Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2015 Match of the Year

Rey Mysterio v. Low Ki JAPW 11/14

ER: Phil went to this show live and called me about it later, flipping out about how great Rey vs. Ki was, talking it up as if it were the best Rey match he's seen in years. Later when we finally found time to sync up and watch it together, he expressed a little trepidation. We've all seen a match live that knocked our socks off. Later we realized that the live atmosphere played a huge part in our enjoyment. Phil built this up to some big levels, but what if he was just remembering the best parts, what if he had naturally unconsciously started talking with friends during the down parts of the match. Slasher flicks are always better when viewed with friends. You can blab during the boring parts, then flip out during the kills and tits. Wrestling is essentially the same.

But Phil had nothing to worry about. This was the greatest Rey Misterio or Low Ki singles match in a decade, maybe more. Maybe ever. High praise? Certainly. Deserved? Definitely. Over the course of a 20+ minute match Phil and I found ourselves constantly repeating variations of "How good is Rey!? How good is Ki!? God but how good is Rey!?" Rey worked like a man who wanted to have a career match. He worked harder than any guy I've ever seen work Wrestlemania. Thousands of indy promoters across decades of time have brought in stars to their fed and seen them dog it. Imagine the reactions backstage when a star like Rey comes into New Jersey and works as if he has fresh knees and is trying to be noticed by a major. Right out of the gate this seems special. Rey picks an ankle and starts laying in the legwork, and there's nothing rote about it. Both guys present themselves as hungry right at the bell and it shows in every second of the match. The strikes are brutal, and Rey is like a prime Otsuka here with his mix of crazy flying and stiff kicks and elbows. After getting bored to tears watching countless New Japan and indy match strike exchanges that mean nothing, here are two guys mixing in the brutal strikes to wear each other down in between big spots, and the big spots were big, satisfying, built tremendously and just flawlessly executed. Rey takes a couple crazy lunatic bumps, pretending for moments that he was a man with a not broken body. Ki works over his legs, leading to Rey hanging from his knees over the turnbuckle before getting dumped to the floor. There are several fun builds to the 619, with Ki smartly and logically dodging it until he can't, and one of the times ending with Rey just taking an insane Hamrick bump to the floor as Ki moves the ropes out of the way and Rey goes flying right through them into nothing. Ki's psychology was super sound all throughout, always focusing on the build, always setting up his stuff smart. At one point Phil and I marveled as Ki was setting up his corner hangman's stomp, but actually gave Rey a reason to sit up into the potential stomp, by standing on Rey's knees as they were draped over the top rope. Rey and Ki kick each other in the face with their boot heels, work a super fast pace for 20+ minutes (22 minutes that feels like about 8), snap off gorgeous headscissors and beautiful flying, and I was just in awe of two masters - years after each should be at their physical peak - pulling out all of the stops, combining years of experience as high end workers with spectacular young man movesets, and at the end I felt I had witnessed something truly special.

PAS: This match came after a 4 hour show with one other averagish match, and some real stinkers, so it had to make the trip from DC worth it, and man did it deliver.  They opened up with some leg work, but based the beginning of the match around a long knuckle lock where they threw a bunch of cool twists into a basic spot, including both guys showing crazy neck strength in bridges and Ki throwing elbows while keeping his fingers laced. Rey is totally nuts, I don't know how much he is charging for an indy date, but he made sure the promotion got it's money's worth. He does a Pete Rose slide to the floor splash, takes a couple of nutso bumps off misses 619's and lets Ki kicking him in the face. Ki was maybe the 2015 wrestler of the year and he had three matches on tape, he works as Rey's base like he was 1996 Juventud and adds a bunch of his cool shit too. Ki is a JAPW original, and works simultaneously as a Rey Base and Fed Ace. I was worried that I was overrating this seeing it live, but it was even better on video. At this point I have watched the match four or five times and love as much each time. I can't think of a Rey singles match I love more.

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