Lizmark vs. El Satanico
July 17, 1992
NWA World Light Heavyweight
Satanico and Lizmark had a long championship rivalry. Luchablog has fourteen Satanico/Lizmark singles matches in its database, the earliest occurring in February 1982 and the last one in August 1998. All but one of the matches was a championship match. There is little doubt that there are more title matches between these two – perhaps many more – that we do not have any records of. That strikes me as a rare rivalry. How often do we see wrestlers paired together for fifteen years in title matches who are consistently on the opposite sides of the fence (rudo/tecnico) but never saw their feud develop into something more heated? It provides for some interesting viewing because you don’t have to worry about the intent of the match dictating how it is worked. Each match is a title match and booked as a straight up title match, which makes the series an interesting one to watch in full.
A comparison of their title match series is an idea for another day. For now, I just want to look at the July 1992 title match and evaluate it on its own merits. The match is a technically excellent title match that is diminished somewhat by some poor referring, a questionable finish, and the lack of any memorable major high spots (dives or otherwise).
Satanico and Lizmark are both accomplished mat wrestlers. The first fall is filled with all of the tentative, positioning mat work you would expect from two traditionally oriented luchadores. There are about a half-a-dozen awesomely smooth exchanges in the first fall. Both wrestlers are so slick. That is sort of Lizmark’s main hook while Satanico is probably as revered for his brawling abilities as he is for his mat wrestling prowess. I think both guys were equally as good on the mat, which is probably the most direct line that can be drawn between this match and the classic Dandy/Casas match from two weeks earlier. Some of the counter holds, float overs, and reversals are simply beautiful and inline with the quality of mat exchanges in Dandy/Casas or Dandy/Angel Azteca.
I liked the ending of the first fall because it ended a little after I thought it would, meaning they got a couple of quality near falls in before going to the actual finish. The picked up the pace and strung a few moves together before the first cover. My brain is conditioned for the first fall to end after the first string of offense off the mat but that didn’t happen here. I appreciated the slight alteration to the usual structure.
The third fall is also a real highlight. The third fall is also mat based, but more submission focused than the grappling stuff of the initial fall. That kind of work is right up both guys’ alleys so it is no surprise there is a lot of great stuff there. There are moments in the third fall where both wrestlers – although particularly Satanico – have the look of world class submission wrestlers. I have seen more than enough Satanico to understand that he is a ridiculously talented submission and mat wrestler but that doesn’t stop me from being blown away every time I see him wrestle a title match. He does some neat submission holds (there was a leg lock that looked really good) but also goes in and out of holds so well.
There are some issues in the match, although they mainly are the fault of the referee. None of it is horrible but is your usual lucha libre referring issues where they call it like a shoot, which would be fine if they didn’t nitpick or call things that aren’t there. The referee blows what was potentially a strong near fall by claiming that Lizmark had Satanico by the hair. Lizmark was not close to the hair and the spot made no sense. It only served to momentarily halt the match’s momentum. The bigger issue is the finish, which is a tease of the double pin spot. The idea was that Satanico got his shoulder up at two but in reality both wrestler’s had their shoulders up when the referee did the third count for Satanico only. Since this was the finish, the referee let that go which only makes things worse when compared to the earlier spot. Over the course of one match, the referee called a phantom hair pull that he thought he saw but likely wasn’t a called spot and called a pin on what clearly wasn’t a pin. Obviously this is a problem that transcends this match but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. It is hard enough to wrestle an excellent match without the referee’s inconsistency screwing things up.
My other little issue with the match is that I would have liked to see the third fall switch into another gear shortly before the finish with either a dive or two or some other memorable high spot(s). The match had good heat from the larger crowd – this was on a relatively stacked card with a Vampiro/Pirata Morgan hair match on top – but it felt like they were building to a couple of bigger spots that never came. They weren’t building to any specific (at least that I could see) but the submission stuff seemed to be laying the foundation for a big spot or sequence that never came. A third fall tope or other dive might have done the trick for me but really it could have been anything. I didn’t feel like the match hit that peak point – had that peak spot – that the top matches have.
You cannot go wrong with Satanico or Lizmark title matches in general. That is even truer when they are wrestling each other in a championship match. This one is no exception. With the exception of a couple of referee blunders, there was no funny business here just 15+ minutes of two technically excellent wrestlers going at it. The match is missing the little extra to put it over the top but that does not detract from all the excellent wrestling they pack into all three falls.