Ultimo Guerrero vs. Rey Bucanero
CMLL World Light Heavyweight
The disappointing grudge match between one of CMLL’s most prolific duos. The match is presented and played up as a monumental match in the careers of both wrestlers and CMLL in general, but the actual match fails to capture that same level of importance. Guerrero’s title being on the line also serves to obscure what essentially should have been a major grudge match between too former longtime partners.
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Ultimo Guerrero vs Rey Bucanero – CMLL Light Heavyweight Title: I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a personal dream match of mine since 1999. I just wish it could have taken place outside of the current CMLL environment.Sad Really had a big match feel with great entrances and the crowd 100% focused on what was going on in the ring with dueling chants(not like ROH). They did a little matwork to start and then out of nowhere Bucanero caught Guerrero in a roll-up for the first fall. Already I had a bad feeling.:/ Second fall started with Bucanero pretending he is Mistico which he REALLY NEEDS TO STOP DOING! He almost blew a Misteriorana but no way Guerrero was going to have a blown spot in one of his big matches so he covered nicely. Bucanero went up top but Guerrero crotched him(weakly) and then joined him up top to hit a super powerslam for the three count. No way that second fall was anywhere close to two minutes. Checking O’Campo’s results, he has it as 1:32 which is probably a little over what it really was. EXTREMELY WEAK. I knew they would be saving everything up for the third fall so of course after the first spot… AN EDIT. Yep. This totally ruined the match for me b/c they had only been wrestling for 4 minutes on TV and after that edit, the action resumed with both men completely out of breath looking like they had been through a war. I really hate when wrestlers do that. I can understand needing to do it on a U.S. TV show when you are running through tons of spots in 5 minutes but these guys did NOTHING that we(the viewers) saw that would make them gasp for air as of yet. They did a cool spot where Guerrero went for his bronco buster move but Bucanero countered into a power bomb for a two. He then took his famous backward bumps to the outside and Guerrero nailed a running somersault plancha. More selling of exhaustion as Bucanero barely made it back inside. They did three or four nearfalls and an awesome teased spot where Guerrero had Bucanero up for the Guerrero Special but Bucanero desperately flung himself backwards before Ultimo could lift him up and they crashed to the mat. A bit later Bucanero caught Guerrero with the Bucanero Storm and the crowd went crazy b/c that finisher is more protected than La Mistica. But only a 2! Both guys sold for over 40 seconds on the mat which is quite the contrast from the AAA TV show when Lider hit the same move on Tiger except more dangerously and both got up right away. Anyways, Bucanero went up top and got crotched. Guerrero followed him up and… GUERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRERO ESPECIAL! 1…2…KICKOUT!!! Crowd went crazy as Ultimo questioned the referee’s count. Before the crowd even had 2 seconds to digest what happened though, Bucanero quickly crucifixed Guerrero in a last ditch effort to win…1…2…3!!! NUEVO CAMPEON!!! And thus ends Ultimo Guerrero’s 3+ year reign as CMLL Light Heavyweight champion! Crowd went nuts for the finish which was truly great. The fantastic finish doesn’t make up for the lackluster match though. I can’t justify even putting this on my list as a possible MOTYC. The 6 minute third fall really only had 2 minutes of wrestling as 60% of the fall was spent selling exhaustion. This would be an example of a dream match gone bad. I wish both guys would have shook hands afterwards and agreed to be friends again. Instead I’ll have to suffer through Perrito vs Bucanero matches.
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.
Caifan vs. Ultimo Guerrero
March 20, 2016
Arena Jose Sulaiman (Monterrey, Mexico)
I cannot watch a 2016 Caifan match without wondering how in god’s name he is not currently working in Arena Mexico. The first several minutes of this mano a mano match from Monterrey are spent exclusively on the mat. Caifan was as smooth and fluid as we have come to expect from him. Caifan’s reversals in the early going are a joy to watch. There are several where he is almost Virus like in his ability to perform a complicated reversal in short order without ever losing contact with his opponent. There was very little visible feeding of reversals here so if you are someone who is turned off by that, don’t fret. What makes Caifan standout for me among the maestros he even often works and other proficient lucha mat workers is that he blends in realistic take downs with a sense of struggle better than most. Those that think lucha mat work is just a bunch loose exchanging of holds (which is of course itself a ridiculous assertion) should at least give Caifan a try.
I cannot watch a 2016 Ultimo Guerrero match without wondering if this is the same Ultimo Guerrero I was watching just two years ago. The post-mask loss work bump is not a UG-specific phenomenon. Villano III suddenly morphed into one of the more entertaining wrestlers in the world for six-months in 2000 following his historic mask loss to Atlantis. For Villano III, the bump was short lived. Guerrero has kept going and going. Some of it is circumstance. He is getting booked in more featured singles matches on indie shows that Black Terry Jr. and the gaggle of lucha YouTube uploaders are graciously taping for us so there is more opportunities for him to shine and more opportunities for us to see him shine. At the same time, Guerrero is clearly working on a different level since his late 2014 mask loss to Atlantis. You hear far less jokes about Ultimo Guerrero filling out his move bingo card during a match (that is, ticking off all of his usual spots one by one). He is wrestling with far more variety. He is also working harder and showing a technical acumen that quite frankly I did not know he had. Guerrero kept up with Caifan every step of the way here. The chop battle on the outside was well placed (the opening mat work wasn’t getting much heat) and it is hard to imagine the UG of a few years ago allowing his chest to be chopped up in a half-empty Monterrey arena. It is impossible to imagine him doing the hip check dive he did into the seats on Caifan if this were 2013. UG is working really hard these days and getting great results from it.
2016 Gran Alternativa Block A
March 22, 2016
Arena Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico)
CMLL tournament matches are so short that I think it makes sense to look at the tournament (or in this case, one block) in its entirety.
The Block A of this year’s Gran Alternativa tournament (a tag tournament where a CMLL veteran is paired with a “newcomer”) was the usual mix of legit newcomers and guys that are far more of a stretch for the newbie label. Triton is a former trios champion and Super Halcon Jr. has been in CMLL fulltime since 2011. Rocky Casas, Cuatrero, Magia Blanca, and Fujin fit the spirit of the tournament while Oro Jr. and Flyer are close enough. Of the youngsters, Cuatrero looked the best as he and his brother continue to impress. Magia Blanca was fine too and I like the Magnifico I stuff I have seen from Cara Lucha.
On the flip side, Rocky Casas is not ready for Arena Coliseo de Coacalco nonetheless Arena Mexico. He has a good look – he looks like a Casas – but his strikes were cringe worthy and he clearly was not comfortable moving around the ring. Speaking of not comfortable moving around the ring, Fujin is still trying to find the luchador within. He has some spots now but there is still a noticeable drop in fluidity between his young lion work in New Japan and his brief stay in CMLL. He also tended to overact when engaged in anything lighthearted in this match. I am sure he will get there at some point.
The highlight was probably Rey Escorpion who bumped his way through three tournament matches. He is a great base and a great catcher, both of which were on display here. He and Fujin looked good as a team visually and were the right choice to advance to the finals.
Posted in 2016, CMLL, Lucha
Tagged ** 1/4, 2016, Atlantis, cuatrero, flyer, fujin, magia blanca, Maximo, Negro Casas, rey escorpion, rocky casas, Ultimo Guerrero
Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero
February 21, 2016
Marvel Elite Wrestling
El Mercadito (Memphis)
Atlantis and Ultimo Guerrero brought their touring match to Memphis. If you are looking for any significant alterations from the normal match these two have worked all over in the 17 months since their big mask showdown, you are not going to find it here. With the exception of the number of falls, this was not a noticeably different match than the one they had in Japan last January, the Universal tournament finals in Arena Mexico last October or their Puebla matches from late 2015. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because their formula match is fine, just not much more than that. They played to the crowd in between quick, compact sequences. UG got his usual offense in. Atlantis hit a tope and won with the Atlantida. Even the Memphis location did not make for a dramatically different viewing experience. The fans in Memphis largely reacted to the match in a similar manner to a crowd in Puebla might react. They reacted to the high spots and the call for cheers. Atlantis was slightly more over thanks to the kids but Guerrero had his supporters as well. A match like this is often fun for the out-of-context vibe it gives off but there wasn’t much of that to be found this go around.
I did not regret spending 15 minutes with this one, but if you have seen several other Guerrero/Atlantis matches then I do not believe this one will really provide anything new.