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El Dandy vs. Emilio Charles Jr. ('93 hair match)

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ohtani's jacket


El Dandy vs. Emilio Charles Jr., hair vs. hair, CMLL 10/23/93


The most obvious thing about this match is that it's a hair match without any blood. Normally, I'd go on a spiel about how you can't have a hair match without any blood, but I never promised to be fair or consistent with these reviews.


This was a great fight and one that carried a bit of extra meaning for me.


The great thing about getting into lucha libre is that you have to want to get into lucha libre. There's not that many people who can tell you what to watch, so you have to figure it out for yourself. Everyone has a different entry point and for me it was 1989 CMLL.


1989 was a great year for CMLL and one of the highlights of that year was a lengthy feud between El Dandy and a rudo named Emilio Charles Jr. Emilio was a guy I'd never heard of before, since to this very day he doesn't have a big rep as a worker, but watching those '89 tapes it struck me that Emilio was every bit the worker that Dandy was. Guys like Steve Sims or Kurt Brown, who were lucky enough to watch CMLL in the 80s, point to Pirata Morgan, La Fiera, Negro Casas or Jerry Estrada as workrate guys, but if you watch something like Emilio Charles Jr. vs. Atlantis from '84, you'll see that Emilio was pushing the envelope as much as any of those guys. According to Jose, he was put into Los Destructores to learn the ropes, but if you ask me, CMLL had a diamond in the rough.


Dandy's star continued to rise in 1990 and Emilio settled back into trios wrestling. This wasn't that uncommon in the late 80s/early 90s. A guy like Satanico would bide his time in trios until the bookers were ready to use him for another mainevent run. This was how CMLL were able to book so many different hair and title matches, and for the most part it was a successful formula. Somewhere along the way, however, Emilio's body began to break down. I don't know the full story, or if there's even a story, but he was a huge bumper in trios and had a fondness for that high arcing bump over the top rope that Pirata Morgan was so famous for.


What I didn't realise until recently is that CMLL brought back the Dandy vs. Emilio feud in a down year. The chance to see a competitive Emilio Charles Jr. match in 1993 was a complete bonus for me.


Dandy came to the ring to a remix of I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred that had the lyrics "soy un sexy luchador." Sometimes the down years are greater than the boom years. Emilio had his Andre the Giant hair going on here. His ability to grow his hair out was rivaled only by Mocho Cota. Cota was unbelievable at preparing for hair matches. Seriously, the guy would go from looking like like Shakespearean villain to Dr J in a matter of weeks.


The opening fall was pretty standard. There were a number of spots where usually the blood would flow, but for whatever reason Dandy didn't blade. There was plenty of niggle, however. Emilio pulled Dandy's hair in the ropes and straight out of the break Dandy fingered him in the eyes. Emilio won the first fall with the type of simple move that I know bothers a lot of people about lucha, but you have to get into Emilio taunting the crowd to appreciate these type of matches. His fist pumping, chest beating, fnger pointing taunt told the crowd in no uncertain terms who the man was in that fall.


The second fall was likewise nothing special, with Dandy taking the most direct approach available to him, which mostly consisted of punching and kneeing Emilio in the face. Dandy did a good job of selling the work Emilio had done on his back, but there was nothing in it in the first two falls. Dandy's crucifix pin to win the fall was beautiful (especially on the replay), and the tone was set a winner takes all third fall.


The third fall wasn't the greatest contest I've seen in lucha, but you have to remember how broken down Emilio was by this point. The best parts of this fall came across as a high-end title match and Emilio's selling was fantastic. There was one stretch where Dandy had Emilio in a headlock and it truly looked like Emilio was struggling to breath. The vicious elbow he gave Dandy to break the hold complemented the vibe he was giving off and his selling of Dandy's figure four leglock bordered on the sublime. It didn't matter how slow Emilio had become, he was one tough bastard and the match kicked into high gear when he tope'd Dandy into the second row. The transitions were rough as guts, but so was CMLL in 1993. What I loved about this fall is that both guys wanted the win and they fought to the bitter end.


And Emilio fucking won!!


I wasn't expecting that at all. How awesome is that?


Dandy went for La magistral and Emilio low blowed him while he was in the armbar. He clotheslined Dandy from behind and applied a crucifix pin of his own. Such a brilliant finish. The instant he low blowed Dandy the crowd were aghast. There was a rudo fan sitting in the front row and on the replay you could see that photographers were blocking his view. He sat forward as the ref began to count, and as soon as that hand came down for a third time, he lept into the air and rang his bell for all the arena to hear. Other fans looked like they wanted to rip their tickets up.


So there you have it. A competitive Emilio Charles Jr. match in 1993. Maybe not worth its weight in gold, but there really aren't that many great Dandy matches after the Casas feud, so like I said at the top -- it's a bonus.

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