Segunda Caida

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

Thursday, March 14, 2019

On Brand Segunda: Faarooq vs. Kama! Blue Panther as Rusher Kimura!

Faarooq vs. Kama Mustafa WWF Shotgun Saturday Night 6/20/98

ER: This isn't necessarily a great match, but it's a pretty damn cool match because it is completely different than the short match WWE structure that came over the next 20 years. This feels much more like a WCW match from this era, who had no problems throwing out "slugfest" style matches, and it didn't have any kind of WWE structure tropes (no extended consecutive run of offense from either guy, no chinlock spot to build to a babyface comeback), so the whole thing felt very foreign and unique. Charles Wright is a pretty frustrating wrestler. He was really big (6'6", 300+ lb.) and moved pretty quick, but never had a ton of thump to any of his offense. But this might be the best match I've seen him involved in. Are there actual good Soultaker/Kama/Papa Shango/Godfather matches, in particular singles matches? I can't remember any. Well, here's one. The movement and energy in this whole match was top notch. It was go go go but based around ass beating instead of "kewl moves" and that is the best kind of go go go. There were a couple lariats that felt a little light, but damn does Faarooq come off like a great southern regional babyface here, taking the strap down right as the match starts and working super aggressive. I loved how he whipped Kama around ringside with his belt, hit his nice flying shoulderblock to send Kama to the floor (which lead to a great moment where he missed that same shoulderblock off the top when Kama sidestepped him and smacked him on his way down. Kama works nice body shots and a hard as hell avalanche. Faarooq was a great babyface with the way he would always fight back to transition, but there were several moments where he wasn't a great opponent for Kama, tanking a couple moments with bizarre selling choices. Kama threw nice body shots in the corner and Faarooq didn't even budge for them; later Kama hits a mule kick to the stomach and Faarooq just takes a slow flat back bump from it, which makes zero sense from a physics standpoint. But there's a ton of other stuff that owns and keeps the whole match moving at a pace that WWF heavyweights just didn't often work. Loved Faarooq eating knees on a standing splash, dug a big time mid-ring collision, dug the brawl to count out. This was really good, and wasn't more than a few little things away from being great.

Blue Panther/Stuka Jr./Esfinge vs. Felino/Barbaro Cavernario/Luciferno CMLL 2/12/19

ER: This match had a kind of sloppy, disheveled charm that I really liked, feeling like a lucha version of an opening match All Japan trios that had a couple of the comedy old guys, and a couple young juniors. Blue Panther is finally starting to show his age. Others saw it earlier than I did, but at this point he isn't moving like a guy who is going to be doing three dives and a cool rana in one match. But I love this guy's scruffy face and smiling eyes, and I hope I get to see him be Rusher Kimura forever. Panther has the charisma and ability to be a great Rusher, and that's on display here. He had a fun sequence in the corner with Barbaro, making Milton Berle faces while taking punches, then yanking on Barbaro's hair before jumping off the buckles into a hair drag. He got tangled amusingly when working mat stuff, stumbling like a cute old man when finishing rollups, still working fun sunset flip sequences, and playing to the fans more than anybody. Mildly resurgent Felino is also a thing I really like. He was an early favorite when I started watching lucha 20+ years ago, and then some years later he became the most annoying guy in CMLL. Most annoying guy in a fed that has Volador Jr. is a thing that bummed me out, so I like seeing him work a little harder these last couple years, really ever since his sons gained some prominence. His shtick is a little better (teasing a shirt removal is always a win) and he shows he can still work a fun quick showoff segment, and I like that there's still something there. Barbaro really comes off like a star in matches like these, feels like a guy who will be as big a star as his body will let him. He's not doing splashes from the top to the floor anymore (right!?) but he is still a crazy man, and his fantastic corkscrew press through the ropes to the floor was an incredible looking dive that blows away any dive by Audaz or any of those more brazen fliers. Stuka is a guy who I think I rate higher than most, and I like him in matches like these, feels like a modern guy with late 80s lucha sensibilities. Esfinge hits a really big dive, we get an abundance of funny uncle in an Olive Garden commercial Blue Panther, and it all made me feel the way only lucha can make me feel.

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