Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas, hair vs hair, CMLL 3/2/12
This was the match that pretty much everyone expected it would be. I won't go into too much detail about it as I assume everyone's seen it by now, but I'll share a few thoughts:
There wasn't any blood and it wasn't a hair match. You're not going to see blood at Arena Mexico, but it's still worth mentioning that it wasn't a hair match. The workers lost their hair but that was about all it had in common with classic lucha. It was a tightly worked affair with a lot of holds applied, and the tercera caida was notable for the lack of big moves and nearfalls that you usually see in a hair match. In other words, there was a hell of a lot more wrestling. The upside of all that wrestling was that the match had a ton of psychology; the downside was that it was short on storytelling. People can always come up with a story if they want to, that's a trait of any match that people like, but I don't think this match had the level of selling that you'd expect from a performer like Negro Casas and the tercera caida wasn't dramatic enough to compare it with a Sangre Chicana hair match or a Pirata Morgan hair match. They made up for that by having a keen contest, but it was a different sort of match. The best parts were similar to their lightning match and involved plenty of invention and skill, but I was disappointed in the tercera caida which I thought dragged and was more suited to a title match than a brawl. The match was geared more towards a technical brawl than biting each other's foreheads and spraying blood everywhere, but it slowed down in the final fall and there wasn't the same level of intensity. It didn't stop me from appreciating what an excellent match it was, but I watched it three times and it never got any better. I did think it was a better match than they could've had in their primes, since their collective age and experience has played such a big part in it being a maestros feud and Panther was never that great at apuestas matches, but at the same time I thought it exposed some of the weaknesses in Panther's work since he unmasked. No matter how hard he tries, he's just not that expressive. To really excel at these matches you have to be charismatic. The deranged old man act and the biting through the boot bit are fine but not enough to carry a match. I liked the Fujiwara armbar in the opening fall, though it seemed to me that they blew the spot later in the match. But again, it wasn't enough. Not to make this a truly great match. I actually liked the Black Terry/Chico Che hair match more than this as I thought Terry outperformed both Casas and Panther. The wrestling might have been better here, but I thought Terry captured what a hair match is all about.
Still, Casas/Panther, it's stupid to complain. Sticking these two together has been great and dream match-ups like this are something you rarely ever see in lucha. Therefore, it'll be in the reckoning come Match of the Year time.