2014 Favorites: CMLL

Virus title matches everywhere you look.  Cavnerario and Hechicero breakout.  Titan places himself among the elite wrestlers in the world.  Quality mask and hair matches all over the place.  This is the Top 20 Matches of 2014 CMLL!

  1. Virus vs. Titan (CMLL – 01/28) **** ½

I have a few additional thoughts to my clunky original review after a couple of re-watches. First, it holds up really well. Secondly, I am even more convinced now – having seen subsequent 2014 Virus title matches – that Titan’s contributions were material to the match’s success. Titan looked better working the mat and added more as a foe for Virus (in terms of being over, his comebacks, and his own offense) than Dragon Lee, Stigma or Fuego. Virus is great all the time but the difference between this match and the other was Titan.

This is a rare year where my MOTY at the end of January is still likely going to be my MOTY when I put together a full list. 

  1. Titan vs. Cavernario (CMLL – 07/29) **** ¼

 Titan and Cavernario put together a match in July that found a nice balance between a traditional lucha title match and the more contemporary style lucha title match of ultra-short opening falls followed by an extended, near fall heavy third. Titan and his prehistoric opponent opened with the expected/traditional mat work, before bringing it up a notch with a nice flying head scissors and a split legged moonsault. The first fall wasn’t short but it wasn’t noticeably longer than normal either.

The big change came in the 2nd fall. They work an extended second fall. Rather than saving all the big spots for the stretch run, they work some in during this fall including a ridiculous springboard DDT from the apron to the floor that has to be seen (and seen again and again) in order to fully appreciate it. The structure of the match was more traditional US pro style in nature with the tone setting in the first fall, the second fall serving as the normal body of the match, and everything previously building to the cimax in the third. Going with submissions for the 3rd fall near falls also helped the match standout from its peers in a big way.

An excellent overall match and a showcase for two guys who will (hopefully) be a big part of CMLL plans in the not-to-distant future.

  1. La Sombra & Rush vs. Negro Casas & Shocker (CMLL – 07/19) **** ¼
  1. Virus vs. Dragon Lee (CMLL – 12/08) ****
  2. Rush vs. Shocker, hair vs. hair (CMLL – 03/21) ****
  1. Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero, mask vs. mask (CMLL – 09/19) *** ¾

For drama and emotion, no 2014 match touches this. The third fall was exactly what it should have been. A fantastic spectacle and I wouldn’t bother debating anyone who ranks this match higher than I ultimately did. I place this match here because I thought the first two falls were fine, but nothing more. Ultimo Guerrero still wrestled a typical Ultimo Guerrero match, which will always be fine but will rarely produce anything truly memorable. Atlantis is a step or two slow these days. Again, nothing wrong per say and the third fall was great (loved the teases of Atlantis’ finisher).

  1. Negro Casas, Cavernario & Dragon Lee vs. Titan, Hechicero & Cachorro (CMLL – 05/23) *** ¾

 Fantastic trios match in a year chalk full of them. I use the term “easy to watch” quite a bit when describing a match. This was the epitome of that description. Quick tags, lots of different pairings, and nothing but smooth, great pro wrestling.

  1. Rush vs. Negro Casas, hair vs. hair (CMLL – 08/01) *** ¾

I totally get why some view this match as an instant classic. The Casas/Rush feud was built around the idea of Rush as the younger, physical upstart picking on the much older Negro Casas. Casas survived the nearly two year long feud on veteran wisdom and caginess alone, often using Rush’s temper against him. Rush took on an edgier attitude during 2014 and as a result. That edge was what was missing. He ruthlessly beat Casas down in this match as he always had, but this time did not allow himself to be out smarted by the veteran. The match was worked in a way that was very, very appropriate given the proceeding feud.

 At the same time, it didn’t grab me quite as much as some other matches from 2014. For such an intense and violent feud, the hair match felt like it was lacking some of the intensity the build up. It was still hard-hitting – per usual, Rush killed Casas dead with the corner dropkick – but didn’t feel as violent and heated as a great apuesta match often will. I am not even sure it was up to Rush/Shocker standards in that regard. Along those same lines, I felt the 3rd fall never reached that next level of intensity and drama. The ending (Rush fouling Casas without the referee seeing) was an appropriate ending but it would have worked together if the match had built to a frenzy before the finish. Instead, they sort of rolled along to the finish, which left it feeling a tad flat.

That is largely nit-picking because I obviously liked a lot of the match. It just didn’t get to that MOTYC-level for me.

  1. Delta & Guerrero Maya, Jr. vs. Hechicero & Cavernario (CMLL – 12/15) *** ½
  1. La Sombra vs. Shocker (CMLL – 07/11) *** ¼
  2. Cavernario vs. Rey Cometa, hair vs. hair (CMLL – 09/19) *** ¼

 This was more “Sunday Arena Mexico title match” good than “major show hair match” good if that makes sense. It was also wrestled more like the former than the latter. I don’t expect every apuesta match to be a big brawl necessarily, just to have a palpable feeling of animosity. This felt more like Dragon Rojo/La Sombra than Rush/Casas or Rush/Shocker. A fun match and a nice showcase for both guys.

12.  Hechicero vs. Cavernario (CMLL – 06/20) *** ¼

Not as high on this as some people. There wasn’t a whole lot about the match I didn’t like, but at the same time there was not a whole lot that I found truly memorable. It would be impossible for these two to have a bad match versus one another. They definitely have a better long singles match in them, I think. 

  1. Atlantis, Delta & Guerrero Maya Jr. vs. Negro Casas, Puma & Tiger (CMLL – 01/26) *** ¼
  2. Rush vs. Ultimo Guerrero (CMLL – 10/28) *** ¼

A pleasant surprise as Rush and Ultimo Guerrero have a match that feels like something more than just a throwaway TV singles match. Rush looked great and UG looked a bit more motivated than usual. 

  1. La Sombra vs. Dragon Rojo, Jr. (CMLL – 03/02)
  2. Titan vs. Negro Casas (CMLL – 01/03) ***
  3. Eléctrico vs. Astral vs. Stukita vs. Shockercito vs. Último Dragoncito vs. Demus 3:16 vs. Mercurio vs. Pierrothito vs. Pequeño Olímpico vs. Pequeño Nitro (CMLL – 01/05) ***
  4. Rush vs. Vangelis (CMLL – 02/17) ***
  5. Rush, Titan & La Mascara vs. Vangelis, Terrible & Virus (CMLL – 01/21) ***
  6. Atlantis vs. Rey Escorpion (CMLL – 06/16) ***

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