Ultimo Guerrero vs. Mistico
The first (televised) singles match between longtime rivals Ultimo Guerrero and Mistico is highlighted by a unique and excellent match layout as well as some strong booking. The intent of the match is to get Guerrero over as the meanest rudo around and Mistico as both a courageous and crafty tecnico. To both of those ends, the match is a runaway success. That’s not to say the match is all booking – there is some quality wrestling in here as well including a pair of equally awesome (although for entirely different reasons) dives by Mistico. This match got a lot of MOTY buzz at the time and also had is detractors. If not a MOTY-level match, it is certainly a very good non-stipulation singles match that holds up rather well a decade later.
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Wrestling Observer Newsletter (August 8, 2005)
The Ultimo Guerrero vs. Mistico match on 2/25, despite some media reports at the time shunning it, had been talked by others as a potential match of the year. The match didn’t air in the U.S. until 7/30 on Galavision. It was a spectacular match for sure. It had heat. The crowd of 10,000 was actually the second smallest Arena Mexico crowd up to that point of the year. Lucha Libre, due to the style, as being more entertaining as a spectacle as opposed to psyschologically dramatic, as Japanese and U.S. wrestling often strives to being, usually comes up short in Match of the Year voting. Only one Lucha Libre Match in history has ever won. That was a match where the drama was at as high a level as the poduct could be, when you head legendary masks of Alantis and Villano III at stake five years ago. This match was shorter, didn’t have the high stakes, nor the drama. In some ways, it also hurt that a best of three fall match ended in two straight falls. Obviously the moves were more outrageous, particularly the spots leading to the finishes. The fact is, the local newspapers even reported the next day that the match wasn’t even a good main event. The first fall was built up for one spot. Mistico did a running tornillo (dive over the top rope with a complete body twist like a diver as opposed to a flip) and crashed on the floor. My first impression is that anyone who can do such a great move should never have to suffer the pain of crashing on an unpadded floor. After Mistico was rolled into the riing, ref Babe Richard called off the fall, basically saying Mistico couldn’t defend himself. When Guerrero then did a spectacular looking one man Spanish fly off the top rope, Richard reversed the decision and DQ’d Guerrero. The doctor came out to attend to Mistico between falls. Guerrero continued a second fall beat down, combining totally divergent not Lucha Libre styles, going from Wanderlei Silva (punches to the side of the head from the mount followed by soccer kicks) to Ric Flair (hard chops to the chest). Then he started hard Japanese pro wrestling style rapid kicks to the chest. Mistico made a comeback, and Guerrero did a flip into the turnbuckles, but more of a Dynamite Kid style bump than the Ray Stevens flip that Flair and Shawn Michaels copied. Misti co’s big move on the comeback was a high plancha off the top turnbuckle, over the ring post, to the floor, ending with an armdrag. Back in the ring, Mistico got a near fall with a huracanrana, and another with a Toyota roll . Mistico went for a huracanrana off the top rope, but Guerrero blocked it and jumped off, flying two-thirds of the way across the ring with a power bomb. Guerrero went for the pin, but lifted Mistico up at two. He then delivered a second power bomb, Liger sit out style, off’ the top rope. On that move, Guerrero started selling his right knee. The only problem was the later replay showed Guerrero took the entire bump on his ass, and his knee was never in a compromising position. Behind the refs back, Mistico unmasked Guerrero and then pinned him with an inside cradle. It wasn’t clear whether Guerrero allowed himself to be pinned to protect his unmasked face from being seen, or if he was pinned due to the “knee injury.” I didn’t see it as a match of the year, but more emblematic of another big night at this year’s top wrestling arena.
Mistico, Valiente, Volador Jr. vs. Kráneo, Mephisto, Ripper
January 4, 2016
Like a great many classic matches throughout history, this one began with the aging, spotlight-hogging referee serenading all of us with a little pre-match mic work.
When Tirantes did put the microphone down, the match that followed ended up being a rather fun – albeit also incredibly short – eight-minute sprint. Eight minutes is not a lot of time to cram three full falls into, but the Sky Team and their rudo challengers did about as good of a job as could be reasonably expected. The falls were rushed although none of the finishes felt premature, which is not always the case for short 3-fall matches.
Kraneo and Valiente handled the obligatory mat wrestling section at the start. That part was a lot of fun mainly because Kraneo is a ton of fun. His look is awesome (so is his leg drop) and his ability to move as fluidly as he does at his size is impressive. There was not anything out of the ordinary here from what you would expect, but it was all executed well. The rudos gained control shortly after the abbreviated opening, the Sky Team followed with a spirited comeback and then the rudos put the match away after triple teaming Mistico. The fall felt like a complete fall even with such a short run time.
The second fall was highlighted by the high-energy stretch run from the Sky Team. There were a couple of great spots in the mix while Kraneo also took a couple of big time bumps. The third fall contained the best segment of the entire match. After Mistico kicked Kraneo off of the apron, Volador hit a rather pedestrian tope that at best stunned the big guy. Valiente followed up with a bullet tope of his own where he nearly flew right through Kraneo. The tope seemed to legitimately knock Kraneo back farther than he anticipated as his backwards stumble looked legitimate and he had to walk back towards the ring several feet to put himself in position to catch Mistico’s dive.
The finish of the final fall was another positive. The rudos unmasked Mistico (we got a rather long and clear look at his face) but the mask pull (which often ends a fall) served only as a false finish. Volador Jr. made the save for is de-masked partner and quickly picked up the fall for his team.
Puebla main events seem to run short as a rule these days. It is unfortunate because some of the matches that have programmed in that slot – this one included – could definitely have reached a higher level with additional time. There is something to be said, however, for an all-action main event that can be watched with a few spare minutes. There are far worse ways to end a show.