Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

MLJ: Sombra Spotlight 21: Blue Panther, La Máscara, La Sombra vs Atlantis, Dragón Rojo Jr., Último Guerrero

2011-03-29 @ Arena México
Blue Panther, La Máscara, La Sombra vs Atlantis, Dragón Rojo Jr., Último Guerrero

5:37 in

There's something to say for predictable ritual in pro wrestling. Hulk Hogan was the most successful thing in the world for six years by giving the fans what they expected again and again. Some shine, a beatdown after cheating, the hulk-up, the bodyslam, the big boot, the leg drop, five minutes of the ear cupping. It worked, in part, because you only saw it once every couple of months, either live or on a TV Special or Pay Per View. It never really had a chance to wear out its welcome.

So imagine it on a weekly basis over twelve years or so. That's Ultimo Guerrero. There are wrinkles, but he's presented the same trios match to the Arena Mexico crowd, generally in the main event or second-from-the-top match for well over a decade. It's intentional. It's ritual. He draws a crowd for his big matches. It's what the people expect. It might even be what a large number of them want to see.

Either there's an ambush to begin or, like here, there's at least one exchange. Here it was Sombra and Dragon Rojo, and they did a good job with it. They match up very well at this stage of their careers. The singles' matches for the title are still a year or two off here, but I'm bet they'll be good when we get there. This ended with Sombra chasing Rojo outside and Atlantis and Guerrero swarming out after them. That gave us a pretty good beatdown on the floor.
and the start of their standard tandem offense. That's one reason why this match is acceptable week in and week out. The tandem offense (the alley oop body splash; the drop toe-hold/elbows; the flip up facebuster; the triple corner attack ending with the senton de la muerte; here, the press up drop kick) is zingy and iconic.
And the transition, pretty much the same in every match. They go for the alley oop body splash for a second time (the first usually being on the ramp, the second in the ring), and it fails. It's pure, excessive hubris, predictable but stemming from an eternal well of ego, which is why it probably works.

Sombra fit into this formula well. He could match up with Rojo evenly, with Guerrero as a slight upstart, and with Atlantis as a young rebel against the grumpy old legend. He felt like an equalizing force in the ring, especially in the tercera which was full of cut offs and resets. By this stage, he came off as a star.

As Guerreros trios go, this was a fun one. It was zippy. It kept moving. There was little fat to cut. Rojo was a really solid part of the act, even though rudo Atlantis was probably wearing thin by this point. Fun match.

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