Category Archives: Other

Black Terry vs. Aeroboy, hair vs. mask (06/10/2016)

Black Terry vs. Aeroboy
June 10, 2016
Hair vs. Mask
*** 1/2

This match was promoted in Aeroboy’s hometown of Tulancingo. The idea seems to be that the local boy putting his mask on the line against a notable wrestler and frequent opponent like Black Terry would make for a bigger-than-usual main event. From thousands of miles away, I never got the impression pre-match that Aeroboy was in any danger of losing his mask. However, you never know what is going on behind the scenes. If for someone reason Aeroboy was retiring as a luchador or heading in another direction, dropping his mask in front of his hometown fans against a strong opponent like Terry would not be completely out of the question. So while I wouldn’t say there was a lot of drama and intrigue going into this one, there at least existed the possibility that there might be.

To their credit, Black Terry and Aeroboy worked a rather intense match that resulted in an overall solid apuesta match. I am ambivalent on Aeroboy for the most part. When Black Terry Jr. records an Aeroboy match, it is not necessarily a must-buy match like it is for others but I don’t just gloss over his matches like I do for some others. That said, this might be the most I have ever enjoyed an Aeroboy singles match. He gave one heck of a babyface performance. He was good on offense, but he was even better on the other side of the ball. Aeroboy bled heavily, took a beating from Terry, and screamed his head off when trapped in holds. The painful screaming added a lot of drama. That might sound like the typical exercise of finding something minute to praise about a match but trust me, it is not. At on the BT Jr. handheld, Aeroboy’s painful screams do more to get over the danger he is in than any normal level of facial selling ever could.

The structure is about what you would expect. They go at it right away and keep up a torrid pace throughout. The match is a definite brawl, as it should be. We know Terry – even at 63 – can brawl with the best of them but Aeroboy kept up. He took Terry’s punishment, threw some hard kicks that he should use more often (they will help him stand out), and wrestled with the intensity needed for this type of brawl. There were some wicked head butts and post shots as well, both of which are Terry staples.

After both guys were bloody and beaten, they went to an extended period of submission finish teases where we got Aeroboy’s screams. I thought that section of the match was strong. It didn’t get great heat or anything but it worked in the sense that the holds – Terry wrenching on Aeroboy’s arm in particular – were violent enough that they didn’t feel like a letdown after the brawl. The tough thing to get right in a match like this is following up on the great brawling section. Flashy moves or mundane submissions don’t necessarily work in that instance. I thought they got it right both in theory and in execution by following up the blood and brawling with a section where they mixed in-ring brawling and limb pulling. Likewise, Terry’s way of performing a back cracker makes the move look rough and painful in a way few others are able to convey. I didn’t mind the Canadian Destroyer too much. While that move is way overused, I thought it felt relatively natural the way they used it and in line with the rest of the match. If I had any complaint about the near fall portion it is that Terry kicked out way early (barely two) on a flash pin from Aeroboy. The move suckered me in to thinking that might be it, but Terry kicking out early killed my reaction (it didn’t get much from the crowd either). Aeroboy did eventually win with a small package. While I didn’t mind the actual move, it was kind of telegraphed and the ending fell a little bit flat as a result.

In terms of recent indie lucha apuesta matches, I have this comfortably above Latigo and Toro Negro’s mask match from Cara Lucha. That was a higher stake match on paper and felt like a bigger deal when watching it, but this match had the better work. It sounds like the upcoming Freelance/Impulso hair match will not see the light of the day which is too bad because it would be nice to compare that one to this match.

Caifan vs. Ultimo Guerrero (ERLL – 03/20/2016)

Caifan vs. Ultimo Guerrero
March 20, 2016
Arena Jose Sulaiman (Monterrey, Mexico)
*** 1/2

I cannot watch a 2016 Caifan match without wondering how in god’s name he is not currently working in Arena Mexico. The first several minutes of this mano a mano match from Monterrey are spent exclusively on the mat. Caifan was as smooth and fluid as we have come to expect from him. Caifan’s reversals in the early going are a joy to watch. There are several where he is almost Virus like in his ability to perform a complicated reversal in short order without ever losing contact with his opponent. There was very little visible feeding of reversals here so if you are someone who is turned off by that, don’t fret. What makes Caifan standout for me among the maestros he even often works and other proficient lucha mat workers is that he blends in realistic take downs with a sense of struggle better than most. Those that think lucha mat work is just a bunch loose exchanging of holds (which is of course itself a ridiculous assertion) should at least give Caifan a try.

I cannot watch a 2016 Ultimo Guerrero match without wondering if this is the same Ultimo Guerrero I was watching just two years ago. The post-mask loss work bump is not a UG-specific phenomenon. Villano III suddenly morphed into one of the more entertaining wrestlers in the world for six-months in 2000 following his historic mask loss to Atlantis. For Villano III, the bump was short lived. Guerrero has kept going and going. Some of it is circumstance. He is getting booked in more featured singles matches on indie shows that Black Terry Jr. and the gaggle of lucha YouTube uploaders are graciously taping for us so there is more opportunities for him to shine and more opportunities for us to see him shine. At the same time, Guerrero is clearly working on a different level since his late 2014 mask loss to Atlantis. You hear far less jokes about Ultimo Guerrero filling out his move bingo card during a match (that is, ticking off all of his usual spots one by one). He is wrestling with far more variety. He is also working harder and showing a technical acumen that quite frankly I did not know he had. Guerrero kept up with Caifan every step of the way here. The chop battle on the outside was well placed (the opening mat work wasn’t getting much heat) and it is hard to imagine the UG of a few years ago allowing his chest to be chopped up in a half-empty Monterrey arena. It is impossible to imagine him doing the hip check dive he did into the seats on Caifan if this were 2013. UG is working really hard these days and getting great results from it.

Black Terry & Solar vs. Negro Casas & Blue Panther (ELITE – 02/28/2016)

Black Terry & Solar vs. Negro Casas & Blue Panther
February 28, 2016
Arena Mexico

While not a bad match, this was certainly a disappointing one. Things peaked with the first pairing (Solar and Blue Panther). Although not anywhere near the level of the first fall in their hyped 1994 AAA singles match, they worked a really fun and rather lengthy quick paced opening that felt a lot fresher and smoother than current Solar/Navarro sequences. Terry and Casas matched up which the fans were hyped for – really big reaction when they both entered the match – but their actual interaction was probably the most disappointing part of the match. Casas held onto a long sleeper hold not too long after they first locked up. The move felt out of place, did not lead anywhere interesting, and went onto long. In a vacuum Terry’s traditional back breaker escape was neat but fell flat in this setting. Those two eventually slugged it out but even that was rather mundane (perhaps a closer view of the ring would have helped with that).

The Solar/Casas exchanges were better than the Solar/Terry ones but both have done better recently. We only briefly saw Terry and Panther hook up, after their recently scheduled Toryumon Mexico match was canceled due to Panther no-showing (Solar subbed for Panther and had a decent match with Terry). In a rarity for him, Solar had a full on slip up when he stumbled while coming off the top turnbuckle and awkwardly tumbled to the mat. Of course if you are going to misstep like that it helps to have a ring of full of professionals all around you. Panther covered nicely with a quick inside cradle. My favorite move of the match was a flashy hair biel from Solar to Casas. I am not sure if that was their intent but the move looked good nonetheless.

When old guys have a subpar match it is tempting to blame the quality on their ages and talk about how they are getting old. Besides for Solar’s rope slip, there weren’t any notable senior moments from the four. They just didn’t click and have the kind of match they could have. They mainly stayed off of the mat which may have been a mistake but only because what they did standing was relatively lackluster. The match did not miss because Casas was slow or Panther couldn’t bump; it missed because the lay out and execution just were just on that level they are usually are with these four.

Gringo Loco & Skayde Jr. vs. Zema Ion & Bandolero Star (Lucha Libre Fest – 02/07/2016)

Gringo Loco & Skayde Jr. vs. Zema Ion & Bandolero Star
February 7, 2016
Lucha Libre Fest
Cicero Stadium (Cicero, IL)
** ¾

My usual concern when it comes to non-Mexico lucha libre is that a match with a couple of dives and hurricanranas will be passed off as authentic lucha. That is probably an unfair outlook but I think it is PTSD resulting from years of ROH passing off sloppy arm drags between Joel Maximo and Chris Divine being sold as true, quality lucha. At best, I tend to assume these matches will be good US indie style matches rather than something I would expect to see on a lucha indie show from Mexico.

This match did not warrant those concerns. Gringo Loco and Skayde Jr. have extensive experience wrestling in Mexico while Ion has some. This was a decent match and one that would not have felt out of place at all on the undercard of a Cara Lucha or Lucha Memes card. The match would have felt out of place on the undercard of a CMLL show, but only because the riskiness and general nature of the match would have stood out in a positive manner.

This match would be an easy one to make a music highlight video to. All four wrestlers had their moments both on offense and on defense. From an offensive standpoint, all the moves that you would want were there and more often than not the offense looked good. Ion seemed a little tentative running the ropes and when intersecting with his opponents in the ring. Otherwise, all of the guys were solid bases and rolled well.

The offensive highlight was a Mascara Dorada/Dragon Lee over the top rope hurricanrana but with a twist where the guy delivering it used his kneeling partner’s back as a spring board. They hit it rather flawlessly and I would be surprised if we don’t see that move pop up elsewhere in the near future.

That move exemplified the match’s strength – a lot of good looking offense that was innovative, of high degree of difficulty, or both. There were some rough patches too, but I think you sort of take those as a cost of doing business in a match like this. The more relevant reason why I thought this was only okay was that from both a structure and a heat building standpoint, the match was rather standard. They worked this 2 out of 3 falls and did not rush first two falls but there also wasn’t a great build to them (either within the falls or from fall to fall). Gringo Loco drew good heat for his pre-match singing routine but in the actual match I thought they did little to put heat on Skayde Jr. and Gringo Loco. Likewise, Ion and Bandolero Star’s comebacks weren’t anything that stuck with me.

If you want to watch four guys hit difficult and sometimes innovative offense well this is well worth a watch. There is a lot more to like from this match than there are significant issues.

Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero (MWE – 02/21/2016)

Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero
February 21, 2016
Marvel Elite Wrestling
El Mercadito (Memphis)
** ¾

Atlantis and Ultimo Guerrero brought their touring match to Memphis. If you are looking for any significant alterations from the normal match these two have worked all over in the 17 months since their big mask showdown, you are not going to find it here. With the exception of the number of falls, this was not a noticeably different match than the one they had in Japan last January, the Universal tournament finals in Arena Mexico last October or their Puebla matches from late 2015. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because their formula match is fine, just not much more than that. They played to the crowd in between quick, compact sequences. UG got his usual offense in. Atlantis hit a tope and won with the Atlantida. Even the Memphis location did not make for a dramatically different viewing experience. The fans in Memphis largely reacted to the match in a similar manner to a crowd in Puebla might react. They reacted to the high spots and the call for cheers. Atlantis was slightly more over thanks to the kids but Guerrero had his supporters as well. A match like this is often fun for the out-of-context vibe it gives off but there wasn’t much of that to be found this go around.

I did not regret spending 15 minutes with this one, but if you have seen several other Guerrero/Atlantis matches then I do not believe this one will really provide anything new.