Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 12: Dr. Wagner Jr., Mr. Niebla, Rey Bucanero vs Atlantis, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero

Aired 2006-07-15
taped 2006-07-09 @ Arena Coliseo
Dr. Wagner Jr., Mr. Niebla, Rey Bucanero vs Atlantis, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero

This is an interesting match to poke at. It has some of its own merits and drawbacks but at the same time, it's very structurally similar to the previous match, just with a few different motifs and a differently set up tercera (though one that got across a lot of the same ideas). Here, the focus wasn't necessarily on Rey vs UG, though he did ambush Rey coming out and they did pair off in the tercera, but instead on Atlantis vs Niebla, to set up a mask match that they've actually teased a few times over the years with it never actually happening. What makes this match better than the last one is a more visceral beatdown in the primera and then a more balanced tercera that led to a cleaner and clearer big moment, even if the actual payoff to that moment wasn't great.

I really liked the rudo mugging in the primera that bled into the segunda. It's not any longer than in the last match but it was grittier. Like I said, they started out by ambushing Rey again, as the second guy out. Tarzan Boy looked as good as I've ever seen him with elbows and knees in the corner. Atlantis, in a theme for the match, went right after Niebla's mask, doing some real damage. As a brief aside, Atlantis and UG have these cool combo masks for this match, with both of their looks on it. Rey leaving Los Guerreros seemed to have helped solidarity, just like it pushed Tarzan Boy up the ladder of importance. Niebla also had a taped up shoulder and they beat the crap out of that; even though that didn't pay off later it did add to the grindhouse feel of the beating. They hit the three corner moves on Rey, ending with UG's handstand body splash. Later on a fan actually had to help Rey up which was a nice little visual.

They also did a great job negating Wagner and Niebla's usual BS. I was sort of excited to see them on the same time because they both have this crazy charisma, but Wagner has a tendency to no-sell things to get the crowd behind him and Niebla has a tendency to go off on crazy comedy tangents. Los Guerreros had such a dominant and focused attack that even when Wagner tried to do his stuff, they just beat him down more (including holding his arms so he could eat a Tarzan Boy dropkick). Again, it added to the feel when it might have otherwise taken away from it. The caida ended with a great Atlantida on Wagner, where the momentum of he being tossed into it really made it stand out. It was only four minutes but it felt like a lot longer even before it bled into the segunda, where they hit both the triple body splash on Rey, and the catapult-clothesline-top rope move (this time Tarzan Boy's rope walk legdrop) on Wagner. For some reason, I've come to quite enjoy the rudo triple kick off the ropes even though it's so simple a move. The beatdown was so absolute that they even took the time to do the Guerreros huddle afterwards.

I think a great sign of how effective the beating had been was how, at the end, the fans were chanting for Niebla. His mask was torn. He was battered, and everyone in that arena was very much ready for the comeback. Unfortunately, his part in it was underwhelming enough to drag the whole thing down, even if he didn't actively do anything to hurt it, which had been my initial worry. Los Guerreros went for the triple body splash again, but this time, the tecnicos on the floor grabbed Tarzan Boy's leg. Niebla started to come back against Atlantis, tearing at HIS mask and the tecnicos hit a body splash of their own (Rey doing the flying) before taking the fall on Tarzan Boy and UG (with Atlantis taking a powder to set up the anticipation of him facing Niebla in the tercera).

The tercera was still tecnico heavy, sort of an extension of the comeback, but it was more focused on the individual match ups and setting up that potential Atlantis/Niebla match that never seemed to happen. The rudos would start the match ups with the advantage but the tecnicos would quickly take over. Past some fun headscissors spots by Rey and UG, the big focus was between Atlantis and Niebla, who had a couple of good slaps and managed to keep the jiving hulk up to a minimum. It was all a bit in slow motion, though, and not due to selling or conscious pacing to make things look important. There just wasn't the intensity there to pay off the early mugging. Rey and Wagner hit their big dives and Niebla lost to a crucifix roll up that seemed like it was in slow motion as well. Very solid, very visceral Guerreros offensive showcase in the beginning with a good productive structure but ultimately hurt by a lack of intensity by the main player in the comeback. Still probably worth watching though, even if the Atlantis/Niebla match never ended up happening.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The King Made it Known He Could Make it On His Own

Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee v. Brian Christopher/Shane Williams Gulas OSW 7/30/11-GREAT

This was a really fun nostalgia match from a nostalgia fed. They bring out Jackie Fargo to talk some shit and then have a classic Memphis tag. Christopher and Williams are basically pinball stooges and are they are great pinball stooges. Lawler and Dundee have forty years of experience at setting up heels to pratfall. Lawler takes some bumps and both guys unload with some beautiful punches. Lawler gets a hot tag and just unloads on Christopher with a multi punch combo. It is a little weird to watch Lawler pound on his son, it is a known fact now, and makes him sort of unsympathetic.

Complete and Accurate King

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 11: Místico, Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero vs Atlantis, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero

Aired 52MX: 2006-07-01
taped 2006-06-25 @ Arena Coliseo 
Místico, Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero vs Atlantis, Tarzan Boy, Último Guerrero

So, even despite hitting some less than pertinent matches, I still missed a thing or two due to footage availability. There was a bit more of a build to Dos Caras, Jr. vs Ultimo Guerrero for his World Light Heavyweight Championship and also the title match where UG defended it. There was also a tag match between Atlantis and Rey and Mutoh and Dragon where Atlantis accidentally hit Rey to set up the turn to begin with, back from May 12 or so. I only see it clipped so I didn't do a full write up but I'll attach it at the bottom of this entry. It's fun to see Rey eat Mutoh's offense as well as some of the fun Guerreros tandem moves. I also don't have the match where Atlantis and Tarzan Boy turn on Rey. Ah well.

What I do have is this, which is either the first real Rey vs Guerreros match or close enough to it for my purposes, and it's pretty satisfying. Rey got to face off against all of his former teammates. It set up the title match to come vs UG. The crowd was hot the whole time. There wasn't a ton of depth to the structure here but sometimes basic really is the way to go. Rudos ambushed and thoroughly won the primera. Tecnicos came back to win a quick segunda and then they got to shine in the tercera to set up the matches to come. Paint by numbers but with a lot of frenetic offense and visceral hate. Who can argue about that?

The details were pretty great too. Los Guerreros' beatdown was full of flourishes. They hit the clothesline over the knees/top rope move on Rey. Usually that was Rey's corkscrew senton to finish it. This time it was Tarzan Boy's legdrop. The evolution of UG's press slam on Mistico continued. Here it was onto both Atlantis' and Tarzan Boy's knees (He'd do an awesome one handed slam in the tercera). They finished it with this insane multi man submission (including power bombing Mistico onto the other two). Skip ahead to 6:10 on the video to see it. It's nuts.

The tecnicos really got to shine in the back half of the match. In the segunda, Rey got to make the comeback out of the corner and then hit the Guerreros' alley oop body splash. Mistico flew with his giant one hand dive even as Casas hit his seated senton dive. Rey got to fight off Atlantis and UG at once in the tercera, and then recover from a Tarzan Boy cheapshot to take him out as well. Mistico had some brief but fun exchanges with UG and Atlantis too. Casas got to tough it out with Tarzan Boy and then they all came together for a triple tecnico pin at the end.

There were a few tiny issues, though; things to worry about in the future perhaps. For one, Mistico was still way more over than Rey. He got to come out last, was the captain, and was the first one that the crowd chanted for. To be fair, later on, when faced off against Tarzan Boy in the tecera, they did chant for Casas too (it was just that sort of crowd) but even when they chanted for Rey during his comeback, they couldn't wait for Mistico to get back in there. There was an absolute cap for how far Rey could go as a tecnico, just like there had been for him in Los Guerreros after the Atlantis turn. Mistico also had picked up Wagner's terrible habit of trying to get the fans to cheer for him by holding his hand to his ear during a beatdown. Terrible stuff. And mainly, like I said, there wasn't a whole lot to the match. The tecnicos took almost the entire back half which let them have plenty of time to shine, which was what the situation called for, but also means that this won't end up on anyone's match of the year lists.

That's fine. It was a match with a purpose and it served that purpose very well, setting up the title match and showcasing tecnico Rey Bucanero vs his former teammates. For the moment at least, things had to seem pretty promising.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

MJL: Hijo del Santo vs Blue Panther 3: Fuerza Guerrera/Blue Panther/Espanto Jr./Psicosis vs Hijo del Santo/Octagon/El Mariachi/El Mexicano

Either 1994-12-8 or 1996-8-19
Fuerza Guerrera/Blue Panther/Espanto Jr./Psicosis vs Hijo del Santo/Octagon/El Mariachi/El Mexicano

I'm not sure about the date here. It's a big difference if I'm trying to watch the matches I have available to me in order, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter all that much. It's either twenty years old or eighteen years old. It's also one of those cases where I just can't be sure if what I've been watching is just very, very average or if this was very, very good. I'm a few months into the project now but I've just not delved backwards too much. This had even different generations of luchadors than what I've been used to and while some of the general principles were the same (anticipation!), the match was given more time and room to breathe than a lot of what I see these days, and the level of skill and experience involved here was just off the charts. The match was constant action, with a visceral beatdown and spirited comeback. I've found that eight-man matches can really take things into a different gear due to the extra bodies in the ring.

Mexicano and Mariachi, as far as I can tell, were part of a group with El Charo. Mexicano had been using the gimmick forever and had super cool pants, but Mariachi was actually Solar I with a nice mask that had a music note on it, a tendency to dance, and all the skill of, well, Solar I. Once again I am thankful for luchawiki on this because trying to google "mexicano" and "lucha" was not the most fruitful thing in the world. Both of them were very good at their roles and had a real connection with the crowd. Mariachi took the brunt of punishment in the beatdown. Espanto, of course, was Santo's long time rival. He had lost his mask to him in a great match from 86 but still wore a mask here for most of the match. I suppose that's the sort of thing a rudo can get away with? It's a great mask so I don't really blame him.

There's just too much to note in this match. I can't begin to hit it all. Let's start with structure. There was a long primera which was set up in a series of switch exchanges, with things breaking down and reforming. In the last Santo trios I saw, there were clear demarcations in style between the different pairings. Here, there was much less of that. Maybe Blue Panther and Mexicano did more matwork and Santo and Psicosis turned up the pace a bit, but it was all pretty much along the same lines in the end, with an amazing level of fluidity as one exchange smoothly led into the next, really no matter who was in the ring. The tecnicos take the first fall after a great finishing sequence. What truly made the match work, however, was the way this primera led into the beatdown. Early into the segunda, the rudos finally got an advantage and the pressed it, using the numbers game to isolate Mariachi. They beat the hell out of him, ripping at the mask, bloodying him, biting and swarming and pounding while they kept his partners out of the ring. I feel like there's an element of pressure building up in lucha. During the primera where the tecnicos were winning exchanges, this was building up and up. Then it was unleashed upon Mariachi, and as it was, the pressure began to build again. It paid off in the tercera with Mariachi ducking a double clothesline and coming back just enough for his partners to storm the ring. The moments of revenge were both brutal and sweet with mask ripping and righteous fury, but ultimately, the tecnicos made a huge mistake in the form Mexicano accidentally hitting a dive on Octagon. That allowed Psicosis to hit the most insane senton ever onto a prone Santo on the floor and his partners to swarm Mariachi once again. This time they get the mask off, losing the match, but very much winning the war.

There was too much to note and too many great moments to mention. Panther locked on a hugely cool hold on Mexicano that he had to keep handstanding out of. They even shook at the end of their exchange. Psicosis brought not just the crazy senton but also a couple of huge bumps over the top. Fuerza was all over the place with his usual dickishness, including two pretty blatant fouls when he was holding up an opponent. Santo was smooth as hell, just floating around the ring like he was as light as air. He ended the primera by hitting his big somersault senton on Psicosis (who had just missed one on his own) that goes right into the tope suicida by the corner on another opponent. Fuerza bumped all over the ting. Mariachi had these cool throat thrusts on the outside. Mexicano did a very fun flip from inside of the ring to the outside on his feet. Psicosis finished the segunda with a weird frog-splash elbow drop.

The match had a ton of character moments too. In the primera, Santo drew "Ole"s from the crowd by dodging Psicosis and his horned mask like he was a bull. Espanto fooled Mariachi with a handshake and later on Psicosis actually took over the match by hitting a dropkick after teasing a test of strength. Mariachi had the well-placed dancing. Octagon wasn't fooled by a handshake and instead did a look high-punch low to the stomach that was so good they actually replayed it. Espanto had almost gotten Santo's mask off and during the comeback Santo returned the favor by unmasking him so he had to wrestle the rest of the match without it. I could go on and on here. There was so much cool stuff and all of it was very fluid and fit perfectly within the formula.

Obviously, the finish was there to set up another match. Santo ended up on a gurney and then, because this is wrestling and wrestling is awesome, attacked by the gurney as the rudos just wouldn't let up. To my still somewhat uninitiated eyes, this was the good stuff.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Night Digging in the Crates: Requiem for a Saint

El Santo/Gori Guerrero/Hurricane Ramirez/ El Solitario v. Missonaires De La Muerte/Perro Aguayo 9/12/82

A true lucha holy grail, El Santo's retirement match has show up on youtube. So much fun to see all of these legendary guys mix it up. Pretty much a brawl from the start, which is a bit of a shame as I would have liked to see what exchanges Gori and Santo still had in them, although this kind of kick and punch thing is easier to protect old guys in. The atmosphere was insane, although the actually wrestling highlights were limited to Perro Aguyao and Solitario having a blood soaked war in the middle of this tribute to a legend. They sort of hijacked it and totally stole the show. Man was prime Perro Aguyao a world beater, the more I see of him, the more I think he was a top five brawler of all time. Would have liked to see Santo's team go over stronger as they won both falls by DQ, with the rudo's surprisingly left to rule the roost celebrating at the end, I guess they had to come back to sell tickets.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report 6/8/14

These matches all took place at the 5/25 Arena Coliseo show. So glad they're back in Coliseo on these Sunday shows. I was getting a little burnt out on Arena Mexico performances.

Blue Panther, Fuego & Sagrado vs. Ephesto, Mephisto & Dragon Rojo Jr.

Hoo boy we get a mostly toothless woman in the crowd yelling at Mephisto, looking like Sir Cecil Creape, to start the show. Oh my. This is my favorite Blue Panther performance of the year, guy moved around like he's still in his 20s. We get a long mat exchange with he and Ephesto to start which is filled with all sorts of nifty things. I really loved is headstand reversals which seems like a young man's game but he pulled off fabulously. All throughout he had some great exchanges, on the mat, super fast standing reversals like he was a young junior, in the tercera he hit a gorgeous rana off the top (him leaping off the top to his opponent standing on the mat). I mean just incredible stuff all through the match, not just one quick segment and then catch your breath on the apron. I really liked everybody here, really. Sagrado even had a nice showing, probably the most I've ever liked Sagrado. He did some cool exchanges including a nice rana off the apron onto Mephisto. We got a bunch of fast dives with guys given hardly any time to set up to catch which is always exciting. For example in the tercera Sagrado takes a move to the floor and right when he lands Ephesto hits him with a tope. Fuego hits some really nice stuff here including a couple flip dives and some slick armdrags. The team of BP/Fuego/Sagrado seems a little random but it totally works here as all three worked like they had something to prove. Awesome little match.

Shocker, Niebla Roja & Comandante Pierroth vs. Marco Corleone, Titan & La Mascara

Damn this match had some crazy heat the whole way through. I don't know if it's just because Coliseo is smaller and the sound is more cacophonous, but it really made a match-up like Shocker/Marco seem like a big deal. Nothing mind blowing happens here, but the crowd is so amped that it sucked me right in. They cut back to that Sir Cecil woman again and have to blur out the foul atrocities that she screams, and then they regularly cut back to a foxy redhead woman who screams for Mascara's shirt removal and acts completely unimpressed when Marco flexes. Marco is really entertaining here as I'm starting to like him working more equal with other luchadors. Before there was always kind of a Giant Silva disconnect where (even though Marco is a WAY better worker than Silva) the whole match was always everybody else working Silva into the match and selling all his stuff like death, and it was the same with tiny Mexicans always running from giant Marco. But I think it's much better to just treat him like another worker, as it keeps the match moving at a more brisk pace. You still get spots where guys gang up on Marco and he believably throws lefts to all of them to break free, but it works better within the match. Niebla Roja was really good here, always keeping busy and working a bunch of high traffic spots with his team, always interjecting himself at the right moments to eat a rana or kick a tecnicos leg out.

Rush vs. Volador Jr.

Disappointing match but it served its purpose I suppose. Things got way too Attitude era for me, with the finish being Rush taking some backcrackers, bumping the ref, Mascara hitting Volador with his own backcracker, you know the drill. The kinda finish that more makes me eye roll than anything. Primera makes Volador look like a weenie because he only wins because Rush gets DQ'd, then Rush wins the segued by kicking the hell out of him more. The tercera makes Volador look like a dummy as he sees the ref get bumped but still holds the pin on Rush for way too long. Just sloppy work most of the way through from Volador and Tirantes. Rush looked good and had the crowd all fired up, and I even liked some of Volador's comeback in the tercera, with him hitting a couple low superkicks on Rush in the corner. But too much overdone and dated booking took me out.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Rifling Through the Trash: The Unfinished Segunda Caida

We here at Segunda Caida all watch a lot of wrestling. We also start a lot of projects. More projects than we can ever possibly finish. We start watching something, write about it, don't finish writing about it, and there it sits. We have about 80 unfinished drafts dating back 4 years. Some of them may get finished some day (IWA-MS show reviews, WAR show reviews), others are kind of pointless to ever finish (old CMLL TV write-ups, reviews of WWE Superstars episodes). Still these write ups all took at least SOME time out of our schedules, and it's only fair that we get SOME use out of them.

Snippets from Eric reviewing an APW show from 3 years ago:

1. OMEGA (w/ DARKNESS!), from Santa Maria, CA (my buddy Sean was from there and he went through a long gothy thing too when he was OMEGA's age, so maybe something is in the water there. Sean says Santa Maria is famous for their tri-tip, and Food & Wine magazine says their wineries have "demonstrated strong progress", and Ozzie Smith lives there! Santa Maria! Check it out!) vs. KIMO starts us off this week. KIMO I've seen live a couple times working an indy wrestler wearing kickpads gimmick. He has a good look but I hasn't really stuck out too much to me the times I've seen him. Let's see if that changes here. Kimo does a whole bunch of emotionless sequences to start, powerslam, STO, really looks like he's counting in his head to keep his time. 12&3 slam 12&3 knee. Jazz, tap, modern, indy wrestling, it can all basically be the same. OMEGA has some decent kicks, Kimo wins with a guillotine DDT deal. Kimo is basically Ricky Romero, but with less randomly generated moves.

2. Levi Shapiro vs. Shane "Wild" West. Never seen West before, but this is indy wrestling and it's good to see a guy named Shane. Every card needs a Shane, as signed by everybody in the American Indy Pro Wrestling Charter of 1999. "A Shane on every card, kickpads on every junior, and a Play of the Day finisher at least twice per card." West actually looks alright, throws a nice dropkick and gets good snap on a leg lariat. Shapiro is decent playing controlling vet, working stiffer than I've seen him work before. The finish is a spot I cannot fucking stand, with West hitting a crossbody and Shapiro rolling through for the pin. The problem is, the roll through NEVER happens with the momentum of the crossbody. It always looks like a guy taking a full crossbody, then just pinning the guy immediately after having just taken a crossbody, If someone can alert me to an instance of this spot actually looking like what it's supposed to be, as opposed to a guy getting crossbodied, then just flipping over and pinning the guy without using the momentum of the roll through, I'd appreciate it. Because the crossbody within kayfabe at this point is just a pointless move, as half the time a guy can take it and just pin you immediately after taking it. I also hate when that happens with ranas off the top. Guy takes a rana, but is supposed to roll through into a sunset flip type move without taking damage. But what always happens is a guy takes a full rana off the top, hits the mat hard, then rolls through. So....

~APW Classics: El Chupacabra vs. Dave Dutra, previously aired on 10/30/10. Let's travel back in time when things were just simpler, way back in October of last year. Acts from yesteryear like Rihanna, Katy Perry, Ke$ha were burning up the charts, The Social Network was making us laugh AND think at the box office, and Americans everywhere were mourning the death of President Gerald R. Ford, 12 years after the fact. Match was JIP, had a decent chop exchange, Chupacabra hit some nice kicks, and it had some nice move reversals. Dutra hits a nice sliding knee and then a neato rolling Northern Lights Suplex. They do some things, Dutra catches a rana and throws him overhead in a reverse powerbomb, meh punch exchange, one guy does a move, the next guy does one, both run the ropes pretty quick, match ends around 7 minutes later. Both guys looked good without having a very good match, if that makes sense. emotion-free moves exhibit, which is what it is and they're enjoyable for what they are.

TomK snippet from a 4 year old IWRG show:

Comando Negro, Hijo Del Signo, Eterno v Daga, Eragon, Freelance

TKG: Again this is another Freelance showcase, and you want to watch this for the second fall where rudos make the mistake of throwing Freelance into the ropes through the third fall of Freelance nuttyness. This is my first time seeing the Comandantes de la Muerte and amusing team with Eterno being amusingly shticky, Comando working more bruising and Hijo Del Signo being technical rudo. Eterno and Daga are guys who’ve paired up in Coacola since at least 2008 (you can watch 7 minute and a half clips of their hair match from 16Nov08 at ). Neither of them are particularly comfortable with the IWRG style yet and they are essentially kept away from working each other in the ring (outside of their elaborate finishers). Eragon walks Eterno through opening technical exchanges and Comando Negro does the deed for Daga, leading to Hijo Del Signo v Freelance fast armdrag and throws section. Hijo Del Signo and Eragon have been paired for so long that it is nice to see them seperated. Eterno sells rudo but is pretty loose and not really clear on when to release his stuff. Daga has similar problems although he feels like a guy who got into wrestling by watching Rob Eckos v Josh Daniels matches, so he seems to care about crispness although not quite pulling it off. But it ends up almost feeling like match build here. Like a Steamboat v Flair match where you start with looser chops and build to first stiff one; here you go from the really loose Eragon v Eterno feeling out technical stuff to the tighter Comando Negro ones to the Hijo Del Singo v Freelance throws/armdrags. I don't think it was intentional but it worked.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 10: 2006 CMLL Infierno en el Jaula

Aired 2006-06-24 
taped 2006-06-18 @ Arena Coliseo 
Rey Bucanero, Shigeo Okumura, Negro Casas, Heavy Metal, Universo 2000, Terrible, Tarzan Boy, Máximo in a cage of death match

This is another match that's only tangentially related at best. In fact, the only interaction between Tarzan Boy and Rey was TB actively avoiding him, but it's still well worth me watching for a few reasons. The first is that it's a CAGE OF DEATH match. I've never seen a CAGE OF DEATH match. The second is that it was all part of the building (or rebuilding) of Rey as a tecnico leading up to his title match with Ultimo Guerrero that I'll be getting to soon.

Sometimes, I just assume that anyone actually reading this knows more about lucha than I do. That's probably fairly short-sided but I can't understate how little I knew about lucha before the start of this year and how little I still know in the grand scheme of things. For that reason I don't spend paragraphs talking about history and context and what not and instead try to focus on the matches and what patterns I can find within. It's why I haven't explained Rey and UG's history, for instance, or certain other bits of backstory unless I find them very interesting. I will go back for the two of them when we hit the title match, though. In the here and now, I think it's worthwhile to explain how the Cage of Death works. All eight luchadors start within the cage and one after another, they escape, until they're left with the final two. At that point a one fall apuestas match begins. It's a little bit contrived, but ultimately a fun twist on the escape-the-cage rules that never, ever make for a good match, since for once, people have a good, logical reason to escape.

In this match, it was all a bit of a mess, but a fun one. We're obviously not dealing with the best VQ and camera work in the world, and usually that doesn't take away from things. When you have eight wrestlers in the ring though, none of them wearing masks to stand out from one another, it all got a little muddy. In fact, until the eliminations started, it was just a lot of senseless climbing and even more senseless holds, everyone making a wish on some poor fool and one giant (ill-conceived) leap from the top of the cage by Okumura on everyone. There wasn't even much room for character work, save for Maximo's over the top antics in not wanting to get in and then not wanting to get near anyone. As an aside, Maximo had a TON of hair matches in 2006. Wikipedia says he had six in 2006, if you include this one. A lot of them look to be more local but still. That's one way to establish someone.

The best part of this match was how dickishly each luchador managed his escape. Universo was out first, just climbing out in the chaos. Amusingly, he sold a blown Maximo kiss on the way out. Talk about a protected finisher. Casas escaped when he was tossed into the corner. He just darted right up as he hit it. Tarzan Boy totally messed up the point of this exercise in his escape. They'd set up Rey for the Guerreros three man alley oop body press and instead of hitting it on the guy he should have been pissed at, he valued his hair more and bounded to the side of the cage and up and over. Heavy Metal convinced Maximo to come back in at one point, then tossed him into Terrible in the corner as a show of teamwork. When it came time to charge in after, though, he escaped instead. Shortly thereafter, Maximo was able to use his speed to dart right out. The best one might have been Terrible convincing Terrible to missile dropkick Rey instead of escaping and then, after Okumura slammed Rey for Terrible, so that he could hit a top rope move, he climbed his way out instead. It was all a lot of fun even if you didn't really differentiate between one guy in the other in how he escaped. Everyone was a jerk, basically.

In the end, it was more of a showcase for Rey than anything else. The actual match with Okumura only lasted a minute before he ducked a move and hit his wheelbarrow drop finish for a pin. On some level, you'd think that the person who ended up in this situation and didn't escape would look bad because of it, but it didn't feel that way at all. Instead, the fans were chanting for him. He was back to black gear here, with the facepaint instead of the unfortunate white look of the week before and they were definitely into him. To his credit, Okumura demanded that Rey be the one to shave his head and took it like a man. All in all, it was a fun eighteen minutes spent and I wouldn't mind watching a few more of these. It certainly felt like Rey's tecnico run got off to a good start and I'm excited to see him really get in there with his former Guerreros partners.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 6/14/14

These matches were from the 5/30 Arena Mexico show.

Ephesto, Mephisto & Gran Guerrero vs. Valiente, Atlantis & Titan

They had been getting away from these short inconsequential matches, but that seems to be the style de rigueur again and it's obnoxious. I do like the energy levels in these shorter matches as there's a lot of action and things are so short that nobody has time to gas out. There's no down time, but everything is too rushed and there's no drama. I had hardly written down who the participants were when Guerrero had already won the first fall by powerbombing Atlantis. There was a nice little Valiente performance in here, including a beautiful rana with him running up the ropes. Atlantis showed a lot of fire here too, and Titan hit a top rope Asai moonsault to the floor that was pretty crazy. But this was all pretty insignificant. Everything was done so quickly that nothing stuck.

Terrible, Vangellys & Rey Bucanero vs. Stuka Jr., Maximo & Super Porky

Fun enough match, with there being way more Porky focus than most recent Porky matches. That can be both a good and bad thing, as his offense is fun, namely when the rudos implausibly always end up sitting three in a row so Porky can run at them butt first. There are also things Porky does that would be completely inexcusable and get any other worker ripped to shreds. He rarely sells strikes and almost always seems to be just waiting for guys to stop hitting him to get to the next spot. Numerous times here guys kick him in the stomach and he can't even be bothered to slightly bend at the waist. It would be one thing if he was doing a comical "your kicks don't hurt me due to my large tummy" thing, but he's clearly not and mores just looks tired. The match did have one extremely watchable segment, with Maximo squaring off against Terrible. Maximo has a bunch of these super cool fast flurries in him, which somehow still surprise me even though I've been watching him for 8 years. He breaks out these cool hanging armdrags that nobody else does and really has a great rhythm with Terrible. Stuka also regularly has standout moments in match. He arms-at-side splash always looks incredible and he and Maximo hit synchronized dives in another big moment. Porky had some good moments where he fought back against numerous guys, and that seems to be the moments where he works best now, as an easy target who gets pushed to far by bullies and then ends up snapping and chopping and punching and flattening them all.

Relevos Increibles!

Rush, La Sombra & La Mascara vs. Negro Casas, Shocker & Volador Jr.

So, this was the first time I kind of started to get bored with the Rush v. Casas/Shocker dynamic. A lot of heel dragging at this point. I like the participants, I like the energy, but it's on Lucha Azteca *every* week it seems like, and they really need to bump things up to a different level, mix up the combatants, something. This isn't quite Dolph Ziggler/Kofi Kingston levels of "how many times can they run this match!?" but I hate that they're even making me think that may be happening. I love Rush mowing throw Casas/Shocker/Volador and kicking torn t-shirts into the Arena Mexico crowd, but whatever direction this story was headed has stalled out. They've upped the heel antics from Sombra/Mascara so that is a slightly new wrinkle, but this is starting to really feel like "this is good, but something I regularly see, and it's no better than their best stuff, and worse because it feels like a rehash". So again, this had elements that you liked in previous encounters. It started as the same squash match formula that happened this week, except this time the tecnicos actually got their comeback. Casas is a great fired up comebacks guy, and his running "balls to Rush's face" off the apron was pretty epic. La Mascara is starting to find his role in the rudo stable. He was kind of lost once Sombra starting being Rush's cheapshot artist. But this match he was good at hanging back and kinda playing bouncer for Rush and Sombra. Rush would be kicking the shit out of Casas and Volador would be all "man my friend is over there! I need to get over there to help my friend" and Mascara would just be all "Hey buddy, a lot of people's friends are over there. Hang behind the rope." Or Sombra would be choking Shocker and the ref would be all "Hey I'm supposed to be over there." And Mascara would be all "Hmmmm...what was your last name again? Says you're not supposed to be over there."

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 9: Averno, Mephisto, Último Guerrero b Damián 666, Misterioso II, Mr. Águila

Aired 2006-06-17
Taped 2006-06-11 @ Arena Coliseo
Averno, Mephisto, Último Guerrero vs Damián 666, Misterioso II, Mr. Águila

I've been actively avoiding Los Perros del Mal in 2006. For one thing, I get the feeling that we have a lot of them available, which means that I could double back and do another sweep of the year at some later point. Some of what I look at is dictated by availability. It also just seemed sort of tangential to what I was doing. There are some rudos vs rudos matches with Los Guerreros but they seemed to mainly be feuding with the same tecnicos. I do have a fairly long gap in June of 2006 when it comes to Los Guerreros though, so I figured what the heck. If this match just had Tarzan Boy or Olimpico, I probably would have skipped it, but since it's Ultimo, I took a look. He was teaming with Averno and Mephisto, which is fun too, since I just saw them teaming with Rey in the match that his turn started in.

I really don't know the rudos well at all. Damian I've seen from a couple of tags with Halloween and some from WCW. I love the idea that when he was given the gimmick, he was working as Ultraman (II). That's really nice dissonance. Mr. Aguila I know from the WWF run and Misterioso Jr. I don't think I've seen much at all. Wikipedia says his nickname is El Rey del Yogurt, which is one of those things I could probably waste too much time trying to figure out googling, so we're just going to put it out there and move on.

I need to get something out of the way before we talk about the actual ringwork. I will chalk this up to a production issue but there is something seriously wrong with the world when they call Ultimo, Averno, and Mephisto the tecnicos in the match.

So in general, it was fun to see UG working against a few different luchadors and teamed with some others. Averno, as best as I can tell, didn't really get pushed up the card until after Perrito left, which is when they switched Perros del Mal's role over to Hijos de Averno. I really do think he's somehow less special with the mask, and that's something you don't say about too many wrestlers. I'm not saying that UG's side work like tecnicos here, but they do play to the crowd. That's not too surprising with UG considering he always had pockets of fans. Standing out the most were things like how the Perros knocked him into said pocket during the end of the the beatdown in the segunda and Averno signaling to the crowd before his big dive in the tecera.

To be honest, the Perros didn't stand out all that much to me, which might have been the nature of the match as much as anything else. This definitely wasn't a match full of crisp exchanges and paired off opponents. It was worked sort of rudos vs rudos with a decent amount of chaos, but maybe without the sort of violence I had come to anticipate from that. The Perros ambushed their opponents before they could all make it out and took the first fall, right on until UG got to fight out of a corner in the segunda. Then his side had the advantage until Aguila slipped through the cracks and they pushed towards the dive and the finish of UG pinning Damian after a power bomb reversal off the top. It was almost worked like each side had their own tecnico style comeback which was kind of neat but given how unfocused the chaos ultimately was, wasn't enough to take the match over the top.

I think Misterioso had a cool look and Aguila seemed like the sort of guy that someone could get a lot out of due to his physical charisma. I thought his flippy evasions of Averno and Mephisto to set up the comeback in the tercera were impressive. Damian was gritty and had good presence. He hit a sliding-on-his-belly splash out of the ring on Ultimo during that first beat down. UG later got revenge by tossing him out of the ring face first that same way. Averno and Mephisto worked well with UG, including setting up a big flip powerbomb on Misterioso and all three of them doing corner attacks ending with UG's seated senton. You could probably have slotted them in with most other rudos at this point to make a serviceable trios side.

This was probably one of the more skippable matches I've seen in this, but I will probably hit one or two of the big Guerreros vs Perros trios later on in the year. I know there's a title match or two and those might be more interesting.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Reader Request: Drew Gulak vs. Green Ant

Drew Gulak vs. Green Ant, Wrestling is Respect 6/30/13

So after watching and loving the recent Gulak/Busick match from CZW a helpful and friendly reader of the blog suggested we check out some recent Gulak/Ant matches from the Wrestling Is… feds (I assume those feds are part of the Chikara banner?). Apparently there was a recent match between the two, and this one is from a year ago, but this match was a real beauty. Gulak is apparently a former ant (Soldier) and I haven't seen much Green Ant but I've watched a bunch of Chikara (granted much of it was from 2006-2009) and I don't remember the Ants being this awesome. Maybe my brain is just thinking of too many awful Egyptians matches, but I remember the Ants being fairly so-so. But now I find out Gulak was an Ant and here we have Green Ant working as a non-ironic Volk Han. Shoot for all I know Green Ant could have been Timothy Thatcher. This match is just 10 minutes but didn't need any more time. There were no highspots the whole match, no rope running, no strikes, just a bunch of cool grappling based around headlock takeovers, wrist locks, knee bars and awesome leveraged pinfalls. Green Ant has a cool assortment of rolling ankle picks, and breaks out the old Volk Han flying body scissors. Both guys are really good at turning the other's knee bars and ankle locks into pinfall attempts, sometimes holding onto their own legs to get a better grip on a pinfall. A lot of cool stuff with using the other guy's weight against them. At one point Ant reversed an O'Connor Roll into a sweet rear naked choke w/ body vice and I flipped out. This was an excellent mat display, really cool stuff. Makes me want to go back and watch all the Ants stuff from old Chikara shows. Complete & Accurate Ants!!

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

MLJ: Hijo del Santo vs Blue Panther 2: El Hijo del Santo, Octagon & Rey Misterio Jr. vs Psicosis, Blue Panther & Fuerza Guerrera

1994-07-15 AAA Sin Limite
El Hijo del Santo, Octagon & Rey Misterio Jr. vs Psicosis, Blue Panther & Fuerza Guerrera

Now THIS is the good stuff. There is a ton of lucha out in the world, a ton, and I've been avoiding a lot of the big feuds and big matches and big moments as things to work up to. Sometimes, though, I sort of stumble into something great. This match was one of those, which might speak to the fact I stacked the deck with this particularly mini-project. It had everything I could have hoped for in looking at Panther vs Santo matches. Not only did it have a pretty extensive pairing of the two, but all the other luchadors in were a lot of fun, the structure was there so things had meaning, and Santo looked downright amazing. When people talk about how he's the greatest luchador of their lifetime, it's matches like this which make him that.

I have to admit that I was a little worried about this one too. I have a preconceived notion about a lot of the AAA matches from this era for one reason or another. So many of my previous notions of lucha have turned out to be false but I always thought they came from some truth and probably from this era when it was in vogue with Meltzer and what not. Almost through the process of elimination, since I hadn't seen it in most things I've watched so far, I was expecting spotfests and disjointed exchanges and meaningless matwork. That wasn't THIS match at all.

First, a brief note about the match's structure, so we have a roadmap for diving in and out of individual performances and match-ups. The primera was mainly exchanges, with Panther/Santo, Rey/Psicosis, and Octagon/Fuerza getting the most time. The tecnicos took the first fall spectacularly. The segunda had the rudos taking over, utilizing unsavory tactics and the numbers game. It bled into the tercera, an eventual comeback, and the finishing stretch. I've seen people complain about how one-sided the caidas were in this specific match but that's what lucha trios is all about, the match-ups, the shine or beatdown, the anticipation for the comeback, and the charge to the finish. This match worked all the better because it had very high-end wrestling within the confines of a framework that gave it all meaning. I just wish the comeback had been a little bit better, because that's so often the key emotional moment in lucha trios matches and it just came up a little short here.

Let's lead with Santo since he's the wrestler who stood out the most and also the one who we're ultimately examining. He showed amazing range and skill here, both in physical prowess and wrestling knowledge. Everyone got to work with everyone else at one point or another but Santo vs Panther led and they led with some top-notch matwork. Some of what they did has been copied and overused over the years but here it felt so natural and organic and real. There were moments in this exchange that were definitely collaborative but they somehow felt competitive. That's astounding to me because it simply shouldn't be possible and it almost never works that way. They had another exchange later in the fall that was just as good and then Santo ended the caida by flipping over Psicosis who Octagon had in a power bomb position so that he could hit a 'rana. It was fluid and agile and beautiful.

He spent much of the back half of the match on the other side of things. First off, he played fiery babyface on the apron very well to help fuel the rudo beatdown. Then he had a great stretch as FIP, including both eating some nasty offense like a killer knee drop onto the apron from Fuerza and selling and garnering sympathy. He capped it all off with a huge plancha from the top rope to set the stage for the Rey vs Psicosis finishing sequence.

Everyone else had a chance to stand out as well. All of the rudos were more than solid as bases for the tecnicos. Psicosis and Rey had quick exchanges. It was obvious that they were talented but maybe Rey didn't quite have quite the savvy he'd have even a year or two later. He served his purpose though, getting pinballed about to start the rudo beatdown (including eating Fuerza's power bomb rocket launcher) and hitting an amazing dive on Psicosis after Panther launched him to redirect Rey charging at him. He took the tecera with a lightning 'rana. Fuerza and Octagon worked more shtick into their exchanges but they still came off as showy and impressive. For I guy I've only seen in two or three matches, I really love Fuerza. He just instills so much character into what he does and he's able to do it while still working fairly complex sequences and kicking out big moves. It's a great balance. I can't say I got a great sense of Octagon from this match save for the fact he worked well with Fuerza and didn't drag things down.

The first fall was incredibly high end and the beatdown was a lot of fun. I love that the rudos used a ref distraction in order to take over and that they were picking up heat using both traditional southern tag team tools and the rudo numbers game advantage even as they were hitting memorable moves on Rey and then Santo. As I said, the comeback was the only thing lacking. During the tercera, and after a brief bit of instruction on the outside from Santo, Rey snuck in to assist Octagon who had just gotten overwhelemed by the numbers game. They sort of just walked up and double suplexed Psicosis and then the tecnicos recovered so they could take it towards the finish. It was sudden, sure, but definitely didn't pay off well the build of the match.

That said, everyone looked great in this and I could watch trios matches of this caliber all day. It's up there with the best lucha I've seen in this project so far. Santo's skill absolutely stood out the most. He was as agile as Rey and Psicosis, sold and drew sympathy as well as Rey, more than kept up on the mat with Panther, and portrayed his character almost as well as Fuerza. He was both subtle and spectacular when the match called for it, with spot on timing. Here, he was as good as his reputation, and that is saying a lot.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Uprising: Lucha Libre Workrate Report 7/19/14

This week they show more matches from the SF show we went to on 2/22/14. At least they're showing matches, plural, as opposed to stretching an 11 minute match out to fill 30 minutes.

Pistolero vs. El Campesino

I believe both of these guys are Pro Wrestling Revolution trainees. I've seen Pistolero before and he seemed fine, and this would be my first time seeing Campesino. We did not see this match live as we felt it was more important to savor our delicious meal at Papito than rush over to see an opener. I'm pretty sure this was the only match that happened before the woman's 3 way (that I wrote up a couple weeks back). I really liked Pistolero in this. He doesn't really work a "lucha libre" style but instead more of an American indy style (especially with his snap mare into big kick to the back), but he has nice chops, cuts low on a clothesline, commits to missing a big elbow off the top, feeds Campesino's armdrags well, and hits a mean Tenryu-style falling clothesline that had a bunch of speed and force behind it. Campesino didn't show me tons here, but didn't look bad. He didn't really have offense, instead doing some armdrags and sunset flip variations to win. I'd really like to see Pistolero against somebody else. His style would work easily with almost any worker, and while I'm not sure how long he's been working, he definitely had some polish.

El Mariachi vs. "La Migra" Derek Sanders

Live I remember this match being an evenly worked affair with no cheating, just two guys working a normal match, and with Mariachi coming off like the whiniest tecnico possible always whining about not getting a fair shake during the match. Here's what I wrote the other week about the promotion always making tecnicos look weak:

"Later in the live card there was a match between Border Patrol member Derek Sanders, against clear tecnico El Mariachi. I mean, he was the obvious tecnico, coming out in full mariachi gear in front of a 85% hispanic crowd, doing a stylish zapateado with his intricately dressed valet, facing a guy who came out shouting about sending Mexicans back home. And all through the match you had El Mariachi yelling at his valet, complaining about interference to the ref, and then threatening to break up with his valet when he lost. The thing is, there WAS no interference, and he lost 100% clean to Sanders. So your big tecnico just whined the whole match and then blamed his loss on his chica, and the promotion genuinely thought he would leave to a polite ovation from the fans. I mean just a completely clueless way to book tecnicos."

Watching the match again and match itself was better than I remember, with a finish way more confusing than I originally thought. Sanders looked good in this, working around the limited Mariachi. Mariachi worked a lot of headlocks and Sanders actually found ways to make them amusing. Another decidedly non-lucha match in a "lucha libre" fed (for the most part the only lucha thing in the fed is that they broadcast on spanish-speaking TV stations and a lot of their wrestlers wear masks). Mariachi's comeback is really just two clotheslines (nice ones) and a nice body press. The confusing moment I mentioned comes at the end, with Mariachi suplexing Sanders back into the ring, with Mariachi's valet then holding Mariachi's legs, allowing Sanders to fall on him for the win. I could not see that from where I was sitting. We were directly across the ring side that the "interference" happened on so from our angle it just looked like Sanders reversed the suplex for the win, and then Mariachi complained about interference that didn't happen.

But this finish was somehow even worse than that. What they did here was book Mariachi's own valet, who was not established in the least or had any sort of history with this audience, to turn on Mariachi…but then show immediate remorse and apologize to Mariachi. There was nothing whatsoever indicating that she was working with La Migra, and what would her motives be anyway? Is this some sort of far reaching plan that's been in the works for a year, just so Sanders could win the 3rd match on a card at some point?  She's wearing a traditional Mexican dress, does nothing to help Mariachi throughout the match, and apparently was only there to lead to a SHOCKING finish which nobody whomsoever could possibly care about. Just because something is unexpected doesn't make it good, or interesting. What could possibly be gained from telling an audience "Hey here's Mariachi's valet! SHE TURNED ON HIM! They're back together." All told over the span of 10 minutes. Introducing a character for the sole purpose of turning them is one of the cheapest, most narratively bankrupt ideas a writer can do, and here they didn't even have the balls to go all the way with it. Instead they pathetically tried to go for something deeper, really focusing on the valet's tortured facials as she held down Mariachi's boots. The ANGUISH she was going through! Hand to the temple, what had she done! Was it all worth it!? And it's not like this fed runs shows very frequently, so if god forbid this lamebrain story is something they actually intend to come back to, it will be months and months before the next chapter in this thrilling tale of betrayal. Truly one of the more clueless ways they could have chosen to finish this match. Unless they're really targeting a demographic of Mexican American males who feel like the only thing holding them back in life is their traditional Mexican spouse. That seemed to be the lesson I learned from this. Mariachi was making a name for himself, and about to win the title, until his traditional Mexican spouse held him back and crushed his dreams. Were men in the crowd supposed to go "hey yeahhhhh. My life would be WAY better without my woman holding me back!" So, so much dumber than I initially thought.

Thanks Pro Wrestling Revolution!!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Chanoc y El Hijo del Santo vs. Los Vampiros Asesinos (1981)

Occasionally I will skim through my many hispanic TV channels, looking for old Jorge Rivero flicks or Isela Vega dramas. Looking through today and there was a Hijo del Santo flick from 1981 on one of our many spanish stations, called "Chanoc y El Hijo del Santo vs. Los Vampiros Asesinos" and watching Santo Sr. and Jr. battle vampire murderers with no subtitles to speak of seemed like not the worst way to spend a couple hours. My Spanish speaking experience includes: watching lucha for the last 15+ years, and taking one year of Spanish in high school. There is a good chance I will miss some of the subtle drama that Mexican peliculas are famous for. And I figured that if I took the time to watch this flick, it couldn't hurt to take additional time to write about said flick for you, the reader.

We open on El Santo in some sort of cave fortress bunker speaking to El Hijo in what I imagine is some sort of torch passing. Santo is in full Santo regalia, whereas his son is wearing a tight striped polo, jeans, and is completely maskless. His face is covered, somewhat, by a bushy mustache, fluffy 80s hair and gigantic sunglasses. Like gigantic sunglasses. Like Ace Rothstein in San Diego doing sports handicapping, but deciding he needed some larger sunglasses. El Hijo del Santo looks like Giorgio Moroder on the From Here to Eternity album cover. Like the most hirsute bad ass dude in the room (cave). Santo throws a smoke bomb and then El Hijo is now in all silver. He is now ready to fight crime, whether it be local hoods, a crime syndicate, or vampire murderers.  

And then this movie reaches an impossible peak which it will never be able to top, when the cast of luchadores is revealed in the credits to be Voltio Negro, El Polaco, Maldito Mendoza and…

Charles Bronson Mexicano.

You know, the Mexican Charles Bronson. You know, like Charles Bronson, only Mexican. You know, a Mexican guy who somewhat looks like Charles Bronson. A cursory glance online reveals that yes, this former masked luchador does indeed somewhat look like Charles Bronson, and I cannot think of another gimmick post mask-loss that can possibly be better than Charles Bronson Mexicano.

Plus this will give me ample opportunities to do my not-entirely-inaccurate Bronson impression throughout the whole movie. I'm a pretty big Bronson fan, with stuff like Mr. Majestyk and The Mechanic getting regularly watched in my household. I'm even a fan of bad 80s Bronson, like Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects. So, upside of Charles Bronson Mexicano: endless Bronson impressions. Downside: There is zero chance Charles Bronson Mexicano will be anything but a massive disappointment. He was like the 7th billed luchador in this thing. There's a chance the most that will happen is he'll get kicked off a boat or something.

So I'm going to kind of rush through the rest of the review, as I have over 400 words and we've only been through one short scene and the opening credits. 4 minutes and 400 words.  If I keep going at this pace I may as well just do a kickstarter to write a book breaking down the film in 200 pages. So for the rest of this I'll just highlight some of my favorite scenes and observations:

~Hijo del Santo didn't really wrestle in this. I was curious to see 1981 Santo wrestling thugs in a park because I don't really know how 1981 Santo moved. I'm really used to how late 90s/early 2000s Santo moved, but I was really curious to see how different he looked when doing moves. We get a brief match that doesn't have anything to do with the movie, but most of the time Santo fights guys using martial arts moves. A lot of thrust kicks. He does them very nicely but it's weird and I was expecting and wanting weirder (i.e. arm drags and headscissors performed in a real fight against jewel thieves and vampires).

~Hijo del Santo is mostly unmasked during this movie. The only times he dons the Santo garb are during the few scenes where he disappears Clark Kent style from a bad situation, only to return in full Santo gear to thrust kick guys or save them from falling off a boat (seriously he saves like 4 people from drowning). Most of the time, whether it be lounging with ladies in a…lounge…, or lounging with ladies at a restaurant, or watching a lady sing at a restaurant, he is wearing a striped polo, gigantic shades and a bushy mustache. Full on Giorgio Moroder. Or Ad-Rock in the Sabotage video. Yes. Exactly like Ad-Rock in the Sabotage video. How much more do you fucking love Santo picturing him with a giant bushy mustache under his mask!? He could have agreed to lose his mask at some point for a lucrative payoff, and then worked the rest of his career as Detective Thomas Magnum Mexicano.

~Most of the next hour of the movie is merely Santo and his buddy hot on the trail of jewel thieves. There is comedy from an awful man who goes by the name "Tzekub". He wears a gigantic fake white mustache. His comedy style is "make the most of your time on camera. Play it beyond the back row. Play it to the guy past the back row, out in the lobby getting snacks." It's like he saw some Milton Berle and decided to add a few reaction takes into the camera. The triple take wasn't enough.

~There are no vampires. It was a couple guys in a vampire disguise, which was really just face paint. No Santo fighting vampires. Which makes this the most disappointingly misleading movie title since I watched The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, which featured neither dancing, nor cats, nor dancing with cats. In this instance it's smarter to downplay the name, like what Radio Shack does. I've never been inside a Radio Shack, but I imagine it's actually much nicer than a run down lean-to.

Overall, I'd say it was still worth the time. Santo unmasked was truly…not what I was expecting, and the community at large now knows there was a man whose gimmick was Charles Bronson Mexicano. I'd call that a win for the wrestling community at large.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 8: Heavy Metal, Máximo, Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero vs Shigeo Okumura, Tarzan Boy, Terrible, Universo 2000

Aired 2006-06-17
Taped 2006-06-11 @ Arena Coliseo
Heavy Metal, Máximo, Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero vs Shigeo Okumura, Tarzan Boy, Terrible, Universo 2000

This is another match that I initially thought about skipping but it's the earliest one I have after the Rey turn and Tarzan Boy's on the other side so you'd think there would be some interaction. There's some but not as much as you'd expect. It did allow me a few things: to see an 8 man tag which I haven't seen too many of, to see Okumura who's still hanging around CMLL and who was new to me, to see my first real look at Terrible, and to see Maximo when he was quite a bit younger.

I'm not sure that all of these things together did pay off but it'll let me talk about a different match structure, so there's that. It also let me hear Universo's theme which I kind of love, but that's sort of beside the point, even if it was in my head for the rest of the day. The main purpose to this match was to set up the 8-man apeustas cage match. It's kind of weird that there wasn't at least one masked luchador in there considering but whatever. That's, in part, why the focus wasn't really on Tarzan Boy vs Rey, despite the turn just happening, and it was why both teams were so awkwardly put together.

The structure was fairly straightforward but still a variation that I haven't really talked about yet. The rudos started out with the advantage, ambushing the tecnicos before they all made their entrances. It was a chaotic scene but very one sided and not all that compelling, in part because the rudos were so varied and not prone to working together. The tecnicos came back, hit a few things and took the segunda. Then they reset entirely for the tercera which involved a lot of different pairings and the sort of showing off of skills and match-ups that you might expect in the primera in other matches. With the number of guys in this match, it needed room to breathe and they chose to end-load it for that purpose. This led to the story driven finish and the post-match brawling and mic challenges.

Let's talk briefly about some of the different luchadors. Rey was sporting a new look with a white open shirt and no facepaint. He looked a little like Gangrel. From what I understand, despite being over here and the turn leading to a title win upcoming and a few other big matches, it didn't set in all that well and just a few years later, he was a rudo again as part of La Peste Negra (with more of a pirate character, which is where we got Zacarias). He was over here and energetic and dynamic with the stuff he hit. Despite eating a fun, if kind of weird looking double submission in the first fall, he was more or less protected and was in the driver's seat for the finish.

It was my first look at Okumura, but he didn't really stand out. Past hitting his seated senton off the apron, neither did Casas, which always amazes me because he stands out so much in 2013-14 no matter his role in the match. They did have one brief but fun strike exchange together. Maximo showed strong character work in his exchanges with Terrible, like always, but he didn't seem nearly as smooth as he is currently. There was a false start or two and he was lacking that crispness. Heavy Metal continued to impress. He had some very fluid exchanges (including a great one with Universo) and hit an awesome dropkick on the apron. He was a great part of the CMLL roster in 2006. Terrible is a guy I definitely need to see more of. He has a killer look, like he's the heir to Emilio Charles, Jr. or something. I'm going to have to double back for his feud with Los Guapos in 2003 and probably for the Rush feud at some point, since I bet we have a lot of footage of the latter.

The finish was well done and set up the match to come. The tecnicos had taken most of the exchanges in the tercera up until Universo cutting off Maximo as he prepared to hit a dive. He then went for a dive himself but due to a quick evasion and miscommunication, he hit Terrible with it by accident. Back in the ring, Okumura was able to lock an Octopus on Rey, but broke it when he saw Universo going for a tombstone on Maximo. Rey quickly hit Universo from behind, blamed it on Okumura and the rudos started brawling with each other. One sudden roll up later and the match was over. I thought this was fairly effective for what it set out to do, being a showcase for everyone and a way to build up rivalries and anticipation for the gimmick match. It was pretty harmless but fun enough. For the sake of this project, it really didn't have a ton of heated wrestling between Rey and Tarzan Boy. They had one good exchange in the tercera but that was about it. So long as we have it, I'll be glad to watch the cage match in sequence though.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MLJ: Atlantida Rising 7: Dos Caras Jr., Heavy Metal, Negro Casas vs Averno, Mephisto, Rey Bucanero

Aired 52MX: 2006-05-27
Taped 2006-05-21 @ Arena Coliseo
Dos Caras Jr., Heavy Metal, Negro Casas vs Averno, Mephisto, Rey Bucanero

One of my basic rules of this project was that I really wanted there to be at least two of Los Guerreros in a match for me to look at it. This is an exception as much for what we don't have as what we do. It was the first part of Rey's turn which is going to be the focus of the next series of matches, so even though he's teamed with Averno and Mephisto and not his usual partners, the fact that we have this and not the later parts of the turn made it worth a look. That I got to see more Metal/Casas and masked Averno, which I haven't seen much of, didn't hurt.

So this was basically a lighter style match that told the story of Rey aligning with the tecnicos over his partners. I think it was an interesting way to do it since Averno and Mephisto weren't the Guerreros, and in fact, if he was in there with his usual partners, he probably wouldn't have been swayed by the tecnicos and the crowd, even if he might have had longer-seated frustrations. It let them draw it out and probably provided some real anticipation of what would happen the following week.

Averno and Mephisto surprised me a bit here. I was expecting something a bit more nefarious from them. I've liked what i had seen in 2013-2014 of Averno without the mask. He seemed like a rudo's rudo and very much the heir to Satanico, in personality and temperment and maybe on some level skill. Here, he and Mephisto were about as goony as they come, between getting in a muscle pose off with Dos Caras and snatching a fallen Heavy Metal away so they could pin him instead of letting Rey hit his back somersault senton. They didn't exactly come across as fearsome. That said, they took all of the tecnico offense quite well and they were believable as obnoxious jerk rudos even if they weren't exactly fire and brimstone.

The tecnicos were there to be fairly flashy and inspire Rey and they served that role competently. Heavy Metal stood out as the real inspirational force, with a solid little opening mat exchange with Rey, a tit for tat: his initial advantage was broken up by Mephisto, frustrating Rey. When Rey managed to do the same back to him, he went for a handshake that was almost taken. Later on, after his rudo partners had further annoyed him Rey and Metal had two other good exchanges, the first ending with the payoff of that handshake and the second with a plancha that took them out of the way for the finish. Both Metal and Caras had nice looking two-on-one exchanges with Averno and Mephisto.

Caras and Casas were pretty much there to goof around. Caras had his pose-off with Averno, but he also ended his two-on-one sequence by flipping Rey up of the ropes to dropkick his partners, after which, he made sure to applaud for Rey. This led to Averno and Mephisto tossing Rey out and, thus distracted, walking into a couple of big moves to lose the first caida. In between falls they tried to do the Guerreros huddle with Rey only to have him walk away and turn right into Caras' own huddle. Late in the match Casas, who was cheerleading the crowd in a Bucanero chant, got the better of Averno in the corner and after stomping him all over, made sure to high five Rey on the other side of the ring before hitting the corner dropkick. Funny stuff.

All of this was definitely goofy but certainly entertaining, and it paid off in the third fall where Rey insisted on wrestling like a tecnico, much to the dismay and ultimate defeat of his partners. Rey did have a fairly natural charisma and the crowd seemed to want this turn, save for the Guerreros fans who didn't seem to know what to make it of it. It's a shame we don't have the match from the next week online because I'd love to see how this played out when he was put in a situation with his usual stable once again. We have plenty of the aftermath of that, though, and that's what I'll be looking at shortly.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NOT THEE 2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

El Torito v. Hornswaggle WWE Extreme Rules 5/4

Placed on the PPV pre-show and treated like a bad joke the entire time by the announcers, none of the actual participants actually seemed to care and went out and had probably the best match possible. The whole spectacle came off much more like something you'd see in IWA-MS in a bowling alley parking lot, with stupid bumps and a noticeably drunk midget ring announcer. The whole affair is plagued by horrendous commentary (going beyond the standard horrendous WWE commentary) as you had the addition of 3 mini versions of Cole, Lawler and JBL. I admitedly chuckled at "Micro" Cole's name, but the best the next guy could do was Jerry "Mini King" Lawler (which Lawler immediately one-ups by suggesting "Jerry Smaller"), and the whole time the "big" announcers just laughed at the absurdity of the whole thing, reminiscent of WCW announcers laughing at a MEXICAN hardcore match while guys took dangerous bumps. But forget those guys because we get stupid bumps and a drunk ring announcer, doing that drunk over-concentrating thing where you actively try to show people how not drunk you are, while looking like the drunkest person in the room, while kind of wafting in place, announcing every single name wrong (Hornwaggle, Matadordes). We even get some Frye/Takayama stuff from Torito/Hornswaggle to start! Every member of 3MB takes an exponentially stupid table bump, with McIntyre doing a swanton through one and Mahal crashing and burning through a few stacked onto ladders! Welcome to getting released a month later boys! Hornswaggle brings amusing comedy (kicking himself in the head on a missed punt, hitting the ropes on a dive attempt, etc) and some stiff strikes and generally looks like an untrained wrestler, Torito puts him through a table with a springboard Thesz press, Torito also hits a huge dive on 3MB which probably felt like getting a full Alhambra bottle thrown into your chest. This was a real amusing spectacle and I always admire guys taking advantage of any given opportunity, no matter how…small…that opportunity may be.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

CMLL on LATV Workrate Report 6/1/14

These matches were all from the 5/18 Arena Mexico show. I wish they would go back to showing Coliseo shows, but for whatever reason it looks like they've run a couple Sunday Arena Mexico shows. Still these LATV shows are nice as the Sunday afternoon matches always get way more time to breathe than the Friday night ones. We get more matwork and guys don't seem to rush to get all their stuff in nearly as much.

Virus, Tiger & Polvora vs. Black Panther, Triton & Stigma

Just what I was saying about more mat stuff, and the primera here features long Tiger/Triton segments and most excitedly a Virus/Black Panther mat off. Triton's stuff is kind flashy and substance free on the mat, but Tiger is really good and had some leg picks and always finds cool ways to tie up guys at the ankles and wrists. Virus vs. Panther was awesome as both can go and the work looks super cool. I'm glad Panther has gotten so much mat time in his first real year, and even more glad that Virus has gotten tons more mat time as the year has gone on. He was in some more spotty trios at the start of the year but he's had a lot more mat focus the last month plus. Stigma is a guy who I don't think I've ever seen pop up on TV before. Pretty sure he's a Puebla guy but not sure how long he's been on the main roster. He hits a killer slingshot rana to the floor so he has my attention. Stigma in general seems to be in the role of hitting unsuspecting rudos with ranas on the floor, as later he surprises Virus with one off the apron. Stigma hits a pretty wild Valiente springboard moonsault to the floor, but really as long as Virus is in the fed nobody else should be doing that. His is too fast and too pretty. Panther's stuff with Tiger and Virus is the (predictable) highlight of this. Virus is an awesome guy to watch against rookies as he seems like he takes pride in working circles around them, but it never looks like he's showing them up or trying to make them look like trash. It looks like they hang with him, but aren't quite there yet. This didn't quite hit next level, but you knew with some of the guys involved it would be worth it, and it was.

Euforia, Niebla Roja & Gran Guerrero vs. Rey Cometa, Marco Corleone & Titan

Interesting that Marco's left hand is treated as more of a normal punch now. I'm not sure when that change happened. It used to be a spot that rudos would run from or get KO'd by, now here he hits three straight on Gran Guerrero just to back him into a corner. I love Gran Guerrero's baseball slide dropkick that sends dudes crashing and burning off the apron, and Cometa gets into position for it better than anybody else I've seen. He actually looked like he was struggling to get away from the apron while being held in place, unlike most guys who clearly lie still bracing themselves for impact. And Cometa goes flying into the ring barrier and it looks great. Titan seems to always overshoot guys on his flip dives. I'm not sure if this is the catcher or small sample bias or what, but it seems like every flip dive sees him glance off the rudos' shoulder and splat face first into the barricade. It could be Roja is a bad catcher. But Cometa's always seem to hit flush. The Cometa/Euforia stuff in this was a blast. Euforia hits a sweet floppy armdrag and Euforia responds by knocking his fillings loose with a clothesline. Poor placement though as right afterwards Cometa hits a silly handspring headscissors. Niebla Roja wins me over by merely stepping out of the way of Titan's handstand headscissors. He just walks around it and still gets caught by a rana, but this is growth people. And gee whiz Cometa almost dies horrifically taking a flapjack slam off the top rope. He initially came down a little head heavy but luckily landed more on his chest/stomach. It looked nasty as is, but could have been fatal.

Rush, La Sombra & La Mascara vs. Mascara Dorada, Valiente & Volador Jr.

Damn I cannot recall the last time I saw such a one-sided beatdown in lucha. This match was allll Rush's team for the first 10 minutes, until the tecnicos got about 30 seconds before Rush did a combo ball punch/schoolboy to win the whole thing. Seriously there was just no hope for the good guys in this one. It was 10 minutes of Rush and Sombra standing on dudes throats while Mascara tossed off superkicks to unsuspecting victims. Rush and Sombra were dickhead extraordinaires in this, jut beating down all the tecnicos from the word go and never letting up. At one point Sombra throws like 8 straight awesome knees in the corner and it's strange watching a match with no comeback in sight for the good guys. At one point you felt the comeback bubbling, and Rush just cuts everything off and you can just kinda feel all hope slowly draining out of things, like in Bad Lietenant when things start horribly for Harvey Keitel and the whole film just gets worse for him.

Lucha libre as Abel Ferrara urban crime cinema everybody! According to the judges I just got a triple word score for "Worst Possible Simile"! Thanks for reading, everybody!

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MLJ: Hijo del Santo Vs Blue Panther 1: Negro Casas, Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera vs El Hijo del Santo, Yoshihiro Asai, Gran Hamada

WWA, 1990
Negro Casas, Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera vs El Hijo del Santo, Yoshihiro Asai, Gran Hamada

I think there's a slight danger in me just watching random matches without purpose or point. Lucha's a giant ocean of decades and what seems like a near infinite number of matches. I've been trying to jump off from one point to the next. It means maybe I watch ten Marco Corleone matches, but if I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have necessarily ended up where I did in 2006 enjoying the stuff I'm enjoying now. I'm also trying to build to more classic feuds and matches as I go, so that I develop some sort of context and theoretical underpinning.

I do want to watch more Hijo del Santo but I wanted to find some sort of structure in my watching. What I came up with, sort of on the fly, was to find the matches online where he was pitted against another person I want to see more of, Blue Panther. For now Santo One-Shots has become Hijo del Santo vs Blue Panther. This means three or four singles matches and a bunch of tags and trios over a span of fifteen years or so. I've been warned that they don't actually face off too many times in the tags I have in front of me, but they're both so good and they're in there with such good partners for the most part, that I think I'll be perfectly okay with that.

Case in point is the first match here. It's true: there really wasn't much Panther vs Santo interaction. That's okay when the others guys in the match were Fuerza, Casas, Hamada and a young Asai. There were some great exchanges and sequences in this match and even though the key match up didn't take place at any length, everyone else paired off, sometimes multiple times, and it was all great, compelling action.

That said, it wasn't the most satisfying match I've seen in this project, even if the work itself was all very crisp and sharp and high-end. The big problem is that the tecnicos took so much of the match. There wasn't any sort of prolonged heat segment and past a blip where the rudos snatched a fall in the segunda, it was all quite one-sided and a little "samey." It especially stood out since Asai was staged almost perfectly in his role in the match to have been the victim of a few satisfying minutes of rudo dominance to build to a comeback.

Here, my lack of context hurts. One thing I've noticed from watching so many matches from 2006 on an almost weekly basis is that they did change things up from show to show. You'd get a differently structured match each week. Things would be balanced. There's a lot about this match I just don't know. It's from WWA, which was a promotion I haven't seen much of. It's from 1990, which was a year (and even a decade) I've seen little of. It's in a geographic setting I'm not as used to. They presented trophies to the tecnicos at the end.

So basically, I'm not sure if they worked this was worked a bit more like a title match or if it was part of a tournament with these two teams working a number of matches against different opponents or if they had just worked a match the week before with a long beatdown on Asai, or even if there was another match on the same show with that sort of structure. Maybe the purpose of the match WAS to get over the tecnicos strong for some future encounter with other opponents or because they had just debuted or maybe the rudos were on the way out. Maybe it was just meant to be a celebratory match to end a big show, etc. I just don't know, so therefore, it becomes a bit harder to hold it against the match. I say this because I know these guys know what they're doing. For instance, I've seen Hamada paired with Sayama in the Asai role and in that match, Sayama took a lot of offense the way that I kind of wanted Asai to here.

Now, then, all that said, there was a lot to love here. Past Panther vs Santo (ironically enough), everyone got paired with everyone else. I love the rudo side as they all brought something slightly different to the table, but all of them served exceptionally well as bases for the tecnico offense. Panther really got to shine on the mat in the opening segment with Asai, who held his own as they played up his agility as a way to counter Panther's skill. Fuerza had the most personality though he never went too deep into shtick at the expense of the competitive mood they managed to create. He's someone I badly want to see more of. Casas fell somewhere in the middle and was also the most frenetic of the bunch. He also had a pretty awesome punch exchange with Hamada.

This was a showcase for the tecnicos, in that the rudos mainly got to show off by eating their offense and stooging well. Santo looked great, hitting all sorts of elaborate stuff in his exchanges, especially with Casas. The end of both the primera and tercera were pretty with Santo hitting big spots while action went on around him. I wish we had multiple camera angles and replays. Hamada was gutsy. My favorite spot of the match with him was when he fought off all three rudos in the primera, which culminated with him kicking Fuerza in the butt so that he would dropkick Panther through the ropes by accident. Asai served his purpose, showed a lot of promise and felt like he belonged in the ring with them, though again, I don't think they used him well enough as a foil. There were little moments like when Fuerza goes for a handshake and then a hug and he's left bewildered in the face of the mindgames.

It was just too much in the way of tecnico control. In the primera, that felt intentional, like a shine, with the tecnicos getting the best of the exchanges due to their skill and agility. As the match went on though, it became an issue. The rudos momentarily caught them to end the segunda, yes, but they went right to a reset after the fall ended. Then there was a moment late in the match where Hamada had an armbar on and the rudos all sort of looked at each other and decided they had enough and that they were going to rush him, but after a moment of swarming advantage it went back to another reset and they started on towards the finish. A little bit of heat would have gone a long way. Good action, fun start to Santo vs Panther, but not ultimately what I'd consider a great match.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 6/7/14

These matches all happened on the 5/23 Arena Mexico show.

Rey Escorpion, Ripper & Mr. Aguila vs. Maximo, Marco Corleone & Titan

Well this is becoming a bad trend. Short, short matches with practically non-existant primeras. Remember when the primera used to be awesome? It still happens occasionally, but it's becoming more and more rare. Aguila may be the worst worker in CMLL, especially among the ones higher up the card. He looks horrible here. Can you name me a worst moonsault in wrestling? He still insists on doing it in just about every match, but I can't remember the last time it actually hit. Usually it ends with his arms draped over the other guy's knees, and usually it ends a fall. Woof. This whole match was plagued by poor timing and sloppy work, namely from Aguila and Ripper. Titan didn't do any of his silly stuff, and hit a nice springboard somersault dive. Corleone looked good, hitting a few nice rolling arm drags and the Superman bodypress from the ring to the floor, still doing it with no hands. That looked great, and I don't know if I've ever seen him do that. He almost always hits it from the rampway to the ring, really don't remember him doing to the floor before. And with this, we're well underway in our Complete & Accurate Marco Corleone project.

Dark Angel, Marcela & Princesa Sugheit vs. Dalys, Princesa Blanca & Zeuxis

So are piledrivers and ball shots totally cool in Mexico now? Are the times a-changin'? Last show had Mascara win a match with a plain view shot to the balls, and Zeuxis wins a fall her with a package piledriver. Match was short and fun. I really love the nasty streak that Dalys has embraced ever since getting her head shaved. Her charisma is coming through more now and her work with Marcela in this was quality. Loved the running double knees into Marcela's chest from Zeuxis and Dalys. Blanca and Sugheit were kind of working their own match this whole time, constantly going at it and tearing each other apart.

Relevos Increibles!

Rush, Ultimo Guerrero & La Sombra vs. Atlantis, Shocker & Volador Jr.

A bit of a letdown compared to other Relevos Increibles but still exciting because you have Rush and his sneak attack lacky La Sombra. The other guys kinda did their own thing. UG and Atlantis tore into each other during the entrances and didn't stop, replete with mask tearing and I can only assume mask challenges post match off camera. But Rush and Sombra delivered and Shocker really ramps up his work when facing Rush, at one point hitting a heavy body press from the top rope to the floor. Haven't seen him do something like that in awhile. Sombra continues his awesome dick trend of blindsiding guys, really leveling Shocker with a dropkick to the back that Shocker couldn't have seen coming. Right between the shoulder blades, sends him face first into ropes. He and Rush each take their shots on him in the corner with Sombra hitting the running double knees and Rush caving his chest in with a dropkick. Match ends when Rush and Sombra get disqualified for beating the hell out of Shocker for too long, which is really the dry hump of the lucha match finishes.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lucha Azteca Workrate Report 5/31/14

These matches were all from the 5/16 Arena Mexico show.

Kraneo, Mephisto & Ripper vs. Mascara Dorada, Valiente & Titan

I wanted tons more out of this, but that's because I just really want a definitive Kraneo match to beg everybody to watch. He always looks awesome, usually the best guy in a trios, but the trios he's involved with never quite get up to that "Must See" status. Much of this match is fairly middling, until the end run ramps up the crazy. And much of that is because of Titan. It's funny, looking at his name there in our top 5 matches of 2014, just how out of place that keeps looking as the months go by. His spots are silly and he insists on shoehorning them into every match, and they're spots that don't fluidly fit into a match. They're spots that require the match to grind to a halt until he gets his shit out of the way. I am beyond tired of the handstand rana, requiring Ripper to finger pop his asshole so Titan can show off how long he can do a handstand. Then there's the rope run, flip to the floor feint, so he can hit his rana out there. I'm over it, Titan! Kraneo had a completely badass half Kraneo/half Alebrije mask, and he was his awesome horribly shaped self. Running ass attack on Dorada, barreling into Titan like a jock checking a nerd into his locker, hitting a fat man splash, bumping to the floor, and of course a recent addition to Kraneo matches: tecnicos hitting him with consecutive dives because he's large and it takes more to knock him down. Valiente hits his gorgeous and speedy tope, and moments later Dorada hits the spot of the night with an absolutely insane high speed upside down dive crashing and burning into Kraneo. If I were sitting in the front row I would have shoved women out of the way thinking I was going to get tangled in the wreckage. Never change, Dorada. You crazy.

El Terrible, Vangellys & Rey Bucanero vs. Stuka Jr., Diamante Azul & La Mascara

This was short and to the point, much more angle than match, but a trios worked three falls that takes less time than most lightning matches won't be that satisfying to folks. This was all about establishing that La Mascara has been working rudo tendencies with Rush and…he likes it. He's gotten a taste of being a dickhead and he wants mooooore. We don't get tons of oomph here. Azul hits his rampway senton, Bucanero is squeezed into some black vinyl top and skull tights and with his skull face paint he looks like a dumpy asshole in a Misfits cover band. Stuka hits his hands-free splash which always looks beautiful, Terrible kicks the shit out of Mascara, throwing his big left hands almost as stiffly as he threw them against Porky. The big climax is Mascara punting Terrible right in the balls to end the tercera, in full view of Tigre Hispano, who goes ahead and counts anyway because lucha. Azul and Stuka are super disappointed afterwards that Mascara's boot toe touched another mans tender area, even if it was through tights.

Rey Escorpion, Dragon Rojo Jr. & Shocker vs. Maximo, Marco Corleone & Volador Jr.

Good, this will fulfill our tri-weekly Marco Corleone quota. This is another super short match. One on hand, it's too short to mean much of anything. On the other, since it's so short there's no down time and the energy level from everybody is real high. Marco shows off abs and throws tons of left hands into Shocker's face. Maybe too many, as his left hand is usually sold like brief death, and here Shocker takes 4 or 5 of them over the course of 8 minutes. My DVR feed froze right when Escorpion was about to be smooched by Maximo, leaving us locked in a forever will-they-or-won't-they tug of war (I checked youtube, they kissed you guys!). Rojo hits a big stomp off the top, but most of this short running time was Shocker/Corleone, and it was okay.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

The Shield v. Evolution WWE Extreme Rules 5/4

PAS: Another classic Shield big match trios. Evolution were fine as a bunch of roided up old meatheads thumping on some younger crossfit guys. It was kind of like a fistfight at a Golds gym. I really liked Batista in this, he had a couple of nice bumps, a good looking spinebuster and some fun stumbly selling, Orton was technically fine, and Helmsley has credibility. This was the Shield show though, these three guys have just mastered their face trios roles. Ambrose is great as wild firey brawler, his running double table dives wasn't an athletic marvel, but it was a great lunatic move, like when Terry Funk would do an Asai. Reigns was pretty great as a heel bully, but his has really come into his own as an electric hot tag. He has such force and athleticism in his moves, it almost feels like early 90's Scott Steiner, he just explodes out of the blocks like Russel Westbrook on a fast break. Rollins is great as the crazy risk taker, swinging for the fences and crashing and burning when he fails. His tope into the wall was Rey Hechicero crazy, and the balcony dive was awesome, real props to camera guys who kept it hidden until the moment he comes flying into the shot. I was shocked at how much I dug this, put the Shield in a big match atmosphere and they deliver against anyone.

ER: Blah blah Shield trios blah blah match of the year blah blah give them 20 minutes. I doubted this would be as good as other long Shield tags, given their opponents, but I was wrong. This was super fun and it was fun seeing Shield work as equals (or higher) with three established names. HHH, for better or worse, always brings an extra element to matches aside from ring work, as you're always wondering in the back of your head how he's gonna make guys look like they don't belong in the match. It adds a weird sense of drama that could only be created through years of being an asshole, in the same way that women suffering in Lars Von Trier films always has extra gravity because you know they had to work with Lars Von Trier. The Shield looked great as usual, and this kind of "around the arena" brawl works great for them, as once you start to think "Hey where'd Rollins go" then suddenly Rollins is dropping 15' out of the air onto everybody. They're all really good at doing their own thing and then meeting back together in perfect time. I really loved Batista here. I saw a lot of people talk about how bad he looked on his most recent run, always gassing out and working soft, but I thought he looked really good. Here he was awesome, taking a big bump off the apron and an even bigger one getting thrown into the barrier, leaning into everything and taking the Shield's dangerous offense really well. He also had a real nasty running kick with Rollins draped over the ropes (nice note to he and Reigns respective roles in their stable). Fun match, still bummed they predictably rushed a break-up.


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