Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera (AAA handheld 3/16/96)
I was all ready to moan about how this wasn't real lucha, but the first two falls of this were actually really cool. It was a really spiteful match compared to most Rey Mysterio vs. Juventud Guerrera bouts and the atmosphere was fantastic with a seat right at ringside and a pan of the arena that made it seem like an amphitheater. There were a lot of neat details that a pro shot match would never dwell on, like a "long take" of Rey Mysterio in his corner trying to recover before the next round. I was really impressed with Juventud in this match. He's not a worker I've ever fully embraced, but there was a real sting to his offence here and from the moment they spat at each other, he brought a real intensity to the match. Of course, anybody who knows anything about this match knows what happens in the third fall. There's a series of run-ins which are indefensible. They don't just ruin the match as a contest, but they decimate it. It's bad enough that it's not worth watching the match, but if you can tolerate the unbelievable shittiness of the third fall the first two falls are excellent.
Dr Wagner Jr vs. LA Park (TXT 5/11/13)
This isn't the kind of wrestling I like but I forced myself to watch it because so many people are saying it's one of the matches of the year. Usually when there's crowd brawling and chair shots I start to tune out. I can't figure out what was wrong with a good old fashioned ring posting and a little bit of brawling out on the floor, but I will say that as far as dragging a guy through the crowd and the stunts that go along with it, so to speak, these guys are pretty good. I didn't love what they did, but matches like these are all about visuals and they created some great ones. By the time the third caida rolled round, you had Parka with this horrendous blade job that the ref, Black Terry, had to tear off a strip of his mask or something to tie round his head to stop the bleeding, and Wagner with his eyes almost bulging out of his mask, all glass-eyed, probably from the numerous chair shots and Parka slamming his head repeatedly into the mat. The doc did some running repairs on Parka while he was out on the floor, but the bandage went flying as soon as he was back inside. A few people had a problem with the back and forth, your turn/my turn nature of the third caida, but I thought it was pretty typical. In matches like these, the workers tend to take turns dominating the opening two caidas and then the third caida is largely 50/50. They could've done a better job with the overlapping of the falls perhaps and had a third caida turning point similar to the spear into the chairs that began Wagner's comeback in the second fall, but I didn't really find myself wishing for more. The match was largely okay. The finish was bullshit, but that was always on the cards. They could have cut out a bit of the crowd brawling and tightened things up a bit, but I can see the appeal the match has. With the tinge of grey that Wagner was showing and Parka being fat and middle-aged, I did wonder about who'd be better off losing their mask if their long awaited mask match ever pans out. I'm thinking that Parka is so dependent on the skeleton costume that losing the mask would be a pretty big blow. Wagner could probably do his Rock rip-off schtick and still be over. Mind you, I'll probably be middle-aged by the time they find a money mark to put up the cash. Do check this out.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera (AAA 4/21/95)
This was better than I remembered. It's a good thing I watched it during this period where I've softened on AAA. It wasn't really lucha (ha, there's the moan), but it was reasonably well worked and probably the best Rey vs. Juvi match from AAA. There were a couple of things they blew, but the match had a good energy to it and there was an obvious chemistry between the workers. Psicosis worked the corner well with his FMW t-shirt that looked like it was personally signed by Atsushi Onita. There was a spot I really dug where Juvi had his back turned to Mysterio on the outside and Rey did a tope into his back. That was cool. They did a bunch of other crazy shit too and I've got to give Mysterio his due here: he really is the greatest high flyer of all time. I don't think any of the other flyers have had quite the balance that Mysterio achieved. He really was an extraordinary athlete in his day. I also really dug the way these two would pin each other. If they could have rubbed each other's faces into the mat while getting the three count they would have stuck it to each other. They lent into those pins and there was a whole bunch of extra holding. Good match.
Fuerza Guerrera vs. Mike Segura, hair vs. mask (IWRG 11/4/99)
This was a fun one-fall apuestas match. Segura's a good worker so I was fairly confident this would be worth the watch. He had a real early 90s grunge look going on for this apuestas match and I half expected him to start singing Even Flow, even though he looked closer to Iggy Pop's age than Eddie Vedder in his close-ups. This being one fall was a bit of a twist on the apuestas format as instead of having the match broken up into three there were twists and turns along the way. There wasn't the blood that you associate with hair vs. mask matches and the brawling was mostly limited to Segura ripping Fuerza's mask, but it wasn't a bad little match. I thought the mask ripping was about as interesting as mask ripping can get. There were some really neat touches from Fuerza, as you'd imagine. He's actually had surprisingly few apuestas matches in his career if his record's correct (like half a dozen), so this is worth watching if you're a particularly big Fuerza Guerrera fan, which most of us are. I was amused by the advertisement on the ring apron for IWRG's angelfire site. Those were the days.
Rayo de Jalisco Jr vs. Universo 2000 (CMLL 12/10/99)
This was a fun "CMLL is where the big boys play" match before Villano III and a couple of other rudos did a run-in to attack Atlantis at ringside. Whoever was booking this must have had one eye on the Monday Night Wars. Bit of a crock really, but fun to see Rayo and Universo Dos Mil dropping bombs.
El Hijo Del Santo, Fuerza Guerrera y Villano III vs. Negro Casas, Shocker y Felino (CMLL 9/4/98)
1998 was a real come down for CMLL after their amazingly hot 1997. They still had an extraordinarily talented roster, but the booking became lax and things turned average pretty quickly. I still think they dragged the Santo technico turn out for too long, though Jose disagreed with me over that the last time we spoke. Week after week of the rudos not wanting Santo in the club anymore but the technicos not being ready to welcome him back into the fold got a bit old to me. This was one of those matches, but look at the talent in the match lineup. There's no way this is going to be anything less than an enjoyable television match and that's exactly what they delivered. Some great match-ups in this -- Casas vs. Fuerza and Casas vs. Villano III to go along with the usual Santo vs. Casas riffs. Negro was really good in this and had an MVP night.
Lizmark, La Fiera y Atlantis vs. Bestia Salvaje, Emilio Charles y Dr. Wagner Jr. (CMLL 2/6/98)
Fun match that ends in a big pull-apart between Emilio Charles Jr. and Dr Wagner. It starts off with a bunch of heat between Atlantis and Wagner, actually. Their exchanges spill out of the ring several times and it's all very much apuestas tease stuff with a bunch of ground and pound to take advantage of the UFC's rising notoriety?... Seriously, I don't know why they were doing mounts, but they were. Wagner was really starting to come into his own at this point and cracked me up on a few occasions. Emilio was sporting his Triple H look here. He did some decent stuff with Atlantis before the angle. He couldn't bump like before with all the theatrics, but he was busting ass to get back up after each bump. Bestia didn't get to do much and Lizmark still looked pretty good, but Fiera was actively bad. It was kind of sad, to be honest. Match was still technically fun, though.