Segunda Caida

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

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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