2014 Leftovers: Four Maestros in Neza ; Thatcher & Graves Go the Distance in Gilroy

November 15, 2014
Black Terry & Solar vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Atlantis
Producciones Sanchez
Arena Neza

There were many opportunities to see maestros work their craft in a way only they can around the lucha world in 2014.  There was the Black Terry/Skayde program in IWRG, Hechicero locking up with both Terry and Negro Navarro, more than a handful of Virus singles matches, and even Navarro/Solar match that brought fun lucha mat work to Philly.  This tag from November might have been the best.

All of the nuanced and intricate mat work you would expect from these four is here.  Everyone seems to have a little extra giddy up in their steps for the first 2 falls and 90% of the third fall before they sort of run out of steam.  Panther and Terry decide to work their segments against one another with a slightly faster pace and more rope running.  Whether on the mat or off, the work is so smooth and enjoyable.  None of these guys are exactly in their primes but they are sitll masters of their craft.

Joe Graves vs. Timothy Thatcher
Gilroy, California

I am not as big of a Timothy Thatcher fan as some others are, but wow, this was a really excellent match.  Save for one brief sequence mid-match where the wrestlers get a bit of separation between them and Graves bounces off the ropes a couple of times, this is basically all contested on the mat.  Both guys are constantly moving, rolling in and out of submissions, and coming with up with cool ways to escape holds.  This felt much more active than many other Thatcher matches.  Some of that should probably be credited to Graves, but Thatcher set that tone initially and looked as good in this match as I ever seen him.

Who is Joe Graves?  There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot on him.  He wasn’t blow away in this match – all told, Thatcher probably was the better of the two here – but he more than held his own.  The key to any match worked in a more realistic style like this is both knowing when and having the ability to continually move and anticipate.  Graves was excellent at that in this match.  He pulled out several cool escapes, reversals, and submissions.

Also, the crowd was a lot of fun and added to the match.  There were a few vocal fans who got the submissions and the style they were going for.  They would yell out things like “there you go” when one of the wrestlers applied a hold or countered something and popped for the submissions.  There was also a woman yelling support for Thatcher loudly and getting into everything he did.  Good, simple heat like that can add a lot to the presentation.

On first viewing, one of the better mat work matches of 2014.

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