Segunda Caida

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

Friday, December 05, 2014

MLJ: 2010: Mistico Interlude 5: Mistico vs Volador, Jr. for the Mexican LH Championship

taped 2010-02-12 @ Arena Mexico
Mistico (c) vs Volador, Jr for the Mexican Light Heavyweight Championship

7:30 in

I came in really wanting to like this. I liked the turn. I liked the trios. I liked their match the week before well enough. I loved Mistico's singles match with Rey a few weeks before. I really came into the match wanting to like it, even though I was fully aware of the sort of drawbacks and downsides to modern title matches. It was an important match for both wrestlers and I thought maybe they'd find a way to get past them. Well, whatever they gave us didn't fit the normal, frustrating title match structure, but it sure wasn't good either.

The primera began well enough. Mistico was announced as neither tecnico nor rudo, but instead the face of modern lucha libre (or something). He was slapping hands which he hadn't really done the week before so either he still cared about the kids or wasn't fully committed to this despite how he worked the previous match. Once he was in the ring it was all business again though, taunting and jibing. It went quickly, with Mistico hitting an instant powerbomb, instead of any exchanges or matwork. He went right to he mask ripping and finally got him up on his shoulders but Volador spun it out into a Crossface for the sub. As a caida, it was energetic and heated but both extremely slight and more sloppy than you'd expect. Still, nothing overly offensive.

The segunda started off promisingly but then it veered wildly off the rails. To begin, Mistico ripped up the 2nd sign, which is a disrespectful little gimmick I kind of love. Then he brutally powerbombed Volador into the top turnbuckle leading to a nasty spill over the top. Volador made it back in though and hit a spinning headscissors out of nowhere to drive Mistico out. This is when things became ridiculous. Volador dove over the top rope successfully. Mistico was up first though and power bombed him into the stairs. Then he lawn darted him into the pole again. That wasn't enough so he followed it up with a huge corner plancha from the inside out, and then a tope suicida that shoved him into the ground. In the segunda. Even then I probably would have been okay with it because it was part of the heat-drawing. Mistico could pick up a fall in here somewhere. Heck, a stoppage because of too many aerial moves in a row instead of a sound beating could have been interesting.

Instead, they did this. Mistico went back up for an Asai Moonsault on a prone Volador, which isn't something I've ever seen anyone even attempt, let alone hit on someone. Volador got his feet up and hit one of his own. Maybe if I'd seen the spot a hundred times I would have bought it more, like the US wrestling version, the prone double axe handle attempt. If that was Volador's big comeback, that might have worked too, but it wasn't. Instead it was just a momentary break in the action. Mistico recovered first and flew back in with a springboard clothesline and then hit a gorilla press into his knees for a two count. Then, when it looked like Volador might start to fight back, maybe just a little, Mistico distracted the ref and yanked Volador's mask off, rolling him up for three.

There wasn't really any sense of build here. To sum up the match up til this point: Mistico had the advantage. Volador got a submission out of nowhere. Mistico got pissed off, but Volador hit a dive anyway. Mistico just happened to recover first and hit a string of huge impact offense before making an unbelievable mistake. Mistico still recovered first, and cheated to win even when he didn't have to. Now, on paper, that's not so bad. It could show some level of tenacity from Volador, coming back despite adversity and Mistico having to cheat because he couldn't put him away, but it didn't feel that way at all execution-wise. There was one pin attempt and the Mistico dive train didn't have any purpose except for to look cool, which works fine in a trios match, but felt horribly contrived in a title match, especially considering the level of focused hate he brought forth in their last singles match. Sticking basically five dives in a row, plus the stairs power bomb and a lawn dart into the post, in the middle of the match just made for an incoherent mess, especially considering how the fall ended.

This was all fresh and new enough that they didn't lose the crowd though. Volador started to get revenge in the tercera, ripping at Mistico's match, but before long they were back to convoluted spots and tandem back handsprings. The worst spot was Volador setting up forever so that Mistico could sunset flip him from the inside out and hit a powerbomb. The tercera had some well-executed exchanges too, albeit with some inconsistent selling, but the match had lost me already so I wasn't attached to any of it. In the end, Volador kicked out of Mistico's Spanish Fly steal and he managed to block both la Mistica and la Casita, before dropping into a pin with his arm on the ropes. The fans were elated with the title change, but Mistico speared him from the ramp in through the ropes and beat him down post match, which was brazen and effective at least.

Now that I've actually broken it all down, I do think there was a potentially good match in here. My gut tells me that Mistico just wasn't good enough as a rudo yet to understand how to pace it and structure it to make it work. There was evidence of that in the singles match before where Mistico really drowned the crowd in heelish mannerisms. That had been enjoyable but not necessarily good. Here, it was neither. The fans didn't care. They were into this, so I guess I can't fault the wrestlers too much, but it could have been far better than it was. With this, I'm moving back to Hector Garza matches.

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