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Monday, January 12, 2015

MLJ: Hechicero Spotlight 2: Máscara Púrpura, Súper Nova, Valiente vs. Misterioso II, Rey Hechicero, Virus

2008-07-05 @ Arena Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León
Máscara Púrpura, Súper Nova, Valiente vs. Misterioso II, Rey Hechicero, Virus

This match had a pretty cool setting. It was on a card in Monterrey's big arena with maybe 10K people there. That's about as far from the gym the last Hechicero match was in as you can get. The top of this card was the Ruleta de la Muerte which lead to the Blue Panther vs Tigre Universito mask match. The youtube link above is for for the back half of the show and I bet that Wagner/Garza/Marco vs Averno/Ephesto/Mephisto was fun too, but there's only so much time in the world and I have Hechicero to watch.

This is bonus since I get Virus too. I don't know a whole lot about Mascara Purpura or Super Nova, but at least they all had distinct looks so I can tell them apart. Valiente's entrance was pretty great, complete with faux armor. Valiente and Virus were the captains. Hechicero was initially matched up with Nova and Misterioso with Purpura. Immediate takeaways were that Hechicero was a bit too much of a ham in trying to get the crowd to cheer for him (or to heel them by making it seem that they should; I couldn't tell where the line was) and that Purpura should have been 2009's Fuego (as in a super agile trios worker who does plenty of impressive things but probably shouldn't be in there on his own) and I'm not quite sure why he wasn't. Some of what he did was off the charts but his matwork left a lot to be desired.

That was in the primera, where he had some of that really pesky moving himself in and out of position without struggle which felt so frustrating relative to what everyone else in the match was doing. Hechicero and Nova were fine, a little clumsy but absolutely interesting. I'm sure most of you have seen Hechicero's rolling bow and arrow entry but I hadn't and it's a really cool little move. I especially liked the physicality between Virus and Valiente. It may have been the setting but the two of them were making noise and putting a lot into it. The rudos took over when Nova went for an Asai moonsault and Virus kicked the rope. I laughed at the tecnicos misfortune which probably makes me a horrible person. Rudos had some fun tandem beat down offense, including battering ramming Nova butt first into the post. This ended with a sort of ridiculous alley-oop set up where they tossed Purpura to the top rope so that Misterioso could hit his sitting headlock jam buster thing (wiki calls it a "Hammerlock sitout inverted atomic drop off the second or third rope") followed by Hechicero hitting the goofy Valiente finish chestcracker on Nova. Valiente had to steal that from him, right? Anyway, it wasn't the prettiest primera in the world but it was brisk with a couple of spirited pairings and a nice transition to beatdown.

The beatdown had a couple of memorable spots before everything moved along. They held Valiente in the ropes, upside down, so that he could be dropkicked low and then Virus did the set up for Valiente's stupid move on Nova but dropped him straight down instead of onto his own knees, which looked a thousand times better. There wasn't much to the comeback. Purpura ducked one shot and set up the rudo miscommunication which knocked Virus out. Then, when they tossed him off the ropes, he didnt bounce but hit a dive instead, which is always a great visual. Nova came in with the Santo sunset flip and Val put on La Cruz Del Norte (or I think that's what it is). There was some good stuff in here but given the card placement they had to keep things brisk.

Tercera had a reset and a lot of tecnico shine. Basically, each tecnico got to face off against the rudos one after the next. Highlights here were Hechicero trying and failing to get the crowd behind him again, Purpura hitting Misterioso with some amazing armdrags including one out of a code red type set up and another with a huge springboard flip in, Nova finally getting to hit the teased Asai moonsault from the start of the match, and the Valiente Special to clear things out and set up the finish. After a bit of action, Purpura set virus up and hit him with a shooting star press to win it.

This was probably exactly what it should be, a nice little spectacle with the rudos taking over with a cheapshot and ultimately getting their comeuppance that kept the fans pumped for the bigger matches to come. Hechicero had some fun moves here but wanted the crowd to react too badly. Steve Austin, on a podcast recently, complained that some of the wrestlers today try to force fan interaction instead of bringing them in with the work and it wasn't an argument I had put a lot of stock in at the time because I think things like ten count punches are actually underused now, especially now when the fans want so badly to be part of the show. Here though, it felt like pandering; I'm not sure if it was because he knew he had a lot more eyes on him than usual and wanted to make a mark by calling forward some of his local fanbase or what. I think he would have been better off either focusing more on his opponent or being more heelish in the interactions like Misterioso.

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