La Fiera vs. Negro Casas (CMLL – 10/01/1993)

La Fiera vs. Negro Casas
October 1, 1993
Hair vs. Hair

The first time I watched this match, I absolutely loved it to the point of considering it all an all-time classic. On re-watches I have not been nearly as enamored with it, but the match is still one of 1993’s best and definitely worth a watch. In addition, some non-lucha fans might fan this to be more accessible than the average lucha hair match.

There is not much that can be said about 1993 Negro Casas other than he was inarguably one of the best wrestlers in the world. Casas does so many things well with Fiera. His kicking is exceptional. He brutalized his opponent with swift stiff kicks to the chest from bell to bell. The kicks in this match – not only from Casas, but Fiera as well – are partially why I think that casual or non-lucha fans might find it easier to get into than usual. Casas brings the stiff kicks while Fiera’s kicks are fancier but generally well struck. Casas was always a surprisingly great kicker; surprising because he was throwing these almost-UWF style kicks at a time that few out of Japan were. The hard kicks were especially appropriate in a violent hair match environment.

Casas gets across the inherent violence of a hair match in other ways. He takes a ridiculously dangerous bump into the Arena Mexico seats during the first fall. Wrestlers end up in the front few rows of Arena Mexico on a semi-regular basis but they don’t often get there like Casas did. Fiera threw him towards the seats and Casas flipped over landing neck first on the metal seat. It is a nutty bump from a guy who – while a very strong bumper his entire career – is not exactly Emilio Charles or Jerry Estrada in terms of taking crazy physical bumps. Likewise, Casas rarely bleeds in his matches but got busted open by Fiera early on after a nasty posting. There is not a great amount of blood but the mere fact that Casas bled when he rarely did so (as far as we know) helped the match stand out.

There was a lot of action in the first fall. Aside from the previously mentioned bump into the chairs and assortment of hard kicks by Casas, Fiera throws a German suplex that he adds a unique bridge/neck hold to for the pin. The first fall did not feel perfunctory or unnecessary at all, which while not a requirement for a good lucha match, never hurts. It is also another element that might make the match more accessible than other lucha hair bouts.

Casas takes a beating and sells for much of the second fall, which is a fine way to go because Casas is a natural at selling a beating. The strange part of that decision is Fiera is the tecnico and Casas is the rudo. Casas sells so much and Fiera is so unrelenting in his attack that the roles feel reversed at times. La Fiera was tremendous at selling for Sangre Chicana and drawing sympathy in their hair match a few months prior to this which makes me think they could have gone that route (Fiera takes the beating) and kept the roles better identified. It wasn’t a huge deal and as said, the wrestlers were fine in the roles they actually played even if Casas making a commendable comeback was at odds with his rudo designation.

The third fall is a smorgasbord of awesome offense. Casas throws a pair of high-energy drop kicks near the start; one that hits and one that misses. The miss provides an opening for La Fiera who takes advantage by kicking Casas right in the head. Fiera shows off his offensive versatility with suplexes, a variety of kicks, and elbow drops. The action gets all gritty on the mat with both guys throwing fists and feet while struggling to gain position. Casas’ fishhook STF was a great moment. Casas took a ton of punishment and goes all out rudo by hooking his hands into Fiera’s mouth. Fiera’s selling of the move was really done and was another example of why I would have liked to seen Casas wrestle dirty earlier with Fiera in a more traditional tecnico role.  Another nice moment was Fiera going for the camel clutch. Casas does the lucha spot of fighting out of a late submission attempt by crawling forward on his hands and knees. It had the added impact of Fiera applying El Hijo del Santo’s signature hold, a hold Casas would have been very familiar with and one that you could see him instinctively crawling out of in the manner he did.

They take to the air for the finish. A typical lucha spot is that a wrestler will look to the fans for guidance before attempting a high-risk top rope move. It is a way to get over the high-risk nature of these moves. The wrestler looks to the public to talk them into (or maybe out of) going for broke. Fiera surveys the audience and still climbs up. It proves to be a faulty decision. Casas rolls out of the way and all the way to the floor. Fiera’s sell of the miss makes the entire thing work. His body language is part pain and part regret. The reaction from the fans indicates they also view that miss as a turning point moment of match. Casas quickly gets back to his feet and also surveys the crowd before deciding to fly off the top. He takes a while here but I think its warranted. He knows this is his big shot and a dive from the top can end it but he also just saw Fiera crash and burn while going for the same move. The crowd cheers Casas on and he eventually goes for it. The splash connects, Casas gets the three count, and the crowd goes nuts.

In terms of offense and action, this match is the antithesis of the July Sangre Chicana vs. La Fiera hair match. That match was methodical and the offense was basic. This match is an offensive showcase of kicks, suplexes, submissions, and flying. The matches are equally as good, just very different. I could go either way on which one I like better. I do know that this is the one of the two offensive-minded fans will want to watch. There is very little here that I could see scaring off fans of Japanese or American wrestling. The phrase “lucha gateway match” is thrown around quite often and sometimes in a haphazard manner so I will stop short of sticking that label on this match, but the offense does make it rather accessible.

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