Ringo Mendoza/Atlantis/Ultraman vs. Los Infernales (Satanico/Masakre/MS-1), early-to-mid 80s
Now here's a match nobody ever talks about.
This was a classy trios that started out with an awesome exchange between Satanico and Ringo Mendoza.
Ringo Mendoza is the kind of technico that never backs down from a fight. If a rudo tries to rough-house him, he puts up the fists. He's never a dick about it, you just don't take liberties with Ringo Mendoza. Satanico was looking for an advantage on the mat like it was his God given right, but Mendoza had tussled with Satanico over various middle and light heavyweight titles and kept good position.
I dunno if he was trying to needle Satanico, but he wouldn't break when Lopez was in the ropes. Satanico called for the break, but it wasn't forthcoming. It was awesome spot, because Mendoza had him in a real fix. Satanico was on his back, with his shoulders pinned to the mat and his feet on the top rope. There was nowhere for him to go and his selling as he realised Mendoza wasn't releasing the hold was incredible. Out of the break, he got right on top of Mendoza, trying to rip his arm free, but Mendoza countered and started twisting Satanico's knee. Satanico tried a counter of his own, but Ringo leant back on the hold, turning it into an awesome lucha submission where Satanico was upside down with his head on the canvas. Satanico reached out and grabbed the rope, but Mendoza wouldn't break. Finally Satanico snapped, screaming at Mendoza before limping back into the neutral position. This was Satanico at Gran Cochisse title match levels. He gave Mendoza a couple of hard slams and tagged out. A close-up of him on the apron showed just how riled he was.
Usually in a trios match, the technicos win the opening fall by upping the tempo and sending the rudos bumping, but in this case it was Satanico who came charging in like a bull, getting whipped by a series of leaping headbutts. He charged head first into the turnbuckle like a maniac, took an awesome bump off a dropkick and scurried away from Mendoza's cartwheel.
I love a trios match where everyone gets a little testy, and when Mendoza caught Satanico in a submission hold for the finish, he had it applied for what seemed like an eternity. As soon as the ref counted three, he pushed Satanico away and Lopez took a fall. Naturally he complained about the push, because he's a guy THAT NEVER STOPS WORKING. Hell, he even talked it over with MS-1 between falls, racking his brain for ideas.
I've been watching a lot of random stuff lately, and most of it has been on the disappointing side because of the technicos, but here you had Mendoza, who wasn't gonna take shit from Satanico; a fresh faced Atlantis, who wasn't just an incredible flyer, but answered a slap from MS-1 with a dropkick flush in the mouth; and Ultraman, who did karate without looking like a total dick. So, when the incredibly awesome old guy blew the whistle for the second fall, the rudos had a contest on their hands. The second caida began with the rudos coming off second best. There was a classic exchange where MS-1 tried to use his reach to do a little karate of his own and got completely owned by Ultraman, and then there was Satanico vs. Mendoza... with Satanico in his face pointing... hard slams to the canvas, Satanico telling him to bring it, Mendoza driving him into the mat, Satanico punching the mat (and selling his hand!)... Awesome. The look on Satanico's face when he couldn't get the better of Mendoza is officially the greatest thing he's ever done.
The rudos took over like they always do, much to the chargrin of that little old lady who was at every Arena Mexico show in the glory days. The envy of us all, God bless her soul. They took each guy apart, until finally the technicos turned the tables and that meant it was time for punches. Satanico may have been the best wrestler in Mexico, but there was no way he was taking Mendoza in a fight. Mendoza was ducking and weaving and cracking right hands. Satanico was flailing everywhere. He'd slap himself in the face and throw a wild haymaker. I'm telling you there's never been a better guy in Mexico.
The finish was really cool, as each of the technicos took on the Infernales three on one, weaving and bobbing and avoidng the triple team. It was a comical version of float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The other day I listening to Cornette praise the Midnight Express, Rock 'n' Roll Express and himself for being able to do these sort of spots and he talked some shit about lucha, saying as soon as one guy fucks up the match falls apart... Well, it's obvious Cornette never watched any proper lucha.
Anyway, this was a bit of a find. Most of the Mendoza I've seen has been in his latter years where he was just there to add a bit of colour to trios matches, but here he took center stage and it was every bit as awesome as Lopez v. Gran Cochisse. Ringo's cool, but it's hard to go past Satanico as the greatest worker ever when you see him take the technical aspects of a lucha title feud and turn it into a heated brawl. His selling, attention to detail and ability to work a feud was, and probably still is, phenomenal. A pro-wrestling mastermind.