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Virus vs. Guerrero Maya Jr.

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ohtani's jacket


Virus vs. Guerrero Maya Jr., CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship, 7/6/11


This was a great match. It was almost assuredly the Match of the Year for 2011 and hasn't been topped since.


The early part of the match was a clinic from Virus. There's plenty of matwork where you get a more even contribution from both participants, be it Navarro and Solar, Casas and Panther or even Virus and Valiente, but in terms of carrying a guy this had as much rhythm as any of those match-ups and was a testament to what a great worker Virus has been for the past fifteen years or so. He spent most of the first fall circling Maya, applying one hold while all the while thinking two or three holds ahead. At one point he clung to Maya's back like a parasite trying to worm its way into a submission opening. When nothing came of it, he tried a different route, probing and circling and all the while waiting... Recently, there was some criticism on this site that lucha matwork rarely plays into the finish. I'd argue that you're much more likely to see a submission finish in a lucha match than the NWA style it was patterned after; but in this match, after a cool looking segment where Maya had to bridge his way out of a head scissors, sure enough they took to the ropes. Now the argument goes that this usually leads to one guy missing a move and the other guy scoring either an instant tap-out or flash pin. And to be fair, it's true that this happens a lot in the most uninspiring of lucha. But let's take a look at this match: instead of Maya scoring a flash pin from taking it to the ropes, Virus went in for the kill. And what a kill. When I said he was waiting, it was like a shark waiting for the right time to strike. Objectively speaking, I don't see how anyone can say that Virus didn't set that finish up. And when people say the grappling wasn't as good as the IWRG style, that may be true but you don't see the same psychology in those matches.


The second half of the match was an offensive showcase for Guerrero Maya Jr. I haven't seen much of Maya so I don't know how good he really is, but it's difficult to imagine that he's the former Multifacético. What really made this match was how great the tercera caída was. Maya reminded me of 1984 Atlantis in his second fall comeback, but in the third caida he took it up a notch with all sorts of nasty modern offence. The third caida was a really modern CMLL fall, but these can be exciting with the right rhythm and plenty of cool spots. The difference between this and so many other matches like it is that they got the timing right on every single spot. From the dropkick from behind to the senton to the outside to the armdrag takedowns, the match kept building and building; and for the first time since probably Sombra's match against Ephesto I found myself actively rooting for a technico to win. You can't beat that sort of drama in a wrestling match and that's why they haven't been topped since last summer. Probably the Match of the Decade thus far.

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