Hijo Del Centurion Negro, Rey Hechicero, Simbolo vs. Black Spirit, Charles Lucero, Golden Boy, Monterrey 7/21/13
Monterrey has kind of snuck up on me as a good place to watching wrestling from. This was my first look at maestro Charles Lucero, who's supposed to be cut from the same cloth as Mexico's other maestro greats, but for me this was all about Rey Hechicero, who continues to impress. The other guys were there to make up the numbers and aside from the Hechicero/Lucero exchanges this wasn't very good.
El Angel vs. Trauma II vs. Oficial 911, IWRG 3/3/13
This as nowhere near as good as the three way the week before and the mascara contra mascara section was nothing special. I liked the finish, though, and it got a good pop from the Naucalpan faithful. You've got to love those Naucalpan-goers, from the kids trying to do come off the ropes and do rolling bumps in the ring to the guys who refuse to leave their seats during brawls and are terrible bases for the workers who come flying at them.
Ruleta de la Muerta Rd 1, La Última de un Villano 3/16/13
Okay, so the whole thing was put up by the Tercera Caída guys and no-one seems to have gone through it, so I thought I would. Worst case scenario I get to see two more Cassandro matches.
1a. Cien Caras & Dr. Wagner, Jr. vs. Solar & Toscano
-- Match started out with quite a lengthy exchange between Wagner and Solar. That's a match I'd quite like to see, free from all the bullshit, although it's probably five or six years too late given that Solar is approaching 60. The next few years is a bit of a concern if you like the maestros as they really are on the wrong side of 55. Still, the exchanges were pretty good. This was the longest of the first round matches as Mendoza had to get his money's worth out of Wagner, I suppose. Caras was Caras; Wagner did his usual schtick. Women in the crowd argued with him. He took plunder into the ring. Decent opener to the tournament.
1b. Máscara Año 2000 & Rayo de Jalisco Jr. vs. Cassandro & Hijo de Pirata Morgan
-- Much shorter bout, no qualms about presenting this as lopsided. Highlights were Cassandro whaling away on the much larger Rayo and his nutty, Psicosis-style ringpost bump. Los Dinamitas beat Rayo up after the match for old times' sake.
1c. El Mesías & Mil Mascaras vs. Ray Mendoza Jr. & Villano IV
-- Mesias and Villano IV were okay on the mat as long as things kept moving. When they were stationary, it was pretty lame. Mascaras must be about 80 now. I liked seeing him tie Mendoza up on the mat, but he can't do his signature spots very well. Not a great match-up for the Villanos, but they showed Mascaras the usual respect.
1d. LA Park & Universo 2000 vs. Súper Nova & Texano Jr.
-- This also went long, again presumably because of Park's booking fee. Universo has lost a step since that CMLL run that Raging Noodles and I were so fond of, but I still like him. He gave Texano, Jr. a whipping but good with the bull rope. Super Nova and Texano provided, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most highspots in the opening round.
Charles Lucero vs. Rey Hechicero, Monterrey 7/28/13
This was a sweet match. Lucero wasn't exactly Picasso on the mat, but he was pretty good. He had a different style from a lot of the other maestros. It was almost like traditional NWA style matwork in the vein of Ray Mendoza or Enrique Vera, whereas Hechicero provided more of the "lucha" touches. Nice little narrative here with Lucero getting tired of trading holds and throwing a punch. Having watched far too much British and European wrestling of late the first strike from a frustrated rudo is quite familiar. Hechicero could have perhaps retaliated a bit more, but when he took back the reins I thought his swinging moves were really cool. This served its purpose well for the title match which followed.
Solar & Toscano vs. Cassandro & Hijo de Pirata Morgan, Ruleta de la Muerta 3/16/13
Back to the Villano show. I was hoping for an epic Solar/Cassandro match-up here, but they went the more sensible route and had Solar/Morgan and Cassandro/Toscano pairings. The work was pretty solid and what you'd expect from trio matches where they've gone once round the horn with matwork and are squaring off for running rope exchanges. Cassandro's injury was legit. Toscano drop kicked him off the turnbuckle and he took a nasty bump to the outside. The match was rushed a bit after that, though that may simply have been the nature of the beast since it was Ruleta, but there as plenty of flash in the finishing sequence and for this type of thing it wasn't a bad match.
For those of you keeping record at home, there's nothing missing from the earlier YouTube clip I wrote about that showed the next two Villanos matches back-to-back. As for the overall show, it was an easy watch. Ruleta de la Muerta is what it is in terms of match quality, but there was a lot of star value here. It's just too bad it wrecked Mendoza, Jr.
Charles Lucero vs. Rey Hechicero, Monterrey 8/4/13
The big title match. This was cranking along nicely with the same mix of matwork and inside shots from Lucero, and wasn't any better or worse than the match that proceeded it, until what was probably the spot of the year. In the third caida, they decided to go epic in classic lucha title match fashion and they did a tope spot where Rey Hechicero missed Lucero completely and dived head first into an empty chair. This was executed fantastically and looked great each time they showed it on a replay (which was numerous times.) From there, they teased the doc calling off the fight, and Lucero stepped in and tried beating Hechicero up some more. Hechicero fought on and they cranked things up an extra notch with nearfalls and the like, including Lucero missing a dive on the outside and having the doc check on him. The finish was a really classic lucha style submission finish that had me pretty pumped. Really nice win.