Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pro Wrestling Revolution Workrate Report 4/25/15

More matches from their most recent show, the 2/28/15 San Francisco show.

1. Kianna Rivera vs. Savanah Riley

Who wants some ref shenanigans!? Not anybody! But as we all know, PWR is a big time fan of referees being the primary focus of a match. Yeah, sometimes is riles the fans up. But I bet if you asked every single fan in attendance if they'd rather see these two work a normal 7 minute match, or a 7 minute match with heel ref schtick, I would be shocked if anybody would request the latter. It's never something that makes a match better. It robs us of actual match time and replaces it with Rivera (who works more commonly as Nicole Savoy) having to argue with ref Sparky Ballard, complain about unfair treatment and slow counts. It also forces Savanah Riley to work like a total putz as due to all of the slow counts to put the ref over, she appears to have had 5 visual losses in just 7 minutes. Both wrestlers are okay workers, but hamstrung having to play second fiddle to the ref. Rivera hits a nice dive (that falls a little short) and keeps going for a KO kick, which eventually lands and must have been one hell of a kick as it keeps Riley down for an 11 second 3 count. I'm just thankful we didn't get Sparky pulling up with a bad shoulder. So in that respect, they fooled me.

2. Vaquero Fantasma vs. Gallo Tapado Jr.

This match is instantly notable as they completely edit out the ring entrances and start with both men in the ring. The main problem with this show is normally how poorly edited it is, with full entrances and unintelligible mic work and "which side of the crowd is louder" being shown in their entirety. This is one of the only times they edit out those things, which have never added one bit to the actual shown matches (that stuff is obviously only shown because the fed does not have enough material for a weekly show, so therefore must streeeeeetch every single match out for content). This shows they actually know how to properly edit a match for maximum impact, and they just choose to not ever do that.

Match itself was weird as we start with some serviceable armdrags and a crossbody exchange, but Tapado appears to get his bell rung taking a crossbody and things seem disjointed and odd the rest of the way out. Tapado is slow getting up, and Fantasma tries picking him up but Tapado clearly does not want to be picked up. But Tapado keeps bumping and going through spots, just much slower and clunkier. A couple of times Fantasma has to put himself into pins. There was supposed to be a pin reversal that ending up seeing Gallo not move a single muscle, so Fantasma had to wiggle himself into position to make it look like his shoulders were down. Then we just cut immediately to Gallo locking on a submission for the end. So....something happened here, not sure what it was. But it looked weird.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

CMLL Worth Watching 1/4/15, 1/18/15 & 2/1/15

Hechicero, Ephesto & Niebla Roja vs. Blue Panther, Valiente & Maximo (1/18/15)

On paper you look at that match and go "man I hope Panther and Hechicero match up a bunch" and if that's what you went in wanting, you'll leave a happy human. There are also many other things that happened that were a blast, but I personally showed up for Panther and Hechicero squaring off. They get a nice long exchange in the primera and more in the tercera. Primera is those two have a bunch of cool struggling matwork, which really is worth the price of admission (zero dollars, technically so easily worth that). Hechicero is a super adaptable mat guy and Panther still looks like Blue Fucking Panther on the mat which is one of the first things that made me fall in love with lucha. All the takeovers and sweeps and arms held painfully behind backs. It's glorious. Hechicero gets runs with all the guys and he really makes Maximo's stuff look spectacular. And all of Hechicero's little roll ups and submissions are so fluidly executed. I'm a fan. Segunda is short but we build to a nice crescendo in the tercera with Valiente hitting the mother of all great topes, just bending Roja in half over the barrier. Just a scud missile flying fast and accurately right at you. Wrestlers are crazy. Ephesto gets a big dive of his own and this delivered in the exact ways I was hoping it would.

Rey Cometa vs. Niebla Roja (Lightning Match) (1/4/15)

This was really cool as Roja throws way more rudo elements into a lightning match than almost anybody I've seen. Usually this format is used for guys to show off their highlight reel in heatless exhibitions. But here's Roja kicking Cometa in the face, ripping at his gear, choking him and being a dick. Cometa is a guy with plenty of great looking spots but he goes along with Roja's match plan and it makes a standard lightning match mean so much more, makes Cometa's few highlight spots seem that much bigger. The opening mat stuff is nice and engaging, and then things go to a new level when Cometa goes for a leaping tornado DDT off the apron but gets caught by Roja and tossed brutally into the barrier. It made Cometa's later rana off the apron mean so much more.We also build to a great Cometa tope that blasts Roja impressively into the barrier. Roja dicks it up the whole time, Cometa's hope spots come off better for it, and all that equals a much more satisfying 7 minutes than we normally get.

Kraneo, Olimpico & Ephesto vs. Blue Panther, Titan & Dragon Rojo Jr. (2/1/15)

So Cubsfan should get around to uploading this one so more people can see it, because it's really fun. I mean, it's not like that guy uploads hundreds of matches over the course of a year or anything. It makes me feel just a tiny shred of minimal importance to write about a match like this, since it does not appear to exist online, and one day somebody might ask "I wonder if anybody ever watched a Kraneo match from 2/1/15?" and then they will find that, yes, at least one man did watch a Kraneo match from that date, and documented it FOR THE WORLD. Match was really fun and would have landed on the MOTY list had the segunda and tercera gotten more time. Primera had some of Titan's best stuff, doing some lightning fast exchanges with Ephesto with no Titan silliness. Then Panther and Olimpico got to roll and that is all of a sudden one of my favorite match-ups in lucha. Olimpico has looked better in the last couple months than he has in 8 years. Now he's working a weird glammy Egyptian gimmick and looks like Ben Kingsley playing the Jaye Davidson role in Stargate. His mat stuff with Panther is great with BP always going after an arm or leg but Olimpico scrambling all over him, working more to disorient. Kraneo continues to be my favorite luchador of the moment as he's all massive shoulderblocks and big bumps and fatness. He always works as if he has something to prove, as if he gets ribbed about his mass all the time and wants to show everybody that he can work harder and better than anybody. He's like the modern lucha Buddy Rose. So yeah, upload this match Cubs! Pretty please?

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MLJ: Guerreros del Infierno A-10: Rey Bucanero & Último Guerrero vs Negro Casas & El Hijo del Santo [CMLL Tag]

2001-08-31 @ Arena México
El Hijo Del Santo & Negro Casas vs Rey Bucanero & Último Guerrero [CMLL Tag]

Alright, I know what match this is. I had my suspicions, but thankfully Rob made a music video of it so I can pin the thing down. Which means that I get to link it for you guys and even grab a gif of a spot, though just one. There are a couple of other good ones in there, but you can give Rob the view and check them out in the video.

This felt like a big deal from the get go. As far as I can tell, this was just another Friday night show, of which the other big attraction would have been Gigante Silva. They do the posing with the belts before hand. Olimpico is seconding the tecnicos (and he had teamed with Niebla and Silva vs Cien Caras, Wagner, Jr., Satanico, and Shocker in the semi main). Both Mascara Magica and Tarzan Boy are out there with the Rudos, but they instantly send Magica away.

I'm not going to go too in depth here in laying out the narrative. I want to focus on things more generally. We don't have the segunda here, which is a shame as this was a really great match. I give myself some credit in figuring it out sooner than not, though, and that's really such a testament to lucha structure and how rigid it is. When watching this, I thought things felt pretty weird and that's because they were pretty weird, but not necessarily in a bad way. The match was good enough that it would have worked, but I'm sure it would have worked better with the middle fall entact.

In brief, tecnicos took the primera off of Santo outfinessing his opponents. I have no idea what happened with the segunda. Early in the tercera (which started with the tecnicos recovering and with a reset), Tarzan Boy grabbed Casas' legs from the outside and I think his dad, referee Pepe Casas, there in an official's role, banned him from ringside. This whole bit got massive heat on the rudos. Things progressed with the tecnicos holding an advantage and some really gripping near falls especially after Santo's flipping rana position sunset flip, but not just that, before the rudos finally had a chance, with Santo up, ready for the Guerrero Special, only to have "Mascara Magica" run out and attack the tecnicos causing a presumed DQ which would have cost GdI the belts. It was really Satanico in disguise though and the match was tossed out. They'd run through the Infernales vs Infernales feud (soon to pay off at the Anniversary cage match) before going back for a rematch.

There's a lot of stuff in here, so I'm actually going to bullet point it. I promise I wont' do this often.

-Part of me kind of loves smiling tecnico Negro Casas who seems to hug Santo at every opportunity.
-I think that Rey, while getting better through working with great talents, just didn't have it on the mat, not to the level that his card placement needed him to be. He could follow along but half the time he'd have great struggle and the other half he'd be putting himself into things too obviously. He and UG were regarded highly at the time, but I really think it was a case where the sum was more than the parts.
-I've been watching too much lucha, because at the point that Santo hit his second diving arm scissors drop onto Rey, and locked in the armlock again, I was thinking "Alright, it's time for UG to run in and rudo it up," and that's exactly waht he did. That lasted a bit until Santo fought back against both of them which culminated with a reversal to the double facebuster that was so, so organic.

and immediately thereafter followed a propelled up dropkick and the tecnicos locking on cabelleras (with Casas' following a low dropkick).

-The dive spot was really goofy. UG and Casas were brawling on the outside, and Rey and Santo went for dives. a ducked clothesline meant that both guys crashed into their own partners though. At first glance it was a bit too cute but I liked it looking back.
-Santo looked great the whole match. He hit this elbow drop just running that was so king-sized and this awesome driving tope off the top into the ring.
-I can't get across how great some of the nearfalls were. The best (which is in the video) was Santo reversing a Splash Mountain into a Rana just as Casas was doing a somersault off of the apron onto UG on the outside.
-Obviously, there was a real sense that a title change was going to happen with both seconds on the rudo side getting sent back. I don't mind these finishes. I know there's something innately horrible about a screwjob non-finish on a title match (which isn't some sort of rudo foul to get heat or what not or the rudo getting his comeuppance), but I would MUCH, MUCH rather CMLL be running little angles and swerves and moments like this than not doing anything ever, which is where they are now.

Ultimately, I really liked this and just wish we had it in full. There are more matches in this feud too, which only makes me happy.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pro Wrestling Revolution Workrate Report 4/18/15

We flash forward to their most recent show which is cool, this is from the 2/28/15 show in San Francisco. I have attended a few of their SF shows in the past, but this card really didn't do much for me on paper. Last year Timothy Thatcher was on the card in a singles match so that got my money. After this card I found out Fuerza worked it (in place of his son, who was announced and billed for well over a month, and shockingly* didn't make the trip) and it really would have been cool to see Fuerza work a high school gym. He seems like the kind of worker who would have some nice stuff to see up close in a high school gym. So hopefully they eventually show that match (and considering they milk every single match on a card so they can turn one card into 8 TV shows, I'm sure they will).

1. Willie Mack & Ultimo Panda vs. Los Luchas (Zokre & Phoenix Star)

Mack has been getting some nice TV time lately, not only through this but obviously Lucha Underground (I would be curious what kind of numbers this show draws. I can't imagine it's much, and it is possible that I'm the one person who DVRs it every week, but I'm curious nonetheless. PWR has not exactly been helpful whenever I've emailed them with questions) and he is a guy I love having on my TV. Crowds dig him as well and here he does a bunch of cool stuff, a guy who has some spectacular spots but also pays tons of attention to making his clotheslines, shoulderblocks and other contact look good. Maybe his best moment here was when Los Luchas were slumped in opposing corners and Mack kept charging back and forth with increasingly nasty avalanches. He kept building up more steam and just really went crashing into both guys. Sadly it seems like PWR always sticks him with Ultimo Panda, who outside of a cute mask brings next to nothing to the table. An amusing gimmick to hide Vinny Massaro cosplaying as a bad worker, which becomes not amusing when he's holding back the best worker on the show. You would think he would end up being hidden more in tags, but more often than not he works more of the match than his partner. Most of his work is shtick, or moves that take way too long to set up. Here he hits a very nice crossbody off the top but my god the set up involved one of Los Luchas holding his hand while he got to the top, and both members just standing there waiting for him to stabilize his balance. The end result only looks good if you turn a blind eye to the previous 10 seconds of men standing around waiting. Los Luchas are a shade under efficient as they never do anything memorable, but they're often put into positions in this fed to not succeed. This fed specializes in "Heel in Peril" tags meaning that the rudos don't often get to rudo, and instead are just constantly put into a loop of taking offense. Los Luchas don't do anything spectacular, but I'm sure they would work up to an occasion. Match itself was fine enough and well worth watching just to see Mack do his thing.

*not shocking to anyone

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 24: Trios Champions Workrate Report

ER: I enjoyed the Angela Fong captive lights off training vignette, although in this story the Shaw Bros. and/or Kill Bill stuff is maybe a little on the nose.

1. Pentagon Jr. vs. Sexy Star

ER: God I thought this was really terrible. Star in a long singles is just death as she has no clue how to pace things. Here she sells practically nothing and has no idea how to transition from one move to the next. The most she sells in this match? When Pentagon kicks out of a pin. Seriously, she stomps all over him in the corner, drags him to the middle of the ring, pins him, he kicks out...and then she starts selling like she's been in a war. Drags herself away, holding her stomach, struggling to get up. I had to rewind to see if I missed him doing something unsavory after his kickout. But nope, she just randomly decided to start selling something for the first - and last - time in the match. The rest of the match is just Pentagon striking her or hitting a big move, both of them lying there, and then her getting up and doing a move. It results in her hitting a nice dive at one point, but damn was this match awful. Just horrible layout and then to top it off, a real pointless, rushed result. Pentagon actually gets a bunch of real, actual heel heat, and the next week his actions are already avenged. At this point I reallllly wish Sexy Star was just not around, as all of the booking revolving around her is clearly far and away the worst thing on LU. And that's not even counting Striker and Vampiro talking in their Owen voices for half of the match.

PAS: Yup this stunk, they are trying so hard to make Sexy Star a thing, but it isn't going to happen. Pentagon had no business losing, especially to someone Big Ryck treated like a joke. They go back and forth each week to whether she is a serious competitor or not, she is one of the five worst wrestlers on the roster, and continually placed in big angles. She has the feel of a nepotism push, like she is Mark Burnett's long lost illegitimate child.

ER: Boy that cameraman was really running circles around Mundo/Alberto in that segment. What the hell was that?

PAS: I liked the segment, but I felt like popping a dramamine afterwards.

2. King Cuerno, Texano & Cage vs. Angelico, Ivelisse & Son of Havoc vs. Big Ryck, The Mack & Killshot

ER: Wow I was surprised at how awful this was. You look at that list of names and go "man I hope Killshot isn't in a lot of this" and then Killshot is in this more than any other person. And boy did he look like clearly the worst guy in this fed. Every name I wanted to see more of got dispatched quickly, and every name I did not want to see got the bulk of the time. Willie Mack continues to be a bright spot and I really hope this turns into tons more gigs for this guy. He literally gets better every time I see him. He throws so much into everything, from a standard clothesline to a big fat guy tope. Texano really made Daivari look good, flying hard into a ringpost and spilling out nicely into chairs. But holy shit Killshot. Everything this guy does looks bad-to-horrible, from his offense to the way he stumbles into position to take moves to the embarrassing mannerisms he makes before hitting a move. Here he got to finish off Texano with his finisher "leaping off the top and landing with both feet on either side of your opponent". It's a devastating move that he also uses on the indies. Havoc's offense looked extra pillowy soft (can we just retire that cartwheel elbow into the corner?) here, and there were way too many clunky sections of this. Maybe the clunkiest was that awkward portion where Angelico was in the corner, and Mack, Ryck and Killshot took turns sloooooowly running towards him and finding ways to miss him and fall to the floor. Man all of that looked bad. That's a fairly good way to sum this one up: A lot of that looked bad.

PAS: I watched this with my wife, and she was really irritated by Angelico's overacting while selling. It didn't bother me as much, I suppose that is because I am used to wrestling being an art form aimed not for television audiences but for the back rows of arenas, more like a filmed play then a movie. Still LU is clearly a TV show, so maybe he should tone it down a bit. Liked this a bit more then Eric, thought Big Ryck and the Mack were both great in this, and the Davari v. Texano beat down was pretty violent, still Killshot man, what a turd.

3. Angelico, Ivelisse & Son of Havoc vs. The Crew

ER: Well, this was pretty fun. You may have noticed Angelico's dive. It's still just bizarre to me that this fed doesn't do replays. That dive was the kind of spot you show a dozen times from every single conceivable angle. You bring in extra cameras to make new angles. You watch that Angelico dive and think, what if his foot slips? How easily could you imagine him losing his footing and then crashing down into the ropes and apron? Just a total lunatic spot, one you want to rewind, put into slow motion, then rewind again. Awesome. Cortez looked good here, dropping some nice knees on Ivelisse, and doing an ill-advised but nutty suplex over a ringside barrier into a steep drop on Son of Havoc (which Havoc didn't seem to mind too much, seeing as he was up running around and doing a moonsault seconds later). We'll see where they go with these trios titles as several of the trios matches have been really fun, if we get regular 10+ minute action then these can be a real treat.

PAS: That Angelico dive was so insane, that it made the whole show. Probably the greatest balcony dive in wrestling history, so many of those spots are a guy climbing for a long time to a really high place, take a moment soak in the crowd cheers and fall down. This was awesome because it was a leap not a fall and it pretty much came out of nowhere, no big set up, no four table to break a fall, just some crazy leap to nowhere.


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MLJ: Dandy vs Satanico Interlude: Atlantis/El Dandy/Ultimo Dragon v. El Satanico/MS-1/Pirata Morgan

1992-09-11 @ Arena Mexico
Atlantis/El Dandy/Ultimo Dragon v. El Satanico/MS-1/Pirata Morgan

So, first world lucha journey problems: every time I start a project, this awesome guy posts more awesome matches on youtube. It's sort of like the Fiera vs Casas hair vs hair match. I was in the middle of stuff there and didn't feel like I could do it justice. Thankfully, OJ covered it at length. I'd like to tackle this one, however, even though it's going to disrupt the Virus spotlight so early in.

This was a week before the Dandy vs Satanico hair match in 92, which was part of CMLL's 59th anniversary show, but not the main event. The Main Event was Great Kabuki, La Fiera, and Pierroth, Jr. vs Rayo de Jalisco, Jr., Atlantis, and King Haku. Also, Aja Kong was on the card. I haven't covered much Dandy vs Satanico here, but I have seen a decent amount of the 90 feud, and it's awesome. The 92 hair match doesn't seem easily available, but it is out there at least, because I've seen it reviewed.

Thankfully, this match, which just popped up last week, was awesome. It was all about visceral and organic violence to build the hair match (and, in great WWE fashion, to make sure to put Satanico over strong because he was going to lose at the big show). I wasn't entirely sure what to expect going into this but I knew that the pairing was really interesting. I'm not high on Ultimo Dragon though I think he can serve a role in a trios match, but he and Atlantis were really non factors here. It was the Satanico and Dandy show with MS-1 and Morgan playing a very specific role and doing it perfectly.

I thought I might write it up regardless, just because of the talent involved, and I started to note the difference for how each wrestler lifted the girl who came down with him up onto the ring (like how Dragon struggled but still tried to be a gentleman and the sheer mirth that Satanico did it with) but it would be ridiculous to waste time talking about that sort of thing with this match. Let's get right to it.

The rudos swarmed at the get go and they didn't look back. You see beat downs, and extended beat downs, and extended beat downs that start with an ambush today but you don't see them like this. Here, they isolated Dandy in the ring, with MS-1 and Morgan alternating between holding him in place for Satanico to hit and letting him pinball around the ring a bit off of strikes while preventing Atlantis and Dragon from getting into the ring. This wasn't a brawl around the ring and the ringside area. This wasn't tossing him into big kicks and big moves like you might see out of Los Ingobernables. This was a constraining of movement. Visually, this was striking as Dandy was mostly pinned on his knees or into the corner and the violence came to him. The fans' eyes were drawn to the strikes bee-lining onto him and the only relief from that was Satanico stopping to gloat at them.

The second stage of this, once Dandy is bloodied and beaten down, was for Morgan and MS-1 to exit the ring. He'd been bullied and held and weakened, so Satanico could really unload on him in a gloating, arrogant manner. Dandy, however, heroically, would start to fight back, once, twice, three times. Every time though, Morgan and MS-1 are there, lunging into the ring and cutting him off, usually after just one punch. It's very straightforward, very clear storytelling. It's some of the most direct and obvious storytelling I've seen since I've started this project and it was so, so very effective. The beating was so unfair and severe that anytime Dandy showed any hint of light the fans wanted to rally to it, but the cut offs were so sudden and absolute. He kept trying though, right to the point where Satanico kicked him out of the ring.

After that they made short work of Atlantis and Dragon, first with a killer rocket launcher:
and then a double crab/camel clutch combo:
And finally a big splash off the top by Ms-1 that I didn't capture. You've seen that before.

This rolled right into the segunda and more punishment of Dandy. Satanico had him on the rope, choking him and playing to the crowd and just look at them,
this anger:
and this pout!

Satanico just knew what he was doing like no rudo in history and Dandy lived his gimmick in a way that's hard to even wrap your head around in 2015. The violence just seemed so natural. Satanico could fill time with such honest, believable, ground-level carnage; this was a master-class in mauling. And the clear, direct story continued. Dandy would try to fight back. Dandy would get cut off by MS-1 and Morgan. Again. And Again. and Again. Each attempt was more valiant than the last, got just a little further than the last, but was cut off so definitively. It was only after Satanico tried to go for a second bulldog that Dandy shrugged him off. This time, his partners saw the opportunity because it was bigger, not just a gutsy punch but a shrugged off move that played to the entire arena. This time, they were able to act in time, charging in to stop Morgan and MS-1.

And thus the match turned. Up until now, the violence had been contained, constrained. Now it opened up. A deep match became wide as the three pairings pounded on each other around the ring and ringside area. The camera would focus on one pairing but you'd see another off in the corner of the screen. The tecnicos pressed their advantage as the crowd cheered, and bodies went flying into posts and the ring apron. Maybe it would have made more sense to focus more on Dandy and Satanico, but the match would go back to them.

For now, there were just glimpses of Dandy trying to get revenge, trying to open Satanico up, and finally driving him into the ring, alone. MS-1 was there on the apron, refusing to get in to help his partner. He wanted nothing of the tecnico's revenge. Satanico was just as alone as Dandy had been a few minutes earlier, even if it was for entirely different reasons. The other tecnicos drew back letting Dandy take the lead and he was hurt and damaged and Satanico was a desperate force, so it's even at first, with Satanico getting whatever shot he could in including some great headbutts. Bolstered by the crowd, Dandy would have nothing of it. He sold the damage of the match but was unrelenting. He ate blows but kept coming until they finally brawled out to the floor.

The match ultimately had to come back to them since it was setting up their hair battle the next week. They left the stage for now so that the other four wrestlers could make their own grand exits from the match to lead to the refocusing of the finish. Atlantis hit a quebadora on Morgan and then followed it up with this great stomp out of the ring. I can't even express how natural a bit of violence this was and how well it fit into the match. He was going to get a blow in, no matter what and it ended up as something so small but also one of the least choreographed looking bits of wrestling I've seen in ages:

Dragon couldn't match that but he could dive out onto MS-1 from the top, which lead to Atlantis pulling Morgan back in, sliding him out the other side of the ring and hitting an Asai moonsault. This was that grand exit I mentioned, and set the stage for Satanico and Dandy to cap off the match.

The next minute or two that followed felt big to me, like the finishing sequence of an apuesta match or a title match. There was just that atmosphere in the air. They didn't do anything huge, strikes, a few sequences, some submission attempts, but the near falls felt like they meant something, and so much of that was the level of intensity that they brought to it. It felt like the last act of a war and were there any justice in the world, Dandy would have won it. Instead, he went for a splash off the ropes and crashed low onto Satanico's knees. That was the beginning of the end for Satanico would lock on a version of the Atlantida and win the match. Despite the brave comeback, the rudos won in two falls. True vengeance would be deferred for the Anniversary show.

I loved this. It was so straightforward, just a primal lucha trios match. I wouldn't call it a brawl because past a minute or two of the tecnico comeback it wasn't even enough for that. There wasn't really a meaningful shine. In a lot of ways, it was 2/3rds of a match, but it was the 2/3rds I like the most. I know other people care way more about other aspects of lucha, but this is the stuff for me. I'm almost glad that I can't just watch the Anniversary match on youtube right now, because in this moment, it just couldn't live up to my expectations for it.

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 23: Fire in the Cosmos Workrate Report

1. King Cuerno, Texano & Cage vs. Johnny Mundo, Hernandez & Prince Puma

ER: Oddly structured match where the tecnicos take the first 2/3 of the match, and at that point it's just looking like a long squash. I don't think the rudos did anything but get beaten down for the first 7-8 minutes. Rudos weirdly transition to offense after taking dives from everybody. It was weird because they had done nothing but take offense, then they took the biggest moves of the match...and then it was just suddenly their turn to do moves now. There wasn't anything done for them to gain the advantage, just stuff happened and then it was their turn for stuff. Last three minutes were a WWEDG style well-organized chain of spots, like a well organized game of telephone, where one man does a spot, and then takes a spot from another guy, who then takes a spot...It was well organized and looked fine, but I was hoping for less parity with some of these guys. Nobody sold anything so nobody came out looking stronger or weaker for it. Cuerno tends to get neutered in these multi-mans. He got less shine than Mascarita Sagrada in the big Aztec Warfare and here he's really an afterthought as all of his offense save his big dropkick got thwarted. Puma looked great in his time and I loved some of his kick combos. He can also organize a "rudo teammate accidentally does a move to his teammate" spot smoother than anybody. Here he runs Texano into Cuerno and then gives Cuerno a lightning fast neckbreaker, in turn making Cuerno DDT Texano. He pulls it off so quickly that it all actually feels plausible.

PAS: I really dug this, your technico team is sort of a LU Dream team, so I think it makes sense for them to dominate early. Thought Hernandez looked really good in his debut, he is a limited dude, but the big spots he has are still really impressive, in a fed full of crazy tope his tope is fucking crazy. The spot chain was pretty crazy, and although Cuerno didn't get much of a shine, he did get the pin which does make me hope he isn't going to be marginalized. No problem with the finish, I like Texano having this signature weapon, reminds me of the Jimmy Hart megaphone or Terry Funk branding iron.

ER: We set up a three way for the trios finale which I was worried about. I was doing the math on who had been announced as tourney finalists and was thinking "wait there are more finalists than two teams..." The fed has done well so far but man a 3 way trios match has the chance to be a mess.

2. Cage vs. The Mack vs. Son of Havoc

ER: Havoc's offense really doesn't play when he's opposite guys this much larger. So of course he gets the most offense of anybody here. A lot of it came off either implausible or weak. It's tough to get excited about a standing moonsault when a guy 80 lb. larger does a better one just a minute later. Mack looked great throughout, and I really hope this show serves as sort of a breakthrough for him. He's mostly worked California indies and it would be great if this was his stepping stone. Guy has major star potential. Cage also has star potential but the kind that doesn't interest me as much. He's already debuted in AAA and is getting pushed there. I personally have no idea how he makes it back over the border. If I was a border agent and I saw him walking through my line I would get employee of the month certificates flashing in my eyes. Is there a bigger win for a border agent than to flag Cage? That's like a TSA agent seeing a middle eastern man, overdressed for the weather, carrying a damp sack. It's such an easy lay-up that you probably wouldn't even have to fill out paperwork afterwards.

PAS: Indy wrestling 3-ways are pretty much what Segunda Caida was created to proselytize against, but this wasn't bad. The Mack has a lot of charisma and really stands out here, even if he arguable had the least impressive spots. I liked Havoc in this, his double stomp into a tope, was sort of his version of the Santo senton tope, and I really dug that. I also liked how Cage snatched him out of the air a bunch of times, had a very King Kong vs. Planes feel. Enjoyed this a bunch.

ER: I wasn't sure how they were going to handle how popular Pentagon Jr. has gotten since they clearly want him to be a rudo, and damn did this seem to work. They've gone over 20 episodes with barely mentioning Melissa Santos. She's always a part of the show, very visible, yet never a part of the action. I was genuinely surprised when Pentagon went after her and she played it perfectly, really scrambling for any escape while Pentagon whipped her around. The way they shot it made me a little uneasy. Great way to really hammer home that he is not a guy to cheer for.

PAS: Yeah Pentagon was super menacing, not a fun guy at all, but a serial killer. I liked Vampiro standing up, but not as a Bill Watts walking tall tough guy, but more like a guy who might have to go sacrifice himself.

3. Aerostar vs. Drago

ER: Kind of disappointed in this. It's possible that expecting these guys to fill 5 different singles matches was a little too much pressure. It's not like these two have any shortage of new cool moves to break out, but at the same time after 5 matches there wasn't any sort of learned history between them. All 5 matches were kind of worked in their own vacuum. Drago looked off in a couple spots, throwing in more stutter steps than normal. Aerostar looked a little off as well as some of his flying didn't have his trademark majesty. Usually his reward balances out his risk but after him faceplanting on that dive through the table, I'm not so sure. BUT then you had the fucking glorious trust fall tope en reversa with him flying backwards stiff as a board to the floor so what the hell do I know? I really loved him running up the ropes and buttsplashing Drago, as at home I said "what the hell!?" right when Vampiro was saying "what the hell was that!?" Drago's cradle finisher was some classic lucha knot tying done impeccably. I love watching these two, but again I think 5 matches was maybe too much.

PAS: I liked this more than Eric (he must have been grumpy watching this show), sure there were some awkward parts (which is inevitable for this kind of techinco v. technico match), but I thought they added enough gritty brawling parts to make this more then an exhibition. Aerostar can really break some cool shit out, and his backwards tope is gorgeous. I also loved the snap of the KO ddt thing into the crazy roll up finish for Drago. Really felt like a convincing victory, but the match was a big enough war that both guys came out looking stronger.

ER: I could listen to Dario say "unique opportunity" every damn week.


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There's Snow in His Hair and Black Terry Helped Put it There

Black Terry v. Psycho Kid Chilanga Mask 4/12/15 - GREAT

Old guy laying an asswhipping on a young punk is one of my favorite wrestling things, Black Terry is pretty damn great as Lucha Tenryu, taking a green lucha garbage worker and beating him him into a fun match. I'll give Psycho Kid some credit here (despite his sub IWA Deep South Carnage Cup name) he has a nice tope, a really nice lariat and doesn't look completely lost on the mat. You can do something with a nice tope and a nice lariat, and the willingness to have Terry beat your ass. This also really benefits from Juniors camera work, as we get to see some great close up shots of clunking headbutts, Terry also breaks out a fishook lungblower, which is an amazing reinvention of a stale spot, the equivalent of sprinkling a little water on a baguette and tossing it in the oven.


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Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 Ongoing Match of the Year List

14. Genichiro Tenryu/Akebono/Ultimo Dragon v. Suwama/Atsushi Aoki/Hikaru Sato AJPW 1/31

PAS: Total blast, Tenryu is completely old and broken down, but still so much fun to watch. He gets into these nasty exchanges with these young guys, who seemingly can't believe how hard this fossil just smacked them. Meanwhile he sells ever shot like his heart is about to stop. There is this amazing moment where Sato backs him into the corner and starts unloading with fast kicks and Tenryu just wipes him out with a straight right. Liked Akebono in this too, but this was a great farewell lap Tenryu performance, and that is what got it on this list.

ER: I have a lot of "match types" I like, obviously, but some combos excite me way more than they excite most people. I like two fat guys in a match. I like two old guys in a match. But my favorite type of match in the history of wrestling is old past his prime guy taking abuse from young punk. Nothing draws more sympathy for me than an old guy getting picked on, and nothing makes me cheer more than that same old guy making a comeback. It just works for me. Fujiwara of course was the master of this, as the ancient dude who always had a couple tricks up his sleeve and was just waiting for a young kicker to slip up and hoping his body could withstand the abuse up until that slip. This isn't *quite* that style, as this is more a victory lap for Tenryu, with him now working more like Rusher Kimura than Fujiwara. But Tenryu makes a really really fun Rusher Kimura. Tenryu is older than my father. My father is a man who hates going on walks. But my father CAN walk. At the moment it appears that Tenryu is a man who cannot actually walk anymore. Tenryu does not appear to have the mobility of late career Rusher Kimura. So this match is mostly some bullies picking on an elderly man who cannot move, but then those bullies getting walloped when they get just a biiiit too close to Tenryu. Because he is a man who can still wallop. Much of the match is him being backed into various parts of the ring with chops and kicks, kind of selling them the way modern Super Porky sells strikes (i.e. not moving his body much, as if he hadn't actually been struck), and then throwing chops and punches every bit as vicious as they've ever been. Old man can still light up a chest and rattle a jaw. There are some wonderful moments like him breaking out the rolling koppo kick (and...not really being able to stand up afterwards), and Suwama and Aoki being good sports and taking some classic Tenryu kicks to the face. I really loved Ultimo's rolling headscissor/neck crank, and Akebono is just great. One of my favorite guys of the last couple years and I am always in awe of his strength. His throwing strength is Andre-esque and I love his giant elbow drop and falling fat guy "splash". Guys work him like he's Andre in Princess Bride and it's always awesome. Tenryu hot tags him in with a Ricky Morton somersault tag, which is bittersweet. I hope this is all for this fine old man and excellent pro wrestler. It was great getting to see him punch guys in the chin, and his jab combos are still incredible. But we also never wanted to see Dick Clark trotted back out on NYE, so fare thee well Tenryu. You were the lumpiest.


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Friday, April 24, 2015

MLJ: Guerreros del Infierno A9: Rey Bucanero & Último Guerrero vs Satanico and Shocker

2001-07-15 @ Arena Coliseo Monterrey
Rey Bucanero & Último Guerrero © vs Satánico & Shocker [CMLL TAG]

Thanks for the feedback from Monday. I'm glad to know at least a few people are reading. I'll keep doing this for as long as I can and as long as they let me.

Anyway, it's so nice to actually have a date for this one. Even this I'm not 100% sure of but the match finder only has one match from this era with these guys and it just makes sense. I'm starting to really see some patterns with GdI, especially as they face off against other heels during the Satanico feud. Tag team wrestling, even in lucha, is ultimately pretty simple. Use teamwork, cut off the ring, play the number advantage, build up the heat and build to the comeback. Now, while they weren't quite building up the heat as much as they'd do as a trios unit a few years later, they were doing a lot of the other things. Lucha is all about control and momentum shifts and payoff, and those elements are all over their matches and executed well, with a nice combination of effective and interesting offense and a lot of character.

With the Satanico feud, there's a lot of hatred too. I don't have a great sense of early 00s Shocker. I know he was very well touted at the time (including topping out the DVDVR 500 in 2001, I think. Geez, Rey Bucanero was #2 for the 2002 one? And UG was 9. That's just nuts. I'm not going down that rabbit hole further, but yeah, people were really into these guys). Satanico is consistently awesome. He just gets it like very few people I've ever seen in wrestling and he does it with this over the top evil laugh and look. He was put on this earth to be a rudo but he's so good at it that you can sort of love to hate him, which made he and Shocker sort of de facto faces here.

That and the fact that Rey and UG were so good at isolating their opponents and pressing the offense. In the primera, anytime that Satanico started to successfully fight back against UG in the ring, Rey would stop brawling with Shocker and dive in to cut him off. Likewise when Shocker made it in and got a lucky shot on Rey. UG was right there to cut him off. The odds game won out here and UG pinned Satanico with his feet on the ropes. Then Rey hit this neat short spike piledriver (I'm explaining that poorly; he sort of half picked Shocker up before dropping down) which he would have been well served to use as a finish for the next ten years if it wasn't, you know, a pile driver in Mexico.

The segunda broke down a bit as there was a decent amount of no selling between Shocker and Rey. That's actually a problem I still have with Shocker now. His exchanges with Rush can have some of that. The UG/Satanico stuff was better, full of two guys beating on each other and Satanico eventually trying to get UG's mask off. Eventually all four guys were in there fighting with it ending with an awesome bit of ridiculousness. Shocker was propelled straight up off the ropes by UG only to come down hitting Rey in the stomach with a mid-air punch. I get what they were going for but it ended up looking absurd. It was a gamechanger though and Satanico got in his backslide as Shocker locked in the Reinera for the fall.

There was enough hate and energy between them that I can sort of overlook well-intentioned goofiness. I think by this point, UG and Rey were so used to working with Satanico that they could do some pretty elaborate exchanges with him. Here, to end the match, UG had a complex sequence with Satanico, ending with another attempt of a rope-assisted pin, the ref catching it, Satanico going for the Satan's Knot, and UG pushing him into the ref. That allowed for a pro rudo mask toss and the DQ, which was screwy, certainly, but also ballsy and satisfying from a kayfabe perspective. I liked how it showed that even though GdI hated their opponents, they were still young and brazen and arrogant enough to accept a tainted win. This had to be a great time to be watching these shows live.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

CMLL Worth Watching 1/2/15, 1/4/15 & 1/9/15

1. Barbaro Cavernario, Felino & Polvora vs. Stuka Jr., Titan & Angel de Oro (1/4/15)

Another fun match from a card with a few fun matches. Felino really works best when separated from Niebla and his brother. He always ends up looking like an actual wrestler instead of spending the whole match honing his comedy chops. He must have lost a hair match at some point too as he's all buzzed (different kind of buzzed than when he teams with Niebla) although it would be amusing if he just showed up with a shaved head without cashing in. Barbaro gets a bunch of great runs in this, the guy really knows his way around a nice standing sequence. He also takes a nice reckless Cassandro bump to the floor leading to the other rudos also spilling out, and some big dives by the tecnicos. Titan had some supreme dorkiness during this as he comes off at times like he's working a parody of Chris Hero's old "indy athleticism" gimmick. Stuka is always a nut and it feels like he should get talked about way more. I am a sucker for his "hands at sides" dives. Match also featured an unintentionally humorous spot where Polvora was fighting with Titan, and Felino threw a chop block at Titan but didn't connect enough so Titan didn't know to sell the chop block. So basically we saw Felino fly into frame stage right, and then roll away stage left...while nobody else reacted.

2. Negro Casas vs. Mascara Dorada (1/2/15)

I always love when one my favorite old guys shows up in singles matches, against anybody really. If there's a Panther or Casas singles, I'll watch it no matter who the opponent is. And Dorada is a guy I really like so naturally I'd be excited for this match-up. And these two are really no strangers to each other in singles matches, as they've matched up several times over the last 5 years, often over this very title. And while this match is somewhat disappointing, that does not mean that it's not worth watching. It's disappointing in its formatting, which is almost always the reason a CMLL main event is disappointing. I can't recall the last time I thought a CMLL match would have been good if not for one man's performance, it's almost always due to lousy format. And it stinks to see Casas wedged into a format. Casas matches always excel because of his wonderful attention to details, and this match was too much boiled down to his moves and nearfalls that it didn't have as much room for character. There were still those terrific Casas moments here, such as him pumping his boots into Dorada's face on a moonsault attempt, then smiling giddily to the crowd over his shoulder as he scrambled for a pin; or him screaming to the heavens after getting beaten by the Casita for the second time in the match. But there just wasn't as many classic Casas moments as you'll find in his best work. But these two are both good, and formatting be damned there will be enough good moments that shine through, enough to make it better than most CMLL main event singles. Their standing go behinds had nice struggle, Dorada's dive was fast and hit high, Casas' press off the apron hit with such force that it sent him flipping wildly into the front row. Those kinds of things add up to a fun watch, and while it wasn't as great as it could have been there was still plenty to appreciate.

3. Kamaitachi vs. Dragon Lee (Lightning Match) (1/9/15)

Only 6 minutes, but played out like a really fun Lucha Underground style match. The opening strike exchange had elements of old Low-Ki stuff and was really fun when both guys knocked each other down with stereo roundhouse kicks. Kamaitachi always leans into things and Lee has a bunch of cool strikes that look great when guys lean into them. We also get one of Lee's trademark suicidal topes with his head plowing into the side of Kamaitachi's neck at high speed and both men sprawling out. There were a bunch of cool reversals in ring, Lee got dumped on his head by a clothesline, Kamaitachi got dumped on his head with a suplex. Crowd was not liking that Kamaitachi won while sneakily unmasking Lee.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2014 Ongoing Match of the Year List

27. Preston Quinn/Pat Cusik v. Damien Wayne/Mike Booth Fusion Wrestling 9/27

PAS: This was a street fight with Wayne having to leave town if he lost. Wayne, Booth and Quinn were an awesome trio team called the Old School Empire for years, in Fusion for the last couple of years Wayne had been feuding with Quinn since turning on him, and Booth was his surprise tag partner, also turning on PQ. This was a great old school southern brawl, Quinn has some of the best punches in wrestling, and the other three aren't far behind, and lots of this match was just toe to toe fist fighting. They build nicely to some big near falls, including Quinn hitting one of the prettiest brainbusters I have seen in years, and planting Wayne with a spinebuster. The finish was pretty cool, with a Booth cheap shot chop block leading to a huge Savage elbow on Cusik. Exactly what you would want from this match on paper, and well worth the $5 I paid for the show. Feels like I am going to pick up all of the Wayne v. PQ stuff, they are both still so good.

ER: What a great little fight this was. Just a rough and tumble tornado rules brawl that never devolves into a mess, just comes off like a chaotic street fight. I think Quinn has unequivocally the best punches in wrestling today, which lends nicely to a street fight. All of his shots built to nice moments in the match. If you thought his short lefts were nasty just wait until you see that hooking left! His punches lend legitimacy to this kind of match, and his brainbuster begins to plaster in that hole that Hashimoto left in your heart. Then he goes and puts a wax seal on the whole thing by breaking out the Anderson spinebuster. Preston Quinn, just going down the list and ticking off the boxes of all the things I love about wrestling. Damien Wayne is also a guy who is just as good as the first time I saw him. His chops are brutal enough that they don't look silly in a street fight. Since this is No DQ and tornado rules we don't get so many pinfall saves and cutting off the ring, as we get kicks to the balls and guys getting chucked into ringposts. That seems like a fine tradeoff to me. I had never seen Cusick before but he filled in fine as a scrappy weakish link on Quinn's team, and Booth is a guy who always looks good when I see him yet remains a guy I forget to look for. Good find Phil, everybody else go toss some dollars towards Fusion to watch a few great wrestlers who more people should talk about.


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MLJ: Guerreros del Infierno B-7 and A-8: Rey Bucanero & Último Guerrero vs Satanico and Averno

Hey! So I almost covered a match I had already covered, which would be a great way to start the second year, right? Thankfully, I didn't, but I am still going to post a link to it here because it lets people watch one of these matches, in sequence, even though it's not on the comp.

Here's the link where the match is posted. I looked at this way back last August. It's blurry but still fun. I only remembered I'd seen it once they ripped up Averno's mask. So that's B-7.

And here's some additional viewing.

As promised, this is Rencor Latino (who I looked at briefly on Monday) turned into Averno and it's just as awesome as you'd expect with magic lightning and everything.

So next up is A-8. Watching lucha from an honest to goodness comp is great. The only problem is that I can't always figure out dates. Friday's match, which is Satanico and Shocker vs GdI from Monterrey is pretty easy since there's only one of those on Cubsfan's match finder. The pairing of Averno and Satanico vs GdI happened a lot though and this match had an inconclusive ending.

I think this could be From 7-26, in Arena Isabel, Cuernavaca, Morelos. It could also be from 8-03, but then that would be after the next match on the set. Really, it's amazing our information is as good as it is for most of this when you think about it. It's in that gap period after we have easy online access to Wrestling Observers but before Cubsfan had started the modern version of his blog. There were other resources once upon the time but the internet ate them up.

This is fun and heated and it gives a very good look (with the match I wrote up before) of the feud at the time. They must have been having fun matches week in and week out. Let's get some notes out of the way to start. Instead of Tecnicos/Rudos they listed U.Guerrero and Satanico on the screen to note who had what falls. Poor Rey Bucanero. Averno had this weird mask that I think was supposed to be half of Rey's old mask and half of Ultimo Guerrero's but I have no real idea. Mascara Magica was outside. Or so we were led to believe. When Tarzan Boy was injured earlier in the year, he rounded out the team. His look was really out of place for GdI. Mephisto was on the outside with his arm in a sling. This is presumably for the titles.

What I saw in both this and the other Averno/Satanico vs GdI match was that Rey and UG were presented as having the superior teamwork and generally used that to isolate their opponents and keep control. Here, they took over by Rey doing one of the things he does best, being a total chickenshit heel. Rey kept interfering anytime that Satanico or Averno had an advantage on UG and Satanico would charge after him. The second or third time this happened, he had the ref get between them and layed in a cheapshot on Satanico, crushing him on the post. They kept the pressure on, did the double lift up/sit down choke slam, the armflips and the foot chokes on Averno followed by the double crab on Satanico.

In between falls, we got to see Averno and Satanico, in a flashback, tearing the Infernales colors off of Rey and UG to help set this up. I wish we had more of it alone, more of the trios and some of the big matches (for instance the Juicio Final 2001 match of Satanico/Shocker/Black Warrior vs UG, Rey, and Tarzan Boy), because it all seems great.

Anyway, the segunda was brief, with a quick double clothesline into one another and everything breaking down ending with Rey missing a corner charge and sailing over the top rope so as to eata dive by Averno. This let Satanico hit a backslide (which was one of his favorite things to do in this period) on UG as the other two were counted out.

The tercera was pretty interesting, actually, in that after some good action (though with varying execution), it ended with a surprise and some contention. First Mascara Magica interfered, allowing for GdI to double pin Satanico. Then they ran that spot where Rey gets rolled up during the double facebuster as UG had already turned around to gloat. It's not a bad spot but I'd worry that they overused it now that I've seen it twice. Once it became Averno vs UG, it really broke down, with Mascara Magica interfering again and Satanico brazenly coming in while UG had Averno up in a Muscle Buster position (which I'd never seen him do before) to foul UG. One ref counted it anyway. The other DQed them. There was pandemonium.

And then, right at the end, Mascara Magica pulled his mask and shirt off to reveal that he was a returned Tarzan Boy, which did feel like a big moment, especially for one involving Tarzan Boy. In a bubble, this was a lot of fun, but it would have definitely resonated more if I was watching this feud in greater detail.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 22: Mask versus Mask Workrate Report

ER: I love the addition of the trios titles. Feels more than appropriate for this fed. The fed seems like it has a good head as far as keeping titles important, so I love the prospect of wild trios title matches.

1. Angelico, Ivelisse & Son of Havoc vs. Aerostar, Drago & Fenix

ER: This may be the first time I've ever said the words "I wish we were getting more tournament wrestling!" Wrestling tournaments are kind of famously lame. Trios tourney is 2 for 2 so far and I'm really loving these tossed together teams with something to prove. Angelico decided he was going to take a bunch of DDTs right on his head, we had an all time great dive train, and one of the most fascinating/stupid/dangerous/WHY spots of all time, with Aerostar standing straight up on Fenix's shoulders, on the middle rope, with Fenix idiotically leaping off to send Aerostar leaping off of him. My brain immediately went to the Sid leg break, or the Gronda leg break, or the Mickey Knuckles leg break, or any other stupid leg break where somebody decided to jump from heights and land on their feet. Stupid stupid stupid. Havoc is now way over with the crowd so kudos to the way they've booked him so far, loved him interrupting Ivelisse's dive with a crazy flip dive of his own. This was all sorts of fun.

PAS: This was a blast, they are clearly taking the WCWSN style of lucha trios match for this fed, which is fine. Guys like Angelico and Fenix who maybe a little questionable in a singles match, are perfect here as they can hit their cool shit and get out of the way, and they all have some cool shit. That dive train was bonkers, the Fenix rope walk Foley elbow was one of the cooler spots of the year. I usually hate feuding tag partners stuff, but this didn't derail the match. Good stuff.

ER: Loved the numerous takes of Puma/Mundo's Predator-style zoomed in flexed arm handshakes.

2. Super Fly vs. Sexy Star

ER: Dario announces the pre-match mask vs. mask stip which is a little weird, as there's no feud between these two and just the prior week they were helping each other. Interesting, because I've never seen an "owner" force two people against each other by making sure one of them loses something important, but dumb because they threw out a gigantic stipulation match with zero build whatsoever. And then we go and get a 4 minute match that ends with no real build. Super Fly looked good in this, his uppercuts looked great and he tried to take Sexy's stuff as plausibly as possible. But then we get a roll up finish with Super Fly apparently not able to kick out of a cradle from a 120 lb. person. I get that this puts over the unpredictability of Cueto, but this is the first mask match of the promotion and really should have been made into a much much bigger deal. Yes, a lot of us knew that Super Fly lost his mask in Mexico already at this point, but I'd wager a lot of viewers did not know this, and maybe had never seen a mask match before. And now their first exposure to a legendary stipulation was a 4 minute match with somebody winning a mask in unconvincing fashion. It worked as a Dario dickhead move. I don't think it worked in any other way.

PAS: This was super dumb. I guess it was a fine bit of character work for Dario, but talk about shitting away a big opportunity. You only have one chance to debut the mask v. mask stipulation and make it a huge deal, and they piss it away on a nothing four minute match that ends in a roll up. Imagine how big a Puma v. Muertes mask match could have been if you built it over a season, or even something like Son of Havoc v. Aerostar. Now they have conditioned their audience to view it as a throw away middle of the show thing. Dumbest booking in this fed so far.

3. Prince Puma vs. King Cuerno

ER: Pretty disappointed with this one. There's a lot of involvement with the seconds and thirds, and any time I have the option of "normal match" or "match with Hernandez and Cage interference" I'll probably usually choose the former. They worked some unique interference or feuding seconds spots, with Puma doing a dive that gets caught by Cuerno's seconds, who toss Puma into a Cuerno neckbreaker. Later on and Mundo hits a wild sideways cannoball over the top taking out some dudes. But I don't know, the whole thing felt pretty disjointed, and Cuerno doesn't seem to be treated as much of a threat anymore which makes me sad.

PAS: I liked this more then Eric, I think it was a mistake to make it a title match, instead it should have just been a set up for next weeks trios, but as the RAW match to set up Survivor Series it was pretty good. I liked all of the interference spots, and Mundo's dive ruled.


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Monday, April 20, 2015

Pro Wrestling Revolution Workrate Report 4/11/15

1. Damian 666, Vaquero Fantasma & Cazador del Alma vs. Gallo Tapado Jr., Piloto Suicida & Anarkia

This was from the 10/4/14 King City show, the last match they could wring from that card, and it was both amusing and a complete sloppy mess. I had not seen Anarkia or Cazador before this, and I believe they're both PWR trainees. They did not look very good, but we'll chalk that up to being new at this. There was a corner chop exchange between the two of them that seemed like it would never end. Damian, to the shock of nobody, doesn't really "show up" for these matches. He whips people with his belt, and puts about as much effort into his rope running as modern Super Porky does. Gallo Tapada is a guy I always like, because even though he has obvious physical deficiencies, the dude very clearly ALWAYS tries. Sometimes stuff doesn't look good, sometimes it does! But he puts in effort and the matches he's a part of are NEVER bad because of him. Here he stooges for all of Damian's belt spots, and breaks out a few springboard crossbodies that look like they hit with a thud. They don't look pretty, but they look effective. Fantasma runs a little hot and cold and here he was kind of stuck as Damian's lackey, but towards the end of the match he gets to break out a real nice tope. Piloto Suicida was a pleasant surprise as a guy I've seen several times in SoCal indies but hadn't seen in years. A lot of his stuff had a polish to it that the match really needed. Damian did have some fun rudo moments, my favorite being him begging off from Piloto, getting down on his knees to beg, kissing Piloto's boots...and then punching him right in the dick while he was kissing boots. Overall things were just a little too sloppy, bad lucha exchanges done in almost comical slow motion. But it still had its charms.

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MLJ: Year One Finale: Virus Spotlight 1: Rencor Latino, Último Guerrero, Virus vs Angel Azteca, Ninja De Fuego, Oriental

1998-06-19 @ Arena México
Rencor Latino, Último Guerrero, Virus vs Angel Azteca, Ninja De Fuego, Oriental

So, I've been doing this for a year. Three posts a week for an entire year. Over 150 matches watched and written up. It's a minor miracle I stayed on schedule for that long, but I did, and apparently we've done great as a site, so I'm happy for what I've made it through, for the lucha I've watched, and for what I've learned. I know I still have a lot left to learn and a lot left to see. Quick thanks and then I'll get on with it. Eric, Phil. Thanks for letting me be here. I know I spent a few weeks writing about Marco Corleone to begin. Your patience was kind. Thanks to CubsFan for the match database. That thing is a godsend. I can't even imagine doing this in the form I have otherwise. Thanks to everyone else who posts matches, certainly. Thanks to Kris, whose work is incredibly useful, to Mark, who would help me with anything he could, to Fredo who converted that comp for me, to OJ, who navigates his own journey for everyone to read, and for anyone who actually took the time to read or comment, even and especially if it was just to point out how wrong i was about something. We don't get many, so it's appreciated.

I've enjoyed this far more than I thought I would and part of that is definitely the community. Not a lot of English speaking people cover lucha, not compared to WWE or TNA or Japan. It could have been a closed shop in a lot of way but everyone has been helpful to me and I feel fortunate for that.

Alright, enough of that. If I make it another year or to three hundred posts, then I can linger a bit more. I'm sure I forgot people here but it's not like I won an award or anything. So, I'm turning the Monday spotlight onto Virus. This is in part because he just lost his title so I'm expecting the flood of awesome singles matches to dry up a bit. The plan is to watch a couple of his early matches in the gimmick from 1998 and the focus solely on singles matches and title defenses.

So he had started out as a mini (he's as tall as I am, pretty much, full disclosure), wrestling with the gimmick of Bird Boy and then a mini version for Pirata Morgan and Damien el Guerrero. According to Wiki, he got his break in CMLL (after being in UWA, including winning their Featherweight championship), when AAA was created, as all the minis had gone with Pena. He was the the mini-estrella champion for CMLL, won an elimination match to let him work with larger wrestlers in 97, and then got the boost full time with the gimmick change to Virus in 98. I got all of that from wiki so it's not like I'm doing great research or anything, but if you didn't ever look at his page, there you go.

For most of 98, into 99, he was paired up against Oriental. Virus had won the vacant Mexican National Lightweight title and Oriental had the DF version. Oriental had a pretty interesting career, travelling to Japan a lot, picking up the language, and being a go-between for the Mexican companies because of it, going through CMLL, AAA, and even being an Invasor deeper into 2010 than I got on my first pass through.

On the tecnico side, there was Angel Azteca and a Ninja de Fuego, who is probably better known as Super Kendo or Kendo Star and had a good ninja-look but sort of came off as a low rent Octagon, though from this match I can't say he WAS one. It was just sort of how it felt. The rudo side had the youngest Ultimo Guerrero I think I've ever seen and Rencor Latino who in my GdI watching is just about to become Averno. More on him on Wednesday. It made for a fairly interesting match though as there were a lot of key players fairly early in their careers.

This was the second match on a five match Friday card with a main event of Black Magic, Cien Caras, and Steel vs Rayo de Jalisco, Jr., Tineblas, Jr., and Vampiro. I'd love for us to have more Mexican Smiley online and I wouldn't mind doing a project on Steel (Val Venis) either but there aren't a lot of those matches online. The point is that it was a second match with a bunch of young talent with all the good and ill that comes from that. They were occasionally unfocused but also exciting and I actually think they got away with more than a second match on the card might today.

The primera was a solid feeling out/shine. It had some goofiness. UG tossed himself off of a pin once but for the most part, he kept up with Angel Azteca and what he lost in polish he compensated with in increased agility. Virus looked great already, with some crisp matwork and holds and more agility than he has now. The tecnicos held the advantage for most of the fall and won it after a couple of dives back in off the ropes and Azteca getting a paralleled double arm lock on Virus (who had done the same move to him earlier in the fall). I'm not one to post crazy spots for the sake of it, but this Oriental rana was pretty crazy:

The segunda started with a reset of sorts, with the tecnicos keeping the advantage. One of my favorite bits here was how UG decided to barely sell certain things. He's basically been trying to make himself look strong (though not afraid to clown) his entire career. It's something that's made him stand out over the years even if it doesn't always make for the smartest matches. This was fairly back and forth until the rudos managed to get a slight advantage on the number game. then they killed Oriental dead with this thing:

which set things up for them to take the fall. There were some crazy spots here but they were used as punctuation to the story they were telling which is always appreciated.

Tercera was an extended beatdown with the rudos really digging in on the numerical advantage as one of the tecnicos was always hurt. Virus was especially good at sliding in out of nowhere to catch a tecnico from behind after he entered the ring. Finally Oriental ducked a clothesline and things broke down as the tecnicos fought back. Everyone here had something to prove and it showed as the finishing stretch was pretty focused and heated for a second match on the card. It ended with the usual dives and a nice little exchange between Oriental and Virus, where it was obvious they knew each other well. Virus finally caught him in a rana counter powerbomb and locked in this great submission for the win:

I liked this quite a bit, especially when Virus was in the ring. He definitely had it over 15 years ago and I wish we had more of these trios, throw away or not, to take a look at, not to mention more of his feud with Oriental. I have every reason to believe the singles matches were good. We do have one other trios and I'll take a look at that next time.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

2015 Ongoing Match of the Year List

8. Virus v. Dragon Lee 4/5

PAS: Virus held the CMLL World Lightweight Title for almost four years, and one of the highlights of the wrestling year was the four or so times he defended that title. I love Dragon Lee, he is super exciting and had a hell of a rookie year, but he isn't Virus and I am a little bummed we are losing those Virus showcases. If Virus was going down, he was going down on his sword, this was another Virus title match classic, and Dragon Lee showed what makes him such a prodigy. Both opening falls had Virus working over arms and legs in while feeding the kid some counters. Third fall was nuts with Virus coming on like wolverine in the opening tearing at Lee's legs and throwing him around, Lee comes back with some crazy flying spots including a corkscrew tope which was breathtaking. I did think the finishing double stomp could have been bigger for ending a four year reign, but this was up there with Virus's best stuff with that title

ER: These two always match up nicely and all of this was very satisfying. Virus really gave Lee a bunch here, really put him over strong. Virus definitely brought something to main event style title matches and I'm not sure Lee will be up to that task, but I'll eagerly watch anyway. All the opening mat stuff was good, but you knew that. All of Lee's flying stuff was on point and set up nicely (Virus was so great at setting up Lee through this whole match), loved little details Virus brings like getting reversed into a post to stun him to set up a Lee rana. Too often we see guys just waiting around to catch a rana. Virus brings grace and logic to these types of spots. CMLL main event tercera 2.9 counts can be brutal. Big move, kickout, both guys lie there breathing hard. Then it's the other guy's turn. It's horrible. Here the tercera actually is filled with engaging nearfalls that are smartly structured and show that the format isn't completely busted, just needs a slight tweak. I also wish they played up the four years with the title more, but I thought Virus did a great job putting over the double stomp, which is a spot that can come off fairly forced. Really good match.


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Saturday, April 18, 2015

CMLL Worth Watching 10/12/14, 12/26/14 & 1/4/15

1. Welterweight Cibernetico, feat. Rey Cometa, Fuego, Mascara Dorada, Negro Casas, Kamaitachi, Titan, Sangre Azteca, Triton, Delta, & Polvora (12/26/14)

When I first got into lucha it was ciberneticos and Rey/Psicosis matches that broke me in. And then once I discovered lucha brawling I lost interest in ciberneticos. When I started watching lucha I went in not understanding its complexities, went in assuming like it would be like a never-ending WCW Saturday Night spotfest. I didn't realize at the time what a low bar I was setting, and just how deeply I would come to accept lucha into my life. Ciberneticos just became a waste to me, as it was mostly guys rushing through spots with no sort of character, and fairly quickly I learned that lucha was much better as a character piece than as a spotfest. But obviously there can still be some tremendous spots and occasionally you still get a cibernetico such as this one with tons of fun stuff. Cometa and Fuego really shined in this one, with each hitting some nutso dives (gotta compete with the televised craziness of Lucha Underground after all), but Cometa here seemed more fired up than I've seen from him in over a year (that middle rope tornillo is so cool!) and had a nice snap to everything he did, Dorada took some major bumps, Fuego finally looked like the guy that people have been pimping him to me as, Sangre Azteca is dressed like Michael Jackson in The Wiz, and I *love* when Casas gets in a match like this with some younger guys and shows he can run circles around all of them. Casas in these kind of showcases brings out something else entirely in him, as everybody seems nervous about hitting their spots while he just seems like it isn't even a job to him, always smiling big and having a ball. Kamaitachi always misses stuff with gusto and I loved Casas grabbing ahold of him and dismantling his leg. Very fun, well worth the time.

2. Astral vs. Electrico (10/12/14)

Well hey these guys went out and had a nice little match! I can't recall the last minis singles match I really enjoyed but who cares because this was real good. Really I liked all of this, with the opening mat stuff being nice and snug, great headlock takeovers, nice Indian deathlock variations applied nice and quick, Electrico's caida-winning submission was a thing of beauty. The nutsy dives start in the second and we really get a couple of doozies, with an Astral bump around the ringpost leading to an Electrico dive out the corner, and later on we get a huge double springboard Astral tornillo. There was too much cool stuff in here to list it all, but these two really clicked something good.

3. Hechicero, Hombre Sin Nombre & Sagrado vs. Guerrero Maya Jr., Dragon Lee & The Panther (1/4/15) 

New year, and some new blood starts showing up on TV! Hombre sin Nombre is Hooligan this go 'round (not really sure the need to stop being Hooligan, but whatevs) and The Panther is the former Cachorro. Salgado works so much better as a rudo, it's not even funny. We've been putting up with this butthole's bad tecnico routine for a fucking decade now, watching him botch spots and have no clue where to be in the ring. Here he's a bully who makes it his match-long goal to target Lee and it's great. He doesn't even seem to care about winning, just wants to beat down Lee. Hechicero gets to run the joint in there and him matching up against Maya is a blast. Maya himself had a wonderful showing, culminating in him hitting an absolute bonkers flip dive through the ropes on Hechicero, hitting way high up on Hechicero's face/chest, bending him over the barrier and sending himself into the front row. Crowd really responds to Hechicero which is exciting. He has an effortless way about him, and always surprises me by doing things I don't expect out of sequences, like breaking out a springboard dropkick in the middle of a rope running spot. This whole match was tons of fun.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

2015 Ongoing Match of the Year List

9. Preston Quinn v. Damien Wayne VCW 3/7

PAS: These are the two best wrestlers in the Mid-Alantic indies really for over a decade. They haven't had a ton of singles matches against each other which have made tape, so it is really cool we get a big main event title match between each other. Quinn has breathtakingly great punches, and he unloads in a bunch of different ways on Wayne, who fires back with shots of his own. Parts of this match felt like Lawler v. Mantell. They build to some very cool stuff at the end, including Quinn catching a Savage elbow into a cross armbreaker, and hitting a huge second rope brainbuster. There was some ref awkwardness after that, and while I liked the cleverness of the finish, I though they lost a bit of momentum. Still a great match, and I really hope footage of both guys is available more this year.

ER: So awesome to see this show up, as there just aren't many guys who DO what Quinn does in the ring. Quinn has arguably the best punches in wrestling (I can't think of anybody over the last several years who I would rather see punch another human), but not in a cold, context-free "that is what a good punch looks like" kind of way. His punches look great within the context of pro wrestling matches, always adding to the proceedings. His left hand is possibly my favorite left hand in pro wrestling history, and yes I understand the ground I am covering. I love the way Quinn and Wayne fight, love how Wayne brings chops that don't look silly while Quinn is able to throw punches that look great from all angles (loved his side mount punches here) and I just love how these guys move around each other. I loved the elbow drop into a triangle, thought that was a real cool reversal, and I loved how the finish played into that. Wayne's selling was really great throughout, especially post-brainbuster (Quinn also has an all time great brainbuster if you've never watched the guy), really taking the brainbuster to Kawada or Tenryu levels of selling. And the way it affected his movements afterwards was so good. Affected, but no "Ohhhhhh my neckkkkkkkk" dramatics. The ref stuff wasn't great, but a way to believably give Wayne time to recover from the brainbuster in a way that didn't feel forced. Big credit to the announce team here as well who I thought put over both men real well.


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MLJ: Guerreros del Infierno A-6: Rey Bucanero & Último Guerrero © vs El Hijo Del Santo & Negro Casas [CMLL TAG]

2000-12-15? @ Arena México
Rey Bucanero & Último Guerrero © vs El Hijo Del Santo & Negro Casas [CMLL TAG]

I'm not 100% sure on this date. The comp doesn't have dates and my research skills are limited. Wikipedia seems to have the same information whether you look at Ultimo Guerrero or Satanico or Guerreros del Infierno, but going off Cubs' match finder, this has to be the match, which would make it the second to last match on Sin Piedad 2000. There's some wonky bits timeline-wise though.

Satanico is announced as GdI's second, but he doesn't come out. Instead Tarzan Boy comes out, so this must have been right after the break up of Los Nuevo Infernales. Both Satanico and Tarzan Boy were in a Relevos Increibles match earlier in the night, on opposite sides (interestingly enough Niebla was on one side of that and Charles on the other). There's a match after this where Satanico teams with GdI and at least one where Tarzan Boy is on the opposite side in a trios from the two of them, but I'm guessing these were all part of the twists and turns.

The main reason I doubt it is that the match write ups I've seen (and they're scant, as is any coverage of this period online in English, which was one reason I wanted to get this comp) have the action going differently. Given the big entrances they got, I would believe this was something on the level of Sin Piedad. Regardless, the action was good. The pairing of Casas and Santo over multiple matches against GdI was one of the most appealing thing about this. It's really an exciting match up on paper, the two veteran rivals come together, just masters of their craft, and the upstarts, with their flashy teamwork and brazen attitude.

And that's exactly what we got here. This was as good as I expected it to be (as in quite good) but maybe not as great as I hoped for. Structurally, I liked it a lot. It's very easy to compare GdI in 2000-2001 to the modern day Ingobernables. Sure there were a few less shades of grey, but it's not like Rush and company are subtle in 2015. In all of the Ingobernables tag titles matches, they'd tease some traditional opening match work before going into cheap shots and the beatdown to take the primera, building up heat for the comeback in the segunda and then a reset for a bunch of near-falls in the tercera. There was an element of that here but they twisted it to make it feel a bit more like a traditional title match.

Rey and Santo started out with some decent matwork. Rey kept up with him for the most part and fed into his reversals and comebacks. I think that he still had some ways to go at this point though (and I'm not completely convinced he ever mastered this element of the game, even if his character work, which was already pretty good here, got even better as the years went on). It ended with Santo holding the advantage and offering a handshake, which Rey took. Shortly thereafter, however, Ultimo Guerrero brought out the cheapshots and the knees. The tecnicos came back though, and it all led to one of the best tope suicidas I've ever seen from Santo. He made it through the ropes with such impact, that he was coming DOWN upon Rey. It was great and I'm sorry I can't gif it. It also led into the big moment of the segunda, and more immediately, to a Casita and Caballo for the fall.

That great moment in the segunda came after a few minutes of really good back and forth action. Casas' selling especially was good here as he ate some tandem offense. Ultimately, though, the tecnicos took the advantage again with Santo dropkicking the taunting GdI out of the ring. Then, Casas took hold of Rey from behind, setting him up on the floor for another Santo tope. This was Tarzan Boy's big moment though, hammering Casas from behind as the refs were distracted which left him open to be moved into the path of the tope. Some tandem offense later and the rudos took the segunda.

What followed was a pretty exciting, back and forth tercera with the highlights being Casas feeding off of the crowd, Santo's arm submission spots, lots of well timed pin break ups, and Santo, finally getting frustrated by all of it and kicking out the violence (literally). In the end, GdI just had the superior teamwork. Santo went up for a moonsault or turning body press, but Rey bounded off of UG's back, dropkicking him and allowing UG to hit the Guerrero special. It was a striking moment as Casas and Santo really did feel like bigger stars to me in this match. Santo, especially, had only been back wrestling for CMLL for a month or two at this point, and I think it was a big deal for them to put over the younger wrestlers so cleanly. Definitely a good match and I'm excited to know I have a few more with these four upcoming.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 Ongoing Match of the Year List

8. Kraneo, Morphosis & Olimpico v. Blue Panther, Fuego & Super Porky CMLL 1/11

ER: I didn't go into this expecting much, even though I always love Kraneo and Panther. But then every single guy in this match wrestles like they have something to prove, nobody dogs it, and all of it works. Panther and Olimpico tangle to start and I really love their matwork together, both are quick and very familiar with each other, but it managed to look smooth and graceful while never feeling rehearsed. The whole rudo team busts ass the whole time, like they had a running bet to see who could work harder. This was the best Morphosis has looked in over a year, really throwing everything he had into bumps, being the perfect base for Fuego and breaking out a couple awesome pendulum arm drags. Kraneo matches up a lot with Porky and this was also the hardest I've seen Porky work since probably the Escorpion feud over a year ago. He actually seems like he is actually trying to run, he leaves his feet a LOT which is rare for him, and he and Kraneo start by just trying to dislocate each other's shoulder with some huge shoulder blocks. Both guys really slam into each other and Kraneo is a master of making Porky look great. Kraneo bumps like a maniac through all of this, getting super height on a back drop from Porky (and truthfully bumping a little too freely for Fuego). Even Kemonito gets in on the action with some of his best stuff in ages, coming in and potatoing Mije a bunch in the eye socket and hitting a great low (high?) dropkick. It's great seeing just a random trios with a tossed together team, where everybody just decides to go for broke. It's one of those little lucha mysteries, but it's so wonderful when it happens.

PAS: I enjoyed the hell out of this too, I had completely forgotten that Morphosis existed (apparently he is the ex-Histeria), and really haven't enjoyed a Olimpico match this much since the 90's, but both guys ruled. Olimpico used to be a mat guy, and he and Panther have a throwback thursday exchange or two. The Porky v. Kraneo sumo section was probably the highlight, but this had a bunch of fun stuff. Porky wasn't doing comedy at all, he was just rumbling, including doing an apron dive, which is still crazy looking. I love trying hard Porky, last time I remember it was when he and Rey Escorpion were trying to punch each others eyes out, so it is weird to see it show up in a random trios. They should just set up him taking Kraneo's mask at an Anniversary show. Maybe I need to be watch all the Invasors matches


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Lucha Underground Episode 21: Uno! Dos! Tres! Workrate Report

ER: Ryck and his boys (including Willie Mack!) confronting Dario, with his boys holding him down while Ryck casually eyes his lit cigar, made me legit tense and nervous. These vignettes are so damn effective.

1. Angelico vs. Johnny Mundo

ER: I really liked all the kung fu counter sequence. I could also see putting some guys on blast for something like that, but fuck you're on a network where 20% of the programming is kung fu movies, so it feels like a nice thing to do, like it will make for a nice "Network Synergy" montage to be shown at an El Rey corporate retreat. This whole match was really a pleasant surprise. Not something I was excited for when I saw the lineup. Angelico has some junky looking offense (I hate his missed punches, he throws them with the same arm slot you'd throw a baseball), but he will bump like a loon and he flies admirably into some of Mundo's goofy-yet-fun offense here. Mound's parkour wall-leaping spin kick was awesome, Angelico can throw a fine flying knee, Mundo dumped him with a top rope powerbomb, just a bunch of fun quirky spots that all landed.

PAS: Man I kind of like Angelico in this fed. Pretty shocked, as he was a nightmare when he first showed up. This was dosey doe wrestling, but it had some very awesome individual moments, this was the coolest Mundo parkour stuff yet, and I could live without ever seeing another Angelico v. Mundo punch exchange, but there was way more to like then dislike.

ER: And talk about stuff that's perfect for El Rey, now we have an "Avenging my parents' death" angle. Yes!! Next we'll have somebody debuting because they're trying to rid their village of drug lords. Or a rare elephant heirloom has been stolen from their village and people in Lucha Underground know where it is.

2. Drago vs. Aerostar

ER: A little disjointed but with these two at this point I really don't care, they're just too fun to watch. You get the dives you want, some of their cool headscissor takedowns; Aerostar does a bunch of effortless stuff, but also peppers in nice between move stuff like nice stomach kicks and a couple mean stomps to Drago's head. I love the force Aerostar gets on his spin around rope walk dropkick, love Drago's tight cradles and submissions. The finishing flash pin worked for me because it looked constructed in a way that Aerostar kicking out of it was unlikely. Drago did such a cool job of grapevining every limb.

PAS:  A little less crazy then some of their other matches, but it definitely had it's moments, Aerostar has been awesome so far, I think they should push him as one of the top guys going forward, he has really put it all together.

3. Big Ryck, Killshot & The Mack vs. Sexy Star, Super Fly & Pentagon Jr.

ER: Killshot is Shane Strickland, who was in one of the worst matches I've seen in the last decade. I know there are a finite amount of black indie guys available, but come on man. Toss Derrick King some dollars or something. And man was Strickland predictably bad in this. All of his overly rehearsed strike combos looked so awkward. And his flying offense is completely negated by teaming up with a giant fat dude who does way more impressive flying offense. Hats off to him for catching Star on the alley oop top rope rana but damn did he look like shit in this. That's not even factoring in his shitty lurching body posture and mannerisms, which I guess is his idea of character work? Really would have been flipping the hell out for this if it was Ryck/Mack vs. Pentagon/Fly and those guys all straight brung it. The Pentagon/Mack stuff was godly, with Pentagon lighting Mack's chest up with chops (Pentagon really came off like a menacing badass throughout, even against the much larger Ryck) and Mack hitting all his super impressive fat guy flying. Striker was a complete king of the misplaced references twat throughout the show, here saying Mack reminded him of a young Junkyard Mack is hitting a springboard armdrag.

PAS: There isn't really a finite amount of indy black guys though (I mean technically the number isn't infinite, but in the colloquial sense of the term, scarcity isn't an issue) so here comes a classic Segunda Caida name drop, 27 indy black guys who would have been better then Shane Strickland in this six man

1. ACH
2. Louis Lyndon
3. Flip Kendrick
4. Rich Swann
5. Derrick King
6. 2 Cold Scorpio (how fucking great would 2 Cold be in Lucha Underground)
7. AR Fox
8. Boyce Le Grande
9. Dairus Carter
10. Jonathan Gresham
11. Se7en
12. Virgil Flynn
13. Marcus Lewis
14. Kongo Kong
15. Moose
16. Big Ben Johnson
17. Trevor Aeon
18. Black Baron
19. Jay Lethal
20. The Dark Mon
21. Brian XL
22. Shadow Jackson
23. Jon Williams
24. Trey Williams
25. Fred Vehi
26. Cedrick Alexander
27. Oaktown Kid Tyson Thompson

I have no idea what that Killshot suplex was supposed to be, it looked like he powerslammed himself. Continuing to love Ryck in this fed, and this really made me want to see Ryck v. Pentagon singles match. Also dug the Mack too he looks way more polished then last time I saw him. Despite Sexy and Killshot, this was very good.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lucha Underground Episode 20: The Art of War Workrate Report

1. Angelico vs. Son of Havoc

ER: Boy, they really went to put Son of Havoc over, and this felt like they did a really good job of putting Son of Havoc over. He gets basically a 10 minute squash win over Angelico, with Angelico hitting a massive flip dive and the rest of the match being all Havoc offense. A lot of Angelico's stuff did not look good; the camera should really cut wide whenever he's in the middle of a punch exchange. But that flip dive over the corner was great, one of his flying knees looked good, and he bumped big for Havoc (big rana bump into the corner off a splash mountain attempt). Havoc really got the crowd behind him, got to tell Ivelisse off something good (with Matt Striker awkwardly screaming for him to punch her...Eeesh) and I'm really curious to see where this goes for him.

PAS: 3 years ago Matt Cross v. Angelico would be a high on my nightmare match list, but this was pretty fun. Angelico has developed some nice douchey charisma, and mostly hit his stuff well. That dive was nutso. I think the Son of Havoc booking has been pretty goofus, but I do admit he has gotten pretty over.

ER: When Dario was talking all deviously to a mystery man, I'm pretty sure part of my brain said "Don't be Hernandez". I can't really see this man in his early 40s being anything that could benefit this promotion, yet he's been a guy I assumed was going to be a part of things since the fed was announced. How many large muscular dudes is Dario going to bring in to have sneaky underhanded meetings with?

PAS: I wouldn't hate Homicide being brought in for an LAX reunion, the TNA booking of that group was stupid and racist, but they were a fun tag team.

2. Texano vs. Alberto el Patron (Bullrope Match)

ER: I already love right at the start where they explain that this is not a "touch 4 corners" bullrope match. Bullrope or chain matches always benefit WAY more from it being a fight, and the 4 corners stip always makes the fight seem tantamount to a potato sack race. But this was a fight and a real good one. The bull rope was attached to both men but it was always used in violent ways instead of "I'm dragging you by this rope!!!" Instead we get both guys smacking each other in the temple with a cowbell, Patron whipping Texano, Texano dishing some great punches, Patron getting dumped through a table, Patron hitting a fucking awesome rana off the apron to the floor, and a nasty finish with Patron bending Texano's arm in the nastiest way. This was really good although kind of felt like something that happens at the end of a feud, not a couple weeks after the guys show up. It's odd how much more build the Son of Havoc/Ivelisse angle got, yet they rushed two big stars right through things. It is possible they weren't sure how long they were get to use Patron.

PAS: This was really fun. Patron looks so motivated now that he is freed up from WWE meat grinder booking. Texano Jr. never did a ton for me, but he is fine as a brawny foil for Patron to play off of. All of his brawling looked good, and played the outshined frustrated veteran really well.  I love a good cowbell shot, and the finish was great with Texano running headfirst into a fight and getting caught sleeping with the armbar in the ropes.

ER: Okay Hernandez being used as Konnan's muscle and Puma's paid back-up isn't that bad. I'm okay with that, but still really don't know what Hernandez has to offer this fed.

3. Cage vs. Prince Puma (Boyle Heights Street Fight)

ER: Well this was really fun. Puma does just some ridiculous things that all come off so simply. Even missing his 630 is something my brain can't comprehend. But then you throw in an effortless shooting star to the floor (that they filmed to make it look like he was flying 12 out of the ring) and an incredible 450 from the top to the floor putting Cage through a table, and at that point I just want LU to take my money. I loved all the garbage spots, like Puma's standing shooting star with a garbage can lid, and Cage's powerbombs all looked completely devastating here. The ones to the mat looked more brutal than the one through a trash can! Also I'm not sure if there is a man who takes Cage's discus clothesline better. These two really gel in a lot of ways. The Konnan/Hernandez stuff was handled in a really clunky way. I liked Cage roughing up Konnan at ringside, but then Cage demolishing Puma and then just casually walking over to yell at Hernandez was dumb. Him having to jaw long enough to allow Konnan to hobble into the ring was worse. Poorly handled finish to what had been an awesome match.

PAS: This was the best match these two have had with each other, Cage stayed in wrecking ball mode and Puma was just stick and moving. I am not sure I liked this as much as the Big Ryck Boyle Heights Street Fight, but Puma is two for two in great matches with his signature gimmick. I like the idea of Cage pounding a guy into submission instead of a pin, but he needs to lay it in a little more, that and the awkward Hernandez stuff was my only really complaint about this match. Pretty great show


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