Canis Lupus vs. Guerrero Maya Jr. (IWRG – 11/17/2013)

Canis Lupus vs. Guerrero Maya Jr.
November 17, 2013
IWRG Intercontinental Welterweight

Canis Lupus has been in the spotlight (in as much as being in a praised IWRG match in 2016 can place one in the spotlight) after his mask match MOTYC versus Trauma I over Labor Day weekend. I imagine I am like most people in that I had seen very little of Lupus prior to the outstanding mask match so I figured I would take a look back at his prior work starting (and possible ending, too) with this 2013 title defense versus Guerrero Maya Jr.

Before getting to the match, here is a quick recap on Lupus’ wrestling history courtesy of Lucha Wiki. He was originally trained by Archangel de la Muerte as part of CMLL’s training program but never received an opportunity to actually work a CMLL show. Wrestling as Commando Negro, he made his debut with IWRG in 2009 and received additional training from the IWRG maestros (Avisman, Black Terry, Freelance, Mike Segura). In 2012, he switched to the Canis Lupus gimmick when working in IWRG but continued to wrestle as Commando Negro elsewhere. Before he was completely done with Commando Negro in IWRG he defeated Guerrero Mixtico Jr. for his mask on Christmas day 2012 (in a match I would like to watch at some point given I like what I have seen of both guys). As Canis Lupus, he won IWRG’s Welterweight title in September 2013.

The version on YouTube is a handheld shot from the crowd but the match is complete and the footage is about as high quality as can be reasonably accepted. The camera picks up the crowd noise really well so the crowd comes across far better than they probably would have had this been an AYM recording.

The nice thing about IWRG in general and Guerrero Maya Jr. specifically is that you know their title matches will start with mat work in the first fall. It might not always be pretty, but at least the effort will be there. I liked the mat wrestling in that fall even if it was not anything extraordinary. Guerrero Maya Jr.  has been known on occasion to be a tad tentative or off with his general movements but he was really smooth exchanging basic holds with Lupus. The stuff on the mat didn’t draw any heat beyond polite clapping which made me worry the entire match was going to be heatless, but the first fall work was definitely not boring. The mat portion was far below Trauma I/Zatura from 2009 in terms of length and quality and wasn’t even as good as the mat work in Dr. Cerebro/El Hijo del Diablo from 2010 but I value matches (particularly title matches) starting off with some sort of foundation-setting work and this did the trick.

Canis and Maya Jr. left the holds and mat work behind in the first fall. There was a lot of rope running in the short second fall (before the submission finish) which woke the crowd up. Not much to the second fall, but like the first one it did its job.

The third fall was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, they got the crowd completely into the match and the heat was above average for the rest of the way. More impressively, they turned a crowd that was pro-Lupus and anti-Maya at the start of the match into being largely pro-Maya with still some pro-Lupus reactions here and there. Maya and Lupus worked hard the entire fall and there were a couple of really strong segments. My favorite was Maya jumping up into Lupus’ arms when Canis was near the ropes as if he was going to do a rana. Lupus caught him and power bombed him which might not have been the plan because while still on his back Maya immediately kicked Canis backwards. Canis takes this insane Cactus Jack-like bump through the middle ropes all the way to the floor and lands square on his neck. Before anyone has time to even check and see if Lupus is still alive, Maya pummels him (and several rows of chairs) with a tope. It was an awesomely chaotic and impactful short segment. Their hard work paid off not only with the heat, but also with a few strong near fall reactions late.

The negatives of the final fall were there were too much aimless brawling segments and even more unnecessary interaction with the seconds. They were seemingly going for the idea that the match was spiraling out of control so that they could restore order heading into the near falls. It worked in the sense that the crowd reacted but I thought it could have a little more tightly constructed. The stuff with the seconds in particular took forever to play out even though they telegraphed it early. Lupus’ second stuck his nose into the match several times, Maya’s second took exception, and the representative from the Commission tried to calm things down right away. It was clear that all of that was going to lead to the seconds being ejected, which would segue into the near falls. The problem was it took forever for them to get to that point. Even after the rudo second was ejected, Maya’s second stuck around a little longer, did a couple of interference spots that didn’t draw much heat, and then was ejected. It felt like they could have cut out some of the brawling and a lot of the spots involving the seconds while maintaining the same level of heat and intensity.

It is still a very small sample size but Lupus looked good enough in retaining his title that – along with the few other matches I have seen him in – I am confident stating that he wasn’t simply a blind squirrel in the Trauma match. He had a presence in this match. There was little difference between the quality of his performance and that of Maya’s. Just by watching this match, you wouldn’t be able to tell which wrestler was the occasionally-pushed CMLL guy and which one was the IWRG regular who was never given a chance in CMLL. The match itself is only a little above average and doesn’t have a real hook, but it might not be a bad place to start if you want to seek out additional Canis Lupus matches after watching the mask match.

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