I'm hopeless at keeping up to date with lucha, so I thought I'd throw out some thoughts on what I watched over the holidays.
Apparently, CMLL had an awful year business-wise. Personally I enjoyed the in-ring product more than I have in years.
Virus vs. Fuego, 10/1 was an excellent, old-school style title match. The matwork wasn't as fluid as classic lucha, but it was similar to IWRG matwork in that both guys seemed to be laying down a challenge. I thought Fuego's bridging spots were a fantastic response to that challenge, and although many of the holds were static, I was impressed that they managed to avoid the pitfalls of "your turn/my turn" through natural athleticism. Fuego impressed me in general. I thought he hung with Virus tremendously well and even added plenty of his own touches. The transition on the outside where Fuego pulled Virus from the apron after the big tope spot was clever stuff. I think that's what I've noticed most about CMLL this year: instead of the same telegraphed transitions in every match, the work has been tighter and the rhythm a whole lot better. I'd probably put this third behind Panther/Casas and that Santo tag at this stage.
Casas/Oro, 9/2 was also good. Someone once joked that Casas sleeps upside down in the CMLL booking office like a vampire bat, but I think the key to his longevity is the way he's tweaked and adjusted his offense over the last decade or more. There was a period where I hated watching Casas work these modern matches, but I've got to admit he's really good at the tit-for-tat modern style. This was counterrific and extremely even. Casas gave Oro a hell of a lot, and while I don't watch many Oro matches, I assume he looked better than usual. So it was a job well done. Casas/Maya Jr, 12/25 was soft, though. Some of the spots were okay, but Maya didn't seem up for it. You know it's a bad sign when I'm looking at the grey in Casas' hair and thinking how distinguished he looks.
Hijo del Fantasma/Rey Cometa/Valiente vs. Niebla Roja/Puma King/Virus, 9/21 had a typically excellent opening exchange between Virus and Valiente who arguably work together better than any other pair in lucha. The rest of the match was "there" and I had a hard time giving a fuck about what anybody else did.
Shigeo Okumura vs. Valiente, 5/1 was a cool showcase for Valiente, who is still obscenely underrated. He's such a fantastic worker. I really have no idea who Shigeo Okumura is, but considering how I usually dislike watching non-luchadores in lucha I thought he did a pretty good job. Match was far from a Match of the Year contender, and I lost interest in the street run partially because the sound was out of sync, but a Valiente singles match is always worth watching.
Lastly, the Rush vs. El Terrible, 9/14 hair match. I didn't know anything about the storyline going into this match. I'd never seen either guy and I didn't know this was the main event of the Anniversary Show as I wasn't aware of anything that was going on over the summer. The Rush guy seemed significantly better than El Terrible, but Terrible got better as the match wore on. Usually, I'd have a quiet bitch about how there's no-one who knows how to work a hair match properly anymore and how much it pisses me off, but this was like watching something like Rayo de Jalisco, Jr vs. Universo 2000 on speed and how a cool "CMLL is where the big boys play" vibe to it. And there was even blood, lo and behold. Some cool spots in this one, especially Rush's dropkick off the apron and both men's use of the barricade. The finish confused the fuck out of me as I was expecting all of the bullshit that's surrounded CMLL hair match in recent years and instead it ended clean as a whistle. Had to "rewind" it as I didn't know what was going on. Fun match, but neither guy has quite mastered the type of Perro Aguayo/Los Hermanos Dinamita flair for the dramatics in this sort of big match setting.