LA Park vs. Rush (Tijuana – 06/03/2016)

LA Park vs. Rush
June 3, 2016

*** 1/2

Rush and LA Park have tried to get a feud going between them for a year or so now. Cutting promos on each other, piquing fan interest in the rivalry and agreeing to work with each other haven’t been obstacles. Those things are all more or less taken care of. The obstacle has been getting someone – CMLL in this case – to go along with it, especially since that means trusting the notoriously untrustworthy LA Park to play nice. Park and Rush started working together last summer on the indies and the stuff that showed up looked as intense as you’d expect. We got a taste of the feud last fall in the build up to the CMLL anniversary show, but really that was just a single (albeit very entertaining) trios match. Like clockwork, Park burned his bridge with CMLL almost immediately and that seemed to end any hope of getting a prolonged Rush/LA Park feud in Arena Mexico.

The saving grace for this burgeoning feud has been Lucha Libre Elite and its weird position as a a promotion that is basically CMLL (same luchadores, runs Arena Mexico) but has an open-mindedness and flexibility that CMLL has rarely ever shown. Park has been back in Elite since the spring and his feud with Rush started back up almost immediately, although it hasn’t made its way to CMLL rings. Park has stuck around a surprisingly long time so far (more than three months!) so maybe there is some hope of getting something out of this feud after all.

Of course, in typical CMLL (or Elite in this case) fashion, they got beaten to the punch in running the first ever Park/Rush singles match by promoters in Tijuana. This is the very first LA Park/Rush singles matches and it is everything you would expect it to be.

The video of the match is clipped up in the way many modern YouTube lucha videos are clipped up where most of the downtime is removed. Ideally I’d like to see the full match without anything edited out so you can compare matches more easily but I am not going to complain. It is great to have these matches at all and missing out on the time in between spots is not a huge deal. I understand if it throws some people off – at times this video does play out like a highlight reel of the match rather than the actual match – but I am used to it by now. As mentioned, the only real issue is comparing a match video like this where you get nothing but action to a match where you see how the guys fill the downtime. You can’t do a direct comparison and while the heat here was good enough and Park is so great at working the crowd that I can believe the stuff in between moves was just fine, you don’t know for sure.

That aside, this is a rather spectacular brawl. Park’s mask is ripped to shreds immediately and he is bleeding heavily soon after. The match takes a couple of minutes to get going but once the blood starts flowing, it hits a groove. They hurl objects at each other but it’s in a really gritty, violent way rather than coming off like a stunt show. Rush and Park work “corner to corner” in this match. There is a lot of whipping the opponent from post to post, lots of corner charges, and lots of moves that are set up in a corner. I don’t have that was intentional but it definitely stuck out to me.

What also stuck out to me – and is sticking out more and more to me these days – is that Park is a maestro. Maybe he is not in the normal sense that word is used these days as a substitute for “great at working holds”, but he is an absolute master of the style he works. I am hard pressed to name a luchador that has done the brawling, blooding, high impact style of lucha libre longer and better than Park. He has it down to a science without it ever coming across as routine. In this match, Park works the audience at just the right times, takes great big bumps at just the right time, and moves in different directions expertly. He also works extremely, extremely hard. This is a guy that is 50 years old and is carrying around a lot of weight after a career of working a high impact style. Yet he takes a spear-like shoulder bump into the ring post and lands an awesome tope suicida like someone half his age with half of the wear and tear he has on his body. Park’s career is marred by the fact that he has turned into a bit of a flake. He is also hurt by the fact that while he was a brilliant technical wrestler earlier in his career, he didn’t get the chance to show that off as much and for as long as he could have. Despite those flaws, he is still one of the best at what he does and this match is further proof of that.

That is not to completely discount Rush who is the world’s best rudo at the moment and seems to be having a boat load of fun working against Park. He brings his usual unmatched level of intensity to the match and took to the LA Park brawling style as if it was second nature.

The finish here is a little screwy – the referee counts a pin for Rush then immediately disqualifies him – but did you expect anything else?

Overall, this is a tremendously fun match and a great first singles match from two of the most charismatic wrestlers in all of Mexico.

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