Chico Che/Freelance/Hijo del Pantera vs. Apolo Estrada Jr./Avisman/Eita, IWRG 2/18/13
I really wanted to like this as it had Freelance, Avisman and Chico Che in it, but there wasn't a single exchange I thought was special. Freelance, in particular, seemed really off and nothing like the worker who used to dice with death every time his feet left the ground. It kind of meandered along in a very old-school way, which may appeal to some people, but there was none of the overlapping of falls or clever touches that make trios matches special, and even Che failed to charm me.
Blue Panther/Sagrado vs. Rey Hechicero/Califan, ACM 4/14/13
I sometimes wonder if the reason I don't enjoy old man Panther as much as others is because he lost his mask, as though I sometimes resent him for unmasking. Then I watch matches like this and I realise it's because CMLL doesn't let him work to the best of his ability. This was an excellent match. Panther wasn't even the star, as Rey Hechicero and Sagrado had one of, if not the most outstanding opening exchanges of the year. Hechicero also worked superbly with Panther in the second caida. This was a match I was incredibly excited by despite being a tag and would have been my favourite match of the year if the finishing stretch hadn't been quite so sloppy.
Oficial 911 vs. El Angel vs. Trauma II, IWRG 2/18/13
This had some of the usual three-way bullshit, but they tried really hard to minimalise it by finding logical ways to take one guy out of the action. Unfortunately, that's not always possible and there was a bit of dead time as a result, but for the most part this was a decent brawl that maintained its energy. I was quite impressed with El Angel, who for a kind of low rent technico packed a decent punch and the right amount of starch behind his offence for this kind of fight. Match was good enough that I should probably watch the apuestas.
Super Nova/Texano Jr vs. Ray Mendoza Jr/Villano IV vs. Casandro/Hijo del Pirata Morgan, V5 Retirement Show 3/16/13
This was the tail end of a ruleta de la muerte tournament on what was supposed to be Villano V's retirement show. Mendoza promoted the show himself, paid for some expensive indie talent, drew a poor crowd and lost about forty grand on the deal, which has forced him to keep wrestling and promoting. But as a YouTube video clip it was quite the spectacle. The crowd may have been poor, but they filled up the floor and were in good voice. The match was basically the kind of hard hitting, violent brawling that's been Villano IV's living for the past few years. It was solid stuff, but the highlight was seeing Casandro again. I'm not sure whether he was selling or if he had real problems with his reconstructed knee, but if that was selling then it was selling of a rare class. Casandro simply put is one of the standout performers of the modern era. He should be held in the same regard as Panther, Casas, Terry or Navarro, but we just don't have the footage to elevate him to that level. His performance here was notable not only for what he did in the ring, but the range he showed during the lengthy post-match, a blend of staunch, dignified yet emotional reaction to the ignominy of having his hair cut. An interesting contrast to the more manufactured Villanos/Morgan family issues sans-mask, though that feud has continued on Mendoza's indie shows and is probably quite fun. All in all, maybe top 5 for Mexico this year if viewed as a spectacle.