The cover to Love and Rockets 46 reminds me I have a blog to update.
7/15/94 AAA: El Hijo Del Santo/Octagon/Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Blue Panther/Fuerza Guerrera/Psicosis - Gimnasio Juan De La Barera
After saying my piece about Santo last time, allow me to turn around and praise him this week. Santo was phenomenal here and gave arguably his best AAA performance in this little known trios match.
The difference between this and a lot of Santo's other performances is that this actually started out on the mat. One of the things that bugs me most about this era of AAA is the lack of matwork. The other day I was watching a match where Satanico squared off with Solar. Rather foolishly, I expected them to work like maestros, and well, you can imagine how I felt when all they did were shoulder-checks.
I understand why AAA had the style that it did and I realise that my tastes in lucha are far more in line with Juan Herrera than Antonio Peña. I also acknowlege that there was a large fanbase for Peña's ideas and that many of them made money, but that money has been long since spent and it's just so frustrating to see great workers tumbling when they should be working the mat.
That's what made this much such a wonderful exception. Santo and Panther wrestled on the mat for a good two to three minutes; and while it may not have been as deep or as long as some people would like, it was matwork that Blue Panther and Atlantis would be proud of. The thing that struck me most about watching them work is that unlike the lousy, assisted matwork of the Psicosis title match, their knowledge of the ins and outs of each hold extended to the proper counters, which meant that none of their escapes looked aided or assisted. It's not a very original thing to say, but for once the term "mat clinic" can be applied without sounding like a lazy cop out.
I was also impressed with their second go-around, which was much more in keeping with the "Bull and the Matador" routine where one luchador clears the ring of the other but more inspired than usual. To top it all off, Santo produced once of the most exciting finishes to a caida I've ever seen. Octagon had Psicosis in the set-up position for a powerbomb, and all in one motion, Santo managed to turn a leapfrog into a forward somersault and a forward somersault into a huracarrana and the pin. Just a fantastic piece of athleticism from El Hijo del Santo and a kickass way for a technico to prove their superiority.
The rest of the match was fairly decent too. It was pretty much standard fare for AAA with the technicos looking to get out on the break and the rudos being fooled into running with them, but it went down to the wire and had an exciting final play. AAA trios basically amount to either a technico showcase or a bone for the rudos and this was a case of the latter. None of the other parties gave an outstanding performance and Santo was less involved after the first caida, but he absolutely flew on one of this planchas to further prove he was on point.