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Friday, January 16, 2015

MLJ: 2010: A Garza Odyssey 16: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shigeo Okumura, Taichi vs. Héctor Garza, Hijo del Fantasma, La Máscara [CMLL TRIOS]

Taped 2010-05-07 @ Arena México
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shigeo Okumura, Taichi vs. Héctor Garza, Hijo del Fantasma, La Máscara [CMLL TRIOS]

6:28 in

Hey, it's that Tanahashi guy, air guitar and all. So, I don't watch NJPW, which is some sort of cardinal sin in 2015. I also don't complain to Phil and Eric that, let's say, the really fun Cesaro vs Sheamus handheld from Dublin that no one saw ( should be ranked higher on the 2014 MOTY chart than some match with Tomohiro Ishii so at least I'm doing no harm, right? After one match, I can safely say that he's someone I'd rather see than Taichi(with the Garza turn I think this is my last Taichi match, thankfully). That's about all I can safely say though because this was the Hector Garza show once again.

We're on the cusp of the full rudo turn which is a bit of a shame as passive aggressive, highly distracted Hector Garza was a lot of fun. He was claiming that he was still a tecnico and that it was all just confusion or his partners being closed-minded and really, who's going to doubt someone who prays as much as he does? He made a massive cross over his chest on the way down the ramp, after all.

This was for the trios titles and there seemed to be a moderate fan worry at the time that he was going to be turned without dropping them which would have been a bit of a mess (and that the worry existed at all spoke to the perceived importance of belts, I think). There's something innately terrible about calling the Japanese guys the Yellow Wave, but that's lucha for you I guess.

There really wasn't much to this match, action wise, which is the problem with Hector Garza being passive aggressive and gobbling up all the attention. It was definitely the right move for the angle, but it meant that this, as a title match, was hardly memorable. There was no dynamic matwork to start off. The comeback was pretty haphazard, though amusing, and then the tercera was about Garza taking his ball and going home as much as anything else.

I think the consistency of character shown was well done though. There are a lot of little moments of back and forth and they would have been hard to script out. The rudos took over in the primera because Garza tossed his shirt to Mascara and Mascara disrespected it. That distracted Garza and he got nailed from behind. Then, once he got out, Garza held on to Mascara long enough that he got blindsided as well. He'd pull his hand in when his partners were nowhere close to the tag and pull it back when they did get close. At one point Mascara tried to toss him back in only for him to dart out the other side of the ring and sit in the crowd.

This went on and on. Garza would grab Fantasma's leg from the outside and then shrug with a smile and the praying motion when the Japanese questioned his actions. He tried to cut off his partners when they were coming back but they ducked him, hit double superkicks on their opponents and then tandem dives, leaving him in the ring with Tanahashi who he quickly rolled up after pointing the other way. In the tercera, he'd even hit a plancha to help set up the finish, during which he just walked away and let his partners get outnumbered.

That was the fun in the match. He wasn't being an evil bad guy. He had claimed that he teamed with Polvora in the Gran Alternativa that he wanted to show everyone that he could be just as good working with a rudo as tecnicos. He was playing an arrogant, rather lazy, character who thought he was above all this, and that came through far more than him wanting to turn on his partners. It reminded me a little of the world's best possible Rob Van Dam, if that makes any sense.

Over the last few matches it's been fun, but it's not the sort of thing that can generate heat in a bubble. There's something almost admirable about it even as it's reprehensible but at the same time, it undermines the babyfaces a little too, so while it was entertaining, I am glad that shortly after this match he does shift more fully onto the rudo side of things.  Here, a few months into the year, I think he's been very impressive. None of the matches I saw him in were over the top great, yes, but he's been consistently good at balancing athleticism, crowd interaction, ongoing character development, and playing his role effectively in the matches. He was very good at what he did.

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