Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Santo and Casas Keep Themselves Depleting Their Spiritual Wealth

El Hijo Del Santo/Bestia Salvaje vs. Super Astro/Negro Casas CMLL Japan 2/1997 - EPIC

PAS: Fukenmania on youtube has been uploading a ton of previously unseen CMLL Japan matches, and this is the crown jewel. Rudo Santo is so much fun to watch. His character is naturally arrogant, he is the son of a saint after all, and I loved how he weaves that arrogance into the match. He is perfectly willing to show off his technical skills, but if he gets one upped or challenged he turns vicious and starts stomping heads. I loved how he just viciously and contemptuously chucks Astro face first into the mat after submitting him with the Caballo. We get some great unusual matchups, I am not sure how many times Super Astro and Santo wrestled each other but it would have to be in single digits, and they have some pretty graceful exchanges and then it gets unfriendly.  Casas versus Bestia is really great too there are both such nasty brawlers and they just throw hands with speed and viciousness. I love the way Bestia throws a clothesline, he just clubs someone right in the side of their neck.  So happy this showed up.

MD: This was an amazing find, just a great hybrid of lucha-in-Japan spots and pure, visceral hatred from four great luchadors. I'm not sure what Lucha Fiesta 97 was but they wrestle this match in Korakuen Hall like it was a huge deal, putting as much effort into this as something you'd see on a huge CMLL show in Arena Mexico. While it still had that flair that you get from high end lucha touring in Japan, everything still had extra oomph to it, extra meanness. Casas' clotheslines were huge. I loved his rapid fire elbows to the skull (instead of a ten punch) in the corner. Super Astro was killing people left and right, tossing them into chairs, crowning them with chairs, putting more into a springboard twisting senton or just the leap back headbutt than I've ever seen out of him before, just crushing people with his tope. I've rarely seen Santo so mean either, putting in an extra stomp whenever he could. The sheer swagger he had in locking in the Caballo was just rudo perfection. The Casas vs Santo stuff was even better than you'd expect, given the setting, just dripping with hatred and the spirit of competition. Maybe it wasn't as big as in some matches due to the setting, but the actual work was exceptional and gritty as hell. Even early on, they worked stuff you've seen a hundred times just a bit sharper and rougher, be it Santo's cross-legged headscissors or just an extended front facelock exchange. It wasn't just the two of them either. All four made things look gritty and mean that you just take for granted as light and airy (like that back headbutt from Super Astro that usually looks downright dainty). The dive train was nuts. There were so many little throw away spots and bumps that almost got lost in the intensity of this. They almost killed Casas on a double back body drop for instance. The selling was there (including some heat on Casas; the crowd started even but learned very quickly to boo Santo), with them making use of the tag format to break up pins/holds. There were moments where it meandered but I didn't care because it was meandering with them all trying to beat each other to a pulp. All that and the pure novelty of rudo Santito falling for Super Astro's fakeout antics (early on, before escalation, right at the spot of the match where it belonged). Incredible find.


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