Segunda Caida

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

Monday, February 13, 2017

MLJ: Recent Uploads: El Hijo Del Santo, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas vs Black Warrior, Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera

1998-11-13 @ Arena México
El Hijo Del Santo, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas vs Black Warrior, Blue Panther, Fuerza Guerrera

There's a moment in this match towards the end of the third fall, right before Black Warrior hits a huge tope to get himself and Niebla out of the way for the finish, where Warrior very clearly screws up a baseball slide to the ramp. He had been trying to dodge a handspring (presumably a back headbutt) by Niebla. It's clumsy as hell. He recovers by owning it, by standing up, by waving his fingers to the crowd. There's also a moment at the end of the match where Santo and Casas (who had only been teaming for a couple of months after the turn) go for a big high five. It doesn't go well at all. Something that should be triumphant ended up strangely awkward.

Those two moments sum the match up in a nutshell. Amazing talent. Legendary talent, really. A pair of young wrestlers who are game and could go. It's a total mess execution wise. Absolute mess. While, yes, I care less about flawless execution than pretty much everyone else who watches lucha, I put forward the notion that this match is fun enough that it simply doesn't matter.

Panther's an underrated rudo stooge. In a lot of ways he's been misclasified by history. Fuerza is the king of rudo stooges. A huge chunk of the primera is Fuerza and Panther stooging for Santo and Casas. Some of it (like Fuerza hanging on to Casas' hair after every attempt to get out of a headlock or Casas refusing to let the beatdown start and fighting back, pissed off, repeatedly until Fuerza cut him off with a low blow) is pretty standard but still gold. The end of the fall, however, has Santo and Casas working in tandem, setting up double team tecnico spots. It's all mis-timed to a ridiculous degree, and not even in that sort of "faux organic struggle" sense you can sometimes bs. It's still an absolute joy to see the two of them working together like this, especially on Panther and Fuerza. It's downright charming, and while it should be no one's introduction to these wrestlers, if you're heavily familiar with them, it's well worth watching.

Also charming was Fuerza squeezing Santo's hand while he's in a nasty Blue Panther submission that ended the segunda. I have no idea why he might have done it (he had been helping to torque the arms a moment before as they're opponents), but the replay catches it and it's weirdly endearing. Look, if Negro Casas teaming with Santo and winning a fall by using his partner's trademark flipping-rana-sunset flip on one rudo while Santo locks on the caballo on the other is the sort of thing that excites you, you should watch this match. If it's not, then we look for very different things out of lucha.

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