Arena Mexico (Mexico City, Mexico)
Mexican National Welterweight Championship
When given the opportunity, Virus is going to deliver a good technical title match every time out. You don’t have to worry about that. That means that much of the improvement over the standard, very good, technically worked Virus title match is going to come from the opponent. Sure, Virus can contribute more or less in any given match (he is not quite a machine) but those gains or losses are going to be minimal. The opponent is going to be the main driver and the one that moves the needle the most over (or under) the standard very good Virus singles bout.
In this instance, Titan was the difference between a very good Virus title match and a great one. He brought a lot to the table that I think elevates this match over some comparable Virus matches from recent memory.
The mat work in the opening fall was standard Virus fare which also means it was very good. It set the tone for the rest of the match, which is exactly what opening mat work will accomplish when properly executed. Virus is the master of smoothly transitioning in and out of visually impressive holds. Titan was game and more than held his own. At the same time, he did not try to do too much during the opening fall. He takes the openings where Virus gives them and keeps his holds and counters simple. Sometimes that’s the better path than trying to go hold-for-hold with your opponent who is a master at that particular style.
Virus takes the first fall with the inverted, swinging Boston Crab submission hold that looked particularly painful this time.
After what was largely neutral, feeling-out mat work in the first fall, Virus targets Titan’s leg to kick off the second fall. He applies a variety of neat leg-focused submissions that keeps Titan at bay. Several minutes into the third fall (ten minutes of total match time), Titan blocks two attempted charges into the corner by Virus. Titan got fired up – which in turn started the crowd buzzing – and ran towards Virus, only to be cut off by a chop block. It was a really great hope spot and cut off at the right time in the match.
Shortly thereafter, Titan made his real comeback. I could see people having problems with Titan relying heavily on his legs to make his comeback, but in all honesty it didn’t strike me at all as an issue. Titan’s general body language still exuded that of a wrestler who had been beaten up for the past three minutes. The fact that he was not hopping around the ring on one leg after three minutes of leg work is in no way a momentum killer to me. Titan concluded his comeback by hitting his handspring head scissors into a pinning-combination as well as I have ever seen him hit it. Usually he does the hand stand walk back and/or his opponent as to take obvious forward steps into the move. In this match, his legs landed almost perfectly on Virus’ shoulders after the spring backwards.
Starting with that move and extending throughout the entirety of the final fall is where I thought Titan really contributed to the match and brought it to the next level. He controls the early minutes of the third fall. He does largely by bringing a controlled – but nonetheless good-looking – flying element to the match. His top rope moonsault to the floor looked great as did the stiff springboard dropkick he re-entered the ring with. Titan’s flipping dive also looked good, particularly because Titan seemed to flip over extra late which made the impact with Virus appear much more violent. His springboard splash was a nice and simple high-impact move at a spot in the match where he easily could have pulled out something more convoluted. Not to be outdone, Virus slingshot senton to the outside was a thing of beauty.
In addition the flying, I through they got thought they got a really strong near fall when they went back to the hand spring head scissors that won the second fall. It should also be mentioned that they pulled out several call backs to Virus’ mini-days and his matches with Cicloncito. I’ve seen at least one of their matches but wouldn’t have picked up on those spots if they were not pointed out to me as were watching. That is nice little wrinkle to the match, but if you are like me and would not have been aware of those spots, it is hardly essential to your enjoyment of the match.
The stretch run was well-done with Titan saving his best submission holds for that sequence. I really liked the stretch he used to pick up the third fall and the match.
I thought this was a very nice blend of Virus’ strengths (holds and mat work) with Titan’s strengths (flying and charisma). For that reason, I liked it better than some of Virus’ other recent singles matches although this match deserves praise strictly on its own standalone merits.
Lucha Title Match | Must Watch | Quality