Thanks to http://www.digits.com for their badass righteous free counters
When Worlds Collide
I'm sure there was at least one person out there wondering why my name is listed with the Buster Time staff when I haven't written a damn thing. So here's some content to sate your hunger for tape reviews. I'll try to write more often, but as DJC knows, my work schedule is a mess right now, as is my back. All in all, I've not been in much of a mood to write lately. My apologies to that handful of people that I call my fanbase. Anyway, enough about me, let's watch some Lucha! RUDO, RUDO, RUUUUUUUUUUUDO!
First though, a bit of background is necessary. I don't claim to know much about Lucha Libre, with this and a Gringos Locos comp being the only full on Lucha stuff I own. But like many, the first time I saw "When Worlds Collide," I was basically awestruck. On one hand, you had guys like Rey Misterio Jr., who was doing stuff in 1994 that was virtually unseen in the US. On the other hand, you had guys like Hulk Hogan, who rarely even bothered to leave their feet during the course of a match. Not the most exciting thing to watch.
Stylistically, it was obvious that a "revolution" was brewing and that the younger, smaller generation of wrestlers were about to burst through the doors of US Pro style wrestling and change everything. In many ways, this show was the genesis of that movement. It's one of the most important shows ever promoted under the auspices of Eric Bischoff and WCW. Say what you will about Bischoff being a Hogan sycophant, but he was and is one of the big supporters of the cruiserweight style. With that out of the way, let's get to the show. For real this time...
11.6.94 from the LA Sports Arena
Your hosts are Mike Tenay and Chris Cruise. If you have the English feed anyway. If your copy of the tape is en español, then your hosts are Arturo Riviéra and Andres Moroñas.
1. Minis match: Espectrito & Jerrito Estrada v. Octagoncito & Mascarita Sagrada This is as good a chance as any to introduce you to our referees for the night, Pepe Casas and Tirantes. Casas is the father of Heavy Metal, who we'll see later tonight. He's the technico official, who calls things down the middle most of the time. Tirantes (which translates to "braces," referring to the suspenders that he wears to the ring) on the other hand, is your rudo official. He has no qualms about turning his back on the misdeeds of the heels. The beauty of the two-ref system though, is the fact that it isn't completely overblown. 98% of the time, you don't even notice the extra man in the ring. If this were done in the US, you would always be aware. Finishes would be even screwier, if that's possible.
Espectrito and Octagoncito start. Espectrito tackles him immediately. They run the ropes and Octagoncito comes back with a headscissors takedown. He goes for a 'rana, but Espectrito tosses him away. Octagoncito lands on his feet though. Espectrito goes for a quebradora, but it's countered into an armdrag that sends him sliding to the floor. This brings in Estrada. He whips Octagoncito into the corner and catches him with a clothesline on the rebound. He whips him into the ropes and goes for a flapjack. Octagoncito grabs his arm on the way down though, countering into an armdrag. He nails Estrada with a forearm, then charges him. Estrada backdrops him over the top rope, but he manages to land on the apron.
Sagrada comes in, taking Estrada down with a headscissors. He leapfrogs Estrada as he charges, springboards off the ropes and takes him down again, this time with an armdrag. Estrada is right back up though. He kicks Sagrada in the chest and whips him into the ropes. He tosses him over his head, but Sagrada lands on his feet near the ropes. Estrada charges him, but ends up flying between the ropes and to the floor.
Espectrito comes in to face off with Sagrada, which is the big matchup here. Sagrada had previously taken Espectrito's mask and they had traded the Minis title back and forth. Tenay drops a little knowledge, explaining how the size limit for the minis was established. They measured the shortest "normal-sized" wrestler, Super Astro and anyone who was shorter was considered a mini. As Tenay is talking, Espectrito presses Sagrada and tosses him onto the top turnbuckle in the rudo corner. He lays in a series of punches, then yanks him to the mat.
He and Estrada double team Sagrada as both referees try to keep Octagoncito out of the ring. Espectrito presses Sagrada once again and Estrada comes off the top with a double axehandle, helping to drive Sagrada to the mat. Estrada holds Sagrada for Espectrito, which finally brings Octagoncito into the ring. But he ends up taking a foot to the face by Espectrito. Estrada rams Sagrada into the corner as Espectrito locks Octagoncito in a seated abdominal stretch. Both he and Estrada rake at his mouth and generally act like...well, rudos.
Espectrito whips him into the rudo corner, where Estrada is waiting with both boots up. Octagoncito tries to make a tag, but gets yanked away by the tassels on the back of his mask. He continues to be double-teamed, as Estrada whips him into a nice superkick from Espectrito. Octagoncito escapes to the floor, which brings Sagrada back in. He's taken down by something or another, but the cameras miss it. At any rate, Estrada holds him down as Espectrito climbs to the top.
But oops! Espectrito slips off and ends up crotching himself on the ropes. Which is infinitely better than falling headfirst to the floor, I would assume. The crowd chuckles, but there's no, "You fucked up!" chant because apparently they respect what the wrestlers are trying to do. Astounding! But I don't want to digress into a subject that would be better served in column form. Anyway, He eventually makes his way to the floor and the referees focus their attention on him. Meanwhile, in the ring, Estrada slips in two fouls, as low blows are grounds for a DQ in Lucha. That's refreshing.
Sagrada rolls to the floor and Octagoncito comes in. Estrada charges him, but misses a dropkick. Octagoncito shoves him down and runs to the opposite corner. He hops from the bottom turnbuckle to the top and comes off with a crossbody. Estrada is back up quickly though. He goes foe a flapjack, but like earlier, he ends up on the wrong end of an armdrag. Octagoncito follows up with a headscissors takedown, but Estrada comes back swinging. Octagoncito blocks his punches, but can't avoid a spin kick that sends him into the rudo corner. Estrada charges, but misses a dropkick that sends him through the ropes and to the floor.
Espectrito and Sagrada both come back in. Espectrito smacks him around for a bit, then encourages the crowd to chant, "Mascarita." Cruise is kind enough to inform us that Espectrito is actually mocking Sagrada by doing that. I know I wouldn't have figured that out. Sagrada is backed into the rudo corner, as Espectrito continues to smack him around. He presses Sagrada, who manages to slip away. He ducks a clothesline and hiptosses Espectrito He follows up with a pair of armdrags that leave Espectrito pondering his strategy. He charges Sagrada again, this time taking a 'rana that sends him scurrying to the floor.
Estrada is in, and he nails Sagrada from behind. But Octagoncito comes in and dropkicks him to the floor. Espectrito re-enters the ring, but gets tackled. Octagoncito does a nice tumbling routine that leads to nothing. Espectrito charges, but Octagoncito leapfrogs him. Sagrada is there to take Espectrito down with a headscissors. Espectrito again bails to the floor. Sagrada does the Rey Jr-esque false dive, then springboards off the second rope with a crossbody.
In the ring, Estrada refuses to learn from his mistakes, going once again for a flapjack that gets countered into an armdrag. He rolls to the floor, but Octagoncito nails him with a nice tope. Sagrada and Espectrito get back in the ring. Espectrito uses his size advantage to bully Sagrada around, then nails him with another nice superkick that sends Sagrada to the floor. Estrada slams him on the floor as Espectrito clotheslines Octagoncito in the ring. Espectrito goes for an Irish whip, but Octagoncito reverses him into the technico corner. When he rebounds out, Octagoncito takes him over with a hiptoss. He backdrops him and Sagrada comes off the top with a moonsault to pick up the win in 8:46. Even if it does take Pepe Casas approximately two weeks to make the three count.
This was a good match. If you base this on the size of the wrestlers alone, as many would, you might even argue that this was a great match. But it does have flaws, with Espectrito's top rope slip being the most glaringly obvious. What sort of annoyed me were the repetition of a few of the spots, especially on the rudo side (i.e. Flapjack and military presses). One would assume that through the course of a match that you would learn from your mistakes and therefore stop trying to do the same thing over and over. It certainly happens in all other forms of wrestling, so it's more a general nitpick than anything else. God knows I sat there as a teen, wondering why every heel that Hogan ever faced would stand there and punch him as he "Hulked up." Wouldn't it be wiser to back off until his 'roid rage passed?
Next up is the Batalia Por El Orgullo (Battle for Respect). The general story behind it is that the young technico team is looking for respect from the Fuerza Guerrera led rudos in this match and from the rest of the company in general...
2. Latin Lover, Heavy Metal & Rey Misterio Jr. v. Madonna's Boyfriend (Louie Spiccoli), Fuerza Guerrera & Psicosis Heavy Metal and Fuerza Guerrera are the respective captains. For those unfamiliar with Lucha rules, to win the match, you can either beat the captain, or both of his partners. Anyway, we open with all six men brawling in the ring. The rudos manage to drive the technicos to the floor. The captains start the match trading chops. Heavy Metal reverses am Irish whip and hiptosses Fuerza. He gives him an armdrag and finishes of this initial flurry with a quebradora.
Rey and Psicosis then come in. It's noted that Rey is 19 years old and already a five-year professional. Psicosis strikes first, nailing Rey with a clothesline. He whips him into the ropes and goes for a second, but Rey ducks it and takes him down with a headscissors. He goes for a monkey flip, but Psicosis catches him and sits him on the top rope. He chops him, then turns his back to celebrate. Rey climbs to the top and comes off with a gorgeous 'rana. In 1994, that might have been the first time I saw that move done in that way. It was jaw-dropping stuff at the time. Psicosis rolls to the floor. Rey threatens a dive, but Psicosis quickly backs up the aisle to avoid him.
Madonna's Boyfriend comes in as the announcers crack jokes about Madonna. I'm just going to call him Louie though. It's easier to type. Rey shoves him and he responds by grabbing Rey by the throat. He presses Rey and sits him on the top rope. He pats Rey on the head as if he were some cute little toy to play with, then turns his back so that he can strut. Rey goes for a crossbody, but Louie catches him. He presses him again, then once again sits him on the top. He slaps him in the face, then struts some more. Rey nails him in the back of the head with a dropkick, but Louie doesn't sell it. Rey slips between his legs twice, then tags in Latin Lover.
He and Louie have a quick dance contest, won handily be Latin Lover. Tenay makes sure to tell us about his past as a male stripper. There's nothing that he doesn't know, I think. Louie shoves him and Latin Lover responds by shoving Louie down. Louie then gives him a shoulderblock, but Lover stays on his feet. Louie invites him to give it a try. He does and Louie goes down. He comes back with a clothesline though. He dances some more and sets up for an Irish whip. Lover reverses it, but misses a clothesline. Louie celebrates with a dance, but eats a superkick that sends him rolling to the floor.
Heavy Metal comes back in, but none of the rudos want to get in the ring. Finally, Psicosis comes in. They charge each other and collide midring. Neither guy goes down though. Psicosis hits him with a clothesline, but Heavy Metal quickly comes back with one of his own. Psicosis whips him into the corner and charges. Heavy Metal does a backflip out of the corner to evade him. He whips Psicosis into the ropes. Psicosis misses a clothesline and Heavy Metal takes him down by the hair. He follows up with a spinning heelkick that sends Psicosis to the floor. He readies for a dive, but Psicosis is again quick enough to avoid that.
Fuerza and Rey come in. Rey slides between his legs, but Fuerza catches him and smacks him. He whips him into the ropes and sets his head for a backdrop. Rey rolls over him, landing on his feet. When Fuerza turns, Rey hits him with a shoulderblock that has little to no effect. Fuerza whips him into the ropes, but Rey floats up and over, landing on the apron. Fuerza charges and goes for a dropkick. Rey sidesteps him, sending Fuerza between the ropes and to the floor. Rey leaps off the apron and scores with another nice 'rana. The crowd is eating him up by this point.
Psicosis and Latin Lover both come in. Psicosis goes for a shoulderblock, but bounces off and lands on his ass in the corner. He comes back quickly though, whipping Lover into the corner and following in behind him. Of course, if you've seen any Psicosis match you know what's coming up. He basically launches his body at the corner. But as usual, his opponent has moved and Psicosis lands directly on his head. What a way to make a living. At any rate, he rolls to the floor, happy that his spinal column is still complete.
Heavy Metal and Fuerza Guerrera face off. Fuerza quickly begs off. As Heavy Metal seeks the opinions of the crowd, Fuerza nails him in the gut. He whips him into the ropes and catches him as if he was going for a spinebuster. Instead, he low blows him. Tenay tries to convince us that Pepe Casas didn't see this, even though he was looking right at them. Tirantes lets the foul go though, saying that it was a kick to the thigh. Heavy Metal comes back with the same move. This time, it's Casas who lets it slide. Heavy Metal goes for an armbar, but Louie comes in to break.
He takes Heavy Metal over with a butterfly suplex and drops a knee. Latin Lover tags in as Louie attacks Rey on the apron. He drives him to the floor, where he presses him and tosses him into the crowd. In the ring, Psicosis has Latin Lover down, but we missed how exactly this happened. Heavy Metal and Fuerza are also in the ring. Fuerza has him in an armbar, but Heavy Metal is punching away at him trying to force a break. Tirantes catches his arm, allowing Fuerza to nail him with a punch of his own. Back on the floor, Louie suplexes Rey. His partners double team Heavy Metal in the ring. They whip him into the ropes and score with a double big boot.
Latin Lover comes in, but Psicosis snapmares him and drops a leg. Fuerza drops an elbow and picks him up. He nails Lover with a chop that sends him to the floor. He follows him out. The ring is clear of everyone but Rey and Psicosis at this point. Psicosis whips him into the ropes and launches him in the air in a flapjack. He goes for a second, but Rey grabs him by the hair on the way down and counters it into a facebuster. Latin Lover and Fuerza come in. They trade chops, with nobody taking a clear-cut advantage. Lover finally takes him down with a superkick.
He whips Fuerza into the corner and charges. Fuerza gets his boots up, but Lover grabs his legs and turns it into a powerbomb. He slams him center ring, but misses a splash from the top rope. Fuerza takes advantage of the mistake, locking him in a Scorpion Deathlock. He releases the hold so that he can stomp on him, but Lover rolls to the floor. Heavy Metal comes in to take his place. They trade punches for a bit, but again, no one can get an advantage. Heavy Metal finally knocks him down with a spin kick.
Psicosis comes in, but misses a dropkick. Actually, it looked more like he randomly launched his body in Heavy Metal's general direction, but that doesn't have an easy name for me to use. Psicosis reverses a whip, sending Heavy Metal into the ropes. He kicks him in the butt as he goes by, hoping to send him between the ropes and to the floor. But Heavy Metal springboards off the ropes, doing a back flip instead. The timing on this was perfect. He whips Psicosis into the ropes and gives him a drop toehold then sends him sailing headfirst through the ropes. Fuerza Guerrera does the same to Heavy Metal, sending him hurtling to the floor.
This brings Rey in to face off with Fuerza once again. Tenay has already mentioned the feud between Rey and Fuerza's son, Juventud. So this is one of the big matchups here. Fuerza charges into a quebradora. Before these two can do anything else, Louie comes in and nails Rey from behind. He and Fuerza whip him into the ropes. Rey ends up dropkicking Louie and sending Fuerza to the floor as well, where he accidentally dropkicks Louie. He goes to the top and leaps off, nailing the prone Spiccoli with a somersault senton. Heavy Metal and Fuerza are left in the ring. Heavy Metal gives him a double underhook powerbomb, but misses a senton splash. Fuerza quickly locks him in a submission hold, cranking back on his arm. Heavy Metal taps out at 12:54. Chris Cruise is utterly confused, not knowing if that was the finish or not.
Another good match. It's amazing what you can do when you put so many distinct personalities in the same ring. Heavy Metal and Latin Lover seemed almost interchangeable to me, but really...I've seen both of them in one match. Not the best situation for me to be sitting in any type of judgment. What I found the most interesting about this match is the difference in how Rey was treated in the course of the match.
His size was used as part of the story the match was trying to tell. Not in a lame "giant killer" sort of way. His larger opponent (namely Louie in this match) was blatantly disrespectful to him in the beginning. As the match went on though, they made it obvious through the match (as opposed to an announcer beating the subject to death) that Louie had not only gained respect for him, but was suitably threatened by him that he felt the need to attack him on the floor.
This is in direct opposition to the way that Rey was booked in WCW, where Rey might pull out a fluke win over someone like Kevin Nash, but you never got the idea that Nash, or even the company in general, thought that Rey was on the same level. It was done in a gimmicky way, with the announcers responsible for trying to make it work. His size was always evident in his WCW work, as in, "This kid sure is good...for a little guy." In the end, it's a subtle difference, but definitely something that I noticed.
Next up is the IWC versus AAA match. No backstory is necessary, I guess...
3. Pegasus Kid (Chris Benoit), 2 Cold Scorpio & Tito Santana v. Jerry Estrada, La Parka & Blue Panther Pegasus and Panther are the captains here. Santana gets a nice pop, despite the fact that he never worked in Mexico, to my knowledge. The first big subtext of the match is the dissension in the AAA team, as Estrada and La Parka get into a shoving match before the opening bell. Panther ignores them though, starting the match against Scorpio. He goes behind Scorpio and gets a waistlock. It's reversed, but Panther sits out, trips Scorpio and takes it to the mat. I simultaneously cheer because Panther rules on the mat and cringe at actually having to recap mat wrestling.
Anyway, they trade armbars back and forth, pausing only to bust out some matwork from time to time. Finally, Scorpio monkey flips him and tags in Pegasus. Sadly, Parka comes in. I love La Parka as much as the next guy, but he's preventing the Panther/Pegasus matchup that I'm waiting for. We quickly get the La Parka strut, as Pegasus stands silently in the corner and waits. They finally lock up and Pegasus immediately locks him in a Full Nelson. Then he spins Parka and turns it into a hammerlock. Parka trips him up and locks a leg lace.
Pegasus yanks back with a chinlock and manages to break the hold. He quickly goes back to an armbar. Parka rolls through, gets to his feet and takes him down with an armdrag. Then he grabs an armbar of his own. Pegasus frees himself with an armdrag. Parka responds by striking the swan kick pose from Karate Kid. Oddly enough, this didn't make Pegasus tap out in mind numbing fear. At any rate, he's frightened enough to let Tito take his turn in the ring.
Estrada decides that it's his turn as well. But nobody told La Parka. So Estrada comes in and shoves him. He eventually coaxes Parka out of the ring and locks up with Santana. He quickly takes him down and goes to work on his leg. Santana escapes and grabs a headlock. Estrada counters into an armbar. Santana reverses and takes him down. A kick to the chest by Estrada breaks the hold. They lock up again and Estrada grabs a side headlock. Santana rolls him up, but Estrada is in the ropes. Double leg takedown by Estrada.
He grabs a front facelock. Santana sits out and counters into an armbar. Estrada reaches out to tag La Parka, but Parka refuses. Estrada chops Santana to escape. Then he has some words with Parka, who still refuses to tag. Estrada takes a swing at him, but Parka ducks and drops to the floor. Finally, Blue Panther comes in instead. As does Pegasus. Yes! They collide with one another twice, but neither man is willing to budge. Pegasus grabs a side headlock, but Panther quickly shoots him into the ropes. Pegasus tackles him.
He rebounds off the ropes and slides between Panther's legs. Panther takes him down, but Pegasus uses his leg strength to power his way free. He charges Panther, but gets backdropped to the floor. He climbs onto the apron and kicks Panther in the chest. He leaps to the top rope, but Panther gets under him and lifts him onto his shoulders. Pegasus manages to spin and counter into a sunset flip. He can only get a one count though. He manages to suplex Panther over the top and to the floor. He follows up with a nice tope and rolls back into the ring to some nice heat. The IWC guys are rudos by default, it seems.
Scorpio and La Parka come in. They stare each other down and Parka goes for a shoulderblock. Scorpio doesn't go down. Then they both go for a shoulderblock, but neither one will go down. This makes Parka so angry that he just has to dance. Pardon my brief aside here, but is there some reason that I'm having so much trouble not calling Parka the "Skull Captain?" Is that Vince Russo's only legacy? Scary. I now return you to your regularly scheduled review. They trade chops, with Scorpio coming out on top.
He backs Parka into the corner. But Parka reverses a whip, sending Scorpio into the opposite corner. Scorpio kips up and over him though. Parka charges into a hiptoss. Scorpio follows up with an armdrag. Parka stumbles into the corner, but has enough sense to avoid Scorpio's charge. They do Parka's bit where he repeatedly shoves his opponent into the corner, but is unable to connect with any strikes. Scorpio finally takes him down with a spinkick. Parka tries to convince the refs that it was a low blow, but Pepe will have none of that.
Estrada and Santana come in. Tito muffs a leapfrog, but manages to take Estrada down. He pulls him back to his feet, ducks a clothesline and grabs a side headlock. Estrada shoots him into the ropes and goes for a hiptoss. Tito reverses it though, scoring with a hiptoss of his own. They briefly trade chops, until Santana backdrops him to the floor. Santana kicks him right in the face, which I can almost guarantee is the stiffest thing he's ever done. Panther and Pegasus come back in. Panther whips him into the ropes and drops him with a stiff clothesline. What's with this sudden stiffness? Part of the complaints I've heard against Lucha is its perceived lack of stiffness.
Panther then picks him up and goes for a vertical suplex. Pegasus counters with a snap suplex, but the transition looks a bit weak. It takes Pegasus a bit too long to hit the suplex, leaving Panther to basically stand there and twiddle his thumbs. Pegasus then goes for a Muta-like snap elbowdrop, but Panther avoids him. He whips Pegasus into the ropes, but he rebounds off and goes for a sunset flip. Panther punches his way free before he's rolled up. He grabs an armbar and makes the tag to Estrada. He kicks Pegasus in the chest and tries to tag La Parka. But Parka walks to the other end of the ring, refusing to tag.
When he finally does come in, he whips Pegasus into the ropes and nails him with a spinning heelkick. He picks him up, but Pegasus goes behind and hits a nice German suplex. Parka's feet are in the ropes, so there is no count. Panther comes back in and kicks him to break his bridge though. Pegasus reverses a whip, sending Panther into the ropes. He hits him with the typically stiff Benoit clothesline before making the tag to Scorpio. He whips Panther into the corner and hits a flying splash. A second attempt is unsuccessful though. Panther grabs a side headlock as Parka comes in with a kick to Scorpio's leg.
He whips him into the corner, then nails him with a dropkick in the corner, where he has no place to go. I've always loved that spot for some reason. He follows up with a slam and goes for the cover. Scorpio is out at one. They trade armbars, with Scorpio finally taking control with a savate kick. He follows up with a powerbomb and tags in Santana. Estrada comes in to prevent any pinfall attempts, but also manages to poke Parka with his boot. He and Santana start shoving each other, until Parka trips Estrada up. Estrada chases him around the ring apron, prompting Blue Panther to come in.
Santana shoves him into the IWC corner and Pegasus comes in. He delivers his only chop of the match before whipping Panther into the ropes. He takes him down with a back elbow, then slams him in the center of the ring. He goes up top, but misses a diving headbutt. Panther picks him up for an attempted slam, but Pegasus counters into a small package. Parka runs in to stop the count. Pegasus tags Scorpio, who slams Panther. He goes up top, but misses a gorgeous looking moonsault. Parka comes in, locks Scorpio in an abdominal stretch and drops it into a pinning combination. Estrada breaks it up and gets Scorpio in a small package. Parka breaks it up.
They go back and forth like this several times, before they finally start swinging at one another. Scorpio offers to be the referee in their little brawl, but they both hop out of the ring and leave Panther to do the wrestling. He nails Scorpio with a shoulderblock and chops him down. He's not able to prevent the tag to Pegasus though. Panther whips him into the ropes, but Pegasus ducks a clothesline and comes back with one that drives Panther over the top and to the floor. Estrada and Santana come in. Tito knocks Estrada to the floor with a stiff forearm. He follows him out, but Estrada locks him in a Full Nelson.
He signals for a dive from La Parka, but I think you know where that is headed. Parka goes for a tope, but Santana moves and Estrada takes the brunt of the impact. Actually, there isn't much impact as Parka catches his feet in the ropes and almost misses completely. Estrada and Parka begin to brawl once again. Santana taps Estrada on the shoulder and vaguely gestures back toward the ring. Estrada looks up and Scorpio flies into the picture. Unfortunately for Scorpio, his partner is the only one who tries to catch him.
Parka and Estrada look at each other, then resume their brawl. In the ring, Panther powerslams Pegasus. He climbs to the top, but misses a moonsault. Pegasus slams him and drops a leg from the second rope for a nearfall. He goes for a 'rana, but Panther counters into a powerbomb. Scorpio makes the save. Panther goes for another powerbomb, but Pegasus gets his 'rana this time, getting the win in 14:51. Postmatch, Estrada and Parka threaten another brawl, but nothing comes of it.
I didn't like this match nearly as much as the others so far, despite liking most of the participants. I'm generally not a fan of having to partners bicker during a match, as it tends to become a distraction to the match. I will give them credit though. The dissension in the team had nothing to do with the finish of the match. We got a clean ending when the buildup just screamed for a screwjob. My other major issue of the match was that tons of submissions were used, but they built to nothing. It may be a quirk of Lucha, but when I see that much matwork, I expect it to go somewhere. I don't necessarily mean that the match had to end with a submission, but some sort of consistent selling would have been appreciated.
Chris Cruise made some interesting comments before the match started. He was talking about Benoit might be the best wrestler in the world, but that he's never been able to "turn the fans on." Easy joke aside, I find it interesting that he had that knock against him since '94. If nothing else, it shows the mindset that WCW had. He was never going to be used properly there because they had their minds made up on what he was going to bring to the table: great matches that no one gave a shit about.
It's time for the Mascara v. Caballera (Mask v. Hair) match. This one has a deep history behind it, plus perhaps the most creative heel turn in history. Basically, Eddy Guerrero had teamed with El Hijo del Santo, much like their fathers had before them. But Eddy started to get jealous playing the second fiddle, much like his father had to Santo before him. Then, during a trios match that had Art Barr teaming with Santo and Eddy, Barr ripped off Santo's mask, put it on himself and attacked Eddy.
Eddy, of course, thought that his partner was attacking him. He then turned on Santo. "La Pareja Del Terror" and eventually the Gringos Locos were born. The entire situation came to a head here, if you'll excuse my pun. This is two out of three falls. You have to pin both opponents to win the fall. Tirantes is the solo official. I guess Pepe is getting ready for the main event or something.
4. Eddy Guerrero & "Love Machine" Art Barr (W/Madonna's Boyfriend) v. El Hijo del Santo & Octagon (W/Blue Panther) Eddy and Santo start the primera caida (first fall). Santo opens with an armdrag. He takes Eddy down, but Eddy sits out and manages to cover him. No count from Tirantes though. He grabs a front facelock on Santo, but it's reverses into a release Northern Lights suplex. Eddy comes back quickly, grabbing an armbar. Santo reverses it, but Eddy rolls through and goes for a cover once again. They quickly pop to their feet and Eddy snapmares him. He grabs a rear chinlock, but Santo bridges to his feet. Eddy segues into a hammerlock, but Santo escapes with a snapmare. Eddy complains of a hairpull.
Barr and Octagon tag in. Barr offers his hand in a gesture of good will, but then kicks Octagon in the gut instead. Octagon responds by whipping him into the ropes and scoring with a hiptoss. He follows up with an armdrag, then falls to his back for some reason that remains beyond me. Barr goes for a senton. But Octagon rolls clear. He grabs a side headlock, but gets whipped into the corner. He avoids Barr's charge though, ducking a clothesline and coming back with a dropkick. Eddy comes in and nails him from behind.
He pulls Santo into the ring and takes him over in a move similar to the Olympic Slam. Barr lifts Santo onto his shoulders as Eddy climbs to the top rope. He comes off with an attempted 'rana, that nearly sends Santo directly onto his head. It's a visually impressive move, but I've rarely seen it pulled off cleanly. At any rate, Eddy covers Santo and eliminates him from the first fall in 3:38. Octagon comes in and Eddy meets him with a boot to the gut. He sets him up in the corner and takes him over with a superplex. Barr then comes off the top and nails him with a gorgeous frog splash. He makes the cover and the rudos win the first fall in 4:04.
There's a short rest period between falls. Barr passes the time by doing jumping jacks, while Eddy amuses himself, mocking the crowd by pantomiming a backstroke. Segunda caida starts much like the first, with Santo and Eddy facing off. Eddy nails him with a double axehandle that sends Santo to the mat. He follows up with a float over fallaway slam to get a nearfall. He follows up with a suplex, picking up another two count. Octagon tags in. Eddy gets on his knees and offers his hand. Octagon gets suckered in again, as Eddy pokes him in the eye. He grabs him by the headband that's attached to his mask and pulls him into the rudo corner.
Barr comes in with a slap to the face, then hits a pair of picture perfect standing dropkicks. He taunts the crowd by saying, "That's American!" before doing some more jumping jacks. He slams Octagon near the ropes and tags Eddy, who comes in with his slingshot senton. Santo runs in though. He backdrops Eddy, then knocks him to the floor. He helps Octagon whip Barr into the ropes. Octagon levels him with a clothesline and Santo comes off the top with a senton splash. Eddy comes back in, but charges into a headscissors takedown from Santo.
Octagon whips him into Barr and the technicos double dropkick them to the floor. They follow up with stereo tope suicidas as Blue Panther cheers them on. Eddy and Santo re-enter the ring. Santo goes for a sunset flip and scores a nearfall. Eddy comes back with an attempted victory roll, but Santo slams him face first to the mat instead. He starts climbing the ropes, but Eddy cuts him off and 'ranas him off the top. He makes the cover and eliminates Santo. Octagon comes in and is quickly cut off by Art Barr. He and Eddy whip him into the ropes and nail him with a double clothesline.
They go for a double backdrop, but Octagon counters into a double facebuster. He shoulderblocks Barr in to Eddy and bounces off the ropes. Barr tosses him over his head, then starts taunting the crowd. What he misses though, is that Octagon ranas Eddy and eliminates him in 8:49. Barr hears the count and turns to celebrate. He quickly realizes his mistake and goes for a clothesline. Octagon ducks, gives him a Russian legsweep and locks him in a seated Octopus. Barr submits and the technicos take the second fall in 8:58. The crowd pops huge for Octagon's comeback.
After the rest period, Eddy and Santo start once again in the decisive tercera caida. Santo goes for a lockup, but Eddy kicks him in the gut. He goes for a powerbomb, but Santo counters into a 'rana. Barr runs in to make the save. Eddy locks Santo in the camel clutch. It's a move that was invented by his father, but popularized by Santo and his father. How much deeper can psychology get? Octagon comes in and breaks the hold by kicking Eddy right in the face.
Santo then locks Eddy in the camel clutch, but Barr comes in and superkicks him in the back of the head to force the break. He goes for a slam, but Santo counters into a small package. Eddy makes the save. Barr locks Santo in an STF, but Octagon comes in and tries to crack his sternum with a series of stiff kicks. He and Santo nail him with a double back elbow. Santo suplexes him and makes the cover, but Eddy breaks it up. Octagon comes in. He punches Barr and gives him a headbutt. Of course, he ends up selling it more than Barr does so I'm not sure how effective that strategy was
He goes for an armbar, but Eddy comes in and pokes Octagon in the eyes. He tries to lock him in the Gory Special, but Santo breaks it up with a series of kicks to the gut. He finally takes Eddy down with a kneelift. Eddy comes back though, slamming Santo and climbing to the top rope. Santo cuts him off, getting under Eddy and slamming him backwards to the mat. He goes for the cover, but Barr breaks the count. He knocks Santo to the floor and pulls Octagon into the ring. He nails him with another nice standing dropkick that deposits Octagon on the floor, next to his partner. Stereo tope suicidas by the rudos and all four guys are down on the floor. Eddy and Santo are the first to get back into the ring.
Eddy sets him up for a superplex, but Santo counters by slamming him face first to the mat. He follows up with a bulldog. Eddy comes back swinging. He goes for...something, but Santo backdrops him over the top rope. Eddy lands on the apron, but a Santo shoulderblock sends him all the way to the floor. Santo follows up with the first sunset flip powerbomb that I ever saw, most likely. Eddy appears to be out. In the ring, Octagon dropkicks Barr. He misses a second though. Barr gives him a tombstone piledriver.
Tirantes has his back turned and doesn't see it. If he had, it would have been an automatic DQ as piledrivers (martinetes) are outlawed. Tirantes finally turns and counts Octagon out at 14:16. Barr celebrates by smacking him around a bit more. Panther finally helps Octagon from the ring as Barr pulls Santo into the ring. Eddy is also back in. He waistlocks Santo and gives him a German suplex as Barr simultaneously connects with a clothesline. Nice double team move. Santo is able to escape at two though.
Antonio Pena (AAA promoter) comes to the ring to check on Octagon. In the ring. Eddy superplexes Santo and Barr nails him with a frog splash. Amazingly enough, Santo is able to kick out at two. The paramedics are out to work on Octagon. This is actually common after taking a piledriver in Mexico, as hat move is sold as being deadly. Nice to see that you can get over a move to that extent if you actually follow through with it, instead of hotshotting an angle then forgetting about it within weeks.
In the ring, Eddy and Barr go for the clothesline/German suplex combo once again. Santo ducks out of the way though, and Barr clotheslines Eddy to the floor. Santo dropkicks Barr. He climbs to the top and dives onto Eddy on the floor. Barr climbs to the top as well, but Blue Panther comes in behind Tirantes' back and gives Barr a piledriver. The crowd goes absolutely apeshit. They show us an inset picture of the paramedics, who continue to work on Octagon on the floor. Meanwhile, Panther is jumping up and down excitedly. Santo manages to roll into the ring and pins Barr in 16:53. If you don't think that the crowd can get any louder, you're wrong. This actually borders on being amazing.
Eddy rolls back into the ring. He pulls Santo off of his partner, so that he can check on him. Barr is basically unconscious though. Then we cut to the floor, where the paramedics are still working on Octagon. We miss Santo roll up Eddy for a nearfall. Eddy comes back with a powerbomb and gets a two. He sets him up in the corner and scores with a belly to belly superplex for another nearfall. Next he hits a top rope 'rana, but he still can't get the win. They've really got the crowd buying into these nearfalls. Dragon suplex by Eddy, but Santo absolutely refuses to lose. He goes for a second, but Santo sits out, rolls him up and gets the win in 19:20.
I don't recall ever seeing a crowd this hot before. The notion that West Coast fans just sit on their hands during a wrestling show is shot out of the water by this show and this match in particular. They're loud from start to finish. Anyway, the paramedics load Octagon onto a stretcher and cart him away. He misses Eddy and Art Barr cutting each other's hair. What a waste of two perfectly good mullets...
This match is just unbelievable. Notice how Eddy pins Santo in the first two falls, building to their final showdown in the third fall. That's what makes that last series of nearfalls so believable. The psychology between the two of them was spot on. It's a shame, as a fan, that Art Barr self-destructed. He was quite possibly the best heel of the 90s. He was just so good at making you hate him. I no longer give star ratings to matches because a) it's so subjective and b) I suck at it. That said, this is a near five-star classic that anyone who calls themselves a wrestling fan needs to see.
Last, but certainly not least is out main event. How anything is expected to follow that last match, I'll never know, but I digress. This is Lucha en Juala (cage match), between former partners Konnan and Perro Aguayo. The cage is damn high. The announcers say 12 feet and that seems reasonable to me so there you have it.
5. Konnan v. Perro Aguayo Konnan is the IWC heavyweight champion and also holds the UWA Double Power Cup. But neither are on the line here. Pepe Casas is your official. The match opens with a Konnan press slam. He whips Perro into the ropes and leapfrogs him. He falls victim to a clothesline though. Perro follows up with a dropkick and knocks Konnan down with a shoulderblock. Konnan tries to get out of Dodge, but realizes that there's nowhere to run. Perro pounds away at him in the corner, He goes for the cover and Pepe starts counting, even though 30 seconds earlier Chris Cruise was telling us that the only way to win was by escape. Was WCW always so disorganized?
In the end, it doesn't really matter because Konnan escapes and low blows Perro. But Perro comes back quickly, whipping Konnan into the corner. He punches away at him and tries to use him as a stepping stone to get out of the cage. Konnan gets under him though, falling back and driving the back of his head into the mat. Konnan follows up with a pair of hotshots into the cage that bust Perro open. Watch carefully and you can see him slip the blade to Pepe. Konnan chops him and rams him into the cage once again. He rakes his face into the cage and takes him down with a clothesline.
He goes for the escape, but Perro yanks him back into the ring. He then misses a dropkick by feet, perhaps yards, but Konnan sells it anyway. Perro pulls him to his feet, whips him into the ropes and takes him down with a spinebuster. He makes the cover, but Pepe decides not to count this time. Perro follows up with his finisher, a double stomp to the gut. A "Parental discretion is advised" warning appears on the screen, as Perro is starting to look rather messy. He tries to escape the cage, but Konnan cuts him. They do nothing of note while hanging off the side of the cage, so Perro knocks Konnan to the mat.
He drops back into the ring as well and nails him with a clothesline. He gives him another double stomp and rolls Konnan up in quite possibly the ugliest La Magistral ever. He convinces Pepe to count, but Konnan escapes at two. Perro follows up with a senton. He goes for a powerbomb, I guess, but ends up falling on his ass. It looked vaguely like a suplex, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt this time. He drops an elbow and continues to pound away at him. He climbs to the second rope and comes off with a clothesline. He gives him another double stomp, this time to the back.
He tries to escape once again, but Konnan cuts him off with a low blow. Konnan rakes his face as we see an inset showing Eddy and Louie watching on in the back. Konnan climbs to the second rope, but Perro catches him and falls back with a sloppy flapjack that almost drops Konnan on his head. Eddy and Louie now seem to be headed to the ring. Konnan tries to escape, but Perro rams his head into the cage repeatedly. Perro follows up with a double stomp from the second rope. He tries to escape, but Konnan manages to catch him by the boot before he goes over the top of the cage.
He quickly climbs up the cage and begins ramming Perro's head into it. Perro responds with an elbow that sends Konnan crashing to the mat. He hits a senton as we see Eddy and Louie head through the curtain. Perro starts climbing the cage again, but Eddy throws a drink in his face, blinding him. He tosses a pair of brass knucks to Konnan, who quickly makes use of them. He nails Perro, then hits a Niagara Driver. He stalls as Eddy and Louie try to enter the ring. Pepe Casas holds them back as Konnan pummels Perro with the knucks in the ring. He follows up with a German suplex and Perro is absolutely covered in blood.
Konnan hits a spin kick, then dropkicks him. Perro fires back. He takes Konnan down and stomps on him. He gives him yet another double stomp to the back. Konnan comes back quickly though, going to work with the brass knucks. They trade punches, but Perro's are having no effect. Konnan drops him with a clothesline and attempts to escape. Perro manages to cut him off as some music starts playing. We find out that it's Los Hermanos Dinamitas.
They run out and begin brawling with Eddy and Louie. Konnan is about to escape, but Cien Caras climbs up the outside of the cage and nails him with a punch that causes Konnan to crotch himself on the top rope. Perro rams his head into the cage repeatedly. He gives him a Samoan drop near the corner and follows up with a double stomp off of the top rope. He crosses the ring and climbs out, getting the win in 17:54. Postmatch, Konnan seems like he's ready to attack a fan, but Perro coaxes him back over the railing. Kayfabe be damned in that situation, I guess.
This match...wasn't very good. Whoever booked this to go 18 minutes should be forced to watch it on a loop for a year or two, I think. Perro looked like he might be passable in a short match, but between being blown up and blood loss, he had no business being in the ring at the end. I can't think of much about this match that I liked, actually. Perro's furry boots not withstanding. No psychology to speak of and no work that would make me overlook that fact. All in all, a pathetic cap to a great night of wrestling.
What a fun night of wrestling. It's a great introduction to Lucha, as the Hair v. Mask match will have you on the edge of your seat and the main event is great for the blood freaks. There are enough familiar faces to keep you from feeling overwhelmed, which is definitely what I look for when I'm trying out a new style. It's one thing to watch a great wrestling match. But watching a great wrestling match without being able to tell which person is which is tough and tends to turn you off quickly. Or tends to turn ME off quickly, at any rate. I definitely recommend that you get a copy of the big tag match, even if you have no interest in the rest of the show. It's that good and its historical value is immeasurable.
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