Segunda Caida

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

MLJ: Sombra Spotlight 28: Blue Panther, La Sombra, Shocker vs Felino, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas

Aired: 2011-12-03
Taped: 2011-11-25 @ Arena Mexico
Blue Panther, La Sombra, Shocker vs Felino, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas

I needed a fairly disposable trios match to wash the taste of Volador vs Sombra out of my mouth. This fit the bill as it had Blue Panther and Negro Casas, relatively early on their road to a March, 2012 hair match. It'd be the sort of light, gif-worthy affair that I tend to enjoy.

In the context of what I had been watching, however, it was pretty weird. As far as 2011 tecnico teams go, this is a pretty crowd-pleasing one. Shocker, broken down as he might have become, was hugely charismatic. Blue Panther, sans mask, was a sympathetic seller and a fiery old man who the crowd could get behind. We saw back in September, 2011, just how over Sombra was in the match against Averno. So three tecnicos up against three rudos. It should have been pretty straightforward.

It wasn't. Something had shifted in the DNA of CMLL. While Sombra and Panther might not get booed as much as Rush or Mascara would, the crowd was thoroughly behind La Pesta Negra. This wasn't unprecedented. CMLL had a history of "cool heel" groups in the 00s, with the Guerreros and Perros Del Mal, but they always had a different level of tecnicos to go up against, be it Santo or Casas himself or Dr. Wagner, Jr., or Mistico. This was a post-Mistico world and in the wake of his departure, and with the end of the boom, there really wasn't anyone left on the roster ready and able to hold the tecnico line against a weekly crowd that no longer bought into that ideal. In short, Sombra, while ascendant, simply wasn't enough.

La Pesta Negra weren't cool heels by any means, but they were lovable scamps of rudos, ridiculous and fun and charismatic. They'd ham it up, Zacarias in tow, and play to the crowd, hyping them for exchanges. Here, the tecnicos didn't help their cause, ambushing them before the fact as they were making their goofy entrance, both Niebla and Zacarias dressed like Hellboy, of all things. Niebla is the lord high king of diminishing returns, breaking out the same "catch the spit" spot, the same pratfall, the same drunken antics in every match, but he puts more care than almost anyone else into his gear and his look and the crowd eats it up and he comes back again and again, sort of like a lucha Captain Lou with the same endless chances and a much better slap-punch.

I like to believe there are certain cosmic forces in lucha libre. Tecnicos get punished for certain things. One is going to mask ripping first without a damn good reason. Another is ambushing the rudos on the way down. It's a cute little inversion, but it lost them the mandate of heaven, and they quickly succumbed to a Pesta Negra comeback. Even later on, Sombra would go out of his way to kick Zacarias down the ramp, which in some matches would have been warranted. Here, not so much.

There was a spirited comeback in the tercera, including plenty of Blue Panther ankle lock foot biting and some good action towards the end. The tecnicos won on a DQ that made Pesta Negra look especially strong and that kept the heat on Negro Casas going into their next match and on the march towards the eventual hair match, but it was very clear the dynamics here that would lead to the crowd turning on Sombra the rest of the way and the to the birth of Los Ingobernables, even if that was still a couple of years off.

(you miss it here, but he totally kisses the head of the guy in the crowd after the dive).

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