El Hijo del Santo vs. El Hijo del Perro Aguayo
August 13, 2004
The angle to set up this first time match was really well executed.
Perro Jr. went rudo shortly after debuting in CMLL in 2003 as a result of the crowd reaction dictated the switch. It was the right move, certainly in hindsight knowing how strong of a rudo Perro Jr. would turn out to be. Of course, almost immediately after turning him CMLL stuck Perro in a feud with Los Capos where he was out to avenge his father’s forced retirement at the hands of Universo 2000. He slid back into a tecnico role during that feud out of necessity if for no other reason. By the summer of 2004, the feud with Los Capos was on temporary hiatus and there was little reason to keep Perro Jr. as a tecnico. To turn him back, CMLL booked Perro Jr. and Negro Casas to have a falling out which led to Perro costing Casas a match in the Leyenda de Plata tournament; a tournament meant to honor El Santo. With Casas out of his way, Perro won the tournament and was awarded the tournament trophy by El Hijo del Santo. Rather than accept the trophy, Perro trashed it using the reasoning that his father was better than Santo. This understandably angered El Hijo del Santo and one trios set up match later, we got this first time match between two fine second generation wrestlers.
I think what I like most about this match is that they resist the temptation to work an all-out brawl. When Perro runs out of the ring towards Santo while Santo makes his entrance, it seems certain they are going to have a standard Perro Jr. Arena Mexico brawl but they quickly change course. The opening is chaotic – seconds Hector Garza and Negro Casas almost get caught up in the melee – but Santo and Perro make it the ring and start that match off in a relatively normal fashion. They circle each other and tease lock ups to start. The decision not to brawl right away makes the match seem very important; as if both wrestlers don’t want to jump into it in a haphazard way, even though there is heat between them. They build to the out-of-control brawl rather than jumping right into it. The match is more effective because of that decision.
The heat is well above average. Perro Jr. only needed to lift his arms towards the crowd or stomp away at Santo while Santo is in a prone position in order to draw boos from the Arena Mexico crowd. As always, Santo is fantastic at taking a beating, drawing sympathy, and making a well-timed spirited comeback. The wrestlers work the match like a big deal and because of that – along with the trophy angle – the crowd reacts to the match like a big deal. Casas was great as a second for Santo, getting the crowd behind Santo without hogging the spotlight from him. A lesser wrestler would have made this match about himself, but not Casas. Perro’s turn back to rudo began with Casas; you could argue they had more heat between them then Perro and Santo did. Yet Casas manages to find the fine line between being active and keeping the spotlight on his wrestler rather than himself. I also thought Garza had a strong second performance. His look during this era was just so smarmy that you couldn’t help but hate him and the wrestler he was seconding.
I don’t find Perro to be a prolific offensive wrestler in general. He did have a very good offensive showing against Santo. I liked his suplexes. He really wrenched in a Boston crab late, selling it like he was using all of his strength to try and make Santo submit. The pin attempts from both guys go to late in the third fall are also top notch. Santo’s tope suicida is always on point and Perro did a dive of his with the seated senton off of the apron. The third fall just has a lot of great offense in general. There is enough quality offense and the match is heated enough that by the end I just want to see a conclusive winner regardless of who it is.
That is what helps make the otherwise groan-worthy double count out finish work. They did a great job building to the ending I wanted to see and then pulled the rug out from underneath. They wrestled the third fall almost entirely on the up and up in the ring. There were clean pin attempts and good near fall kick outs, all of which indicated that someone was going to win the match fair and square. Then suddenly they spill outside, things become a little more heated, and before you know it they are engaged in a brawl in the crowd. It was a good count out because I got the match I wanted, just not the finish I wanted. It left me wanting a re-match to see more of what I liked and to hopefully get the conclusive finish as well. I also like how they sprinted back to the ring and continued fighting before realizing that the referee had thrown the match out. Far too often wrestlers brawl off into the crowd as if they don’t really care about winning. This count out was played as if each wrestler wanted to win, but momentarily lost sight of that goal.
As an aside, Garza and Casas trying to break up the fight in the seats was a very effective spot as well. Things got so out of control that even the partisan seconds put that aside for a moment in an attempt to settle things down.
The one complaint I have about the finish is purely the result of hindsight. This was a great set up match for a long feud that we never got. They wrestled in other singles matches – including another one in Arena Mexico two years later – but this particular feud fizzled out after one match. Knowing that, I would have liked to have seen this well worked match have a stronger, more definitive ending. It is probably unfair to hold a match to that “20/20 hindsight” standard but I am always a little disappointed when I watch this knowing that we never got the logical follow up.