Segunda Caida

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Sunday, September 11, 2022

2022 Ongoing MOTY List: Rayo vs. Demon

13. Rayo del Jalisco Jr. vs. Blue Demon Jr. AAA TripleMania 4/30

ER: This show already had one great old man match at this point, so it felt like asking a bit much for two even older men to have one just 20 minutes later. And yet. 

This match was universally dumped on in every post-show comment I saw, but people have been bad mouthing Rayo de Jalisco matches on the internet for as long as I've been on the internet. Why would that change when the man is 62? I thought Rayo looked like an old guy out there having a great time, and while I can't say what everyone else is seeing, I saw a guy who can still take a match a long way with nostalgic charisma and a big loud overhand chop. They started with preening, posing, and flexing, which I thought was great old man lucha theater. After that theater, Rayo's big overhand chops and hard corner punches were an awesome escalator. His chops looked great and the punches were thrown like a man who knew he was getting punched in the face with a chain later. Rayo put a lot of good space between all of them, mugging to the crowd before each shot, impressively timing each one to bigger reactions. 

Rayo brings big hands and Demon brings weapons, ranging from a thin cookie sheet to his fucking hammer. Weapons are whatever, but a chain wrapped around a fist is pro wrestling perfection. Demon hits at least two great punches across Rayo's jaw with a chain-wrapped fist, and it's all right in front of a woman who must be somebody, sitting by herself looking like a soap star or the Tijuana Cartel version of Helen Mirren in Long Good Friday. Demon has a nice putaway right hand, and I liked how their punch exchanges aren't set to any kind of rhythm, just punching each other around the ringside. I thought both men sold the other's punches really well, and there was this awesome sequence where Demon fell backward into the middle rope after a big Rayo slap, offered up a weak-legged one on his rebound, only to get walloped with a Rayo return volley. The middle rope bump is something reserved exclusively for cool wrestlers like Bobby Eaton and Big Boss Man, so guess what this makes Demon, haters? 

Rayo dug his heels into Demon in little ways, like how he always pressed his full palm or forearm into Demon's face whenever pinning him, and how they kept punching and kicking each other in their old sagging balls so much that the ref finally just throw up his hands at it all. Referees in disbelief at the sight of two old guys kicking each other in the balls. Also, Rayo looks like he has some bad Mike Graham level ink down his right side, mostly covered by his singlet, and that only makes him even cooler, like he's a cool dumb dirtbag/local slap fighting competition champion

God, the fucking Cien Caras walk out, with his perfect style, like a dangerous uncle at a Quinceanera. He's 72 and still has an impeccable mustache, strong head of hair, and uses a cane with no uncertainty. Still looks exactly like Cien Caras. Mascara Ano Dos Mil meanwhile looks like he's on the same train tracks as Bill Dundee and they're going to meet at a plastic surgeon somewhere in the middle. Mascara Ano Dos Mil looks like Al Pacino playing John Gotti. Caras has the same kind of charisma here as mid 90s Rusher Kimura and man I loved it when he was putting the boots to Rayo. The old man who looks like the toughest version of the Bla-Blazo puppet is beating old rival's asses while getting his sons and nephews to do the same, and it made me yearn for more authentic family feuds in American wrestling. None of this was clean, but these old guys with terrible reputations as workers, representing a very different era of lucha stardom, still know how to take big lumps and milk deserved reactions. This match got downvoted to oblivion just like Caras and Rayo matches have been hated for 30 years, slow brawlers who don't have innovative smooth offense. But old men throwing stiff punches to a loud stadium crowd remains one of my favorite things in wrestling, and I fail to predict the circumstances where that will ever change. Don't believe the hate. 


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