First off, thanks to Black Terry Jr for shooting these matches and making them available. Terry is selling his videos here from now on -- http://tvluchadelpasado.wordpress.com/
Solar vs. Navarro is still the best mat wrestling on the planet as evidenced by their 8/17 match. The excitement of seeing this match crop up isn't the same as when we only got to see it once a year (or not at all), but that's the funny thing: as lucha fans, we're always wishing we could see more -- more from a worker, more from a specific match-up, more TV from the 80s, most of which we'll never see. It's something you have to come to terms with if you become a serious lucha fan otherwise you'll be sorely disappointed. Yet when we get more than we bargained for, such as with Solar and Navarro, we tend to get all analytical and go into critique mode. I've done it many times in the past and am by far the worst offender, but if you'd told me five years ago that we'd get to see this match-up on a regular basis and people would get fed up with it, I'd have told you they were looking a gift horse in the mouth.
That's not to say that this match-up is perfect. Despite the fact that they're able to organise the events in the match into a reasonable narrative structure and that there are clear stretches of one worker in control and the other selling well, they don't make much of an effort to create the same sort of drama as Casas/Panther or the Santo tag. If you were to label their bouts as exhibition matches you wouldn't be too far off the mark. I tend to prefer their work in trios because of the speed they work at, and I'm still hoping that one day (just one day) we'll see a Black Terry vs. Navarro match in full, but... this is still the best mat wrestling on the planet. Casas and Panther are nowhere near as quick with their holds. Virus and Valiente are slicker, but don't have the same submission knowledge. Navarro still looks like the best worker in Mexico to me and I don't think Solar gets enough credit as a worker, a mat wrestler or for being one of the three or four best masked technico workers in modern, taped, lucha libre history. The familiarity that people have with Santo or Atlantis should be extended to Solar, in my opinion. The lifeblood of lucha is its masked technicos and few have been better for longer than Solar I.
The 4/9 Gran Apache/Trauma I/Mari Apache vs. Negro Navarro/Trauma II/Fabi Apache trios was a blast. One of the things I love about lucha the most is that it can be so off the cuff and fun. This was only a single fall, but it was a great ensemble piece. Loved the quick exchanges between Gran Apache and Trauma II, thought the father and son stuff was really good without being overbearing and that Fabi and Mari's stuff was a nice change up. To my mind, rhythm is the most important thing when watching wrestling. If you can't get into the rhythm of what the workers are trying to do or the rhythm of a particular style, you're going to struggle. You often hear people say that a lucha fall was rushed because it wasn't long enough or shorter than the falls surrounding it, but I sometimes wonder if those people haven't gotten into the rhythm of lucha libre yet. This match had rhythm. The exchanges built on top of each other and it was worked at a fun pace. The ending was the kind of mano-a-mano showdown that I love in IWRG matches and I came out of the whole thing as satisfied as I would've been had it been three falls. Gran Apache is so underrated. I always forget him when it comes to judging the best workers in Mexico. If you asked me tomorrow who the ten best workers in Mexico are, he'd probably slip my mind. I don't even know how active he is these days, but man is he good. Those opening exchanges I mentioned were so much snappier than the usual IWRG matwork and like the match in general made a nice change from the norm.
I went into the 12/20 Fuerza Guerrera vs. Black Terry match with low expectations as I'd read it wasn't the type of match they could have had if they'd put their minds to it and that it was basically an angle to further the hostilities between their two wrestling schools, but it was Fuerza and Terry in a singles match. It wasn't a Black Terry special like some of the carry jobs he's done in the past, but there was plenty to like from the point of view of it being two of the biggest legends of my time taking off the gloves. Would've been nice to see them settle it like men, but the interference was what it was. Can't say I blame them for trying to give the rub to their students.
Another match I really enjoyed was the 4/28 Black Terry/Negro Navarro vs. Solar I/Super Astro maestros tag. I'm not sure if it's because I haven't watched a maestros tag for a while and was watching with fresher eyes, but this seemed to have a better flow to it than the last round of maestro tags I watched. The Navarro/Solar exchanges were excellent without being overbearing, they changed dance partners more often and the match had more of a three part rhythm than usual. I'd read all the comments about Super Astro's decline and while he does have trouble doing his signature spots these days, the fact that I'd braced myself for it made it less jarring than I expected. He's the guy I'd most like to see everyone in the lucha world wrestle and for that reason takes my top spot.
This was all pretty fun stuff, and again, thanks to Black Terry Jr for making it possible.