Segunda Caida

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

Friday, February 19, 2016

MLJ: Black Terry Boot Camp 7: Black Terry vs Virus

2015-11-22 @ Arena Lopez Mateos (Lucha Memes)
Virus vs Black Terry

This was a hell of a maestro match between two of the best wrestlers of the last ten years. It's exactly what you'd expect and every bit as good as you'd hope for. I'm not going to run through any sort of play by play here. That'd be doing it a disservice. Instead, I'll just note a few things that stood out to me.

The first is the notion of ego in Black Terry matches. He's physically unimposing and not as hugely charismatic as Navarro, for instance, but I've found it very tangible in these matches in a way I don't always pick up on with other wrestlers. Pride might be a better term, but there's a level of hubris to it as well when it comes to the complexity of the submissions. Here there were a number of completely unsustainable holds that both wrestlers locked in to cause a short term amount of damage or just to show that they had control of the situation. Virus repeatedly went for a version of the Scorpion Crosslock and I think each attempt, as he wasn't able to get it on, cost him within the narrative of the match. Also, Terry was the first one to go to a "move" after ten minutes of grappling, and while it bought him an advantage, it almost felt like it cost him something to blink first in that way.

As for the actual matwork, what stood out the most was the constant contact. There weren't just escapes, but escapes into reversals. It wasn't enough to kick out of a pinfall or break a hold. In doing so, the person escaping would almost every time grab a limb and find a way to transition into a counterhold. They made it look like the most natural thing in the world while still making it seem like a legitimate struggle. I've seen it before in matches, but rarely so endemic. It was the circulatory system of the match, the river connecting one moment to the next. Advantages were hopelessly fleeting because both men were just that skilled. Moreover, that sense of contact meant that any minor flubs ended up feeling more like resistance and countering attempts than mistakes. Nothing says skill quite like creating a mist of competence covering a match so well that mistakes come off as believable and intentional.

The crowd was appreciative, but in a way I've rarely seen in lucha. It reminded me more of Japan, actually, where occasionally, a crowd will appreciate whoever manages to be on top in the moment. There were dueling chants early, but as the match went on, support seemed to be given, not necessarily to a personal favorite, but in appreciation of whoever had scored the last escape or had locked on the present hold. That added to the tone of the match as well while still keeping it feeling like a competition and not an exhibition.

I'm not sure I'd put it at the very top tier of what I saw in 2015, but it's something everyone should look into checking out if they have a few dollars to spare.

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