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El Dandy vs. Javier Llanes

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ohtani's jacket

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El Dandy vs. Javier Llanes, CMLL Middleweight Championship, 3/11/94

 

This was the toughest thing I've seen in ages... If people think lucha isn't real wrestling, they need to watch this match. Never before have I see two guys wrestle with such ferocity. It takes practice to make this look believable, and an even greater commitment to go out there and do it as a work, and the close-ups of both guys were more than just selling, they showed effort and bloody-minded determination.

 

In many ways this was like a sparring session in a gym. At the least there was something basic to it, as there were little or no strikes and neither guy was willing to submit. In this day and age, almost everything that's written or said about wrestling is cynical, but this match, whether it was a con or not, was pure sport. To that end, I was disappointed when the first fall ended off the ropes and thrilled when Llanes took the second by submission, and while they began to tire in the third and it became noticable that Llanes was feeding Dandy his arm, even the carny finish couldn't ruin what was a pure display of submission based wrestling.

 

One of the joys of lucha is guys submitting instantaneously to crazy looking submission holds, but this was rooted in the style that Diablo Velazco, Gori Guerrero and Enrique Llanes trained these men in. An inaccurate description of it might be 70s style matwork with a worked shoot intensity. I say inaccurate because matwork was around long before the 70s, but as a guy who watches old tapes those are the parameters. I've seen it compared to Dandy's match with Navarro, but I thought this was far more intense.

 

It's curious then that this match should pop up in 1994 CMLL. This era of CMLL is notable for a number of bare-bone classics, but nothing with matwork to compare to this. Anyway, if you want to watch a match with incredible wristlock work or vein popping submissions, do yourself a favour.

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