Los Oficiales vs. Freelance, Angelico y Angel
Freelance is back and appears to be out of shape. I assume he's been injured as he struggled to get into his usual groove here. Not that it made much difference. IWRG has wiped the slate clean this year with great booking and I don't see the point in continuing with a feud from their muddled past. It's high time they did something different with Freelance, whose career has stalled of late.
Obviously, when a guy's been out injured you want to reintroduce him in trios matches, but I'm talking about the big picture here. Like most lucha companies, IWRG only really focus on their main events. They'll shift guys around in order to provide different main events, but if you're not involved in the top program then you're generally on the back burner in matches like this. IWRG may run another Freelance vs. Oficial hair/mask match or they may not, that's just the way lucha booking works. There's not a lot of midcard booking to speak of and a lot of matches just get thrown together. In this case, the last major thing Freelance was involved in was a hair loss to Fierro, and there were enough brawling elements to suggest a rematch of sorts, but IWRG will keep it humming along until they decide whether they want to run with a wager match or another Oficiales title defence, either of which will headline their Thursday or Sunday show, and then it's back to the back burner.
What his means is that Freelance ends up chasing his tail, while the Oficiales ply their schtick against a random assortment of technicos. It's easy to forget that the Oficiales are double title holders because they're stuck in this revolving door of weak technico opposition and not enough trios outfits to feud with. In the past, trios acts seledom grew stale because they had a lot of other great trios groups to feud with. You could move their matches up and down the card, spreading things out if the feud was stronger enough. The Oficiales spend most of their time working with guys like Angel and The Rated R Superstar, instead of Los Piratas, which I think would be a great feud if IWRG could bring those guys in on a more consistent basis. I don't know the ins and outs of lucha indy bookings and why guys come and go from IWRG, but I do know that the Oficiales have run aground since their breakout year in 2008. In part, it's because their schtick isn't as strong as groups from the heyday of Mexican trios wrestling (of which we really only saw the last hurrah), but they're still good workers. Terry's camera caught some of the detail work these guys do like bleeding underneath their masks and the cool bump one of them did into a fan, but the match structure was basically the same as any other Oficiales match, and to bring it back to Freelance vs. The Officiales, it's a feud that's been going on since late 2007 (if not longer) and was decidedly fresher at that time. IWRG has been on the whole very good this year, thanks to The Man With a Movie Camera, Black Terry Jr., but there's still an element of their TV being poorly put together in terms of match making.
Black Terry, Dr. Cerebro y Trauma I vs. Pantera, Hijo del Pantera y Zatura
This continued the theme of the Cerebros being cattle rustlers and Pantera being a retired gunslinger who just wants to settle down on his own bit of land and teach his son to shoot and be a man, but whose past keeps catching up with him... This match was so fucking great. Black Terry was like an evil Henry Fonda in this. I kept asking myself what the Panteras had done to deserve such abuse and the answer is nothing. They were minding their own business and Terry decided to fuck with them for the hell of it. Over at luchablog, I've been talking shit about people's nominations for Best Rudo of 2009 and being an ass, but honestly, I don't see how CMLL rudos are rudos at all. They're bases for the technico flyers and work to the beat of the drumming and air horns. The louder the air horns, the more popular the rudo appears to be. That may be lively for some people, but this match was just supreme.
The Cerebros' agenda was pretty simple here -- beat the shit out of Pantera and his kid until they beg for mercy. Pantera's selling was superb again, and Black Terry lorded over the match. The shift Terry has pulled in the past few weeks from the type of guy you'd pen a Country and Western song about to the ruthless bastard who's fucking with Pantera's homestead has been sensational and equally great on both accounts. The amount of dedication Black Terry shows towards ruling it in a small promotion in the tiny Arena Naucalpan has me wondering if he's not a top 10 luchador all-time. He may not be an iconic figure on a national basis, but the man just doesn't quit.
Hijo del Pantera managed to escape the rustlers in Super Astro style, which was the trigger spot for Pantera to start kicking ass. Pantera is a biggish sort of guy by lucha standards and can rumble if that's what Terry wants, but the awesome thing about this match was that he went for the win and they had a third caida where they built to a triple tope spot and cool shit like that. Both Terry and Pantera were barking orders on the outside, squabbling with the refs and turning this into a must-win caida. Such a great feud. Unfortunately, we're not going to get a Terry vs. Pantera singles match out of it as Terry just lost his hair and has been giving more of the spotlight to Cerebro of late, but Cerebro was huge in this, so I can more than live with the shift to Pantera v. Cerebro. Cerebro has turned into a hell of a brawler in recent weeks. I'm not sure if like Navarro it's an area of his game that's always been underrated, but he really is looking like the most confident guy in wrestling right now. I really liked the finish in this match too. I thought the Pantera counter into a pin was such a great "fuck you" moment and I loved Terry kicking the rope at the end after he lost the playoff with Pantera. Also great was the beating he gave Zatura after the bell and his nod to the Terry fans at ringside. Definitely my favourite feud of 2010 so far.