Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (1/27/84)
Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (2/3/84)
Mocho Cota is such a compelling worker.
On one hand, he looks like an evil genius like the Master from Dr. Who. On the other hand, he's so hyper with his pre-match taunting that when you hear the Bihari relayed stories about how he lost his fingers he may just be a maniac who's on something. Maybe with his "deformity" he's got a whole "if I cannot prove a lover, I'm determined to prove a villain" Richard III thing going on. Whatever the case, he laughs like a madman.
Like all of the truly great workers, he puts an amazing amount of detail into his work. Whether he's working from the top or bottom, he's constantly selling. If it's a hold he's applying, he's always moving, shifting, trying to gain more leverage, selling the effort in his face. You've heard all the cliches about it being a game of human chess and having to think two or three moves ahead. It sounds like Larry Z on an episode of Worldwide, but Cota is that type of worker. The matwork in these matches isn't for show or to undo each other, it's a step-by-step effort at dismantling the opposition, and behind that veneer of maniacal laughter is a great wrestling mind. One of the best on the set.
I didn't pay enough attention to the January match the first time I watched it. It really is a veritable masterpiece. Some of the best matwork in the history of lucha on tape. The rematch is beautiful and the matwork in the first caida may be even better than the January match. Americo Rocca deserves a ton of credit for the matches being good as he was a more than capable mat worker who shone in the more difficult role of technico, and his selling was every bit as careful and measured as Cota's. They should be commended for working two different mat classics only days apart, but for me it was Cota who really stood out. This was the first time I really saw him being on the level of a Satanico and elevated him to that tier of lucha workers. Watch his reactions in these matches. The way he sells the "strangleholds" that Rocca applies after they've been broken. The way he pounds his fist into his hand when a well planned sequence doesn't pay dividends, or the cocky strut when he knows Rocca has submitted even before the bell. The seriousness with which he wrestles the second caida of the rematch and his selling when he loses a fall demonstrate his range. There's never a point where he isn't selling. I loved the part after the second match where the kids are heckling him at ringside and he scares the shit out of them like a one handed Boogie Monster.
These are also great matches for rudo fans as the old adage of "cheat to win" has never been so boldly played out in a lucha libre title match. Cheating of this magnitude usually doesn't occur in a lucha libre match, but Cota's genius makes all things permissible. The wonderful thing about the rematch is that I found myself wanting Rocca to win. They probably went a beat or two beyond what they needed in that second caida, as I thought Cota could have ended it sooner and added the remainder onto the third caida, but still I was pulling for Cota to knock off the bastard. The fact he lost in such screwy circumstances without Cota actually cheating was poetic and Cota rubbing it in to all in sundry was deliriously good. The part where he openly mocks Rocca by laughing at him is such poor sportsmanship for a title match and so removed from Satanico's near face turn in the Gran Cochisse fight that it almost blew my mind.
I am really high on Mocho Cota.