La Fiera vs. Sangre Chicana
July 2, 1993
Hair vs. Hair
There are two things about this match’s reputation. One is that it doesn’t have much of a rep either positive or negative. Ohtani’s Jacket reviewed the match at his indispensible Great Lucha blog back in 2008 and was reserved in his praise. John Jermanis of RSPW wrote a short review back in 1993 when it aired, which thecubsfan has helpfully indexed. And . . . that’s it. A Google search uncovers nothing else on this match. The 1995 hair bout between these same two wrestlers – which is seemingly only available in clip form – is more written about and it made the 1995 Pro Wrestling Only Yearbook. The second thing is that in the two reviews that I was able to find, the word “slow” comes up multiple times. The reviews describe the match using the words “slow” and “plodding”, regardless of whether they liked the match or not. There are implications that it lacked intensity (Ohatni’s Jacket) and that Chicana slept walked through the match (Jermanis). So we have a match that has not been written about much and those who have describe it as “slow” (even if Othani’s Jacket was overall positive about the match). That is not the profile of a good match.
The thing is, this match is good; it might even be really good. For such an anonymous match, I was pleasantly surprised. La Fiera and Sangre Chicana wrestled a match is not all that far behind the much more heralded hair match Pirata Morgan and El Satanico wrestled in AAA later this same year.
I can’t explain why so little has been written about this one. It is likely as simple as that it never picked up any momentum because the two reviews out there aren’t glowing ones (the WON had it at * in the results section), the match is not on YouTube, and it cannot be purchased on a best of compilation. A match is not going to be heavily discussed when nobody is going to bat for it or making it easy to view.
The “slow match” criticism is easier to pinpoint, I think. There is no doubt they built the match step by step and the pace is methodical. Fiera and Chicana get things started with some hard lock ups and then move onto an elongated sequence built around knuckle lock holds. The holds get progressively bigger from there before Chicana incorporates punches to the rib or liver area. The body punches and other strikes are used as a feature rather than filler. Fiera sells the hell out of the body blows and appears to be in indescribable pain at times. The offense is stripped down and basic, but I found it focused and effective as well. Chicana gets a lot of the body blows, which are a unique strike that we don’t see nearly off. The combination of unique offense and strong, believable selling of that offense is a good one.
Part of the reason Chicana could come across as apathetic and the match as plodding is because Chicana is preoccupied with the fans throughout the entirety of the match. He spends quite a bit of time out of the ring and away from La Fiera while jawing back and forth with the fans. It is such a consistent presence in the match that it crosses the line from time killing to intentional stalling as part of the story of the match. What really made the stalling work for me is that Fiera sells his butt off while Chicana is hobnobbing with the front row. Chicana is doing something while outside the ring – he is being an overconfident rudo. Fiera is doing something – he is selling the punishment he has already taken. They do not waste time as much as they fill it with stuff other wrestling action at points.
The finish to the second fall plays into the theme of Chicana’s absent mindedness as well. On one of his frequent trips into the crowd, Chicana comes back out with a beer bottle. He brazenly breaks the bottle over Fiera’s head and that draws a disqualification. Earlier in the match Fiera met the steel post head on – in almost sickening fashion – so the combination of those shots and the beer bottle over the head busts him open. Fiera doesn’t bleed buckets, but he does bleed and that’s always welcomed in a hair match.
The spot of the match is the lone dive of the match; a tope by La Fiera. It is a decent tope in terms of length and velocity, but what makes it is Chicana’s oversized bump off of it. From the side view, you can see that Fiera does not make much contract (the move looks better from the behind view on replay) but Chicana makes it by timing a great big bump over the guardrail and into the seats.
Back in the ring, they run through some quality near falls. The finish is not the smoothest thing in the world. Fiera won with a backslide but it took two tries – the ref stopped his count the first time when Fiera couldn’t keep Chicana’s shoulders pin downed – but it wasn’t a deal breaker. The finish did not have extraordinary heat or anything but the body of the match got decent reactions. Chicana’s interaction with the fans and the brief crowd brawling spots during the match had a lot to do with that. Chicana being around the ring so much kept the crowd into it.
There is a quality post-match to this one as well. Chicana is none too happy about losing his hair. The barber gets about halfway through the shave (leaving Chicana with a Mohawk of sorts) before he gets into it with Fiera and they brawl to the back.
Any fan of Chicana’s more famous hair matches – the two MS-1 matches, the Perro Aguayo match from ’86 – should give this match a chance. I am not suggesting it is as good as those but it has a lot of the same qualities. They do take a minimalist approach in the sense that the offense is built around relatively basic holds and body punches while Chicana fills time by mixing it up with the crowd and Fiera spends a lot of time selling. There is not a lot of “obvious action” and that’s why it has been labeled a slow or plodding match. I saw the action as methodical in a positive way rather than plodding or slow. The strikes mean something and make for a nice story. The high spots – the bottle shot, Fiera’s tope – are well placed. Chicana taking his focus off of Fiera throughout the match ultimately leads to his loss. The end result is an excellent scaled back, methodically building match that should appeal to fans of that style.