Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CMLL Worth Watching 9/21/14

1. Mercurio, Pierrothito & Pequeno Olimpico vs. Electrico, Ultimo Dragoncito & Stukita (9/21/14)

Fun little match even though the caidas ended in fairly disappointing ways. Still this was a real nice Mercurio showcase as he's arguably the best bumping rudo mini, here he takes a nice back splat bump to the floor, Chris Masters style, and then a great Halloween bump later on. He also shows a lot more personality than most minis, and he with Pierrothito is a rudo mini powerhouse. Stukita is a bit too tiny to buy as any sort of threat, and really the tecnicos are missing somebody with more fluidity, such as Bam Bam. Electric has a couple nice springboard moves and Dragoncito whips around quickly on a Santo roll up, but Mercurio was where it's at in this one.

2. Kamaitachi, Bobby Zavala & Okumura vs. Fuego, Pegasso & Hombre Bala Jr. (9/21/14)

Daaaaamn this was a fun little spotfest! Constant fast exchanges and no down time, all fast action with cool little moments. Kamaitachi is back to being my little replacement Namajague. He looked good throughout from his bigger spots to little mat things like he and Fuego going to the mat and Kamaitachi doing a cool shoulder shrug to buck him off. Zavala also looked killer throughout as he bumped all over for the flippy offense and had a couple great stooge moments, and a real fun bump where he took a back bump and then scooted on his back to safety, but scooted too far and went right out the ring with a back bump to the floor. Hombre Bala had some nice flying including a wild tope en reversa from the top to the floor, Pegasso is always a fun guy to have pop up on TV and his flying is even better with a base like Zavala. Fun stuff that didn't even really feel like a "CMLL" match, would have fit nicely on Lucha Underground.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

MLJ: Hechicero Spotlight 9: Charles Lucero vs Rey Hechicero

2013-07-28 @ Arena Coliseo Monterrey
Charles Lucero vs Rey Hechicero

Here we go. This is the second of a third match series that we have, the first being the trios and the third being the title match. My understanding is that it's that third match which is supposed to be the really great one. This, on the other hand, I'd call very good, with a lot of things I liked a lot and a few things I didn't like quite as much.

It was very structurally sound, with a Hechicero-invoked handshake leading to a stretch of escalating feel-out matwork, leading to a few quicker roll up attempts and the tecnico taking the primera. Soon after, Lucero became frustrated and showed his rudo leanings, punching first and then utilizing a lot of very simple offense to soften Hechicero up for a submission. This rolled into the tercera with the beatdown crescendoing to the point where the viewer really wanted the comeback, which was earned over a couple of spots. From there Hechicero hit a dive and they traded submissions, moves, and nearfalls until the finish. Perfectly sound lucha.

The best part of all of this was that, in Lucero, Hechicero had someone who could take his stuff. He wasn't young, by any means, and he wasn't as agile as Hechicero who has a sort of clunky bigger man agility, but Lucero seemed to have a great physical presence and awareness and was very good at ending up at the right place at the right time, no matter how he got there. This played out in the tercera as Hechicero was hitting his spinning offense and what not, but far more importantly, in the primera, where he was doing the most tricked out of tricked out matwork and it all worked smoothly. One of the criticisms I've had of Hechicero was that he would try things that his opponent obviously couldn't handle and he wasn't quite game enough to get them into the position he needed in, as opposed to someone like Virus, who is absolutely expert at that. Lucero was good enough to not just end up in the proper position, but then to have some really inspired counters. At times, they were seemingly fitting limbs into even the tiniest hole to gain leverage and space and advantage.

The second best part was the character work. I'm going with my usual language deficit here, but the way I saw this was that the character of Hechicero appreciates and respects Lucero and just wants to have a great match with him, thus the handshake and the matwork and counters. Lucero, professional as he is, is at least tolerant of this, right up until the point that he loses the first fall and gets frustrated. From there, he punches away and takes over. His offense in the segunda was very straightforward. Before the punch he's utilizing a really simple leg hug that Hechicero sells well. Afterwards, it's punch, punch, a kick off the ropes to the gut, a back body drop with some struggle, a series of punches to the head while grounded, and then a nice, deep bent-over Gory Special for the submission. The minimalist nature of all of it made for a great contrast to Hechicero. It should be noted that this was how they worked the trios too, with the handshake and Lucero being the one to interfere and let his rudo tendencies take over. Considering that he took the win in both, with a similar move and the fact that he took the fight to Hechicero first was part of why he won, I'm really curious to see how that will play into the title match.

While Lucero was able to fit into Hechicero's world and interface with his matwork and moves, I think there were times where things ended up a little too collaborative or unbelievable. For instance, at one point, Lucero tossed Hechicero headfirst into the turnbuckle and Hechicero ended up in a handstand so that he could eat an Alabama Slam. It was a stretch. They also had a very loose segment of whips and rolls throughs and what not during the segunda where I wasn't fully buying into the fact that neither guy was holding on to anything. It looked cool and flowed smoothly but it went against how they were wrestling in the primera and really against common sense for what they'd established. It felt like doing near-falls (or armdrags or whatever) for the sake of doing them.

Then there was the transition. I love earned transitions. It's not enough to just duck a hold and then hit a move and take over. Here Hechicero was run into the corner once and when Lucero tried it again, he ran up the ropes and hit a reversal. He was cut off though and it was a few moves later when Lucero went for a 619 that Hechicero caught it, positioned him in the ropes, dropkicked him out and hit a vault up spinning plancha to the outside to really shift the gears of the match. The problem was that I didn't buy Lucero doing the 619, especially how he executed it which was clunky and slow and basically meant to be caught. Maybe it's believable as the old guy trying to hang or make a point or something. Hell, maybe it's part of his normal offense and I've just not seen him do it because I've only seen two of his matches, but it just rang false to me.

Ultimately, though, these two pair up really well, and it's a shame we don't have more Lucero than we do out there. Good match and I'm very much looking forward to seeing them vying for the title from the following week.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wrestlemania 31 Several Days Later Not-At-All-Live Blog

Not really excited for this show and truthfully kinda wiped after attending Evolve 40 and the WWN Supershow this weekend, but we've kinda established this trend and now we're stuck with it!!!

1. The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. The New Day vs. Cesaro/Tyson Kidd

ER: Oh man the Uso's 49ers gear is awesome. Love that red and gold. It mildly annoys me that JBL and Cole act like the Usos running corner hip attack was an old Rikishi move, when it wasn't at all. It was Umaga. This match actually got a ton of time and was really fun. They found something for everybody to do and it wasn't a standard "EVERYBODY HIT THEIR SHIT IN 4 MINUTES!" Naomi got a few great moments hitting a wild dive over the top and nailing Nattie with the Rear View, which I actually think it maybe the best butt-butt in the history of wrestling. Great spot for her. Cesaro gets some fun cut off spots, Kofi/Big E's finisher hits great, Torito gets a big dive, Uso hits a million superkicks, etc. The whole thing was worked exactly how it should have been, and got tons of time to succeed. Nice start to things.

2. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

ER: Even though I'm so-so on him I'm glad they gave KENTA a few showcase spots in this. Crowd dug it too. Him beating down and booting Bo Dallas over the top was great. KENTA also had a great section with Goldust. Goldust looked killer all throughout this throwing the best right hands you'll see to everybody that came close to him. Zack Ryder took a great elimination bump right on his face. Loved the Big Show elimination tease with Show using CORE STRENGTH to keep his feet from touching. Really so far there's been nobody looking bad in this. Nobody pussed out on their eliminations, everybody was taking big tumbling splat bumps. I had predicted Mizdow winning this thing and the final showdown with him and Show was great, and I know it's a pointless pre-show battle royal that they've already proven means jack shit (with the almost immediate de-push of Cesaro last year), but why put Big Show over in this? Give Mizdow a fucking moment.

Ladder Match!

3. Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose

ER: Dolph looks like he was playing beauty school in the back with his little french braid. Opening dive train was good with Cody's great Falling Star, Ziggler getting launched on a backdrop, Harper hitting a big tope, Ambrose hitting the elbow drop off the tallest ladder. Stardust's missile dropkick to a ladder with tons of guys on it was beautiful. Ohhhhh shit the Star Ladder!! Excellent touch. Ambrose/Harper is such a great match up, and Ambrose's chop/jab combos looked killer, with it all capped off by the biggest boot by Harper and a nasty hotshot into a ladder. He drills Ziggler for good measure. Cody has looked really great in this, loved the nutso superplex he took off the tallest ladder. Ambrose does a rebound "push over a ladder" which is wholly goofball yet I love him for it. And dear god Ambrose might be fucking dead as he takes a powerbomb from the ring through a ladder and just folds in a gross way. I guess if you need a believable way to keep someone out of a match for a length of time, go for broke right? We get a bunch of genuinely good belt grabbing teases at the end, and Ziggler looked so awesome sprinting up the ladder. He and Bryan punching each other at the top looked nasty. Bryan especially was laying 'em in. That might be the most immediate and violent "two guys fight on top of ladder" spot I've seen. Usually guys are too busy moving slowly and "being in a WAR" but these two were scrambling and punching and headbutting messily. I had low hopes for this match but it totally delivered.

4. Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton

ER: Boy am I not excited for this one. Rollins leans way into an Orton clothesline, J&J take draping DDTs to the floor like wackos, and the Rollins hits a nasty tope so okay okay this is good so far. Orton has been setting up his somewhat problematic signature offense in really smart ways. The way he set Rollins up for the draping DDT was real slick, using Rollins momentum against him. Orton also hits a nice crossbody off the top (though I don't love that reversal spot). Rollins breaks out an asai moonsault to the floor which resulted in horrible landings for everybody. Finish was well structured and Orton took the Curb Stomp wonderfully. But even though I expected it I really have no interest in Orton going over and being back in the main event scene. Full credit to him for turning it on on the big stage, but fuck if I can think of another big star that I want to see less in matches.

5. Sting vs. HHH

ER: Ho. Lee. Shit. Have you EVER seen a bigger large stage jack off experience than HHH's Terminator entrance? That entrance had to have been taken from a letter written by a 13 year old and sent to Heavy Metal magazine. I assume my feed cut out and I missed him being surrounded by naked women with fake tits and he ends up fucking them all to death.

"The dream match that nobody thought would ever happen!!" Well, that's true Cole, but that's mainly because not one superfan ever considered fantasy booking this particular match. Although I do have a long running well documented love of matches where the combined age of the two participants is over 100. HHH gets a crazy bruise on his leg, and Sting gets a nice red welt after missing a Stinger Splash into the barricade, Sting also takes a nice spill into the ring steps. HHH takes the boss Race bump and later takes a big one on a backdrop to the floor. Billy Gunn also went for broke on his run in, sprinting down in half the time as X-Pac and Dogg, and taking a nice bump to the floor for Sting. We get the nWo/DX showdown with X-Pac taking a big bump on the ramp for a Hogan punch, Sting hits a huge dive from the top to the floor (is that a first? Felt like a big deal, especially for a guy in his mid 50s) and it all led to a nice false finish off a Scorpion Deathdrop. GREAT spot where Sting breaks HHH's sledgehammer in half with his baseball bat. And then HHH wins, which I must say is not surprising per se, yet kind of surprising. But not surprising. HHH worked hard in this and Sting came in shape, so this was realistically the best match these two probably had in them.

6. AJ Lee & Paige vs. The Bella Twins

ER: Only 5 minutes but they fill the time nicely. Nikki is firmly accepted as a good worker at this point, and she does well here, running face first into a nice boot from Paige, and I LOVE how great she takes AJ's Black Widow, really getting bent in a nasty angle while holding up all of AJ's weight. Brie hits some nice knees here and yeah this is totally fine.

7. John Cena vs. Rusev


***Sorry I got interrupted while watching this show, hope to have the review finished within the next couple days***

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The Complete & Accurate Meiko Satomura

Previously, on Segunda Caida:

I am glancing at the index of nominees for PWO's Greatest Wrestler Ever project, and I'm noticing Meiko hasn't been nominated. I should probably amend that when I'm done writing this up.

Well, I went to do just that, but while digging up the necessary reviews to support her nomination, I felt the ones I found were a little lacking in the sort of depth you would want when talking up a nominee. And that's when I said to myself, "Hey, Steve? You know what this gal needs? A Complete & Accurate." After all, this is someone who...what did I say again?

I have no idea what my ballot for something like that would like right now, but pretty much single-handedly making an otherwise dead genre of wrestling still somewhat worthwhile for 15 years seems like a resume worth considering for something like that.

Yeah, that. She definitely fills an unusual niche amongst great wrestlers, being someone who's matches I consistently want to watch in a genre that I otherwise have little to no interest in, and having maintained that status for so long....I think this calls for further exploration. Matches will be rated as EPIC, GREAT, FUN, or SKIPPABLE, and compiled here. Rock your life away!


Meiko Satomura vs. Akira Hokuto GAEA 4/29/01 - EPIC


Meiko Satomura vs. Nanae Takahashi Stardom 3/20/12 - EPIC


Meiko Satomura vs. Kana Kana Pro 2/25/14 - EPIC
Meiko Satomura vs. Ayako Hamada SENDAI 10/18/14 - GREAT


Meiko Satomura vs. Kyoko Kimura SENDAI 3/11/15 - SKIPPABLE


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Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV Episode 11 Workrate Report

1. Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii (4/6/14)

Well hey this was pretty fun! It's still a bummer when they clip these matches as they aren't actually very good with their clip choices. They'll keep in fairly bland moments where you know there has to be better stuff in the 10 minutes they didn't show. Is their goal to show the best moments? Is it to capture the vibe of the match while eliminating the dead time? Because they don't do that. Part of the time they feel like they just play a few minutes, and then skip ahead to a different part of the match, with really clunky edits. Here they show Naito throwing a suplex off the top and then before Ishii practically lands we cut to Naito throwing a different suplex in a different part of the ring. But then other parts they are incredibly slow to edit, just showing guys lying around. If they're so obsessed with showing all the spots, then show them. I just don't get their goal. But anyway, the match was indeed fun. Naito threw out one of the very worst performances I've ever seen a few weeks back, and here he was very much palatable. He was actually able to move his facial muscles to appear to be showing some sort of...emotion? Ishii had a lot of great moments in here, and while Naito looked lousy with strikes a lot of the time, but damn did he eat a bunch of Ishii's offense really great. Maybe even too great. Great enough sometimes that I feared for his cranium. He got dumped HARD a couple times right on his head, after Ishii lariats. One was a great lariat from the top rope while Naito was on the apron, and Naito just folded in half, braining himself on the apron. Nasty. When I think of someone who makes offense look good, I'm not thinking of Naito. But here he was, and I appreciated it.

2. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (4/6/14)

Wow, I really liked this. Like really, really liked this. Last week we saw their flat out dud from the Tokyo Dome show, so my expectations were lowered, but even if they were high I think this delivered. Alright, get it out of the way, Nakamura didn't totally sell the leg. I think he sold fatigue, and I think he sold damage, but he didn't overtly limp or anything, though I bought into it when he would clutch it after offense. Yes, there was certain offense that he did anyway, and that can sometimes really annoy me. But here it didn't. Sorry for the inconsistency. I was invested enough in each man in the match that the selling didn't really bug me at any point. Can't necessarily explain it, but still felt the match was killer. I really liked a LOT of Tanahashi's leg work, loved him snapping it over ropes and rails, bending it and stomping on it. Spots like Nak flying knee first into the rail were great, and Tanahashi was also a complete lunatic for taking some of Nak's brutal offense. Some of the Boma Ye's that Tanahashi took were just so so unkind. There was an incredible shot where the camera has Tanahashi in the foreground, and Nakamura runs straight at him (and this the camera) and just obliterates the back of his head with a Boma Ye. All of Nak's leaping front kicks were on point and nasty, and Tanahashi leaned right into all of them. At one point Tanahashi daintily slaps Nak with the tips of his fingers, and without missing a beat Nak punches him right in the fucking face and then caves in his eyeball with a Boma Ye. Both guys were on point during this, Tanahashi had great snap on a lot of his stuff, and fearlessly smashed into Nak's knees with a missed HFF. So yeah, I loved this shit, some of the selling be damned.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

SLL's All-Request Friday Night 3/27/2015

An unforeseen pasta emergency has abbreviated this week's edition of All-Request. Fortunately, the fact that I have a few other half-written reviews should mean a king-sized outing next week. Unfortunately, it only means I have this one completed this week...but it is a doozy of a match.

Kana vs. Meiko Satomura (Kana Pro, 2/25/2014)
Requested by donsem43

One of the most unusual and fascinating matches of last year, played under blue lights with Kana in one of the trippier wrestler get-ups this side of Alebrije and some dude jamming on a traditional Japanese string instrument throughout the whole match. Seriously, what's it's closest relative? That Jarrett/Mantell match with the percussion orchestra? Kana should be NXT's next hire as a dual worker/producer. I wanna see the weird shit she and Jimmy Jacobs come up with together.

First part of the match has the girls trying to match the trippy setting with equally trippy matwork. Meiko with the reverse figure four breaker? Kana chains the stretch muffler into an ankle lock? Is everything about this match delightfully weird? Eventually, we transition into the "Meiko killing the fuck out of people" phase of the match. Meiko, as always, is great at dishing out a beating, and Kana is great at eating a beating and sneaking in comebacks and hope spots, including a really big German suplex.

Uh oh, the music is getting intense! Their health bars must be low! Seriously, they've both been kicked to shit by this point in the match - even though Meiko has been the big aggressor, Kana has chipped away at her enough that you buy her being worn down, too. Meiko with the cartwheel that ends with her kicking a downed Kana in the head, because Meiko even makes cartwheels devastating. I am glancing at the index of nominees for PWO's Greatest Wrestler Ever project, and I'm noticing Meiko hasn't been nominated. I should probably amend that when I'm done writing this up. I have no idea what my ballot for something like that would like right now, but pretty much single-handedly making an otherwise dead genre of wrestling still somewhat worthwhile for 15 years seems like a resume worth considering for something like that.

They start fighting over sleepers. Manzerman is thrilled, I'm sure. In all seriousness, though, it's really well-done, the sleepers are impressively varied, and most of all, this is the rare three-act match where all three acts are very different from each other, but all seem to fit together regardless. In summary, you want all this.

NEXT WEEK: Los Thundercats vs. Monterrey Robocop. If that doesn't bring 'em back for more, I don't know what will.

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MLJ: Sin Salida 2010 Final: Maximo vs Taichi [cabellera vs cabellera]

2010-06-06 @ Arena México
Maximo vs Taichi [cabellera vs cabellera]

4:54 in

This is a fitting capstone for this mini project for a couple of reasons. I'm higher on Maximo than most people seem to be. That might be because it's refreshing to have so straightforward a tecnico in modern CMLL or it might just be my lack of seeing a lot of exoticos but he has a sort of physical confidence and spryness which combines with very dedicated character work. There's a reason he's always generally over with a crowd that tends to boo half the tecnicos.

He was also in one of the first matches I reviewed. There he was teaming with Porky. Here he has Porky as his corner man for an apuestas match and at that point I didn't even know their relationship. That was a little less than a year ago. Finally, maybe due to cuts, maybe due to my lack of language skills, I actually lost the flow of this match when watching it and I'm not entirely sure how Maximo won the segunda. So that's fun.

Fun's a good word to describe this match in general. Look, you know coming in you're not going to get an expert matwork demonstration and you're also not going to get a crazed bloody brawl. Maximo is fun. Taichi is crummy. At best what they were going to present was an enjoyable, story-based, character driven romp where Taichi got his comeuppance and lost that stupid mane he was always flicking around. That's pretty much what we got and I'm absolutely not going to complain.

The primera was straight to the point. Taichi (whose corner man was Okumura not surprisingly) came in aggressively with a double leg takedown and punches. Maximo ran circles around him for a minute before doing the same. Then he started to get cocky and tease and taunt him and ultimately, because he wasn't taking the match seriously enough, walked right into Taichi's lame looking Emerald Flowsion.

The segunda is a mystery to me. You'd expect Maximo to get beat up for a bit and then hit a roll up out of nowhere, which would lead to a reset to start the tercera. That's how these usually things go. I didn't see that. Instead, the comeback pretty much consisted of two topes, so we're going to be generous and say that Taichi was counted out during one of them. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, because this isn't the sort of match where there was a long beatdown and a meaningful comeback. Modern CMLL Apuestas matches are pretty much all tercera, though this did give the weird illusion of a segunda that felt like a tercera, until I figured out what was going on.

The point is, I liked the tercera. The selling didn't entirely feel earned, but it occurred after two pretty big tope suicidas (topes suicidas?), so in that regard quality overcame quantity. Taichi had the advantage for most of it, with a number of pretty good near falls. Nothing was overly complex but it really shouldn't have been. The biggest one was another flowsion too close to the ropes. Maximo finally started to fight back, hitting one of his multiple jump planchas into the ring, only to have Taichi pretty hilariously fake a foul off a near ref bump in order to score a roll up. That's how Maximo took Emilio Charles Jr.'s hair a few years before, btw. The fans were really into it.

I like it when Maximo turns on the physicality, as he's big enough to have just won the Heavyweight title, for instance and he did so here immediately thereafter with these boots.

There was one more roll up by Taichi but Maximo stood tall, hitting a powerbomb reversal for a fairly effective kill shot. You rarely see him do something like that, so it meant something when he did. For a match where I have no idea how the segunda ended, this was perfectly enjoyable for what it was. I'm not sure I'd main event a big show with it, but I'm not CMLL.

A Proud Papa: 

So much Glitter, so much Shame: 

Alright, so that's it for 2010. We're deeper into the Hechicero/Lucero feud on Monday and then the rest of the week is up in the air. I'm hoping to start delving into a comp, but we'll see. I have a lot of 90s Negro Casas to watch too before I start up with either the Mistico/Casas or more likely, the Rush/Terrible feud.

I think I will make a dash towards the Anniversary show in 2010 at some point later, though. There's enough going on that I still want to see more of it, and I'd like to do that with more Hector Garza. He was, and this is no exaggeration, one of the two or three most charismatic wrestlers I've ever seen. I think I got a little gif heavy by the end, but that's because his reactions to every little thing going on in the ring were worth capturing. I'm glad that I have so much of the rest of his career to watch and I'm sad that there won't be more to come, especially so this week, of cousre.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The internet gives and gives - Fiera vs Casas - 10/1/1993 - Cabellera v. Cabellera

1993-10-1 - CMLL - Cabellera v. Cabellera - Negro Casas v. La Fiera

So the incredibly generous boon to society who posted the Santico/Chicana match that Phil went nuts over (and those early 90s Mocho Cota matches that I wrote up a few months ago) followed it up today by posting the Fiera/Negro Casas hair match from the 60th Anniversary show in 93 that I badly wanted to see. It was the follow up to this Haku match:

And it is awesome. I'm taking a look at the Taichi vs Maximo hair match on Friday and I'm not going to give this one a full write up like I might otherwise because a) I've already written that up before I saw this and you can't even compare a modern mid-card CMLL hair match with a match from twenty years ago with guys like this. It's night and day and it'd make what I have to say about Maximo/Taichi in a match that I liked for what it was, ring real hollow. and b) I don't want to spoil too much for people.

Instead, I'll just say that it has so many of the elements that I love in a really heated match of this type. There is a violent assault by the rudo, including the sort of biting that it's hard to imagine out of Casas looking at him now with selling (of the nose!) to match and a hard fought tecnico comeback, so very earned, where the hope spots aren't about the momentum shifting so much as the violence subsiding for a brief moment. There's a revenge spot into the stands to cap it off and an awesome, triumphant German suplex to put on the exclamation point.

There's the intense revenge beating by the tecnico, the rudo getting his second wind and desperately fighting for his life, and winning back the moment. Casas' selling after he gets the advantage back in the segunda is so great. At one point he is just leaning with his bloody head on Fiera's back in the corner trying to get a breath so he can get an attack in before Fiera can recover.

And the tercera's maybe a few minutes shorter than I'd have liked, but full of the earned selling that you'd expect from a match like this, with one or two really brutal spots (including a shove down out of the corner, and a really great spinkick block into a kick), with the ultimate finish coming in a satisfying way from a spot that both Casas and Fiera had attempted to hit previously. The first one that managed it won the match.

Great stuff. (NOTE: The sound drops for a bit early on but it comes back later)

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MLJ: Sin Salida 2010 Set Up Bonus: Hijo del Fantasma, Máximo, Volador Jr. vs Ray Mendoza Jr., Shigeo Okumura, Taichi

2010-05-28 @ Arena México
Hijo del Fantasma, Máximo, Volador Jr. vs Ray Mendoza Jr., Shigeo Okumura, Taichi

3:37 in

Before going on to the Taichi vs Maximo hair match, I thought it made some sense to take a look at one of the matches that built it. This meant watching another Taichi match, but at least I knew it was going to be one with at least some heat built in. Frankly, half the reason I'm going forward with this match is that I want to see the jerk lose his hair. Apparently, at the time that wasn't a sure thing. Maximo had lost his last two apuestas matches (vs Texano, Jr. and Okumura) and Brazos weren't supposed to win the big ones anyway.

Speaking of losing a wager match, this had Ray Mendoza, Jr. to round out the rudos side. I've seen him sans mask once or twice on the journey I think. He (as Villano V) beat Blue Panther for his mask back in 2008 only to lose his own in 2009 to Ultimo Guerrero. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like a lot of the build to the 2008 match is online or else I'd do run through those matches because they sound like they were a lot of fun. On the other hand, we've got a few of the build to Villano V vs UG online, so maybe I'll do those at some point. It's just hard to get too excited for a payoff when its an apuestas match with UG.

Anyway, Mendoza is a guy who lost his mask at 46 or 47 and could have done okay from a charisma even if he had lost it years before. He's extremely emotive and great at stooging. He came out with a big sombrero and seemed pretty damn happy to be there. It still amuses me that the Japanese rudos come out to Du Hast. I really hate Volador's side tassles. enough about that.

Let me run it down quickly. This was structured to heat up the hair match. It went two falls, had double heat and two comebacks. The rudos charged the ring at the beginning of the match, had an energetic beat down, and then Maximo got to be the lynchpin in the comeback, being the only one to be able to charge back in and do some damage. He got beaten back but that allowed his partners to fly in. They hit double dives to set up Maximo vs Taichi and a rope-assisted roll up by Maximo.

The rudos came right back with a rudo-advantage reset that lasted most of the segunda. This had more hope spots including a solid Fantasma vs Mendoza chop off where Mendoza was channeling his inner Satanico with his stooging and then hitting great powerslam out of nowhere. Volador hit a dive to get himself and Okumura out of the match, and Maximo flew back in with his butt bump to pin Mendoza. They finished this with the Kiss of Death, really one of the most protected moves in CMLL, and Taichi completely no selling it to foul Maximo and then beat the crap out of him. Not the world's worst way to heat up the match while still having Maximo look strong.

This was slight but perfectly functional with enough character to make it enjoyable. Maybe I'm an easy audience or maybe it's just that I'm still in my first year of heavily watching this stuff, but that's pretty much all that I need to make me happy with a lucha trios. Obviously other elements (great, escalating matwork, a super comeback, violent brawling, tricked out armdrag sequences, etc) can be the difference between me being happy with a match and me thinking everyone needs to go out of their way to see it, but the baseline for me is whether or not the match accomplishes what it's supposed to, whether or not there's a sense of anticipation and payoff, and whether or not there's enough character to make the thing sing. This wasn't a masterpiece, but it did accomplish all of that.


Poor Kemonito:


Dives in and out:

Pre- Powerslam:

Post Powerslam:

Best thing that Taichi's ever done?:

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE MOTHERFUCKING INTERNET- Satanico v. Sangre Chicana 1983!!!

Satanico v. Sangre Chicana CMLL 9/24/83

I have a flight in the morning. I was about to go to bed when this bombshell drops on my youtube feed. If the date on this is correct this is not only the earliest Satanico match we have on tape, this is Sangre the day after taking MS1's hair in maybe the greatest wrestling match of all time, working a dramatic lucha title match. This isn't a TV match, it is filmed like a close up HH, possibly by an infant Black Terry Jr., we get some great close ups of the struggle in each hold, and when Satanico torches Chicana with a tope into a light poll, we get a close up at the glazed and bloody face of Chicana, it actually looks like his eye is swollen shut. The third fall was pretty dramatic with Chicana surviving several submissions before coming back and getting a revenge tope. Finish was a double pin, and a bit of a cop out, to what had the feel of a budding classic. We do get a couple of minutes of post match brawling which were as great as you might expect. Maybe a step below an absolute classic, but a hell of a late night treat.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Pro Wrestling Revolution Workrate Report 3/14/15

1. Vinny Massaro vs. El Dinamita

This was billed as being from the 10/4/14 show in King City, but I couldn't find any actual record of this match taking place. It seems like it would have been earlier than that, as Vinny looked pretty flabby here, and when I saw him a week ago he looked fairly slim (for him). It's possible that he's done some hard work the last 5 months, but this fed has also pretended matches are from more recent cards before. Who knows. The match only goes about 5 minutes, and Dinamita looked really bad. Vinny always takes nice bumps and throws stiff strikes, but Dinamita looked sloppy and loose. Massaro is always really firm on things like shoulder blocks, but Dinamita kinda took a lot of this and he just throws weak chops, loose slams, attempted the Flair turnbuckle flip and didn't really pull it off, real ugly somersault senton, etc. No good. At one point Vinny did a spot where Dinamita tried to flip him into the ring from the apron (the old slingshot maneuver) but Vinny just let go of the ropes and slugged him. It made me feel all nostalgiac as the only guy I've ever seen do that was Mike Modest. I assume Modest trained Vinny in APW, and it's a great play on a traditionally silly wrestling spot, so I'm glad Vinny is keeping it alive. I know Mike was real proud of coming up with that one.

2. The Grappler III & The Grappler VI vs. Los Campesinos

The Grapplers even have trunks that say Grappler III and Grappler VI, and they're even billed as being from Portland. What a weird little in joke that none of the mostly hispanic crowd would understand. Grappler III is clearly Rik Luxury, not sure who the other guy is as he's larger than Luxury but similarly built. Los Campesinos are one of those "lucha" teams that PWR has that don't actually wrestle anything like lucha style. Instead of armdrags and playing to the crowd they do hammerlock go behinds and body slam exchanges. They're dressed like luchadors, like head to toe bodysuits and masks, but they wrestle like fucking Well Dunn. Every luchador in this fucking promotion wrestles like Rex King. It's like watching a bad southern tag under the guise of a bad lucha match. Oh shit there was a frog splash!? Why the hell do I watch this show!!??

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MLJ: Hechicero Spotlight 8: Hijo Del Centurion Negro, Rey Hechicero, Símbolo vs Black Spirit, Charles Lucero, Golden Boy

2013-07-21 @ Arena Coliseo Monterrey
Hijo Del Centurion Negro, Rey Hechicero, Símbolo vs Black Spirit, Charles Lucero, Golden Boy

I've spent a number of weeks going through this exercise with both Cavernario and Hechicero and frankly, the results looked a lot better for Cavernario. That's not a fair comparison though. Almost all of Hechicero's problems in these years stem from his environment. His opponents were generally of a lower quality, though I have come to like Caifan a lot. He had less coaching, I imagine, less editing certainly, more freedom, and very likely, a crowd that demanded much of what he was giving them. It felt indy because it was indy. It felt unpolished because it wasn't being polished. Even when he was in matches with high level talents like Ultimo Guerrero and LA Park, they used the environment as an excuse for excess.

He was lauded in this period, even in the years before it, and I just haven't seen the matches to back that up. Yes, he had cool moves. Yes, he had cool matwork. Yes, he had a lot of attitude, even if he was stuck as a tecnico for more of these years than I'd expect, but he didn't always use the moves well, or hit the matwork smoothly. My only conclusion so far is that going to CMLL was a godsend for him because it constrained him in ways that improved his game immensely.

Something in my gut (and in the comments of reader Rah) says that might be inaccurate so I'm hoping this might just be the turning point instead. Maybe he only needed the right opponent, and that opponent might have just been Charles Lucero.

There's not a ton about Lucero online, not in English at least. He was fifty-four (and about to turn fifty-five) when this match took place. He was a local Monterrey wrestler and just looking at what I can find here, his big claim to fame was losing hte UWA World Welterweight Championship to El Hijo del Santo in 1990. He doesn't show up on cubsfan's match finder until 2000 as anything more than a blip. He definitely comes off as a maestro however and he's the foil for Hechicero that I was hoping we'd get in Blue Panther and that we might have were it not for wrong pairings.

The Hechicero vs Lucero matwork is the real deal.

That doesn't look like much necessarily, but it was looped organically from what came before, and Lucero went with it, making it work and then cycled out of it successfully. I've seen other guys stammer about. Hechicero doesn't have the ability to move people around that let's say Virus does, but that's counterbalanced by the fact he does absurdly complex things. So if he does have someone who's game, they can really make what they do interesting. They traded inverted deathlocks and this was just good stuff.

They ended it with a handshake.

After that the other pairings cycled in. Black Spirit and Hijo del Centuro Negro were fine when they kept it simple and focused on the arm. That was actually a good contrast to what came before. When they started to do something more advanced to follow the act they had to follow, it broke down a bit. This was cute though:

I didn't get a great sense of Simbolo or Golden Boy here, but they picked up the pace and it was all nice and balanced. Shortly thereafter, things broke down and they went to the finish of the fall, which had a lot of armdrags around the ring that could have been a bit more polished and submissions with the tecnicos on top.

Segunda had a reset and some switching of pairs, at least briefly, as Golden Boy got to face off against Hechicero. This was pretty rough though, with a fumbled roll up submission. Lucero, totally tossing away the handshake from before, chose this moment to come in and stomp and let the rudos be rudos (it was a mercy, really). He immediately had great intensity but I'm not sure I followed the character shift. This was a fun beatdown, with Irish whips down the ramp and plastic trash cans and what have you before the rudos locked in submissions. Golden Boy really drove his elbow in on an abdominal stretch which is always appreciated.

The Tercera had one of my favorite lucha tropes, the comeback that stems from the rudos getting too cocky and doing something completely ridiculous. In this case, it was a three man submission, complete with posing, that let Simbolo charge in and get them from behind. I was going to make a gif of this, but I can't quite get that to work right now. Here's a screenshot instead:

The comeback was loose and chaotic but more focused and effective than, let's say, the match with Parka and Ultimo Guerrero. It was heated in a good way with a few moments of payoff before Lucero scored a nice looking submission to set up the singles matches to come. This wasn't perfect by any means but it was on the more enjoyable scale of indy, where the lack of polish gave it, at times, a chaotic or organic feel. The Lucero vs Hechicero stuff definitely has me excited for their singles matches to come.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV Episode 10 Workrate Report

I wrote up the first 8 episodes of this series, but had to skip last week's. The idea of sitting through one hour of TV dedicated to Okada vs. Naito seemed like unbearable torture. Both are clearly the worst two NJ guys, with Naito being one of the worst workers I've ever seen. A completely clueless man when it comes to pro wrestling. So I skipped it, for my own sanity and yours. None of you would have wanted to see two paragraphs of me having a shitty Friday night. Wait do you? I don't know. All I know is that I didn't want to watch it.

1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (1/4/14)

So this would have gotten an astronomical rating if I was only grading up through the entrances. Tanahashi comes out with old Megadeth and current weird anime guitarist Marty Friedman walking behind him up the ramp, shredding weird pop metal jams while Tanahashi mimes doing the same. Nakamura comes out with a bunch of strippers moving all funny, then when walking down the ramp he runs into an invisible door, finds the key to unlock it, bursts through said fake door and begins to do all sorts of red leather jacket Beat It moves down the rest of the rampway. Really jumped up a whole 'nother level with that shit.

And then the match started and it was clearly the worst of their recent matches, and not really a good match in general. For a Tokyo Dome main event this had zero big match feel. Tanahashi unconvincingly worked the knee, and Nakamura didn't even notice that was happening as it didn't slow him down for a second. Tanahashi got his ribs supposedly worked over but he didn't care too much about that either as it never made him stop for one second and think before hitting a few High Fly Flow variations. Some stuff looked good; I like Tanahashi's Cloverleaf, and while kind of goofy I liked the Styles Clash out of a Cloverleaf. Nakamura really had zero interest in selling the knee and Tanahashi kept insisting on going after that knee. Even after the match Josh Barnett was flipping out about Nakamura's tissue and ligament damage, "he may even have a couple of broken ribs!" all the while Nak is fucking moonwalking down the entrance ramp, not looking any differently than he did at the start of the match. This match was kind of a majorly aimless dud. Both guys are capable of much better.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Matt D: Obstinate? Resistant? Awful Human Being?

So the other day we began to analyze Matt's credibility, through the eyes of his complete and total disinterest in The Young Bucks. Now so far for Segunda Caida Matt has exclusively reviewed lucha libre, so his desire to never see a Young Bucks match shouldn't totally conflict with his credibility as it relates to him discussing Marco Corleone, and using his abs to pretend you're dialing a touchtone telephone. But Matt *did* use their name and *did* express his thoughts on them within wrestling, so it is only fair that his opinions be called into question, as he was the one who offered them.


This match happened very recently, as in the last couple weeks. I really loved the beginning as the Dudleys circle the ring so the Bucks decide to do dives to start things off. We get some ringside brawling before rolling back in, and then the Bucks decide to have a competition to see who could throw the worst corner clothesline. They each do several, and every one of them looks atrocious. Nick's were worst, so he wins the competition. Congrats? Match itself was very disappointing. Nick Jackson especially looked bad (although I loved his full impact swanton at one point). I loved their superkick use in the Hardys rematch, always using it to immediately cut off momentum. Here it's used as almost a comedy spot (which I get the impression it normally is), as a prop for the Dudleys to no sell, and it's bizarre to me why a worker would go out of his way to make himself seem ineffective. Perhaps it's a huge testament to the Hardy Boys making the Bucks look so effective. It's not like they necessarily looked INeffective here, but it looked like they had no idea how to integrate their offense into a match, whereas in the Hardys match they clearly knew how to. Was this due to the Hardys expert match layout skills? Here again they do their great double team stuff tombstone, but again it's treated as a move to be kicked out of. It's the nastiest thing they do, but here's two matches where the person who took it is up and doing offense immediately after. If the move was played as a killshot I'm sure nobody would complain as it looks great. For whatever reason they seem to use it as a transition to opponent comeback. I did really love the finish, as 3D went into full "get the tables" mode, got tunnel vision and had to put the Bucks through a table, and when Bubba brought in a table the Bucks double super kicked it, pinning him underneath. Smart, logical finish that worked with the 3D match structure that's been established for years. Now, almost everything I liked about the Bucks in that Hardys match was gone here. There they were like a dickhead Rock n Roll Express, here they were too concerned with taking flip bumps on clotheslines and tossing out superkicks for yuks.


After a sample size of TWO recent Young Bucks match, Matt still seems rather obstinate, but it also appears that his intuition may have given him good cause to be obstinate. We're going to need further research.


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Friday, March 20, 2015

SLL's All-Request Friday Night 3/20/2015

Ron Starr vs. Leo Burke (AGPW, 1980's)
Requested by Mr. Lacelle

We kick off the lean, mean, new-look All-Request with my attempt to court the important "Dave Musgrave" demographic. This is actually my first exposure to Leo Burke. I'm looking forward to him being more than just a running gag. Actually, I think the thing I ended up liking most about this match was the commentary of Buddy Lane. He sounds very grandfatherly, and describes the match in much the same manner I imagine most people would describe fly fishing. This took a few minutes to get into gear, but Starr really started laying into Burke. Still, despite the excellent beatdown, I do think the highlight of the match is the announcers' discussion of Starr's valet Peaches.

Rod Trongard-Sounding Guy: Question I have right now is...why does Ron Starr even bother to have a manager? Peaches has contributed nothing to this match!
Lane: Well...maybe she looks after his out-of-the-ring activities, such as, uh, airline tickets, negotiating matches...uh, his investments all over the world....
RT-SD: Are you saying she has brains as well as beauty?!
Lane: Well, he obviously has her around for some reason.

My main observation of Burke is that he has a funny way of bumping and eating offense. It sort of reminds me of when Chris Masters was first starting to get really good, and message board dullards would try to shoot him down by - amongst other things - bitching about how he bumped or ate offense. "Oh, he fell off the apron and landed on the concrete like this. Sure, it still looked like it hurt, but he was supposed to do it like this." Leo Burke seems like a guy who people with shitty taste in wrestling would hate. "That DiBiase bump Burke did was really ugly. Oh sure, he looked like he really fucked up his neck and shoulder doing it, but everyone knows wrestling is about grace and delicacy!" After taking a chair to the head, Burke reaches his breaking point, and heads to the ring with a chair of his own, looking he's about to channel Buzz Sawyer. Badass. Of course, Peaches cheats to win. I guess that's what she was there for.

Masa Takanashi vs. Yuji Hino (DDT, 5/4/12)
Requested by Brandon-E

The pre-match video package is set to "Desperado"? Well, I hope this ends with Terry Funk and Sabu wrapped in barbed wire. Also, is it wrong that there's a woman interviewed here who, before she spoke, I just naturally assumed was a man? Not because she's really manly in any way, mind you, but because it's puro in the 2010's. I literally had no reason to suspect that a cisgendered woman wasn't Hiroshi Tanahashi on his day off.

Man, Takanashi is one scrawny dude. He's a guy I've seen a bunch of times before, but I always forget about him, because I always forget about everyone on the DDT roster unless they're an inanimate object. Although I do remember Takanishi last year having a great match with HARASHIMA (and I remember HARASHIMA, but that's a story for another day) built around him as this weird lamprey eel who latched onto HARASHIMA's body and kept turning into submissions and pin attempts. That's not what happened here. This was more about HARASHIMA as your scrawny guy doing American heel schtick. Think a watered down, fifth-rate SUWA, and you're not far off the mark. He loses a test of strength. He gains a momentary advantage and then commits the cardinal sin of pointing to his forehead to indicate intelligence before losing it. The ref gets bumped, and he almost wins the match when he pulls an Eddy Guerrero-style fakeout where he tosses his belt to Hino and pretends that Hino hit him with it. This is an act I usually like in puro. Hell, I stuck up for Kotaro Suzuki when he was doing it. Kotaro Suzuki, people! I don't know...maybe Takanashi just doesn't have the conviction? Or maybe it's just that I've seen this enough times that you can't just trot the shtick out and expect me to pat you on the back for it.

Anyway, Afro GM says "no dice" to Takanashi's chicanery, and that's when Hino starts to turn things around. Thankfully, "things" include "this match", because Hino really smacks the shit out Takanashi here. Seriously, ouch. I read earlier today that Hino and Yuji Okabayashi are going to be wrestling the Twin Towers late tonight. If nothing, this match succeeded in really making me want to see that, because I imagine he'd be a lot of fun teeing off against those two. Takanashi makes a comeback and starts working over Hino's knee. It's alright, and Takanashi has a neat standing STF in there. Hino catches Takanashi with a pair of really nice looking deadlift throws, though I kinda question the wisdom of doing them right after having your knee worked over. And then, not long after that, they go into the finishing stretch, which really is just a bunch of finisher and nearfall exchanges that has nothing to do with the rest of the match. It's not bad, per se. There was some cool stuff in there, like Hino's splash and his super CB4 driver. But the rest of the match did seem like it was building up to something, none of which really paid off here, and instead, we got a finishing sequence that really could have been preceded by anything. And then there was this really weird part at the end after the aforementioned super CB4 driver, where Takanashi slowly climbs to his feet and tries to fight back, all while making faces and gesticulating like a graduate of the Adam Copeland School of Wrestling Theatrics. He had been acting kinda goofy the whole match, but I was OK with it, since he was playing a kinda goofy character. Here...I think they wanted me to take him seriously. Instead, I kinda just said "fuck this match", and fortunately, Hino ended it soon afterwords. In hindsight, that was slightly harsh of me. This match wasn't bad, but in the true Websterian sense of the word, I have no desire to ever see it again.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

MLJ: Sin Salida 2010 Part 4: Brazo de Plata, Rayo de Jalisco Jr., Strong Man vs Gigante Bernard, Máscara Año 2000, Universo 2000

Taped 2010-06-06
Brazo de Plata, Rayo de Jalisco Jr., Strong Man vs Gigante Bernard, Máscara Año 2000, Universo 2000

Sin Salida 2010 had been a pretty good show so far. Sure, the booking was a mess but the minis match was fun, and the two lower card matches with Los Invasores had the same sort of energy that their matches over the last month had and then the Revelos Increibles match was heated and effective.

Then we had this. It was definitely a nostalgia fest. Los Hermanos Dinomita and Rayo de Jalisco, Jr. were moving less smoothly than Porky in there at times. They had a few dives and I could have sworn the slow motion replay was on. Then to balance them you had Bernard and Strongman. I don't get how anyone thought this would be a good idea.

Rayo came out with a hat and a UWA title. Universo and Mascara Ano wore their masks to the ring. The rudos took an early advantage, mainly due to Bernard being such a force but their tandem offense wasn't exactly dynamite. There was a lackluster double lift snake eyes in the corner. Really, their best move for most of this match was to toss people into Albert's foot, after which point, he'd do his overhead X with thumbs down pose. It was kind of fun the first time but it got old.

Basically, the match had two things going for it. First, Bernard did well. He was doing little things like driving his forearm into Porky's face on a pin, and he did match up well with Strongman. By the time the comeback came around in the tercera he was playing into some of Porky's spots and selling and hamming it up big. The second thing was that Strongman is a pretty effective tool for rudos to run into. I was wondering how they were going to kill something like nine minutes for the tercera (the peril of watching match online is that you know how long is left in it at almost any point) and 2-3 minutes can be taken up by Strongman top wristlock strength spots and shoulder tackles or what not.

Another minute or two was taken up by Albert doing some really brutal armwork onto Strongman in order to take him out of the match. I could have watched another five or six minutes of that, really. It made me want to track down some more Bernard in Japan. Anyway, the whole point of it was to distract the refs with the carnage of him finding a foreign object to smash the arm (which he then failed to find?) so that Universo could hit a pile driver on Rayo.

In all the lucha matches I've seen over the last year, well over two or three hundred, I think this is the first time I actually saw a pile driver executed (and not, for instance, Rush's double underhook pile driver). For this. By Universo, on Rayo. The upside to this is that Universo and Rayo were sticking around for a bit at least. They even had a WWA title match main event at Puebla at the end of the month, so it's not like it was a total waste, but the fans, who were otherwise into this, didn't seem all that upset by it certainly.

Anyway, this was a match and I kind of wish it hadn't been.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Matt D: Credible? Untrustworthy? Person With Opinions?

It has recently been brought to our attention on the very electronic pages of this blog, that the credibility of regular contributor Matt D has gone down the "fucking drain". Matt is most certainly a person with opinions. Hopefully, all of us here are do, or else we'd just be soulless recappers. Some people trust our opinions, or at minimum enjoy the way we convey those opinions. But how credible is Matt?

Taken in a completely context free vacuum, Matt stated "I have no desire to see a Young Bucks match ever." That seems unduly harsh. But what is "desire"? Webster's defines it as "a strong feeling of wanting to have something". That's huge. There are few things in life that I feel a strong feeling of want for. I would say 80% of the things I review for this very page are things that I don't have a strong feeling of want for. How many things in life could I really "desire". There are many matches that I do not desire watching that I end up enjoying after watching them. I usually had interest in seeing them, but not necessarily "desire".

This match was a rematch from 10/18/14, and I really dug it. NEW can draw some pretty impressive indy crowds, and the Hardys were way over. Bucks worked like a heel Rock n Roll Express which really worked for me. I thought it was going to be a real challenge for them to come off as credible heels since the Hardys are so much larger than each of them. They're decent at stooging as both of them bump well, but the real fun starts when they take control. Matt Hardy is still a good salesman and the Bucks work him over in convincing ways. Young Bucks are a team with well known superkick humor, but here I loved how the superkicks were used. They were always used as a momentum stopper, a transition back to control. Matt would start to get a leg up, forget about the other Jackson, and turn around into a superkick. Jeff would come in for the save, lambaste one of the Bucks, turn around into a superkick. They weren't used in a cute way, they weren't used as a finish, they were used to slap down opposition, and often to put a coda on that particular section of the match. I liked all their dickish stomps and how they were able to portray hanging on by the skin of their tassels while also looking in control. Jeff gets taken out by a chair and emerges as Willow to make the save before a superkick starts more heat on Matt. Only complaint about the match is the finish didn't build and just ended up involving the Hardys taking Bucks' finishers and then just doing their own. Matt takes an absolutely brutal springboard stuff tombstone from the Bucks, really getting planted. Then the Bucks awesomely, dickishly do a Twist of Fate/Swanton combo to finish it, but Jeff saves. Then Matt just gets up, does a ToF and Jeff hits the Swanton for the win. Real lazy. So Matt basically took two big moves, was saved from the pinfall loss, but then just stands up and goes into finish mode. You wouldn't even have to modify the finish much to make it good, so that ended it sour. Overall though? Hot little match, excellent tag formula wrestling.


After sample size of ONE recent Young Bucks match, Matt's credibility is not necessarily circling the fucking drain, but he does seem obstinate and resistant. I think a larger sample is due.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

MLJ: Sin Salida 2010 Part 3: Máscara Dorada, Místico, Mr. Águila DQ Averno, Negro Casas, Volador Jr. [Relevos Increíbles]

Taped 2010-06-06
Máscara Dorada, Místico, Mr. Águila DQ Averno, Negro Casas, Volador Jr. [Relevos Increíbles]

So, one of my previous 2010 interludes was the Mistico rudo turn. It didn't work out, mainly because they refused to commit to it. He was too over as a tecnico for it to last for long, I guess, and while it was obvious he was having fun with it, either it didn't make business sense or it was chipping into merchandise money or something, because after a few months they reversed course. This was the culmination of that.

Prior to the match, Averno offered Mistico a half-and-half mask and he refused. Alternatively, when Volador came out, he tore off his hood and was wearing an Averno styled mask. Thus, the rudo double turn. And I'll be honest, this might have been the best I've ever seen Volador. I get that it's probably easier to be an ass kicking rudo but this was just a good performance. 

It had next to nothing to do with the Invasores theme though. Aguila (one of the leaders of the group) was there, but for most of the match he was a non-factor. Moreover, Casas was a non-factor too. That's my biggest issue with him in general. I've seen a bunch of trios during this period and his tecnico run in the few years before where he's just sort of there in matches. I couldn't imagine that with 2013-2015 Casas, who's always so front and center and larger than life. Here, though, he's at least functional. It was his job for most of the match to keep Dorada and Aguila constrained so that Averno and Volador could maul Mistico. There were a few times where he seemed annoyed by his partners' lack of wanting to actually win the match as they were so focused on beating on Mistico. I've really seen very little Dorada so far, but he was fine here. He certainly had a lightning grace to him and the Japanese (this was from Japanese tv, btw, so the video quality is great) loved his big dive at the end.

This was a straight out ambush after the mask reveal and while we seem to see that almost every match these days, it was somewhat rarer during the matches I've been watching for the year, though and that made it feel fresh and quite fitting. It set the mood for the match which was a long beatdown into the segunda, a quick comeback where they delay the payoff to Volador vs Mistico, and then a reset for the exchange-filled tercera where Mistico got his hands on Averno but not really Volador. 

Averno and Volador worked well together. They thrashed Mistico's mask, taunted the crowd's chanting for him, were quick to cut off any attempt he had at a comeback, and had some good tandem offense like a press into a gutbuster, a goardbuster onto the ropes to set up Volador's top rope legdrop, and this super fun charge into the post:

The comeback was brief but fun. I really liked the way the tecnicos took the segunda with a bit of offense so synchronized that it's one of the prettiest things I've seen in lucha. I don't think they did it on purpose but it ended up looking great:

The tercera was a lot of what you'd expect. They did a good job keeping Volador away from Mistico for the most part, since this was the start of a new chapter of the story even if it was on a big show. Dorada hit his amazing dive (one of a few in the match, including a big Mistico stage dive in the primera). Casas made more contribution to the match than I gave him credit for including, mocking Aguila as if he was drunk and having this fun spin kick exchange followed by stooging: 

Finally, Volador and Mistico got to do their thing, which wasn't really all that freshened up by the role reversal. He ducked out instead of eating the Mistica though, and Averno got to eat it instead. Volador, instead, tried to throw his mask at Mistico, but Tirantes caught him and DQed the rudos to end the match. 

Just looking at the match finder, it seems like he's still a tecnico for two more months before he fully turned, so I have no idea what that would be about. Barring bad booking that might have come from this, the match and the turn were both quite effective and fun.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

MLJ: Maestro Monday: Blue Panther, Blue Panther Jr., The Panther vs Puma, Tiger, Virus

Aired: 2015-03-07
Taped: 2015-03-03 @ Arena México
Blue Panther, Blue Panther Jr., The Panther vs Puma, Tiger, Virus

I wanted to tackle something vaguely current this monday and I figured I could write about the parejas increibles tournament or I could write about this. I'm a lot more partial to the parejas increibles concept than a lot of people are, because I can forgive crummy matches if there's something I find fun about them, but that doesn't necessarily mean I want to WRITE about it, especially not when there's a super solid, very enjoyable trios match just sitting out there.

This was an older style of match, and I say that not with any real knowledge but just anecdotally. I've seen this style more in the 90s than I do now. It wasn't Exchanges - Rudo Swarming - Rudo Beatdown - Comeback - Reset - Exchanges - Dives - Finish, which is usually what I call A-B-A (though that's not a hugely accurate way to explain it), or the similar counterpart which skips the opening exchanges and starts with an ambush (which is my B-A-C, a little more accurate). The best way I'd explain this match would be a primera of feeling out, a segunda of cutting off, and a tercera of teased paying off shaped by the rudo leanings finally coming into play.

Let me break that down a bit. The primera had the opening exchanges and generally they went to their conclusions. I'll fully admit to getting Puma and Tiger confused sometimes (maybe for the whole match) but Blue Panther was paired with Tiger, Blue Panther, Jr. with Puma, and The Panther with Virus. Anytime Virus and Blue Panther are near each other, you want to see them go at it so that was a bit of initial frustration, but ultimately okay since all of these guys are very good. Of these, the pairing without a maestro involved was the weakest, but all three were good. It amazes me how Virus can move a body around the ring. Just little things like this:

Look at that. It's such a tiny thing, but you're watching and suddenly The Panther's on the mat, and you have no idea how it happened and then you see the positioning of the legs and it's like magic. So these went to their conclusion building from the initial BP/Tiger exchange which was very matbased to heavy rope running and The Panther hitting a tope on Virus. When he went for a second one though, he got caught by Tiger and Puma's double superkick and then their taunt. I have no desire to see a Young Bucks match ever, but were I to see one, I'd want it to be against Tiger and Puma:

Anyway, while they were gloating on the ramp, The Panther locked in a Fujiwara Armbar on Virus and the tecnicos took the primera.

The segunda revisited a lot of the previous match ups but with more intensity. Instead of simply moving on to the next after an advantage was taken, there were cut offs. For instance, Tiger was able to kick Blue Panther out, but The Panther flew in off the top to plancha him and he rana'd him out. Then Puma rushed in to knock him out of the ring, only for Panther, Jr. to come right in with an arm drag, and so on. The rudo advantage finally came when The Panther went for his roll through snap mare double jump second rope kick thing, but Virus, having been hit by it a few times in his life, dodged. Shortly thereafter Puma hit a great tope con hilo through the ropes and Tiger locked in a STF on Blue Panther.

The tercera was about teasing payoff and snatching it away. It began with Virus vs Blue Panther, which was certainly what I wanted. Almost immediately, though, Puma rushed in and interfered, kicking BP in the head. From there we get controlled chaos culmanating with Blue Panther Jr. locking in a submission he had failed to get to work earlier in the match and the Panther hitting a sort of sloppy Hijo del Santo style flipping roll up to take the match. I thought the tercera could have had a little more payoff as they teased Virus vs BP which got heat on the rudos, but they never really paid it off as much as they could have. Other than that this was really enjoyable.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lawler Don't Want to Be a Tailor Pricking at Your Thumb

Jerry Lawler v. Jerry Jarrett late 1979 -EPIC

ER: You watch literally hundreds of Jerry Lawler matches and then suddenly you see him breaking out things that you have never seen from him. Here he's working a loaded elbow pad schtick and is dropping these great elbows to Jarrett's temple, loading up the pad around his fist and socking Jarrett, really looking like he wants blood. From what I've seen of Jarrett he's never looked this good. It's no secret Lawler has incredible punches but he's also just as good as making opponent's punches look great. Here he flies into Jarrett's fist, with the nastiest being an uppercut right to the adam's apple. I don't remember Jarrett's punches landing with such snap before so I'm putting another feather in Lawler's cap. This match is some of the most compelling hide the weapon matches out there, and it also features an incredible moment that I've also never seen in a Lawler match: Lawler is getting exasperated that the ref keeps accusing him of having a weapon, that Lawler finally yanks down his own overtights (those trunks he wears over his singlet) to definitively show the ref he doesn't have anything, and then gets bumped by Jarrett while his trunks are around his knees, getting beaten around the ring taking amazing pratfalls with his pants down. It was an all time classic moment and logical way to have a wounded Jarrett take over control. The execution in this whole match was flawless, to the pre-match schmozz with Jimmy Hart and Ken Lucas, to every moment of the match. A match that when it ended just felt like the perfect "Lawler" match.

PAS: I have seen some other Jerry Jarrett before, and he always seemed like a bit of weak link in the matches he was in. This really felt like a Jerry Lawler showcase and he took everything that Jarrett can do and made it look great. I had never seen Lawler work loaded elbow pad before and his elbow drops and sitting elbow smashes were just ultra nasty. It was like he had turned into peak Greg Valentine for one match, before going back to doing Lawler things. It kind of makes me want to see a hypothetical match were Lawler throws chops and turns into Wahoo McDaniel or busts out karate kicks and morphs into Shinya Hashimoto.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Every Step and Every Breath Brings Finlay Closer to Home

Fit Finlay v. Buddy Lee Parker WCW 1/31/98 -GREAT

PAS: Man alive what a perfect five minute WCW syndie match. Finlay was super at bringing another level of violence to these random studio taping matches and to Buddy Lee Parker's credit he steps right into everything, his forearms were just as nasty as Fit, and Fit was bringing it. Parker also broke out more offense in this four minute match then I ever remember seeing from him. He does a rope walk Cactus elbow in ring, and a a springboard plancha to the floor. Finlay calls an end to that match by just grabbing Parker with a chicken wing chinlock and tapping him. I almost went EPIC for this, but hard to do for a four minute match. Still this was a treasure.

ER: This match is actually very special to me and really is a watershed in my wrestling fandom. When this match aired I had just turned 17, my childhood wrestling fandom was turning into a full blown obsession, and my absolute favorite kind of wrestling was flippy floppy fliers. Cruiser stuff was all I wanted, ordering all my little Ultimo Dragon in WAR comps and all Rey vs. Psychosis stuff. My buddy James would tape episodes of Saturday Night because it usually had some luchadors on it, and that's how I saw this. As uncool as it is to admit now, I didn't not like Finlay when I got back into wrestling in high school. He was just one of those boring guys who just kicked and punched. And then this match. I had never watched something so violent! All the nasty strikes, choking, nostril ripping, hand stomping, throat crushing, just what the fuck? My friend says "I think they're fighting for real!" And I totally bought into it. This was the first time I saw Parker and he was like some weird rugged offense machine, thought he was awesome (and while I still think Parker was awesome, I also think he probably never looked this good in a match again) but Finlay was a complete revelation. From here on I wanted to see every single Finlay match in existence. Finlay was always in my top 3 guys after this. It's stunning how much my taste in wrestling started to change after this very match. Now I still like fliers and all sorts of wrestling, but this match completely opened my eyes to the fact that every style of wrestling can be amazing when performed correctly.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Pro Wrestling Revolution Workrate Report 3/7/15

Not sure what they're trying to do with this episode as they have Derek Sanders come out at the start of the episode with the rest of La Migra, and then we get about 5 minutes of him running down Mexicans. You know, real groundbreaking stuff like "Go back to Mexico" repeated several times. Most of it we can't hear because it's indy wrestling and it's never mic'd properly, but based on what was audible it's a promo we've all heard hundreds of times before. Now Sanders' match wasn't even on this episode, and they didn't advertise a match for him on any upcoming episode…so I guess they just really wanted to show 5 minutes of him running down Mexicans, and then show a singles match between two Mexicans? What's weirder is this Sanders promo took place on the October 2014 King City show, and the match that aired afterwards was from a January 2013 show in Watsonville, but the commentary guy kept acting like it was from the same King City show. Now, I have no idea what's to gain with pretending you were in King City instead of Watsonville. That's like correcting a police officer with "Actually officer it was my WIFE I strangled to death, not my girlfriend. You are mistaken." Both towns are places you wouldn't want to visit, so I'd love to hear the thought process behind pretending you were in the illustrious King City, and pretending the Sanders segment was from the same show as the match (even though the people in the crowd were completely different, and the walls were filled with advertisements for local Watsonville/Salinas businesses) is a weird and seemingly pointless decision.

1. Bestia 666 vs. Rey Horus

Now, I can understand why they'd want to show a match with Bestia 666, considering he was working Brian Cage on their 2/28 show in SF, but if the point was to highlight Bestia then it probably would have made more sense to show the match a week or two ago before the new show he was on actually took place. Now, last week they showed a Juvy match, which made a lot of sense since their SF show was later that night and Juvy was in the main event (although I'm pretty sure Juvy ended up no-showing and/or sending his father in his place, which really I think there's a higher likelihood of Fuerza putting in a fun high school gym performance than Juvy). So not sure why they felt the need to show a 2+ year old match and present it as happening 5 months ago. What's the difference at that point?

So I figured it would be kind of pointless to write up the match they actually showed, since it's over two years old and these two are frequent opponents. A quick search brought me to a match from 9/6/14, so I just decided to link to that one, and offer some words about it. Now I think this match was better than the one that aired, although it's not my intention to dump on the match that took place in PWR. The PWR match had less exciting sequences, and added in an extended run of Bestia climbing the buckles to get booed by the crowd, following by Horus climbing the same buckles to get cheers. That kind of thing seems like it happens so damn much in PWR matches. Yeah, I know, it's an easy way to get a reaction but man it bores me every single time. So the 9/6/14 match felt like much more of a fight, and 2 years on each guy felt more polished. Both guys had flaws, but Horus especially worked some nice real fast exchanges. A couple times it looked like the video had actually sped up, had to rewind to see if the video glitches (it hadn't). Wasn't sure what to expect and then early on Horus takes a nutty bump into the guardrail, really flying recklessly into it. That made me stand up and take notice. They each take turns chucking chairs at each other's face, Bestia lands a few stiff strikes, Horus hits a nice dive and a nice rana on the floor, overall a real fun match that didn't overstay its welcome.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

MLJ: Sin Salida 2010 Part 2: Hijo del Fantasma, La Máscara, Shocker vs El Alebrije, Olímpico, Psicosis

Sin Salida 2010 Match III:
Taped 2010-06-06
Hijo del Fantasma, La Máscara, Shocker vs El Alebrije, Olímpico, Psicosis

Sometimes I wonder if I enjoy lucha so much just because I'm still so new to it. I don't give star ratings but if I did, I feel like I'd overrate everything. I imagine someone coming in and seeing the southern tag style for the first time. They could probably enjoy matches based on the style alone for years. Shine, Heat, Comeback. It's that good. I'm not saying the disposable lucha matches I watch so much are quite like that, but I still enjoy them a lot so long as they hit a few simple marks.

This was unfortunate in some ways. Despite being the front line of Los Invasores, Alebrije and Psicosis were shunted to the third match on the card. Olimpico was with them instead of, let's say, Histeria, who probably deserved the spot more (he being shunted to the second match), but I like Olimpico and he fit in pretty well, so I'm okay with that. These guys got pushed aside for dusty relics and a hair match that they did not make. Still, this was probably far better exposure than they were getting a few months before, so I don't feel too bad and these two specifically (and Cuije) are still there working CMLL each week in and out. These were the tecnicos they were facing so much in Puebla too.

As indicated above, I liked this, from the pre-match backstage promo where Fantasma made sure to call out Cuije as well to the intensity of Garza's intervention at the end that drew the DQ. I think what I liked most about it was that it held a fairly chaotic feel, more so than just a TV match with no stakes. They started with exchanges in the primera but it broke down quickly, not into just a beatdown, but into a brawl followed by a lot of tecnico advantages and rudo cut offs. This all came to a head with Fantasma flying in from the ramp with a double clothesline.

The beatdown came in the segunda with the rudos swarming in. Like everything else in the match, it felt a little more chaotic and violent than usual, which was welcomed. Poor beaten upon Kemonito though. Cuije got his licks in on him AND on Shocker, who was held in a Alebrije chinlock. That's one thing the last match was missing. Yes, of course Shocker's going to get to beat up on the mini a bit but at least here, the mini got him first. In the previous match, Rush just beat the hell out of Chucky and the fans weren't quite sure how to react. Here, it had the build. Anyway, Olimpico fit right in, holding up Mascara with Alebrije for Psicosis' senton and then hitting a springboard dropkick on an elevated Fantasma to take the fall.

They went right to the comeback in the Tercera, which then sort of evolved into a tecnico shine finale. That's something they could get away with due to the DQ finish to come and the rudo beatdown post match. It had some fun moments like Alebrije (who was paired with Shocker mainly) wanting a handshake. That led to rope running and Shocker turning himself inside out on an Alebrije shoulder block. I get that I haven't seen a ton of 2011 and 2012, but I still haven't seen this mythical "lazy Shocker." I believe you guys, but I haven't seen it yet. Eventually both he and Kemonito would get their revenge, with a bunch of paralleled spots from the Cuije attack earlier in the match. Then they built on to dives (a Kemonito apron leap onto Cuije! Shocker hitting a tope! Tandem Fantasma and Mascara Topes!). That cleared the ring for Alebrije to try some ridiculous (for his size) roll ups and ultimately crash into the Reinera before Garza intervened.

This was not all that different from every other trios match ever, sure, and I've seen this pairing or a similar one a few times now but it did feel like they were going all out for the bigger stage and the added intensity was appreciated.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

MLJ: Sin Salida 2010 Part 1

Sin Salida 2010 Part 1

I'm going to tackle the first two matches on the card today. The plan is to make it to the main event, double back to the trios which helped set up Maximo vs Taichi and then finish with 2010 with the hair match. I'll probably double back through the anniversary show (sticking with Garza) at some point.

I've seen very few whole shows in my lucha watching. I've also seen almost nothing when it comes to mini matches, ever, as in "ever," my whole life. I'm sure I've seen a bit of what WWF fed me back in the late 90s but for lucha, nada. I'm sort of curious to see these first two matches in the context of a card, because I don't have a great idea for how one's put together in Mexico, especially a big CMLL show.

For big shows in the states, there are a couple of things I'd expect from the first couple of matches on a card.

1.) The first match is there to get the crowd going, engaged. This is a principle dating back at least thirty years and probably far longer. Wrestlemania I started with Tito Santana vs Buddy Rose for a reason, an admitted reason. Most WWE PPVs over the last two years started with a spot-filled tag team title match for the same reason. Again, I'm not super familiar with minis matches but my instinct is that they're high-velocity affairs and it makes sense to lead off the card with them.

2.) These aren't the matches that are supposed to steal the show. They should be energetic and for a certain breed of fans I'm sure that's what's most engaging. I have a feeling, however, that they're not supposed to contain some of the more key themes that'll be in the later matches. There'll be less build and payoff, less heat to the beatdowns, less complexity to comebacks.They'll get a little less time and maybe won't even have the big dives that'll come later in the night.

Now, these are just assumptions. I honestly don't know, and there's never been any assurance of CMLL being logical about this.

Taped 2010-06-06
Bam Bam & Shockercito vs Demus 3:16 & Pierrothito

So, minis. Bam Bam is just an inch shorter than me, so there you go. I would probably be a mini. I feel a connection already. He was the Mini-Estrella champ. Shockercito is 500% guapo which is pretty funny. Pierrothito is the NWA Light Heavyweight Champ which is a belt they had cycled down to the minis a year before. Demus used to be mini Damian. He's got a pretty good look.

This was what I expected. It had about ten minutes and it was almost all quick action with most of the normal elements of a match compressed (shrunk down even). Now and again you'll see a match structured in two falls with a shine, beatdown (ending the first), extension of the beatdown and then the comeback foiled in some horrific way. This was what happend here.

The early exchanges were really just "an early exchange." One or two interactions and then out of the ring and back to the other pairing. What they did was smooth and athletic though. The rudos took the primera with a wheelbarrow into a facebreaker. onto Bam Bam and then this really cool reverse powerslam/rolling neckbreaker submission combo by Demus onto Shockercito.

The segunda started with the continuation of the beatdown (including a giant swing/dropkick combo) followed by the comeback that consisted of comedy miscommunication by the rudos mainly. This all set up the finish which was Shockercito and Pierrothito ending up on the apron with Pierrothito flat on his back. Shockercito charged forth but got monkeyflipped. He was supposed to end up in a powerbomb position by Demus on the floor but it didn't quite work out and looked nasty. Back in the ring Demus and Bam Bam had a roll up fest with the rudo getting the better of it for the win.

This was quick but fun. I really need to dip my foot deeper into the mini waters.

Taped 2010-06-06
Metro, Rush, Stuka Jr. vs Histeria, Maniaco, Monsther

This was my first look at Monsther. He fit right into Los Invasores, far more so than some other guys in the stable. Chucky is so in your face and over the top as a mascot too. He was all over the match and you can hardly blame them for it. Stuka was the captain for the tecnicos and pretty much the only guy over in a good way. There were signs with the Porra Tecnico and everything. Rush had a surprising amount of boos for so early in his career. I hadn't realized they had turned on him so quickly.

I thought Rush looked good here. It's the earliest I've seen him and my plan is to spend more time with him in 2011 after I finish this show. He was definitely Rush, down to beating the crap out of Chucky in a way that put sympathy on the mascot and elicited boos from the crowd. Monsther was pretty funny as Stuka tried to rope run with him and just got goozled for his trouble. The tecnicos took the primera after Stuka did his reverse course leap out of the ring, leaving Rush and Metro to take out the remaining rudos (including Metro doing this really great backcompression submission over his knee.)

Rudos took over in the segunda, in part because the tecnicos were spending too long going after Chucky. It wasn't anything special. Histeria got Stuka from the outside in on a rope running sequence. The finish was a little goofy as I swear he got pinned twice and Monsther splashed his legs instead of something that made more sense, but it was ultimately harmless. Anyway, and this could be an indication of the spot on the card, the comeback in the tercera was almost immediate with Stuka moving out of the way of a charging Chucky, some humorous rudo miscommunication, and Stuka's dive bomb.

This was short and sweet, with a bit of flubbing here and there. Metro looked good. Monsther fit in well and Chucky was certainly energetic and happy to take a lot of abuse. It was pretty much what it was supposed to be. I thought it was most interesting how quickly Stuka started his comeback in the tercera and that they managed to clear the ring without dives (since they were saving those for later in the night, I guess).

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