Charly Manson vs. El Zorro (AAA – 06/18/2006)

Charly Manson vs. El Zorro
June 18, 2006
Hair vs. Hair Last Man Standing Steel Cage Match
*** 1/4 

Charly Manson and El Zorro were put in the semi-main event position of the 2006 edition of TripleMania, right ahead of La Parka and Muerte Cibernetica’s mask match. The main event match was marked by copious amounts of booking and was a bit of a mess. The semi-main – this match – was marked by copious amounts of booking and was rather enjoyable.

Not every match is that is heavy on booking or gimmicks is “overbooked”. WWE main events over the past twenty years are filled with examples of matches that benefited by gimmicks, stipulations, run-ins, and in-match angles covering up for otherwise lackluster wrestling. I consider a match to be “overbooked” if the booking detracts from the (actual or probable) quality wrestling and/or if the booking elements only serve to messy up the match rather than cover for its flaws. The La Parka and Muerte Cibernetica match hit on both of those points. La Parka Jr. and Ricky Banderas are good enough wrestlers that they could have had a solid match on their own. In fact, the few times they were left to their own devices during the bout the results were relatively entertaining. The horde of wrestlers at ringside, rudo referees, the run-ins, and the backstage fights only served to detract from what La Parka and Cibernetica were doing/could have done in the ring.

The pacing had a lot to do with that. It wasn’t like the two participants wrestled for a bit, then did a spot with the seconds, did a run-in later, and then did the backstage stuff after the match. All of the booking was piled on top of each other before the match even began. That was hugely problematic because none of the booking elements got a chance to stick out. It was just a huge mess of stuff from the get-go.

In the Manson and Zorro match, there was almost just as much extracurricular activity but it was handled in a more thoughtful manner. The match was a rarely seen triple stipulation match. It was a hair match inside a steel cage contested under last man standing rules. Weapons are used and there is outside interference despite the cage being there. The difference is that instead of just throwing all of that stuff out there in lieu of having an actual match, they use the booking elements to strengthen and enhance the wrestling. They spread everything out in a way that allows each piece to add to the drama of the match.

For example, the weapons and the violence build. The match begins with no weapons, just the two going after each other. The first weapon used is the cage itself which is natural and much appreciated. There is nothing worse than a cage match where the cage barely comes into play. This match easily could have gone there given the presence of other weapons, but it didn’t. The weapon stuff progresses from lighter fare to the more serious shots at the end. The blood – both Manson and Zorro bleed – ramps up accordingly as the match gets more violent. I think Charly Manson is a solid wrestler and Zorro has his moments but I find it difficult to believe that the offense would have been as entertaining without the additional aides.

La Secta runs in at one point. Outside interference in a cage match is generally groan worthy, but this was well done. They cut up the top of the cage, provide quick assistance to Manson, and then head out. Like everything else in the match, the interference is quick and to the point. Despite all of the gimmicks, the match never feels bloated. The match does not become consumed by the gimmicks because they don’t dwell on any specific one for very long. They hit the spot and move on. That was something the main event of this show wasn’t able to do. That match didn’t just have a quick backstage segment with non-match participants; it flipped back and forth between the ring and backstage for several minutes. They let some of the gimmicks that could have possibly added excitement to the match overstay their welcome. That was never an issue in Zorro/Manson.

Lastly, they don’t let the last man standing stipulation ruin the flow of the match. Many “last man standing matches” make the mistake of doing a lot of downs early in order to establish the rules. All that usually does, however, is interrupt the flow. “Last man standing” or not, a match with constant breaks and interruptions for counts that the audience doesn’t buy at all doesn’t do any good. Manson and Zorro don’t go to that well until the end. By the time they start rolling out the ten-counts, enough as happened that the ten-counts are believable near falls. They maximized their impact by only doing a few near falls and doing them at the end of the match.

Most importantly, the heat that Zorro and Manson draw for their match dwarfs what La Parka and Muerte Cibernetica get for their match. Some of it that might have to do with the crowd being burnt out after screaming their heads off for the cage match but I think it is stretch to assign the entire difference in heat to match order. AAA crowds in general have been very good throughout the years, but the heat and crowd reactions in this match stack up well against the best reactions from the promotion’s twenty+ year existence. The match really feels like a big deal and the crowd is into every second of it. I don’t know whether that is because of the set up for the match or if the heat is attributable to the work in the match itself, but the crowd reactions add a lot to the overall presentation.

If you have an aversion to AAA’s ECW-style matches in general, then I imagine you still won’t love this one. It is still more of a weapon match than a classic brawl. However, weapon matches can be done right and this one was done very well. The pacing is spot on, the heat is tremendous, and the booking adds to the match in a significant and noticeable way. If La Parak/Muerte Cibernetica is an example of AAA getting in their own way with the way they book a match, this match is an example of them using booking tricks to greatly enhance a match.

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