La Fiera vs. Black Magic (CMLL – 04/17/1992)

La Fiera vs. Black Magic
April 17, 1992
** 1/2 

It would seem there is not much in the way of backstory here. Fiera and Magic were booked on opposite sides of trios matches several times on Sunday Arena Mexico in early 1992. Going by the luchablog database, it doesn’t seem that the feud transitioned over to the Friday night shows until the week before. That happens to coincide with a run of Friday Arena Coliseo after the February/March run at Arena Mexico wrapped up with 4/3 Arena Mexico Anniversary show (the same show that had the impromptu Atlantis/Fiera title match). For some reason, CMLL seems to have reshuffled things to move the Fiera/Magic feud over to Fridays but who knows as to why. The fact that the feud didn’t really go beyond this point anyway, so who really knows what was going on.

Even in isolation, it is clear there were pre-existing issues between the two with the way they begin the match. Fiera attempts to use his chain as a weapon and when he gets rid of the chain, he still approaches the match likes it’s a brawl with strikes and kicks. Within moments of the match starting, Fiera has done substantial damage to Magic’s left arm. Smiley sells the arm by favoring it in this subtle and natural way. I don’t know about you, but when my arm hurts in a non-broken/fractured/torn type of way the reaction is to just not move it when I don’t have to but to grin and bear it when I do. That’s what Magic does. He keeps his left arm close to his body when he doesn’t need to use it. I thought it was a really effective and natural way to sell a limb. Magic hit the sweet spot between selling to much where some would think he should have no use of his arm going forward and not selling enough to render the arm-focused offense irrelevant.

Steve Sims described this as the most “American style main event” he could recall seeing in CMLL at the time. I can see where he is coming from. Any sort of “lucha staples” you might expect to see – dives, lucha submission holds, a focus on pinning combinations, shoulder bumps – were non-existent. Instead it was arm work, non-Mexico specific submission holds, and suplexes by Magic. I am uncertain that this type of match was as rare for this time period in Mexico as Dr. Lucha alluded to but otherwise I agree with his take. Fiera is one of those luchadores whose general style was never all that different from the styles fans of U.S. or Japanese wrestling would be accustomed to. I doubt anyone would pick up the ’93 Casas hair match, ’91 Jerry Estrada chain match, or even the ’86 Babe Face hair match without watching much lucha and be significantly thrown off by how Fiera wrestles in any of those matches. The difference here of course is that Fiera is in the ring with an opponent who doesn’t have a background in lucha at all and thus is going to strictly wrestle in a more universal style. That makes for a match that has rather universal appeal and would not have looked out of place on WCW television in 1992 (save of course for the 2 out of 3 falls format).

I don’t think the match would have turned heads on 1992 WCW TV, but it wouldn’t have been panned either. It is really a simple layout when you remove the first two fall finishes but also very solidly executed. The heel (Fiera) attacks early and targets the arm. Smiley sells the arm and works from behind. He makes a comeback, Fiera takes back over, and then Smiley makes a final comeback ending with a nice looking suplex to get the win in less than 12 minutes of total match time. It honestly doesn’t get much more straightforward than that, regardless of country or style.

Fiera was not happy with the loss and he jawed with Magic a bit. Smiley was a good tecnico and draws decent reations, which doesn’t seem like an easy task for a foreigner going up against a guy who has wrestled in Arena Mexcio and Arena Coliseo for many years. When Fiera is screaming at him after the match, Magic gets in a fighting position – while still subtly favoring his left arm – forcing Fiera to have to back down. The post-match makes it seem like this feud is going somewhere but it didn’t at all. This was pretty much it and judging by the winner that might have been the plan the entire time rather than a case of CMLL randomly dropping a feud. Smiley went over clean as a sheet and Fiera did not attack post-match. There was little impetus for the feud to go on. The two did end up having a hair match, but that wasn’t until December 1994.

The only real intrigue to the match is seeing Smiley work a standard match in Mexico or if you want a quick 12-minute match that leaves most of the lucha staples by the wayside. It is a basic match with solid execution, but nothing that hasn’t been done thousands of times all across the globe.

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