Segunda Caida

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Monday, March 14, 2016

MLJ: Sombra Spotlight 14: 2010 CMLL Universal Tournament Part 1

2010-07-30 @ Arena Mexico
CMLL Universal Tournament
La Sombra vs Mephisto

0:36 in

La Sombra vs Texano, Jr.
6:50 in

La Sombra vs Ultimo Guerrero
3:13 in

Tournament lucha! Let's pull off this bandaid together. As I intend to do a big list of all of these Sombra entries and provide it to curious NXT fans as an selected introduction to his career, I'll say something about tournament lucha now. It's bad. The worst. You can get fun little character moments and match ups that you wouldn't normally get, but the matches are usually short and slight and pointless. It's pretty brutal. Think Survivor Series eliminations.

The Universal title is CMLL's yearly showcase of just how many belts they have and don't use properly. The number is a lot and winning this thing, while a big deal, isn't nearly as big a deal as it should be. It's usually a stepping stone for something other match or a consolation prize, or something to give to a foreigner, or who knows what the CMLL bookers are thinking? The best part of the tournament is trying to see them scramble to get the right number of people with belts before it all begins. Here, Sombra was part of the CMLL Trios champions, with La Mascara and Mascara Dorada.

So, despite what I just said? Why do I think this is worth looking at? It shows three major things about Sombra at this stage in his career, as he took a path through Mephisto, Texano, Jr., and Ultimo Guerrero:

1.) He was over. Boy, was he over. The fans were chanting his name through the night. It's strange to see. This was only six years ago. It's like a completely different world. This was pre-Mistico leaving, pre-fake Mistico, when the traditional fans were still in Arena Mexico and  making constant, positive noise, for tecnicos. They would abadon the arena in the years following, which is one thing that led to the Rush/Mascara/Sombra heel turn as Los Ingobernables. Even very good high-flying tecnicos don't get ever now (see Mascara Dorada's recent return from Japan). He was super over here though.

2.) He was smooth, really smooth. There's none of that flubbing and reshifting from a few years earlier. He was flowing through complex offense and spots like it was nothing. I'm not sure I've personally seen much of this Sombra. He was only 21 or so here, but when it came to hitting stuff, he was very good. Springboard dragonrana good:


and dive dragonrana and crazy great tope good:


3.) He had made it. I plan on tackling the finals here next time, and he does come up short there, but he was booked strong through this night. In the semis, here, he beat Ultimo Guerrero, and that was no small thing at any point between 2003 and today, really. Not only that, but he beat him by going through Guerrero's typical third fall sequence. If you're not familiar with big Ultimo Guerrero matches, the finishing stretch goes like this: Opponent tosses Ultimo Guerrero into the corner. Guerrero spins and climbs to the top rope, seated. He beckons his opponent in. Opponent charges in, jumps up for a top rope armdrag (or something). Guerrero hits him with a top rope suplex. Two count. Opponent does one of his signature moves. Two count. Opponent puts Guerrero on top rope for super 'rana. Guerrero blocks it and hits super bomb. Two. Opponent does a move, goes up for the top for a moonsault of some sort. Guerrero cuts it off, hits his Special reverse suplex off the top, and there it's either a pinfall, or a kickout at two followed by a flash roll up from the opponent for the win. There, you never need to see an Ultimo Guerrero tercera caida. Congrats. It's far worse than let's say Bret's five moves of doom, because Bret did a good job of varying the order from match to match, and far more importantly, they weren't nearly as collaborative. Guerrero forces his opponent to do a lot of stuff that he wouldn't normally do, or should at least know better about by now.

THAT SAID (and I know it was a lot, sorry), it was something that the crowd would be familiar with, a ritual of sorts, a rite of passage even, both to lose to it, but especially to go over Guerrero with it. (It should also be noted that Guerrero won with the Special in his first two matches that night, too, so it meant all the more for Sombra to kick out of it).

There's never much to write up in tournament matches. I think the most interesting thing in the whole night was the selling in the Guerrero match. There, they were selling like it WAS a tercera caida, because both wrestlers had gone through other matches in the night. Otherwise, these were slight, but highlighted Sombra's progress very well, both as a wrestler and as a star.

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