Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Friday, October 23, 2015

MLJ: Recent Uploads: Black Magic vs La Fiera

1992-04-19 @ Arena Coliseo
La Fiera vs Black Magic (mano a mano)

If I wasn't sold on early 90s rudo Fiera before this match, I am now. I can't say the same for Smiley, though I do think he brought a lot to the table here. A quick note to begin. The video for this match is 23 minutes, but the match itself is probably ten minutes less between a pre-match Fiera promo and post match posturing and replays and credits. I expected a much longer tercera than we got. In some ways, it's good. One of the downsides in watching matches on youtube is that you usually have a good sense when they're going to end, and more importantly when they're NOT going to end. This one took me by surprise. I just wanted to manage expectations by pointing it out.

Also, we need a whole paragraph to talk about Fiera's look and feel at the start of the match. He had the chain/dog collar again. He had sunglasses. he had a cut down tank top thing and I have no idea what was on it, a band maybe? His fingers were taped up. He had some crazy aquamarine zubaz-style-on-the-side tights and white boots that went up to knee pads. I think I like his tecnico "crazy tiger shirt" look better, but this was such a spotlight of the time. So, he came down, Black Magic came down. They had words for each other, moved around the ring. When Smiley was announced, he posed around the ring a bit. Fiera used that as a chance to ambush him with the chain. The ref (who was certainly inclined towards the rudos, annoyingly so, but not as annoyingly so as in other matches I've seen), halfheartedly tried to take the chain away, which led to this utterly amazing double clothesline spot, with Fiera clapping at the end:

Even better? Fiera kept beating on Smiley for another minute or so before finally taking the sunglasses off, to surprisingly big heat. Smiley would come back and set up a ten punch in the corner only to have the ref cut him off. With both of them distracted in that position, Fiera hit an awesome low blow, setting the stage for the rest of the primera:

Fiera followed this up by forcing Smiley out of the ring and slammed his arm into the post, and here's where the real meat of the match began. We know from the Casas hair match that Fiera could mount a great, focused limb assault. He did so here, unrelentingly keeping on the arm and shoulder, even as Smiley sold extremely well, and tried to fight back with one arm even better. You'd get moments of hope and temporary rudo comeuppance like this:

but between the ref stopping Smiley's haymakers and Fiera being too focused in his attack, it was a futile effort. Fiera ended the caida with a shoulderbreaker and a submission. Good primera that really became something substantial once the limbwork set in.

It continued into the segunda too, with Smiley's initial comeback attempt stymied by some ref slow counting and a subsequent Fiera ambush as he complained. That led to Fiera going back to the arm and a very solid transition. Fiera went for another weighty-feeling stepover armbar, but Smiley, playing up the strength gimmick, lifted his opponent up out of it, placed him on the top rope, and after a few shots, dropkicked him out. On the outside, he slammed Fiera's back into apron, and we found ourselves in one of my favorite narratives in wrestling, dueling limbwork.

I'm not going to say that this was super elaborate (though Smiley got full points in the primera for trying to fight back with one arm). It was focused though, with Smiley really targeting the back for a few minutes before putting Fiera away with a half crab. Within the confines of pro-wrestling, it's one of the most believable ways in the world for a wrestler to fight back from such a deficit and it just feels right. It's paralleled and I thought it worked really well here.

It would have worked even better if they were going to continue the duel into the tercera. They only had time to play with it a bit though. Instead, Smiley went back to complaining to the ref, Fiera ambushed (and the crowd hated that), hit a really nice corner clothesline but missed the next. There'd be some lip service to the limbwork (Fiera got back on offense for a moment by driving the shoulder into Smiley's arm out of the corner; Smiley reversed a whip into a bear hug, targeting the back, but couldn't keep it on due to the arm), but after the little back and forth, they'd rush to a pretty good finish of Smiley going for the German, Fiera blocking, and Smiley reversing the reversal attempt into a Nothern Lights.

This was another great Fiera performance. Smiley's selling was top notch, but his offense was a little over the top. It's what would help him stand out later in WCW, but as of yet, I just haven't seen it fit right in Mexico. This also had probably the least painful heel ref work I've ever seen. The match itself is less than fifteen minutes and well worth watching though.

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