Villano III vs. Rambo, mask vs. mask, UWA 10/25/87
This was the match Cronicas y Leyenda teased us with a few years ago and which I posted so pictures of from DJ Spectro's blog about a year ago. Finally, the bout is in circulation and while it's hurt a bit by clipping what's shown is good enough to take pride of place alongside the other great Luchas de Apuestas matches that exist from the 80s.
The exact chain of events aren't shown in the first two falls, but basically Villano III takes such a beating that his mask is in tatters and his forehead heavily cut. When it comes to lucha bleeders, I know Phil Schneider loves to tell the story about how Pirata Morgan would blade his empty eye socket, and then there's Sangre Chicana and other noted bladers, but I don't think Villano III gets quite his due as a lucha brawler. He's got a forehead to match Perro Aguayo, but people tend to think of him as a technical wrestler, I think. He was tremendous here, especially working his bloodied comeback. Rambo was a solid hand and these two had a series of great matches over the years, but if not for Villano this might have been a bit too heavy on Rambo attempting his finishers. The third fall was what you want from this sort of match -- big sweeping arc, nearfalls, plenty of dives and nutty highspots, and some great moments of desperation. The highlight being Villano's armdrag from the apron, which Rambo took as a really heavy looking bump onto the concrete. The finish was one you don't see a lot of in lucha and that's a chair shot. I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first until Rambo unmasked and began complaining. I loved how it seemed Rambo had a legitimate gripe despite the fact he brought the chair into the ring and that anything generally goes in these type of matches. Rambo got repeatedly screwed in this feud over the years and it amused me to see how it all began. Minus the clipping, this might've had a good shot at my top 10 for the 80s. As it is, it's another piece of 80s treasure.
Fuerza Guerrera vs. Misterioso, NWA World Welterweight Championship match, CMLL 12/8/91
This was exactly what you'd expect from Fuerza Guerrera carrying Misterioso. Not something I really want to see. Some people might appreciate Fuerza putting on a one man show, but to me it reminded me a lot of modern matches where you have a guy like Casas doing all of the work and the recipient not really contributing.
Fishman & Blue Panther vs. Atlantis & Lizmark, CMLL 1/9/98
This was one of those short, one fall tournament bouts that usually don't amount to much, but in this case they decided to take it to that wonderful place we call the mat. It was probably the hardest Fishman had worked on the mat the entire decade and unfortunately he wasn't that crash hot, but what followed was some of the most beautiful lucha libre I've seen in all my years of watching. To my knowledge, there has never been a known Lizmark vs. Blue Panther singles match. This is as close to heaven as we're going to get. To put their work in context, it smoked the Virus/Panther lightening match that got a lot of acclaim this year and was probably better than the best Panther/Atlantis stuff in terms of pure exchanges. I hope I haven't built that up too much, but I watched it again tonight and was blown away a second time. The stand-up stuff wasn't as good and Fishman struggled to keep pace, but there were some fun exchanges between Atlantis and Panther and Panther and Lizmark before the necessary fall to move the tournament ahead. Considering how close this was to the 12/97 Panther/Atlantis match, Panther may have been the best guy in Mexico at this point.
Lizmark vs. La Parka, AAA Triplemania I 4/30/93
This was ridiculously great. I had no idea La Parka could be in a match this good in 1993. This was one of the least co-operative looking lucha matches I've seen. The matwork had a shoot like edge to and later on the dives and all of the offence seemed to have extra impact, and the transitions and set-up spots seemed to be peppered with headbutts and other strikes. The match went to a commissioner enforced "extra period" and even that as gritty. Everything just seemed to work so perfectly. It was like watching 2004 La Parka not the early version. A lot of the credit has to go to Lizmark, I suppose. Lizmark has been off my radar for a while now and I'd forgotten how good he was in AAA. If there's one thing AAA did better than CMLL, and there's probably a few since I'm feeling generous about AAA right now, it's book Lizmark in long title matches. To be honest, when I think of this match and the Estrada match I actually think he was a better singles match worker than Atlantis and should probably rank higher in the lucha hierarchy. This deserves a better write-up than I have the time or energy for right now, but I was super high on it and I hope people check it out. There's no doubt in my mind it's an AAA classic and it would probably push top 20 for the decade if I ever get round to revising my list.