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Monday, January 05, 2015

MLJ: Hechicero Spotlight 1: Rey Hechiero vs Valiente [WWA Middleweight Title]

2008-01-27 @ Gimnasio Nuevo León
Rey Hechiero vs Valiente [WWA Middleweight Title]

I could have gone on into Cavernario's 2014, but that's been pretty well covered elsewhere, including here on Segunda Caida. That's not to say I won't do it for my own sake at some point but I wanted to move on now. Hechicero was a pretty logical choice. Obviously he's been active for a lot longer, even if it's mainly been on the fringes, but there's not a ton online and available, so it'll work out pretty well as a broad overview looking in on his career at various points.

This is from way back in early 2008. I've got no real idea how old Hechicero was here, which I suppose is part of the appeal of masked wrestlers. Wikipedia has his debut in 2001, but that doesn't mean a ton. This is at the Gimnasio Nuevo León, which is an indoor arena in Monterrey seems to be mainly for basketball and indoor soccer. From what I can tell, a lot of the other matches I've seen from Monterrey have been at Arena Coliseo there. This was for the local version of the WWA Middleweight Title which Charles Lucero has, currently at the time of writing, held for almost 2000 days. He defended it at least once or twice in 2014 but it's not super active, best I can tell. Hechicero had won it the month before and he'd hold on to it until April. From all indication, it was his first title.

This is about a year off of that Valiente/Virus lightning match which is sort of the seminal Valiente match in my mind. I say this having not seen nearly everything or having a clear picture of the guy's career, but that's the match I always think about when I think about valiente. He's one wrestler that I think I buck against the conventional wisdom on, especially that of the time. For instance, he ranked pretty highly, on both the 2008 and 2009 WKO top 100s. I know that's not the best indication but it's AN indication, after all. At least one group of fans in the know rating him highly in this period. Hell, they still rated him #22 in the world last year. I sort of get why. He's a stocky little guy who can manage incredible physical feats, the sort that almost defy logic. He has a sense of balance that is really almost unmatched from what I've seen and makes things that should be nigh impossible look easy. I find him a better gymnast than wrestler a lot of the times. He fits into trios matches very well, getting in, hitting his stuff, cycling on to the next pairing but I've never liked him much in the singles matches I've seen where he's called upon more to supply more of the connective tissue and to give things meaning.

Frankly, I haven't seen enough Hechicero to comment one way or another if he was a finished product by early 2008 (which is one reason I'm going through these matches), but my gut feeling would be no. He did have a lot of the crowd and you get the sense that he was sort of a local hero, despite being a rudo. The structure here was a relatively short primera with matwork, a segunda that was almost immediately over, and then a tercera where they went all out, very much the modern title match. Of it, I liked the tercera well enough, though I maybe wanted another couple of minutes and a few more near falls. The whole match was somewhat underwhelming.

The primera was mostly feeling out and matwork, some of it complex, but all of it a little disjointed with too much laying around. There wasn't a huge sense of struggle or competitiveness I was looking for. Valiente picked up the fall by softening Hechicero up with an interesting but clumsy arm-hold and finishing him with an immediate leglock. The segunda was Valiente showing off a bit before Hechicero countered with a lifting cutter and immediate submission. Hopefully he still does that cutter because it was very effective as a sudden transition move.

The tercera was a lot of what you'd expect, but in a good way. Hechicero ate an armdrag to the outside followed by a tope. Valiente locked on a nasty Cavernaria and once he let go of it, took a nice Hamrick bump to the outside. Hechicero followed that up with a tope con hilo and some good dominant offense. He then tried an ill-conceived spinning slingshot splash back in which led to Valiente getting his knees up; Hechicero used that as part of his escape bump which was clever. Valiente hit another dive (a double jump moonsault) and by the time they made it back into the ring, selling the weight of the match, it did feel a little bit earned. Their chop exchange was good and measured though I found Valiente's attempts to get the crowd into it while selling a little forced. It ended with Valiente hesitating too much and missing a moonsault which allowed Hechiero to hit Valiente's own endlessly goofy finisher on him and lock in an arm-trapped triangle choke for the win. It was a good finish but I could have used one more time around before they went to it (including maybe a tease of Valiente hitting the move or something to set up the actual finish).

I had to scour the recesses of dailymotion for this match and while I didn't outright love it, I am glad that I was able to get so relatively early a look at Hechicero (to what we have available) in a title match. For people into his work now it's worth watching, I think, even though I do get the sense that he's improved on his craft considerably in the years between.

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Anonymous Rah said...

When I saw that back in September I came out with about the same conclusion. From the little I've seen (noting he seemed stuck with not so good wrestlers and this is down to like two matches a year) he picks up in 2010/2011 but 2013 onward is when he seems to have come into his groove. While he's not completely polished in 2008, I do still think he's a terrific "workrate-heavy" wrestler with some rather innovative moves. Promise was definitely there.

It's amazing what's actually out there if you look hard enough, though. I only found this match after a frantically hopeful search following a Virus/Valiente/Hechicero trios from 2008. Even that was a luck draw, being the opener of the Tigre Universito/Blue Panther apuesta event I actually had set out to see.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Matt D said...

That trios is on deck for next Monday, actually. I'm working off of cubsfan's match finder for the most part, but thanks to some help from our outstanding online lucha following community, someone found the Caifan Rockero hair match from 2010 for me, so that's a few weeks away.

8:18 AM  

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