Current Watch List:
- Angelito & Stukita vs Mercurio & Pequeno Universo 2000 (CMLL)
- Maximo vs. Negro Casas (CMLL)
- Chicano vs. Eterno (IWRG)
- Minoru Tanaka & Seiki Yoshioka vs. Daiki Inaba & Hiroshi Yamato (Wrestle-1)
- Masakatsu Funaki vs KAI (Wrestle-1)
- Shuten Doji (KUDO, Masa Takanashi & Yukio Sakaguchi) vs. Smile Squash (Akito, HARASHIMA & Yasu Urano) (DDT)
Negro Casas vs. Maximo
Remember what I said in the January 6th post about mano a mano (ie. non-title and non-apuesta 3-fall CMLL singles matches) generally not being very good? Well, that is still true but Negro Casas & Maximo’s Arena Mexico match was one of those exceptions that prove the rule. This was an excellent match and unexpected in a pair of ways in addition to be another reminder (as if you needed another reminder) that Negro Casas is a great, great wrestler.
The match centered on Casas working over one of Maximo’s legs to great effect. It is not so much that you don’t expect to find limb work in lucha (there is plenty of it) but the structure and ton of Casas’ attack felt different than a lot of limb work found in modern CMLL & modern lucha in general. Casas came across far more Ric Flair-like than Virus-like in the limb attack and it was a neat dynamic. Maximo limped around the leg for most of the of the first two falls. The entire presentation was really effective. Maximo did recover a bit in the third fall. I have no complaints about that, however. In general, I am not a stickler for maintaining limb selling throughout a match and in this case, the context and presentation made it a moot point in my opinion.
The second reason the match was unique was because as mentioned, CMLL 3-fall singles matches without anything at stake tend to be forgettable. This wasn’t. I am not sure it is a MOTYC but it is a very good match. Casas was immensely entertaining (as always) in this match. The leg work was great and Casas blended it perfectly with his own uniquely entertaining ring presence. Maximo more than held his own in selling and in his third fall comeback. Maximo’s tope is one of my favorite dives in contemporary lucha. Worth watching.
Angelito & Stukita vs Mercurio & Pequeno Universo 2000
Fun opener with the mini’s. Stukita is probably my second favorite CMLL mini behind Shockercito. I am a sucker for the Stuka/Stuka Jr./Stukita “arms tucked” diving style. He is also ridiculously smooth and has a certain charisma. A good example of a breezy and solid opener.
Chicano vs. Eterno
A bloody brawl that wasn’t as bloody as it could have been. Not that I am a vampire or anything but this match did not have much going for it besides the guys bleeding. In that case, you at least hope for a real gusher from one of them but that is not quite what we got. Like a lot of IWRG brawls, this was far too long and aimless. Some good brawling, but not much to see otherwise.
Minoru Tanaka & Seiki Yoshioka vs. Daiki Inaba & Hiroshi Yamato
More or less a sprint for Yoshioka’s return match from injury. Yoshioka had a fun match versus Dean Allmark last summer for Wrestle-1 (I believe that’s the match he was injured in) but that was mostly Allmark. As a little speedy guy, Yoshiaka really feels better suited for Dragon Gate. Tanaka unsurpisingly was the best guy in this match. Yamato did a leap of faith dive off the top into the ring at one point which cracked the announcers and the crowd up. I guess someone has been watching their Aero Star tapes . . .
Masakatsu Funaki vs. KAI
I click on every Funaki match that shows up and at the very least scroll through it. He’s never been the greatest pro wrestling, but for some reason I keep holding out hope that one day he is going to have this great worked shoot style match or something in Wrestle-1. I think its because he’s one of those wrestlers that I just feel should be doing better stuff than he is. He constantly produces mediocre or worse results, but I don’t give up. His January UWFI rules match versus Takayama last year was the closest he came to something “good” recently.
Anyway, this one started out as a lot of fun. They did basic shoot style mat work to start but with that style virtually dead, I’ll take whatever I can get. Funaki appeared a tad been more motivated than usual and more focused on working submissions. KAI was not too great but Funaki put on a strong performance. The finish with the teased submissions and nasty fold up power bomb was well executed. I am still waiting for that transcendent Funaki match that I know is showing up at some point. In the mean time, this was solid enough to hold me over.
Shuten Doji (KUDO, Masa Takanashi & Yukio Sakaguchi) defeat Smile Squash (Akito, HARASHIMA & Yasu Urano) (DDT)
Joined in progress. I am a fan of all six and thought this was a solid, small show trios. Nothing all that memorable, but a good TV style six man overall. About 12 minutes of the total 18 minutes aired.