(by PHIL SCHNEIDER)
So I am on this mysterious trip to Mexico, however various machinations kept me from seeing much lucha outside of one AAA trios match in a Playa de Carmen basketball court on Sunday night and Jucio Final. Got to check out the Lucha mags though, apparently Dan Severn did flag barer duty in IWRG for American Gigolo and Masada, and Lucha 2000 covered the PWU show including what appears to be some talk about the Wifebeater and Johnny Kashmere incident.
BLACK BUTCHER/PAYOSITO/RANDOM LUCHADORA vs. SUPER MUNECO/LA PARKITA/RANDOM LUCHADORA
This was your basic AAA midget/luchadora/regular wrestler comedy match. Work was bad, with pretty much everyone in it working really light and sloppy, but watching a match on a small town basketball court surrounded by little kids was pretty great. Ran through every lucha shtick in the book, the heel ref, the star, rudos accidentally hitting each other, fake fouls, the whole deal. It is really good shtick and can work even with wrestlers who stink. Black Butcher did have a really great mask and outfit though.
Luckily I was able to get to the big year end Arena Mexico show, went with a bodyguard from the people we were meeting with. He didn’t speak any English, but was pretty jazzed for the show. We got there about 20 minutes early and I looked at the stands outside and bought four tapes and an awesome pink Villanos mask keychain.
TZUKI/ULTIMO DRAGONCITO vs. ESPECTRITO/MINI PIERROTH
I was amped to see Espectrito as he is my all time favorite mini. This was the match that they have done a thousand times, really fun, although nothing mindblowing. Espectrito doesn’t bump like he used to, but his stuff looked really great, including an awesome looking punch. Mini Pierroth took some big bumps, including the ringpost Psicosis bump, and Tzuki and Dragoncito did their armdrag and dive spots, including a double somersault tope (with Tzuki going through the first and second ropes) and Tzuki getting catapaulted into a rana on the floor. Dragoncito actually seemed a little off as he blew a couple of spots, but he rebounded nicely.
DR. X/HOOLIGAN/NITRO vs. SAFARI/VOLADOR JR./FELINO
I wasn’t particularly excited about this rudo team, but the champions are really good, so I was amped for this match. The rudo team stepped it up big though and this ended up being really good. Nitro especially who was a guy I never thought much of, he ended up being the best guy on his team, working stiff, taking nice bumps and throwing a big tope. Match opened with some nifty mat wrestling between Dr. X and Safari, which looked less like smooth lucha matwork, and more like a struggle, with both guys working really hard for holds. Volador Jr. was flying all around the ring, hitting three dives including his beautiful quebrada. I was able to watch the match on TV the next morning (UNCUT! SOMEONE GET A MEXICO CITY TAPE SOURCE!!) and it had some faults which I overlooked a bit live. The third fall had a your turn-my turn section with Dr. X and Volador with both guys hitting some indy finishers (play of the day, stunner, final cut) with some awkward spots. Also I thought the finish was a tad abrupt. Still a really fun match, and the champions continue to really impress.
SHOCKER/DOS CARAS JR./ATLANTIS vs. OLIMPICO/REY BUCANERO/ULTIMO GUERRERO
Probably the biggest disappointment on the show, as this was really focused on setting up Caras v. Olimpico and thus wasn’t much of a match. Some nice triple teams by Guererros Del Inferno, and Olimpico fits well as a third member. Caras Jr. is really tall and hit a pretty crazy tope, but he is a ways away from being good. Shocker also his a crazy Shocker style tope, but most of the rest of the match was Alushe stomping and mask ripping. One thing I noticed in this show, which kind of bugs me about lucha, is that in trios matches there is often one technico getting triple teamed in the ring, while his partners are outside drinking water or standing around. This happened alot in the post match here, Caras Jr. is getting stomped and his partners are just kind of standing around.
EL HIJO DEL SANTO/NEGRO CASAS/MISTICO vs. TARZAN BOY/EL TERRIBLE/HECTOR GARZA
My match of the night, and right up there with the best live matches I have seen this year. Santo has such an aura and watching him live is like seeing Johnny Cash or Nolan Ryan. He works hard here, like he always does, hitting all of his signature stuff clean, but as great as Santo is, Negro Casas is on another level. Basically everything he does is pitch perfect, there is a headbut in the crowd brawling section that made me jump out of my seat. The opening section of the match has Terrible putting Casas in a standing side headlock, Casas tries about four different escapes, with Terrible using his strength to hang on, Casas finally gets out by hooking both of his legs around Terrible’s right leg and forcing him down. Of all the crazy dives and awesome armdrags on this show, that was my favorite moment of the whole show. Mistico is really over with the crowd, and is clearly a guy they are trying to make into their Rey Jr., he isn’t nearly as smooth as even young Rey, but he has some fancy spots, and is a lot of fun in a trios match. Furia Del Norte are a great rudo trio, Terrible has shown me very little before, but he was really good here as a Emilo Charlesish brawler, stuff looked good and he played a power guy well. Tarzan Boy was more solid then spectacular, but was a great base for Santo’s stuff. I have no idea why TNA is using Garza as a face, he is such a great smarmy heel, he has such great shtick, that is insane to use him as a bland face. Alot of Mistico’s heat came from how bad the crowd wanted to see him kill Garza. This really is a match all lucha fans will want to track down if it ever hits tape.
UNIVERSO 2000 vs. PERRO AGUYAO JR.
This was pretty great, Universo was as good as I have ever seen him, he just beats the shit out of Perro in the first fall, totally squashing him with really stiff tight stuff. Great looking punches, great looking clotheslines, super nasty axe bombers. He takes him to the outside and gets in Perro Sr.’s face and starts beating on the old man, allowing Perro Jr. to make a comeback. It seemed like they were trying to turn Perro Jr. technico here but the crowd wasn’t booing the Capos tonight. Second and third falls were a little more even, with Universo taking the crazy bump of the night, flying into the ringpost with his shoulder. The finish was odd as a guy comes out in a Capos mask and bullrope (Dusty? Garza is TNA now) distracting Perro and allowing Universo to get Perro up for a tombstone, which Perro Sr. saves him from leading to the DQ. Seems like a total technico move, Perro saving his son from the move which ended his career, but the crowd still booed. Aguyaos beat on Universo until his brothers come out to a huge pop to make the save. While the Dinamitas are celebrating, Pierroth and Vampiro run out from the crowd to start the hair match
LOS HERMANOS DINAMITA (MASCARA ANA 2000/CIEN CARAS) vs. PIERROTH/VAMPIRO
This was Cien’s final Arena Mexico match, which is pretty damn historic, and you can tell he was working hard. Still working hard Cien is still Cien. Vampiro runs to the ring and hits one axe kick and a shitty top rope dropkick, and looks like he is going to puke out a lung. Those late nights in Zona Rosa have taken their toll as he looks fifty and can barely move, he is significantly shittier then either Dinamita. This match was 80% belt shots, and Pierroth is great at working a match made up totally of belt shots. Surprisingly no blood, and even more surprisingly, Cien gets eliminated and Mascara Ano has to save the Dinamitas hair. Vampiro decided to cut his braids off, rather then lose a hair match a couple years ago (and probably collect 20 grand), and now him getting shaved meant absolutely nothing.
Awesome show from top to bottom, even the main event which isn’t something tape traders will be tracking down, was a fun spectacle live