PERRO AGUAYO, JR. VS. UNIVERSO 2000, hair vs. hair, 3/17/06
Just to get our readers up to speed:
After Universo Dos Mil laid Perro Aguayo, Sr. out and took his hair, Perro Aguayo, Jr. took on the age old quest of avenging his father's defeat. Perro, Sr. wound up returning on the 2004 Homenaje a Dos Leyendas show, where the Aguayos took the hair of Cien Caras and Máscara Año 2000 in a pretty good match actually. Sadly, Lover Ice's account was pulled before we could give it a proper review, but it all lead to one defining moment -- a showdown between Perro Aguayo, Jr. and the man who ended his father's career.
Another match from one of the hottest feuds of the decade, and another example to point to if you want to show people a strong Universo 2000 performance. The Dinamitas were always some of the more charismatic performers in lucha libre, and El Hijo Del Perro Aguayo had more star quality and more charisma than anyone else in 2006. Also, this might be the last great lucha de apuestas match that still feels part of the same style of hate-filled brawls that EMLL loved to built to. While I thought the 2009 Villano V-Panther match was excellent, the work in that bout felt stylistically closer to a modern WWE main event brawl than it did with an old fashioned lucha libre fight. As the years have gone by in pro wrestling, almost everybody has started working for the TV cameras, and this has played a part in making a lot of CMLL matches forgettable and generic in recent years. But Universo 2000 and El Hijo Del Perro Aguayo were elite arena performers that worked for the people there in attendance and this had the feel of a big time Mid-South Coliseum main event. Just like the Perro Aguayo match from 2001, Universo was the worker of the match and he deserves a lot of credit for how impressive this turned out to be.
Right at the opening, Universo goes straight at Aguayo with a flurry of tight looking strikes and throws Aguayo around by his hair. Universo also takes him over with a nice hip toss throw and hits a hard senton. Universo is not giving him any time to recover and is closing in the distance to go for the kill. Universo puts him away with a fireman's carry slam and a medio cangrejo to win the first fall in a direct fashion. Aguayo never had an opening and the attack was violently straight forward. Between the falls, he is still after Aguayo and gives a slam on the ramp and poses at the crowd to show them who's in control.
The second fall starts with Univeso 2000 entering the ring with a sloppy but painful looking dropkick on Perrito. Universo just continues the onslaught with a nasty looking camel clutch as he tries to rip Aguayo's mouth wide open. Aguayo refuses to submit, so Universo hits him with another hard senton. Perro's selling the punishment with a lost stare and Dr. Alfonso Morales cries out that he's in another Galaxy! Universo hits a HUGE dropkick on Perro, and then makes the timeless mistake of going to the top rope. Of course, the high risk move fails and Perro makes a quick comeback and hits la lanza for the win. I guess one of the criticisms here is that Aguayo's comeback didn't have the impact it probably should have had and his strikes weren't as good as what Universo was dishing out.
At this point, it's a little surprising that the seconds in the match, Cien Caras and Perro Aguayo Sr., have not had any huge role on what has taken place in the ring, but that's going to change soon. In the third fall, neither guy has a significant advantage over the other, as it progressed into a more back and forth struggle between the two. It's a pleasant surprised to see how organic it felt rather than the problematic "my turn, your turn" stuff that infects too much of pro wrestling these days. In the opening moments, Universo takes his awesome corner bump that just sends him flying to the outside in a great looking visual. It's a trademark bump that Universo takes, and the impressive thing about it is how reckless and out of control it feels. When Universo steps back in, he quickly surprises Aguayo with a great flying elbow blow and hooks on the Gory Special. Aguayo reverses the Gory Special quickly into the Octagon special for a nice counter. After that, Perro avoids Universo's charge and Universo takes another great bump, this time into the ringpost and it sends him flying to the floor again. Aguayo immediately sees the opening and follows it up with la silla from the apron. As the match unfolds, we see more nearfalls, counters and the usual moves we see in these type of matches. As expected, Universo starts to cheat as the match starts drawing to a close by using the assistance of ropes in a couple of nearfalls. Aguayo also takes a huge over the top rope bump, and Universo quickly goes flying out of the ring with an impressive tope that sends Aguayo into the 2nd row. Finally, the seconds get involved and we get martinete teases, a low blow false finish, and a furious Perro Aguayo Sr. punting Universo between the legs for Perrito to finally score the victory. Confetti rains down from the sky while Perro Sr. and Cien Caras have a brawl.
Epic encounter, amazing atmosphere and one of the great CMLL brawls of this decade. Universo 2000's facial expressions and him clutching at his crotch as they cut his hair is one of those great postmatch moments.
I thought Perro's performance here was crap.
Think about it like this -- here's a guy who humiliated your father and ended his career. Your father is a guy who got over by ripping El Santo's mask and bloodying him like few had before, which, according to legend, saw Santo retaliate by going back to his rudo beginnings. He made enemies his entire career, til finally he was shot down in the street like an aging gunslinger. It's an archetypal revenge story: Los Capos are Frank and his men in Once Upon a Time in the West, and you're Charles Bronson.
Steve Sims describes a hair vs. hair match as follows:
Excepting the current wave of multi-man cage matches, any match where a mask or a hair on the line is almost always the culmination of feud, where the rivalry has ceased to be a sporting one and it's now personal. In such matches, almost always, all caution is thrown to the wind, and almost any tactics (especially by the rudo) are fair game; heck, even the tecnico can get away with fighting fire with fire or, doling out una sopa de su propio chocolate, i.e., giving the rudo a taste of his own medicine. These fights are a fight to the death, and one must be willing to spill his own blood, sweat, tears, and more blood in order to defend his honor. These matches are the truest form of the cathartic fight between good and evil for the usually lower-socioeconomic-class fans.
Gone are the days of "blood, sweat, tears and more blood," but if any feud fit the bill this decade it was Aguayos vs. Los Capos. This ought to have been one of the fights of the decade, with Perro, Jr. showing the same intensity as his father. After all, he'd waited five years for this apuestas.
So how did Perro play it?
Like a chump.
It's all well and good to have the big, dopey offence befitting an arena performer, but it doesn't mean shit if you can't act or sell. The writing was on the wall when he come to the ring as though he were the Rock or some shit, and later on he took off his shirt and posed to the crowd. Jesus Christ, you're supposed to be avenging your father not auditioning for a WWE development spot.
This match was a complete waste of Universo 2000, arguably the best main event performer CMLL have had this decade, who I thought gave an excellent performance. The match would've been better off as a one fall contest, but no amount of bullshit could've saved this since Perro Aguayo, Jr. was working like a rising CMLL superstar and not the son of the man whose honour he was defending. Perro was so misguided, so focused on his own heat, that he barely gave any shine to Universo Dos Mil or the meaning behind the bout. Perro's comeback here was the worst I've seen in a big match, and Universo really should've sandbagged him, which he could've done in a single fall contest by cutting off his comeback attempts. Watch how Perro pops up on offence like Kurt Angle. This is the type of shit that gets ignored when wrestling debate boils down to favouritism.
The highlight of the match was Universo's tope, which was an awesome spot but came off like a title match spot. That's the problem with CMLL hair matches these days -- there's nothing to differentiate them from title matches or any kind of singles match for that matter.
The finish was bullshit too. Technicos should never win a hair match like that, even if it is "una sopa de su propio chocolate," and Perro, Sr. was a famous rudo in his glory days. Full credit to Universo 2000 for the way he sold the aftermath. That put the young Aguayo to shame.
Let me set something straight: I don't think Perro Aguayo, Jr. is a hopeless worker. It was just a hopeless performance in a hopelessly modern CMLL hair match, and a massively disappointing way to cap off one of the better feuds this decade. Universo was shifted from the main event scene after this -- a shitty exit for such a proven performer. Perro, Sr. and Cien Caras retired amid a storm of controversy. Universo should've got a better send off. Raging Noodles thought this was great, and he's a much nicer guy than me, so you've got two opinions. If I learnt anything from doing these reviews with him, it's that Los Capos were gun.*
* Aussie slang -- to be gun at something is to be very good or the best at something.