility reversals, but got his foot caught and dragged into a quick and deep STF. The segunda began with a charging headbutt by Universo to break up the Rude Swivel. They paid some of this off later, somewhat at least, with a missed charge to start the tercera and Marco fighting back against a replication of the early beatdown attempts later in the match. I might have been reading too much into that, though. It wasn't that Universo wasn't trying. He had a nice dive, which Marco caught well, and towards the end of the tercera, he missed a big top rope senton because he was jawing with the second (Rey Bucanero). Best of all was probably his antics to try to avoid the haircut after the match; he did not take it gracefully at all.

The first two caidas were pretty brief. Like I said, I kind of liked how abruptly the first one ended, if only because it was a divergence from the usual Marco comeback. Moreover, his comeback in the segunda was a little different than usual, with a dropkick as the big move and a seated chinlock to end it, so it at least felt different. The tercera caida had a couple of good nearfalls and some fine late match selling, but ultimately didn't really pick up or had the sort of big moments or story beats that would make a match like this.

The finish was fairly clever as it built somewhat upon the mano a mano match, with Cien Caras interfering to stop the pin during the superman dive. This distracted the officials and allowed for Universo to try to try for a foul but Buccanero took one for the team and Marco picked up the roll-up win. Unfortunately, It wasn't enough to overcome an otherwise lackluster match, however. This was probably one of the most disappointing hair matches I've seen since starting to watch lucha. They tried, but this was lacking the smoke and mirrors of the tag cabelleras match and, while Marco would get better (and I've seen plenty of evidence of that), this particular pairing just didn't have enough to bring to the table at this point in time.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year...Or IS It!? YOU Decide!

So, Phil and I recently watched a 2014 pro wrestling match. I really enjoyed it. Phil enjoyed it, but (rightly) felt that one of the participants brought nothing to the table and the match as a whole wasn't good enough to make our 2014 MOTY list. I thought it should definitely be on our list. Since this is a partnership, we both have to turn our keys on a match for it to make it on the list. We don't often disagree on pro wrestling, so this situation hasn't come up much. So we spoke, and decided that we would let you, the readers, decide whether or not the following match is indeed worthy of inclusion on our 2014 MOTY list. Watch the match, read my fair review, leave a comment saying why you think I'm correct or why you think Phil is correct and how dare I step out of line by disagreeing with him. If you think it goes on, it will be our new gatekeeper at the bottom of the list. If you think it stinks, then at least we all got to watch an awesome fat guy performance. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

Akebono v. Go Shiozaki AJPW 2/23

I've been out of the puro scene for a couple years. Out of the All Japan scene. Out of the Triple Crown scene. If there was any sort of scene centered around this match, your author was not a part of it. But, I saw Akebono had won the Triple Crown at some point, and was interested. As an unabashed fan of giant wrestling fatsos, in additition to my equally unabashed love of wrestling sumos, my interest was piqued. I am a big fan of the 80s AJPW sumo-on-sumo singles and tags, a huge fan of WAR sumo alumni, even a fake sumo like Yokozuna was one of my favorite WWF wrestlers of the 90s. Sumos in pro wrestling are great. They're lumpy, grouchy, and have cool specific body strength that no other pro wrestlers have. And this ended up being a really cool match, and could have been a great match had Go Shizaki brought much of anything to the table. He wasn't bad, but turned in just about the most nondescript  performance I've seen in some time. Just a total 0 WAR (Wins Above Replacement or Tenryu's fed, you choose) performance out there. He could have been worse, as he was not bad. He ended up in the spots where he was supposed to end up, and was there to move the match along as the underdog.

But this was all about the Akebono show. Akebono was completely awesome here, showing nice vulnerability and eventually insurmountable power. The story was laid out nicely as Shiozaki already had an uphill battle against a larger, tougher opponent, but also eventually beat himself by getting too greedy. When he felled Akebono early and began working on his leg he finally started to make some headway, but he got so obsessed with trying to hit the Go Flasher that even when he finally did, it didn't matter. He had the blinders on and that wasn't going to be the way to beat Akebono. The damage he did by hitting it didn't come close to make up for the damage he took from trying the move multiple times and having Akebono squash him. I loved Akebono's offense in this, as he's mastered a fat guy move set that is so simple you wonder why you don't see it more often. When you're this large simply falling on a guy is enough to turn things in your favor, and here he falls on Shiozaki in plenty of cool ways. He has a cool splash and killer elbow drops, and turns a Go Flasher into a mean crossbody. But the sumo elements he incorporates were the best, using his awesome short range quickness to regularly beat Go to the punch. Instead of resorting to derivative "I forearm you, you forearm me" puro exchanges, Go would try to hit a forearm and Akebono would just slap him across the face before Go's strike could even reach him. Akebono's a man who spent 15 years constantly training how to shove and smack somebody around in a phone booth, so it's not a great plan to stay in his wheelhouse. His short range quickness was super impressive in this, and he also had that really cool sumo shoving strength, bullying Go into corners at will. Some people had complaints with the way he sold Go's legwork but I liked it. It was nice and subtle, as it should be. Sumos take more of a beating on their joints than most other sports, I don't need to see a giant 500 lb. sumo doing "Ohhhhhh my kneeeeeee!" type over-emoting. These guys are trained to work through intense pain, no reason for him to be gripping his knee and screaming after a Go kneebar. This was a really fun match, and a great one man performance.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Lucha Journey: El Hijo Del Santo One-Shot 2: El Hijo Del Santo vs Ultimo Guerrero

2005-11-25 @ Arena Mexico
El Hijo Del Santo vs Ultimo Guerrero

This is another case of me killing a couple of birds with one stone. The next thing I'm going to take a big look at is Los Guerreros de la Atlantida, which is really an excuse for me to watch a lot of matches from 2006 in vaguely chronological order. This match (like the previous one) gives me something of a springboard into that, while getting to also watch another Santo match vs a luchador I'm fairly familiar with in Guerrero. What I should REALLY do is head back to 2001 to check out the Infernales War, but I'm pretty sure what footage is easily available there might be a bit spottier than this.

Anyway, onto the match. Looking at both, back to back, I liked this more than the Atlantis match, even if that had a much stronger finish. In fact, speaking of the finish, when I was trying to date this one, the first thing I found was a message board thread in Spanish with people complaining how AAA this finish felt to them. Ultimately, I didn't mind it. It's frankly amazing there aren't more BS finishes in general. In general, CMLL has to put on weekly wrestling in front of the same crowds, building to matches on the quick, while keeping wrestlers over while they trade wins. Part of me thinks that the 2/3 fall structure helps here, because it means each side USUALLY gets at least a fall in almost every match helping to protect just about everyone without blunting wins and losses like you see elsewhere. That's just a thought though.

I liked this one more because it was given a little more room to breathe in the tercera caida as opposed to the one fall, very frenetic affair that was the Atlantis match. That's not to say that both guys don't go all out; they do. Santo has extra motivation, past just getting revenge on UG for what happened at Leyenda de Plata. This was almost immediately after Eddy Guerrero passed away and Santo, being a former rival, wore a Who's your Papi shirt to the ring and sported an EG armband. Both luchadors took some big bumps and worked hard, but balanced it with crowd interaction and selling.

The first two falls were extremely short. I don't think the primera caida went more than two minutes, but it was action packed. UG started things with an ambush and a big press slam from the rampway to the ring. Santo then took a nasty bump as Ultimo repeated the move on the outside into a row of chairs. He then took a big bump of his own, missing a corner splash and hitting the ringpost on the way to the floor. A moment later, he ate a top rope 'rana to the ramp and then was back body dropped back into the ring. Later on, in the tercera caida, he'd take another huge one, this time hitting the top turnbuckle with his knee and flying out over the top. Add in a couple of dives, a missed senton, and a massive top rope reversal into a very dangerous looking super powerbomb on Santo and you can tell that they were definitely working hard. The primera ended with Santo's full rotation sunset flip, which he had hit on Atlantis for an early nearfall a few weeks before. The segunda caida had just the start of Santo's flurry of tecnico armdrags and fluid control, but it really didn't get the time I thought it should have. He worked the sequences quite well, and the match would have probably been more robust with a minute or two of this. Instead, UG went to the floor, ate a nice tope suicida, missed a senton, and locked on a savvy reversal role up off of a submission attempt. It was well done, but in general, I would have liked a but more substance in the segunda.

The tercera struck a better balance. Ultimo had control, broken up with near falls and bursts of offense, for the better part of it. Santo is very good at, I'm not even going to say working from underneath, but portraying a struggle to overcome adversity. Here, the high point of that was fighting his way out of a modified Gory Special. Once things got going they would sell and look to the crowd after every move or short sequence, which, after the brevity and speed of the first two falls, imposed a sense of build to the match. There were a couple of parallel spots and roll ups and some submission attempts that seemed a bit askew, but still, somehow totally believable due to the skill of the luchadors involved. The reversal into a super powerbomb was pretty harrowing considering UG seemed to lose Santo's leg on the way down, but it was an effective way to roll into the finish given that both guys sold it so thoroughly.

The finish had UG escape the caballo attempt only to get backdropped. Santo hit the top but Atlantis came out. This allowed Mistico to rush in behind the ref's back and hit a missile dropkick. Santo wouldn't capitalize though and frustrated, Mistico put the boots to UG when the ref could see it. I thought it was a fairly good way put more heat on the rudos while still protecting Santo and highlighting Mistico's youth and frustration. It was the sort of thing that might keep the match, in and of itself, from being more memorable, but that would lead to more business the next week, so long as there was some semblance of payoff in the future. Definitely a good showing from both guys and a match I'm glad I saw.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Daisuke Ikeda is heading for that Adult Crash

Daisuke Ikeda/Ikuto Hidaka v. Yuki Ishikawa/Mohammed Yone BattlArts 6/20/99- GREAT

Late 90's BattlArts tags are the most consistently enjoyable wrestling matches you are going to get. Any combo of 8 or so guys is guaranteed to be at least very good, and probably excellent. This had pieces of the Ikeda v. Ishikawa violence waltz we expect, punches, headbuts, kicks to the eye (seriously how has Ishikawa not learned that he shouldn't apply a submission hold when Ikeda is standing on the apron, talk about the definition of insanity), but what gave this a bit of flair, was the performances of Yone and Hidaka. Hidaka on his own or in a juniors match is pretty hit or miss, but in this arena he is really fun as a guy diving into kneebars and armbars and throwing stiff dropkicks. I also loved Yone as a bull, getting in Ikeda's face, knocking Hidaka out of mid air with a lariat, he is a fun powerhouse. Probably needed a more classic finishing run to push it into the EPIC camp, but will still be up there with the best things in the world if it happened today

Daisuke Ikeda v. Masao Inoue NOAH 6/13/14-FUN

More of an Inoue match then an Ikeda match.  I like me an Inoue match, but the best Inoue matches mix his shtick with some real drama and violence, and this was pretty much all shtick. There was a funny spot where Ikeda and Inoue whip ringside trainees into each other, and I liked Inoue winding up his arm so much that he got tired. Still Ikeda like he want to do in NOAH, just faded in the background. We need some new FUTEN


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Monday, June 16, 2014

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report 5/4/14

These matches were all from the 4/20 Arena Mexico show. Earlier today I watched part of an episode of The Price is Right and some chubby goof in a bucket cap on contestant's row guessed $420 on some jewelry, then made an obnoxious "did I say that!?" face and turned to his matching-shirt friends who were all going "ohhhhhhhhh!" Then it cut back to Drew Carey who was shaking his head as if to say "Man what a doof." People, man.

Blue Panther, Valiente & La Mascara vs. Puma, Tiger & Vangellys

Damn this was really good. This is two matches within about a week where Panther gets to stretch out a bit on the mat, and his 4 minutes here with Puma was probably his best mat stuff of the year (so far). What's great is it was completely different from the stuff with Terrible from 4/11. He and Puma do a bunch of cool leg takedowns, with BP doing cool roll throughs and leverage moves. It is true poetry watching him do his thing. Valiente and Vangellys roll as well which is fun as you don't get to see two of the stockier guys do extended mat sequences. It's also good, in a different way from BP/Puma, more brutish, with each guy trying to use his size to hold the other down while twisting limbs. Segunda is fun in as Valiente and BP switch partners and get to show off their fun ranas, with it ending on a nice throwback to the primera, with Mascara going to the well the won it before, and the rudos immediately recognizing it and cutting it off. Tercera was nice and extended with us actually getting some drama with eliminations. It's such a regular part of lucha that it's easy to forget how lame the "all three guys pin/submit the other three guys at about the same time to end a fall" ending is, and here we get the non-captains getting picked off first, actually making the finish built to something. Vangellys sells Valiente's silly-and-nasty inverted power bomb to knees great, mainly because he took Valiente's boot toe right to the mouth. Panther started the year nicely and has been really ramping up his work in trios as the year goes on. Puma and Tiger have also gone from guys I didn't really know last year to guys I actively look forward to in 2014.

Negro Casas, Felino & Mr. Niebla vs. Rush, Atlantis & Titan

Match immediately feels different than other Casas/Rush affairs, as Casas attacks from the get go and controls most of the early action. Just when I get used to seeing Casas as sympathetic old man he turns into sadistic ass beater, kicking Rush into the crowd and attacking him in front of families on a Sunday afternoon. At one point in the ring Rush does his (arguably the current most awesome thing in pro wres) thrust headbutt into Casas' chin and Casas appropriately sells it as if he just took a thrust headbutt to the chin. Tercera has nice moments from everybody, with Felino working fast and feeding Atlantis admirably, Niebla taking a fun Race bump to the floor and dumping himself on his neck and shoulders Titan hitting a giant moonsault off the top to the floor (although I really wanted Felino to punch him in the dick during his handstand, which actually seems like something that would fit the current Felino…"character"). But we all want the Rush/Casas interaction, and we get it. Casas dominated the first, and Rush gets his heat back in the third, breaking down Casas in the corner in the most beautiful way. Arms flying, and when Casas starts to buckle he kicks Casas' legs out from under him, dropping him onto his seat where Rush then leaps and stomps all over him (to the hisses of the crowd). The match was pretty short but the work was quick, and the match-ups ranged from solid to great. Not one of the must see matches in the Rush/Casas canon, but as watchable as ever.

Rey Escorpion vs. Maximo, for the CMLL Light Heavyweight Title

Good lord, Escorpion is all painted up in blue wearing  some sort of Avatar get up, and it is every bit as horrible and cringeworthy as when Volador did it last year. Is Avatar still a really big deal in Mexico? His hair is in a ponytail, but not in a tight braid (which it will need to be in order to have sex with a dragon's ponytail vagina). This was a fairly short match for a Title match, but they crammed a lot of action into it. Maximo did his really nice pendulum rana, and hit maybe his burliest tope ever, looking much more like a flying shoulder tackle than a dive. He really just slammed right into Escorpion. I get kind sucked out of the match as they do one of my least favorite "big match feel" lucha tropes, where the match devolves quickly into Move > Pinfall > Both Lie On Mat Selling > Repeat. It's obnoxious and I suppose it's supposed to make things more dramatic, but it really makes the whole affair disjointed to this viewer. Hurricanrana roll-up, slow count, kick out at two, both guys lie there breathing heavy and selling. I'm not sure why Maximo was selling the effort it took to get his move kicked out of, but apparently this wrestling is tiring business! I'm about as far removed from a go-go-go super workrate freak as you can get, but this style just doesn't feel like a match to me. It feels like several separate move demonstrations, with breaks in the middle for both demonstrators to rest. This match is hardly the guiltiest offender, or even a bad match (it was actually a pretty decent match, both guys looked good....well, in a wrestling sense. Escoprion of course did not LOOK good, due to his dorkgasm Avatar cosplay), this is just me finally coming to terms with being sick of this phony big match feel. The classicly slow lucha pinfall counts only make it more exasperating to me. Sorry guys, wrong place wrong time.

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My Lucha Journey: El Hijo Del Santo One-Shot 1: El Hijo Del Santo vs Atlantis

Leyenda de Plata 2005:
2005-11-11 @ Arena Mexico
El Hijo Del Santo vs Atlantis

Alright, so I received one mighty request (well-appreciated) to look at some El Hijo Del Santo, and since someone was kind enough to ask, I'm going to do my best. I think the way to do this is to pepper some in now and again, though, as opposed to trying to do any great overview. He's just got too long and storied a career to do it justice that way, and I'm also a little wary of tracking back to the early 90s quite yet. I had seen him a bit in the DVDVR 80s set and once or twice in the Worlds Collide era stuff that everyone sees at some point or another, but not much else. In this moment, however, I'm right in the middle of first decade of the 2000s, and I'm going to look at a pair of matches with opponents I know fairly well.

This was the finals of the Leyenda de Plata 2005, after the two ciberneticos they had that year. For the sake of disclosure I watched the Santo vs Ultimo Guerrero match that followed a week or two later first and then decided it made sense to double back to this. It's definitely a temptation to make a whole thing out of this, but I'm going to roll into 2006 soon, and despite the "one-shot" naming, I'm just going to do these two matches for Santo, for now, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Santo was somewhere around 42 here and while that's not the prime of a career by any means, it's still young enough that a guy in the short of shape he was in could still really go. Atlantis was maybe a year older or so. This was just a one fall match but it did get a decent amount of time at least. It was interesting to see that aspect of it since the only single fall matches I've seen while doing this have been lightning matches. There's a nearfall or two early on that could have been a fall-taker if this was 2/3 falls (especially the high impact flip over sunset flip out of a 'rana position that Santo did that earns him the first fall in the Guerrero match later in the month that I'm going to look at next). There was also the sense of changing gears maybe ten minutes or so in when the near falls and big frenetic moves and broad selling began that almost felt more like a tercera caida in and of itself instead of just a long finishing stretch.

I'd have to go back to see if these two had faced each other in a setting like this before. My guess is that maybe a trios or two after Atlantis' turn, but in general, no. I think this was an opportunity for Atlantis to really cut loose with the rudo-ness, since he was facing a guy that he probably wouldn't get cheered against. He took his opportunity in full stride, with early mask ripping, mascot abuse (including a fun spot where Ultimo tossed him from the outside in to Atlantis, who then used him as a projectile to splash Santo), grabbing the ropes for leverage on near-falls then jawing with the ref (which led to a great nearfall as Santo rolled him up), and just controlling the early pace of the match with methodological offense. He even took a stalling escape onto the ramp late in the match! One of my favorite momentum shifts in lucha is when the tecnico, either through opportunity or revenge loses it and goes after the mask, only to pay for it on some karmic level by losing control of the match. This happened early on here and led to Atlantis turning the tide, immobilizing Santo and giving his mask a working over, one that would lead directly to the finish.

This was obviously a big match and they went all out. Santo was very good at making things matter and giving them weight, though I could have liked a little more breath between big moves here. I think this was in part was due to the one-fall nature not allowing for the natural breaks these matches often have. The highlight of the match for him from a highlight reel point of view was probably the headbutt off the top that drove Atlantis out followed by a very big dive. The purity of Santo's mask, especially dangling as it was, made a lot of his high impact offense like this look visually striking. They followed, maybe a bit too soon, with a few more big spots (the flying rana and a huge plancha from the top to the outside) by Santo. It was here, to break things up before the finishing segment that Atlantis utilized the ramp stalling. When he made it back in they immediately went to teases of the Caballo and then the Atlantida and took the thing home.

The finish was sort of BS, but it's way more conclusive than it could have been (and  definitely more so than the match that follows vs UG which I think a lot of people complained about at the time as being too AAA-y). This was only, maybe, half a year tops after the Atlantis turn and I'm not too sure how successful the turn itself was. With a finish like this, he had to have huge heat coming out of this match, though. After the finisher teases, UG (Atlantis' second) tripped Santo off the ropes. Mistico (Santo's second) got up on the apron, distracting the ref, which seems like a very Mistico thing to do in this era. Santo went to confront UG only to get his mask pulled off from the outside. He covered up, got rolled up by Atlantis, and then everything broke loose. Considering this was the final of a yearly event that was put on in the name of Santo's father, it was a hell of a heat-generating finish.

Ultimately, I thought this was very good. It was two real masters of their craft in a heated environment, with big stakes and a pretty molten finish, even if it wasn't a clean one. Atlantis got to really play the rudo and Santo shined in opposition. It was maybe hurt by the fact it was just one fall but that's a medium-sized maybe. Frankly, I consider myself quite lucky that someone wanted me to see El Hijo Del Santo matches instead of a sharp Volador, Jr focus or something, which is probably what I deserved. More to come soon.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

16. Tomohiro Iishi v. Kota Ibushi NJPW 5/25

PAS: Very good match, easily the best thing from Japan so far this year. It has some expected New Japan flaws, one count kick outs, forearm exchanges, maybe a near fall or two too many. However there was a ton to love here Ibushi is the best of the New Japan pretty boys, his highspots are truly spectacular and he is actually willing to land his stuff with authority. Ishii is the modern day heir to asskickers like Tenryu and Choshu, but Ibushi actually hangs with him including splitting Iishi open with a barfight sneak headbutt. The blood really added to this match as it made Iishi feel vulnerable, like all of Ibushi's flashy stuff might actually fell this tank. I loved Ishii making Ibushi pay for his high risk stuff, that top rope clothesline was pretty great. This isn't my style of match, but this feels like about the best of that style

ER: I really liked how most of the times Ibushi went up top it backfired on him, getting brutally clotheslined inside out, getting dumped on his head with a powerbomb after trying a rana, taking a big vertical suplex after getting caught. But then he would start to gain an advantage by actually going toe to toe with the brick powerhouse Ishii. As Phil mentioned, I really loved Ibushi tossing out the Rush-style thrust headbutt. I didn't see that kind of viciousness coming out of Ibushi, and within the story of the match I'm sure Ishii didn't see it either. I was afraid we'd just get meaningless "Ishii's chops vs. Ibushi's kicks" exchanges, with both men properly taking turns, puffing out their chests and repeating too many times. We did get strike exchanges, but they were more interesting, with hard slaps devolving into nasty palm strikes, including Ibushi smashing Ishii with a nasty shot to the eye. Ibushi really surprised me here with his bouts of viciousness, especially surprising was how nice his clothesline from a stationary position was. Most heavyweights couldn't break out a finer one with a running start, so seeing Ibushi put everything into his while standing right in front of Ishii was impressive. Ishii was his usual stockade ass beater, and in the end this never devolved the way these matches usually do for me, and it was a real fun 20 minutes.


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Saturday, June 14, 2014

En Busca de un Idolo -Week 11

Hechicero v. Cachorro - Must See

Really great stuff, the best second round match for sure. Hechicero is just a rudo maestro in this match. I loved the opening spot as he sees the bullet tope coming, and quickly rolls back into the ring to grab an ankle lock. The desperation to avoid the tope, makes it even better when Cachorro hits it. Hechicero also breaks out some nasty mask ripping and short punches and a really brutal looking rolling cradle. Finish was awesome as Cachorro seems like he has the advantage, until Hechicero catches him in a martinete position and spins it into a Fujiwara of his own. Really dominant performance which puts him strong into the final.

Cavernario v. Dragon Lee - Must See

Another great match. This also has the theme of the guys knowing each other by this point in the tourney and finding counters. Lee avoids Cavernario's attempt of his double knee Camel Clutch, the first time he tries it, and Cavernario bites his way out of Lee's cradle suplex, before grabbing the submission the second time. We had lots of cool moments building up to that great finish. Cavernario is a wild beast in this, and Lee is a crazy loon and the both demonstrate it. Lee breaks out his crazy half tope, half dropkick again, and it had even more air then the first time he did it. I love how Cavernario will just freak out and blanket his guy with punches, he feels like a wild caveman. Very enjoyable match and the tourney has been a star making showcase for all four of these guys

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Friday, June 13, 2014

En Busca de un Idolo - Week 10


Cavernario v. Cachorro- Must See

I liked this a bunch but it is another rematch which isn't as good as the first round match. I really enjoyed the intensity, as Cavernario runs insanely at Cachorro before getting chucked out of the ring a smashed with a tope. I also liked how Cachorro kept going for a martinete and how the ref kept physical restraining him. The big spot, the running Liger bomb on the floor was a legit big spot, although Cavernario probably should have been dead. I also liked how kept attacking Cachorro after the bell. Still the first match was one of the best of the tourney, and this was shorter and less insane.

Dragon Lee v. Hechicero - Must See

This is the best of the second round matches so far, but I still think it falls short of their great first round match. This does a great job of showing another facet of Hechicero, in the last Lee match he was a great rudo catcher, here he was more a Satanico style nasty asskicker and it is great how he can do both. He jumps Lee at the start suplexes him stomach first into the barricade. He is great here with little shots to the side of the head and even a violent eye poke to set up the finish his spinning dragon sleeper into a dragon camel clutch. Lee breaks out a couple of big dives, but he isn't as dynamic as he has been in other matches, this was the Hechicero show and he looked amazing.

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My Lucha Journey: The Marco Corleone Experience 8: Marco Corleone vs Universo 2000, mano a mano

Taped 2007-3-9 at Arena Mexico
Marco Corleone vs Universo 2000, mano a mano

Alright, here's where we stand. I'm going to hang out in 2007, watch this and the blowoff hair match to finish out this sequence, hit the Lizmark Jr. hair match as well, which I wasn't expecting to do but it's actually worth it, and then I'm going to roll on to attacking 2006 in a big way, focusing on Los Guerreros de la Atlantida, peppering in with some El Hijo Del Santo from all sort of years as I go. Meanwhile, I'm sure CMLL will build to another big match and then in a couple of months, I'll double back from that like I did with Rush vs Shocker. Slowly but surely, I'm filling out a map of things. A few more years at this rate and I might actually know something.

I'm guessing on the taped date. not sure about the aired date. This was the match that made me want to see more Universo from this era. He was in his 40s here and I'm pretty sure I've seen him two decades before this. He's the younger brother of Cien Caras and Mascara Ano 2000, but there's really nothing young about him here. There was a lot to like though. He married some very gritty offense (including a really nice tope, for which Marco caught him well. That's one thing I haven't talked about which he does do well, both due to his size and willingness) and a lot of flourishes, playing to the crowd, timing things well, and grinding down when the situation calls for it. He had a great look too, having lost his mask a couple of years before. There's this sort of  desperado with eye shadow thing he had going which was better than just losing the mask and walking around like yourself, I guess.

Marco, on the other hand, looked the most physically capable I've ever seen him. The height on his dropkick was pretty awe-inspiring. His flying clothesline was frankly awesome and that rarely looks good. He even locked on a great little neck stretch and teased a tombstone (which at first I chalked up to a cultural misunderstanding, but this was after Universo took his hair in the tag match with Kenzo so I figure he knew what he was doing. He already had a fall at that point. If you hit a tombstone does the match end or do you just get DQed for the fall? Does anyone know? It's like getting DQed on purpose in an iron man match in order to do more damage?). The flipside was that while he still actually sold very well, which is probably his strongest aspect as a wrestler in this setting past his size, his working the crowd was just not up to par yet. This was the very height of the eagle arm flaps, ALL THE TIME. Someone must have coached him on that and not much else. When you look at how he interacts with the other wrestlers and the crowd now it's absolutely night and day.

The match itself was extremely abrupt, though it was shaping up to be at the least fun before it got cut short. Even today, a lot of transitions and momentum shifts involving Marco are based around him either hitting a high flying move off of a reversal or him missing a high flying move. In some ways it's just the most logical thing to do given his size and agility, but when you watch a lot of these in a row, it passes the point of "good scouting" or dynamic and sort of veers into "repetitive." One thing I've noticed about CMLL in general, both in 2007 and especially so in the last year or two is that you rarely have matches end in interference, even to set up another match. You'll have fouls, sure, or some sort of clever rudo-based finish, but rarely matches just thrown out. That's exactly what you had here, as when Marco was going for the Superman leap to take the third fall, Universo's brothers ran out to maul him, thus setting up the hair match to come. Anyway, like I said, this made me want to catch some more Universo from the period, and what prompted met to go back and then forward, especially knowing that their feud was bookeneded by two hair matches, which is usually, though as we'll see next week, not always, a sure bet.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

En Busca de un Idolo - Week 9


Dragon Lee v. Cachorro - Must See

Very fun although very short wild sprint. Lee gets right in Cachorro's face as he walks down the aisle and they get right to it. Lee hits this awesome double jump rana into the ring and absolutely creams him with a tope. We get a couple of minutes of intense bomb throwing, which gets a bit abruptly cut off as Lee catches a rana attempt and put in Lee's signature overhead cradle suplex. It felt like a really great short first fall, which would lead to an awesome finish, but unfortunately this was only a taste. Still very cool.

Cavernario v. Hechicero -Must See

Their first match in the tourney was full of huge moments and very memorable. This match didn't have those huge high points and thus was arguably a little disappointing. Still these are two great wrestlers and this is a very solidly worked match. Cavernario does break out a climb the ropes spaceman plancha which was pretty dope looking, and they had a bunch of nifty exchanges, these are two guys with great execution on little things, so we got a bunch of nice chops, kicks and throws. I loved the joy Cavernario felt when he got the submission, really made it feel like a big moment.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Lucha Journey: The Marco Corleone Experience 7: Hijo del Lizmark, Marco Corleone, Satánico vs Olímpico, Pierroth, Universo 2000

aired 2007-03-10
taped 2007-03-04 @ Arena Coliseo
Hijo del Lizmark, Marco Corleone, Satánico vs Olímpico, Pierroth, Universo 2000

I've actually got a nice little four match feud here, between the hair tag match, this, a singles match that followed it, and the hair match that ended things. It seems a little weird to end the Marco stuff way back in 2007, so I might cap it off with a recent trios or something. Part of me does see the danger in having a 10 match Marco Corleone mini project as my second or third focus, but I do think I've picked up a lot of other things along the way so it's generally okay.

This match was no different. Look at what I get to delve into here: Old Man, tecnico (what the heck?) Satanico. Old Man Pierroth. Lizmark, Jr and Olimpico, who haven't seen too much of, and some more Universo. I am the world's only proponent of the idea that you can really, truly learn a lot about a wrestler by watching them after they've broken down and don't have the same physical gifts. The question is whether or not they know enough about the craft of professional wrestling to compensate and how they attempt or don't attempt to do so.

Satanico was aces in 1984 and he was pretty much aces here too. He could still take things to second gear in brief bursts though, which helped. It was still weird seeing him play the beloved old hero, but he was excellent in garnering sympathy and response, whether it be eating multiple hair throws, playing to the crowd at key moments, or even teasing a dive. His offense was pretty smart with my personal highlight being this amazing corner thrashing of Pierroth where he just smushed his elbow in the poor jerk's eye. Pierroth I was less enthused about. He didn't get out of first gear and he really barely had that. That, in and of itself, wouldn't have been too bad but he had one too many corner clotheslines or times where he hit the ropes and the world just stumbled to a stop. If you're forced to be sluggish or unwilling to find a way to turn it up, then try to wrestle smart. Do matwork. Punch it out. Make the other guy do the work. He was exposing himself way too much here, especially for someone who really ought to have known better. When he wasn't doing that, he looked pretty good though. I liked his little chops and pokey punches and he was directing traffic well.

The rudos, in general, worked very smoothly. They opened the match with a pretty great ambush that had a chaotic feel that you don't really seem to see much anymore. The best of it was when the camera quickly shot back to the outside to see Marco flying into the turnbuckle. They carried it forward into an effective mauling, with a very cool triple submission on Satanico and a nasty senton on Lizmark to take the primera caida. I love that the senton is still so relevant in lucha. It's this primal visual, just a grisly landing that makes for a very believable pinfall or nearfall when necessary or a momentum shift when it's missed. Anyway, they also had pretty fun character work, between a huddle after disposing of an opponent, and Universo and Pierroth hamming it up in response to Marco's Rude Gyration to hilarious ends.

Frankly, I think I might have underestimated Marco a bit when it came to how he handled the character work in 2007. The flip side to this is that maybe I overestimate him a bit now. When he's in there with someone who really seems to know what he's doing, like Universo, they can play it up really well. He's a great foil, maybe more so than just being a great prop. They use him here to fuel the tecnico comeback. I almost wonder if you would get these luchadors who rarely get to work with a guy his size and they think "Why the hell wouldn't we use him to climb up the ropes and leap back at our opponent to turn the tide? The crowd will eat it up!" so you see it again and again. The difference between then and now is that he's able to be part of much more elaborate sequences now instead of just prompting reactions with his swivel.

This had a pretty clever finish that pushed things along on the road to a big singles match. After Marco had disposed of Universo from the ring (no dive though. I don't think there was a dive in this match at all), his partners got dumped to the floor and then summarily tied up in chairs by their feet. This led to a 3 on 1 in the ring and a distracted ref, where Marco fought for a moment, but ate a foul from Universo, allowing the rudos to win the match. It was a nice little bit of chicanery to keep the feud going and maybe further cement Marco as a tecnico since that was relatively new(?). All in all, this was a pretty good trios and a nice chance to see how much zing Satanico still had.

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