Arena Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico)
CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship
In modern pro wrestling there is very little that is truly scared; very little that is untouchable. We live in a pro wrestling world where the Undertaker now has a loss at a WrestleMania. It is a world where Shocker is no longer unbeaten in hair matches and where JTG is no longer on the WWE roster. It is a world where we have indisputable photographic evidence that indeed, Kidman can be power bombed. With so few truths for wrestling fans to hang onto, there is at least one reality that is still unwavering:
If Virus is wrestling in a title match, that match will be no less than good.
Okay, even that might not be exactly sure – I wouldn’t doubt that a stinker of a Virus title match exists somewhere. Nonetheless, watching Virus masterfully craft another traditional Lucha style title match it is hard to imagine a scenario where he could produce a poor title match these days. Virus has already produced one of the best matches of 2014 with his January title match versus Titan. While this particular title defense is clearly at least one notch below that veritable classic, it if nothing else serves as further evidence that Virus is one of the best mat workers in the world.
The opening minutes of the first fall feature effortless but effective basic holds and counters. Virus works a headlock early and feeds to Fuego to do the same. The action heads to the ground soon after with both wrestlers jockeying for advantage on the mat. There is a neat counter 2 ½ or 3 minutes in. Fuego goes for a school boy but Virus continues to troll through and ends up with up Fuego’s arm captured in a potentially dangerous arm bar setup position. Virus’ body language is great there, giving off a “this is too easy” sort of vibe which might have been overconfidence on his part as Fuego nicely escapes into a half crab.
Both wrestlers focus largely on the leg in the first fall. Virus wrenches back on a high half crab at one point that looks really good. Fuego attempts a couple of pin attempts and that only serves to agitate Virus who responds with chops and shoulder tackles. That shifts the first fall into a second gear. Virus lands a nice head butt after being monkey flipped onto the apron. Shortly thereafter – following a fireman’s carry takeover – Virus latches on a painful looking full body stretch while cranking at the leg and Fuego gives, putting the champion up one fall to none.
Virus opens the second fall by continuing the assault on the leg with a half crab. When Fuego reaches the ropes Virus goes high impact with a low shoulder tackle to the knee followed by a seated drop kick to the face. It would be inaccurate to describe Virus’ work in these title matches as strictly quality mat work. As demonstrated in the previously segment as well as others, he is extremely adept at peppering in high spots at just the right time to compliment the mat work. Whether targeting the leg with more high impact offense or cranking on holds, Virus is relentless in the leg attack for the first several minutes of the second fall. At times, Fuego limps around the ring and at others he barely stand. The game plan and execution from Virus on Fuego is not all that different to how he went about wrestling Titan back in January.
Just as Titan did in that match, Fuego too makes his second fall comeback by relying on his leg that just moments early was causing him noticeable problems. This is not as big of of a deal for me personally as it is to some. The idea that once a wrestler conveys significant pain to a body part that he cannot use that body part without selling any pain (or without a period to recover) strikes me as too rigid of a standard. The notion that Fuego is in pain while the leg is being attacked but can block that out go go on offense when given the window is perfectly fine. The litmus test as always is whether the change from selling to offense flowed well. That is, did it take me out of the rhythm of the match? Personally, it did not in this case nor did it in the Titan match. I honestly wouldn’t have noticed it either case if I hadn’t been looking for it.
Fuego continues to rally before locking Virus in a similar hold to the one Virus used to take the first fall. Instead of attempting to submit Virus, however, Fuego simply uses the hold to pin Virus’ shoulders to the mat for a three count.
The deciding fall is faster paced and near fall heavy as expected. Fuego lands a pair of solid topes, the second of which allows him to retain control when the match gets back to the ring. Fuego’s best work of the match is in the third fall. He uses a relatively basic set of moves – cross body blocks, vertical suplexes, tope rope splashes – to good effect and gets the crowd behind his title chase. The crowd progressively becomes more into the match as it goes on – particularly in the third fall – which is often a sign of strong work. There are some strong near falls – a Virus roll through of a Fuego hurricanrana got a particularly strong reaction – as the match hits a third gear.
Virus blocks an attempted lariat from Fuego which he reserves into a Vertebreaker (!) that he actually lands. Without letting go of the hold, Virus rolls Fuego into a seated surf board position before standing up with that rocking pendulum submission of his for the win. It was an appropriately hot ending to a match that was designed to showcase Fuego even with Virus getting the win.
After the match, Virus goes a step further in showcasing Fuego by verbally putting him over as a good young wrestler. He then issues a challenge to Titan for a title re-match. Yes, please.
Very good match, if a bit below the Titan match in terms of 2014 Virus matches. Virus continues to deliver in singles title matches.
Lucha Title Match | Watch It | Quality