Segunda Caida

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

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

MLJ: LA Park vs Rush [7/31/2016]

7/31/2016 @ Arena Coliseo Monterrey (MDA)
LA Park vs Rush [supre libre]

This is how to start a morning. I don't think I liked this quite as much as the Elite spectacle, but it was more of a complete match (which in this case might actually be a drawback). The first six or seven minutes was just as good as the previous one, too, probably even better, with Rush having about four minutes of pure heat and then Park mounting a beautiful comeback. The huge highlights here were the tosses into the crowd (initial and then revenge; nothing in wrestling makes me happier than symmetrical revenge spots), the comeback spot itself with the giant cooler and Rush being a cocky asshole and paying for it, and maybe best of all, Rush in the crowd, after being tossed there, looking around, dazed and hurt, and wondering where the hell Park had gone (spoiler: Park had gone to get heavy, dangerous objects to hit Rush with).

The early brawling and one-sided beating was so great, with such personality and a larger than life, visceral feel that you can't help but compare it to the best brawls you've ever seen, be it Park vs Wagner or the Chicana classics from the 80s. That's almost a shame in 2016, because the system is just rigged against something being as good. This would have been better as a 2/3 fall match. It would have allowed for more distinct act breaks and almost forced that initial beatdown to be longer. They fit a lot into a few minutes but this would have been better if it was double the length with some sort of fall in the middle. The comeback would have been better punctuated with a fall as well. Instead, they seemed to make the conscious decision (after revenge weight belt shots by Park) to head back into the ring, to stop everything, play to the crowd, and then reset to charging at one another as they went towards a finish. There were similar self-aware elements of this in the Elite match as well, but there, they didn't halt the match so much as played along with the ref stoppage attempts and chaos of the scene. There they were masterfully conducting the crowd and raising anticipation for when they'd defy the authorities and charge at each other once again. Here it really stopped the flow of the match, and disrupted the feeling of hatred without good reason except for that this is just how things are done in this day and age.

So yeah, you can't help but compare it to what came before, especially the Elite match. I don't think this ever had that crazy, out of control feel. The strings holding up the match were just too thoroughly evident. There was more of a sense of calling spots and sticking to a plan. That worked great when they were brawling on the outside but not nearly as well when they made it back into the ring. For instance, Rush didn't even blink after Park apparently hurt his leg on a dive. He had a momentary advantage that you could chalk up to the limping, but he didn't look at it, didn't target it, didn't deviate at all from what they would have done if Park hadn't started to limp. In some matches, that wouldn't be a big deal, but if you came in expecting something as reactionary and organic as the Elite match (like I did, because that was so much of the draw of this rematch), that wasted opportunity was distracting. I didn't need three minutes of legwork, just a bit of mocking and a few dickish kicks to the leg, something like that, which Rush is so good at, generally. Park, if he was hurt, took Rush's dive like a champ, though. If he wasn't hurt, then his selling, which was great throughout anyway, certainly fooled me.

But anyway, watch this. It's gripping stuff. I'm just not sure it lived up to the level of expectation they set previously. They have amazing chemistry though, and thankfully, they're matched up four more times in multiman or tag matches in the next 30 days.

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