Segunda Caida

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

Monday, December 08, 2014

MLJ: Review 100~!: Delta, Fuego, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Hechicero, Hombre sin Nombre, Virus

Aired 2014-11-22
taped 2014-11-11 @ Arena Coliseo Guadalajara
Delta, Fuego, Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Hechicero, Hombre sin Nombre, Virus

So, I did the math clumsily, and this looks to be my 100th MLJ review. I'm not sure I've ever done a hundred of anything so we'll call this a milestone. If I make it to 300, then I'll thank the academy and everyone else. For now, I'll just thank Phil and Eric for giving me the platform. It's only been a little more than half a year but I do feel like I've made some progress here. I'm going to take a break from Cavernario today to hit a request from PWO's Pol. I'm not entirely sure it was a request so much as a demand and one that was more or less rescinded later, but hey, I say it's a reader appreciation day, so what the hell.

This was a mid-card match on a Tuesday show in Guadalajara. Despite that, it was given a ton of time and aired in full (without intros). Despite what I usually write, there isn't just one sort of lucha libre match that I think is good. I know I focus a lot on the ebb and the flow, the build and the payoff, the heat and the comeback. When a match has that and it's good, I generally think the match is good even when other things like execution are iffy. When a match tries for that and fails, even the best execution or "action" in the world won't make up for the fact that they failed at the central bit of narrative that they were attempting. When a match doesn't really attempt it, however, and instead, goes for something else, then it's not entirely fair to judge it on what it's not. Usually that's not an issue as most lucha libre matches I watch happen to go for it. It's a very primal format.

This match, really didn't. I'm not entirely sure if that was by design or how it just worked out. instead there was a bit more of a believable "real sports" feel. It wasn't "your spot, my spot" by any means. There was, however, a sense of struggle throughout that prevented either side from holding the advantage for long. Generally, that'll lead to a weaker match but here it was worked strongly enough that it came out as enjoyable. It's a 25 minute match that really does breeze by to watch.

That's especially true for the first fifteen minutes or so, which was how long the primera had. This felt like a title match as both Virus and Hechicero had plenty of time to do what they do so well. I'll be honest in that I haven't seen much Hechicero. I'm trying to rectify my lack of Cavernario and I can pretty much assure you that Hechicero will be next. He was probably even more of a priority. While I keep an eye on what's going on currently, it's just an eye. I do a lot of doubling back either by a few months or a few years in this project and sometimes things fall behind. This year's Busca was one. I guess I felt like I wanted to get more grounding first. Hechicero's great, though. That's not a surprise to anyone.

Virus had Guerrero Maya to begin and they did a good job. I liked how GM would lock on a headlock early and then, as the matwork went on, go to more complex things as he tried to keep up. Virus is such a master of leverage and positioning. He's also great at making things look not necessarily smooth, but instead realistically competitive. Any sort of flub or hesitation or delay from his opponent, he is able to work into what he's doing. That's a singular talent. What I liked best about what GM brought was the pressure he'd apply to holds. He'd lock his knee in and push down just right to make an armbar look better, or punch the knee repeatedly in a hold. I'd say he kept up but didn't wow me.

There was something more arcane about the Hechicero/Delta pairing. I'm not sure if I would call it more high-end matwork, but I did think Delta kept up better and Hechicero certainly went for flashier and more complex holds. While Virus held a slight advantage storywise in his exchange, Delta had it here and I couldn't really tell how much of what impressed me was him or if it was just Hechicero being so expert at maneuvering himself into the right position. Hechicero finally ended it with a nasty pumphandle backbreaker.

Fuego and Hombre Sin Hombre didn't show me nearly as much on the mat. Fuego's obviously incredibly agile but he's made for fast-paced exchanges. HsN, so far as I remember, is the former Hooligan, and while I thought he brought a certain level of physicality and force, they only went a minute or two before he was knocked out of the ring. Fuego did a cutesy little flip instead of a dive and Virus came in, smashing him from behind and twisting him into a knot. Then he clobbered GM with an awesome short clothesline and let Hechicero twist in on a slingshot and snake around him for a submission. It was a very enjoyable, showy primera.

The Segunda was disjointed compared to what I usually watch but again, not in a necessarily bad way. Virus leaned in on Fuego to begin with some very compelling leg work. Eventually, Fuego made it to the ropes off of a submission, but it didn't feel like a hot tag, as in the next pairing, Hechicero mostly kept the advantage over GM, at least until he went for another slingshot in and missed. Instead of straight heat and comeback here, it did feel like a closely contested bout with GM slowly taking the advantage. Hechicero has some really great offense. Eventually though, it gave way to Delta and HsN and Delta pressed that advantage. It felt like a shine until he ended up trapped in a Styles clash and pinned. Virus made it in only to be submitted by GM quickly. It's actually a little bit amazing to me how rare I see split pins in any caida of a trios match. Usually when I have seen them they've been on lower card matches outside of Arena Mexico. I wonder if that's a trend and I just don't see more of the first or second matches on cards. The caida ended with Hechicero bumping himself into the top rope via a missed dropkick and Fuego rolling him up. It was good action and I think it did work within the confines of what they were going for because of that.

The tercera was more of a fun showcase. Virus had a fun exchange with Delta, at the end of which, he laughed, seeming delighted by Delta's spunk. Hechicero had an equally fun one with GM. He's exceptionally skilled at latching onto a limb and moving his opponent where he needs him to be. Fuego finally got to show off his speed and agility a bit. They ran a few interesting synchronized spots with sunset flips and 'ranas and at least one tope suicida was hit. Virus fell to a nice Delta Reienera and the match ended with Hechicero hitting GM with one huge corner powerbomb and trying for another, only to get sunset flipped for three.

It's a match well worth watching and I wouldn't be surprised to see it end up somewhere on the SC list. When you give an expert or two a lot of time to do what they do best, good things happen. Thanks to Pol for pointing it out and to cubsfan for posting it (as always). And thanks to everyone who's been reading. I don't get a ton of feedback, but if there is ever anything that someone wants me to check out or thinks that I should, I'll fit it in.

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