Blue Panther vs. Villano V, mask vs. mask, CMLL 75th Anniversary show 9/19/08
Panther losing wasn't the worst thing in the world. It's happened to plenty of workers. Some of them were big names, some small. Some went on to fame, others never got a doggone thing. But this wasn't a great match. It was the same dumbed down shit that makes it difficult to enjoy pro-wrestling these days. I was hoping for something special, and I got it in Panther's topes, but the rest of the match was bullshit. Forget about making a guy care, I had to watch the fucking replay to understand what happened at the end. If Villano III vs. Atlantis made grown men cry, this made me want to never waste another second on CMLL.
EDIT: Alright, so let me explain why I didn't like this. When I think of an old school classic, I think of blood, brawling and mask ripping, lots of great mask ripping. Guys who knew how long to let the other guy sell, what to do to him and how to bring the crowd into it. Drama that was all in the timing, selling that was all in the acting. Punches and comebacks and dives. Now Villano V mightn't be a good worker and Panther was never the greatest brawler, but the structure here was poor. Forget about blood and mask ripping, the modern trope of "go out there, do a few moves, bring out the ring girls" or editing where crowd size is more important than the match itself, the most dramatic thing about the match was Villano V hitting the back of his head. Not a big deal in a mask match, but something to work with. Panther "cracking skulls" with his topes was great, no doubt, but the CMLL dictum is to keep things moving. The crowd was with Villano at that point, they could've squared off like two heavyweight fighters, perhaps tailored Panther's demise or at the least made it actually seem like mano o mano, instead they pushed it along. Panther lost his mask like he might lose any kind of match. There was no Greek tragedy, no dramatic death scene, no great rudo performance and nothing sold. They couldn't even dredge up an exciting finish. There was heat and the crowd popped for Villano's win, but I don't think they swung in Villano's favour because of the work. As is typical with CMLL, there was a greater emphasis on the post-match than the match itself, just as everything important seems to happen between falls.
So it wasn't a great fight and didn't have the type of rhythm or pace that produces great drama. In the end I thought it was cheap. I have no problem with Villano V winning the mask, but you've gotta earn it. Being from a famous family isn't enough, win the people's minds and hearts because you bust your ass going toe to toe with Panther instead of fucking around. There was too much bullshit in this match. A million crowd shots, CMLL trying to show us how many rows were filled, egregious shots of their logo. They captured one genuine moment -- when an old lady threw a Panther mask in disgust. You know it lady.