Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Lucha Worth Watching: Kushida vs. Volador AND Flamita vs. Xtreme Tiger!?

Kushida vs. Volador Jr. (CMLL 7/8/16)

So I went into a hyped match expecting to be a party pooper, and came away liking a lot of it, far far more than I expected. I expected the end run to get a little too cute - and it did - but they did several neat little things that I wasn't expecting, and avoided a lot of the awful parade of nearfall trading that plagues most Arena Mexica singles match terceras. Loved the arm work by Kushida in the primera and segunda (even though nobody watching this expected that to play into the tercera), him grinding it with takedowns on the rampway, and especially him catching Volador in an armbar off a springboard somethingorother. I kept waiting for Volador to go for a handspring-showdown-wait for applause and he never did it, so thank you thank you Volador. He did a lot of nice little things I don't often see him doing, like keeping that arm limp and punching low on things that are supposed to miss. Early in the primera Kushida ducked under a strike during a rope run and Volador really cut low. He's usually more interested in doing his own rope running and not making it look like he's aiming to actually hit his opponent, so I was sold fairly early. He hits a killer dive in the segunda, and then catches a killer Kushida flip dive in the tercera. For awhile here Volador was good at doing things avoiding his arm, hitting a nice headscissors, that dive, his superkicks, but even when he did start using it I actually really liked all the backcrackers in this. The backcracker is a move that swept through lucha in the 2010s like crack through inner cities in the 80s, and here they actually effectively used the move for the first time....shoot, in 5 years? 8 years? Volador leaps onto Kushida's back, tries to pull him down into the move, Kushida struggles into the corner, Volador keeps pulling, being an annoying backpack, and eventually the weight is too much and Kushida gets pulled back into it, bouncing somewhere between 3 and 13 feet into the air. You never see struggle over a backcracker and it was really a tremendous spot. The end run was nice with a super satisfying majistral reversal and a this-should-be-the-ending-oh-good-it's-actually-the-ending reverse rana. No overkill, no 2.9 glut, great peaks, and we have a match that exceeds expectations. Huzzah!

Flamita vs. Xtreme Tiger (CaraLucha 8/20/16)

Well, Matt tricked me. "This was from this weekend," he said. "I kind of need you to write it up. It's lucha worth watching though not for entirely good reasons (though there are a few)." Okay, I remembered him being slightly more positive about it. There doesn't actually seem to be any trickery after all. I likely just got flattered by someone saying they need something from me, and without listening to the rest of what they said I just went "SURE OKAY!!!" And then they began the match with 40 seconds of Malenko/Guerrero roll-ups. That's how they started things. I thought the sunset flip was going to get him, but then it didn't and I instantly thought that a guy flipping himself into a pin would also then pin him! But none of them pinned anybody. We moved on. And really this whole match was pointless. Both guys are talented. They both do impressive moves, they both execute them fantastically. But none of them mean anything whatsoever. This was some of the most egregious move trading I've ever seen. I can't see how there can be any sort of drama in a match like this. There has to be some sort of responsible hierarchy of moves. Some moves have to seem more damaging than others. This was just a collection of moves, none of which kept either man down for any period of time, and eventually one of them ended the match. Both guys took some dangerous slams, and things would always progress the same: Dangerous slam -> guy who took dangerous slam would stand up and catch the other guy in a dangerous slam. Neither guy showed any damage, so why would I care about pinfalls, or anything else? I guess by that point we're all just watching to see neat moves executed in a bubble. They may as well have done a super fast Spanish Fly, and then both stood up, bowed, and announced their next move. They were essentially performing motion capture moves for a video game, while wearing more flattering attire. Flamita did some very cool arm work, using a fun variety of arm crushing moves, my favorite being a great legdrop starting with him standing on Tiger's arm before delivering it (he also had Tiger slumped in the corner at one point, and did a running dropkick to just his arm). But Flamita couldn't have known that Xtreme Tiger has invincible arms! Tiger did some cool things too, loved his bombs away type move off the top onto Flamita's pelvis, and he broke out some cool leg work (his seated wishbone was killer). But, you may have guessed this, but Flamita has invincible legs! Flamita's phoenix splash has a great thud to it, and that's the move that ended the match. He set it up by being driven head first into the mat by Xtreme Tiger. Put all these moves in a logical order and make a 3 minute highlight video of it. It would be more enjoyable than what we got.

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