Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, January 07, 2017

MLJ: Blue Panther vs Negro Navarro [FMLL MASTER]

2016-11-20 @ Florentine Gardens, El Monte, California
Blue Panther vs Negro Navarro [FMLL MASTER]

Eight minutes of maestros lucha for the FMLL belt from CA that went under the radar. Fredo posted it on twitter (I went back and looked) but it's only picked up 71 views on youtube. It's a shame too because it's absolutely worth ten minutes of your time.

Apparently Blue Demon was supposed to be in this slot but he bowed out and we're so very glad he did. This is straight up maestros Navarro. They play to the crowd early (after a tricky first pin attempt that we come in on) but past that there's no shtick really. It's holds and counterholds, the game of human chess, etc., with some really unique submissions and subtle but logical transitions and callbacks.

There's nothing in wrestling quite like watching two lucha greats try to keep each other from breaking a hold. It's the little things that really stand out. Breaking down one moment: Navarro had an advantage towards the beginning; he'd freed his arm on a tied up leg submission and used that to turn it into a modified figure four. Eventually, Blue Panther made the ropes, but the selling of the hold allowed Navarro to go straight to a stepover armbar into a sort of Hechicero-style upside down contortion. He couldn't hold it for long, however, and Panther was able to create some space and hit an armdrag which he then locked in tight from the ground position. Navarro kept trying to get his leg over to break the hold and Panther kept putting a single hand up to redirect it. This lasted around ten seconds until Navarro was able to make it over and break the hold. How great is all of that? It's plenty great, let me tell you.

As I said, there was a decent amount of build through call backs too. Later on, Panther went for the Nudo only to get shoved off. He still managed the Fujiwara armbar though, and here we had a mirrored rope break to what came before. Part of the selling between them was the most natural thing in the world because there's nothing quite as believable as old man fatigue. They'd manage some vaguely athletic things (a reverse cross-body or a headstand out of a headscissors by Panther), but you absolutely bought that he wouldn't be able to follow up. That's how he was opened up for a big Navarro clothesline. At the finish, he tried one of his own only for Navarro to duck it and manage a herculean old man lifting armbar and backwards roll (execution could have been a little stronger but the level of difficulty was high). Just a little repetition there to instill meaning to the finish.

Anyway, it's always great when one of these FMLL matches pop up. I'm glad this one did.

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