El Dandy vs. La Fiera (CMLL – 11/27/1992)

El Dandy vs. La Fiera
November 27, 1992

Hair vs. Hair

*** 1/4 

One of those good – perhaps very good – matches that just wasn’t as good as I had hoped that it would be.

The culmination of El Dandy and La Fiera’s one singles feud is similar in quality to Bestia Salvaje vs. La Fiera from 1997, with the difference being that those two – even with a longer and better build as well as additional match time – did about all that they could be reasonably expected to do. El Dandy was one of the best wrestlers in the world during in 1992. He had one great hair match every year from 1988 through 1990 (Pirata Morgan, Emilio Charles and Satanico, respectively), good (although with diminishing returns) Satanico hair rematches in 1991 and 1992, and a just below “great” level hair match with Charles in 1993. For Fiera’s part, he wrestled a strong Monterrey chain match with Jerry Estrada and his pair of great 1993 hair matches (Sangre Chicana, Negro Casas) to show us that he could wrestle a great brawl during this timeframe. The fact that this feud and match felt so inconsequential and standard is disappointing because a proper feud with a major blow off between these two in 1992 could have (should have) been great.

Part of the reason the match left me slightly disappointed was how one sided the match was. In keeping with tradition, Dandy was jumped by Fiera on his way to the ring before he had a chance to remove his ring jacket. Fiera controls the rest of the match and that’s no exaggeration. Dandy gets a couple of hope spots and quick comebacks to set up the 2nd and 3rd fall finishes. It is Fiera controlling the offense for all three falls with Dandy more or less getting in the bare minimum necessary in order to capture a pair of falls.

I get the reasoning for the lopsidedness. Dandy was a big deal in 1992 CMLL, particularly when the AAA schism left him as one of the better workers and more over tecnicos on the CMLL roster. Dandy beat Negro Casas for the vacant CMLL World Middleweight title in July in an all-time classic and took the hair of career long rival El Satanico in September. The highlights of La Fiera’s yea (aside from the feud with Dandy) were losing handily (as a sub for Bestia Salvaje) to Atlantis in a title match on the Arena Mexico Anniversary card, losing a brief early year feud to Black Magic (Norman Smiley), and rounding out upper card trios matches. There was a gulf between where Dandy and Fiera were on the CMLL totem pole. I would imagine the one-sided nature of the match was an attempt to convince the live crowd that Dandy might actually lose. Of course, all it really did was telegraph the finish because they went too far in that direction as to make it obvious what their intention was.

Even the memorable moments – Dandy countering a DDT into a pretty bridging suplex to win the first fall, Dandy’s tope, a pair of signature Fiera high back drop bumps out of the ring, the usual major bumps from both luchadores – are not necessarily things I would take as superlatives (at least on their own). Everything about the match was standard fare. Maybe that is exactly what they were going for. The decision to not attempt to wrestle an epic hair match when the circumstances call for more of a midlevel hair match is probably the right call. Even then, I think they could have done more here to make this match feel different/better than something like Salvaje/Fiera or Winners/Marabunta. For example, Fiera’s July 1993 hair match with Sangre Chicana – while not necessarily a throwaway given the value of Chicana’s hair – was a means to an end to get Fiera ready for Casas. For whatever reasons, they didn’t go all out in that one but built a very entertaining match around stalling and selling. That match had a hook. I am not sure what this match is.

I should note that as Ohtani’s Jacket points out in his review, the October 30th trios that builds to the hair match is very good and heated. I don’t mean to give the impression that the hair match was slapped together – it was built to and as that match demonstrates, built to well at some points. That match works because it is built around Fiera picking at Dandy’s arm and Dandy (as always) being awesome at working from behind, selling, and making spirited comebacks. The blow off could have used those same or similar elements.

In isolation, this was still a good match. If a pair of modern mid-card CMLL wrestlers had the exact same match today I would be rather satisfied with it. Unfortunately, 1992 El Dandy and La Fiera are not you run-of-the-mill 2016 luchadores. Their one big singles match should have been more than merely a good/very good hair match. It is difficult to get past the fact that it was not much more because the talent and build was certainly there to make it so.

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