Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

MLJ: Rush vs Negro Casas 21: Rush vs Negro Casas, Hair vs Hair

Aired 2014-08-09
taped 2014-08-01 @ Arena México
Rush vs Negro Casas, hair vs hair

Here we are, the end of the road. I tried my damnedest to avoid spoilers on it when it first happened. I figured it'd be fairly easy since lucha isn't as pervasive on the internet as other things. The only problem with that plan was that I wasn't nearly patient enough when it came to trying to find the match. Ah well, it's not like the result was really in doubt. Eventually, Rush needs to get his comeuppance, but that time was not yet and that place was not here. Also, in the name of honesty, I didn't love this match the first time around. I thought that Rush, as he was going to win, had taken too much of it and that the finish, especially, didn't feel definitive enough relative to the months of build and the fact that Casas wasn't going to be the one to give him that comeuppance. Let's see if I feel the same after a close watch.

The Ingobernales' gear and entrances have been a real highlight of 2014. I haven't seen the last couple of weeks of Halloween themed gear either. Here Rush had the white suit and hat and cigar. He came out first to show it off which meant that Casas certainly wasn't going to get a full entrance. Instead, Rush met him with his usual ambush; this time though he laid in a few stomps on Zacarias too. After that, they were off to the races. The sort of violence we are allowed to have in apuestas matches is different than what we had years ago. There's no blood and less gouging and biting and raking. There are more kicks to the head and toe-to-toe chop offs and shots in the corner. This match had all of that. It also had a lot of posing and crowd interaction from Rush and selling from Casas. During the beatdown, Rush would balance flurries of violent offense with playing to the crowd to high effect and while this wasn't a necessarily long beatdown, or even a particularly memorable one, since we've been watching this exact brand of violence for months, the arrogance and cockiness of Rush really bled through and made it stand out. They did add a couple of different spots, including a low dropkick out of the ring while Rush was seated against the ropes, and they used the reverse course clothesline relatively early in the match, not as a way to stop Casas' offense after a reset, like usual, but instead as a cut off to a hope spot. A little variation goes a long way. At the end, Rush goaded Casas to fight back, but pressed the advantage, kicked him down, and hit the corner setaed dropkick to take the primera. It was three minutes, but a three minutes that was carried on the back of months and months of violence.

One great little aspect of this match was that both Rush and Casas had to work to maintain momentum. In most of the lucha I've seen, there isn't a lot in the way of viable hope spots. In a trios, one tecnico might go out and the next might come in, but he's usually immediately swarmed. Likewise, when the comeback happens, it usually happens all at once, without much in the way of earning and building it. A missed spot or a quick move out of nowhere will lead to a momentum shift. Here, Rush had to deal with a hope spot or two in the primera and Casas had to earn his come back in the segunda. He rushed across the ring to attack at the start of the caida, but Rush cut him off with a brutal headbutt out of the corner. Casas would come back with a spinning back kick a little while later only to get cut off when Rush grabbed his hair as he tried to hit the ropes. It wasn't until Rush started to paintbrush him with slaps that Casas hit the pick up/drop down and started laying in punches. We didn't get much in the way of an extended comeback though, for he went right for the STF. Here we got some bs, but I liked the way they used it. Sombra rushed out with a chair to distract Casas and break the hold, and due to the distraction Rush nailed Casas with a power bomb. The ref remained distracted and missed the pin, however, and when Rush went to complain, Casas locked him in La Casita for the three. I liked this because it again followed from what happened over the last many months. Los Ingobernales are all about desecrating tradition and trying to interfere in such a way was right down their alley. That it backfired made it even sweeter.

They reset for the tercera and stormed towards the finish. Casas hit his diving seated senton off the apron. Rush responded with a diving dropkick off the apron. Casas sold big. Rush went for a top rope senton in the ring but he spent too long jawing with the fans in a match where he interacted with them a lot and it paid off with Casas moving. Casas followed up by going for some arm submissions, but Rush survived them (though he did make sure to shake the hand off to sell it before starting to strike back, which was appreciated). There was a sense here that Rush was younger and just had more recuperative power than Casas, despite Casas being more skilled and savvy. The finish had Rush going for the corner dropkick again but Casas jumping up and hitting a dropkick of his own across the ring. He went for one Casita but was pushed in to the ref and when he went to the other, Rush pushed him off and fouled him for the pin.

On a close rewatch, with most of their previous matches from the year under my belt as well, I thought this was very good, better than I gave it credit for initially. I do wish there was another minute or two of the initial beatdown (especially with one more cut off hope spot; that would have been Aces), and more than anything else, that Casas got to beat on Rush a bit more before Sombra ran down. That was the big component the match was missing. That said, it had a lot going for it, with everything feeling earned and having weight, and the violence pretty visceral for a match in this day and age. The finish ultimately worked fine because even though Casas probably isn't going to be the one to someday give Rush his comeuppance, that he cheated to win here will just make it all the sweeter no matter who it ends up being. Even though it occasionally veered into repetitiveness, this was a great feud, and one of the highlights of the year. I hope everyone enjoyed going through it with me.

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