Los Infernales vs. Los Brazos, Arena Coliseo, 1991
This wasn't their famous match from Arena Mexico but a smaller match from Arena Coliseo. There appeared to be missing a fall, and the finish was pretty crappy, but the main thing I took away from this was just how good everyone was in 1991. Six of the greatest trios workers ever, each of them capable of playing the lead role. I've thought long and hard in this blog about the differences between old-school and modern lucha, and finally I believe it boils down to this: these guys were able to take exchanges they'd done a thousand times before and make them seem original. Modern guys take exchanges they've done a thousand times before and make it seem like the thousandth time. And while I think there are huge problems with pacing in modern lucha, it's really the performance aspects that are the biggest thing holding it back. The Infernales and the Brazos were over the top characters that had a unique lucha charm, but there was also a flesh and blood element to them that made them compelling. These days nobody can act anymore and I can't understand why the promoters don't see fit to change that since characters are ultimately their lifeblood.
Negro Casas/Satanico/Mano Negra vs. El Dandy/El Brazo/Ultimo Dragon, CMLL 1/17/93
You know you're watching real lucha when the picture has snowy reception. This was another match from Arena Coliseo, which is generally speaking an easier night's work for most wrestlers, but it speaks volumes of these guys that they were able to put on a compelling match without exerting themselves too much. The match was wrapped around the simple idea of El Dandy having to fend off his two biggest rivals at the time, Negro Casas and El Satanico Daniel Lopez. Satanico was starting to show his age here and 1993 would mark the beginning of his decline, but he was still good enough to make Ultimo Dragon look like a passable luchador, which was no mean feat at this stage. Negro Casas, on the other hand, was flirting with the peak of his powers. It's a shame that as Casas was approaching the peak of his powers, CMLL had the core of its talent ripped out and that many of the UWA guys choose to go with the hotter ticket, as Casas spent a number of years without any true competition. I say this as a fan of course, since he cemented a CMLL position for life and will still be wrestling there when I'm long gone, but you can almost leapfrog the years between the Casas/Dandy feud and the Casas/Santo feud and that's a shame really. He was going through his football player phase here, complete with socks and boots, and was letting his ass hang out too. But more on that another time! He lined up a lot of goals during this era and his aim was true. The other cool thing about this match was the scrapping between Mano Negra and El Brazo. I kept thinking how cool it would've been if Brazo had taken Negra's mask instead of Atlantis. It probably wouldn't have drawn as well, but it would've surely been a better match.
Los Villanos I, IV & V vs. Apolo Dantes/El Texano/Mascara Sagrada, 4/22/90
This was a rare appearance by the Villanos on the CMLL undercard during the tail era of the CMLL/UWA working relationship. For some reason or another, it didn't have a very big arc, whether that was because it was an undercard match, a "guest" appearance by outside workers or simply the short comings of the workers, but it was rock solid and as technically good as you'd expect from Los Villanos. Villano I is another guy whose name you can add to the list of guys who've made Mascara Sagrada look good (and he really did make him look surprising competent on the mat) and the mat exchange between Villano IV and Texano was off the charts good. It's easy to forget how much of a beast Texano was on the mat, but the guy was phenomenal and tore shit up with cuatro
Satanico/Emilio Charles, Jr./Fuerza Guerrera vs. Atlantis/Kato Kung Lee/Octagon, 1991
This was beautiful. To be honest, I watched a lot of awful matches for this "random matches" entry, to the point where I was wondering whether I liked lucha anymore; but this right here, this reminded me why I eat this shit up. The match started off in the best possible way that any lucha match can start off and that's by having Satanico get into it with somebody. There are certain wrestlers (not many, but a few) who can get into it with anybody, and Satanico is one of those wrestlers for the simple reason that he fucks everyone off. I've told this story before, but it's like my father used to say about Precious Pupp: "he had a face that just made you wanna kick him up the backside." Invariably, the best guys for Satanico to get into it with are veterans (think Ringo Mendoza and Gran Cochisse), and Kato Kung Lee did not disappoint. They were building towards an Arena Mexico hair match with this trios, and if there's ever a Satanico comp made anything that's available from this feud ought to be included because this shit was tight. One of the things that Satanico truly excels at (and this is no faint praise since he excels at everything) is the "second go around." The second go around is my term for when wrestlers pair up for a second time in the same fall. I've seen Satanico do this a hundred times but it never ceases to entertain me when Satanico gets a head of steam up and gets his ass handed to him. Sometimes he recovers to win the fall, sometimes he doesn't, but it's a great example of how a well-honed act is what sustains a wrestling career. Other highlights in this match include quality exchanges between Fuerza and Octagon and Emilio Charles, Jr. and Atlantis, including an awazing series of punches from Emilio worthy of some local district belt. Watching the Octagon/Fuerza stuff, I still maintain that Octagon gets a bum rap. Yeah, Fuerza bumped for him better than anyone but that was some tricked out, intricate shit that Octagon was pulling off. The dude was a perfectly good poor man's Black Man.