Blue Panther vs. Averno, hair vs. hair, CMLL 9/13/13
This was a mixed bag.
I loved the opening fall. I thought it was a tremendous battle of strength with the counter from the headlock to the cobra clutch being the kind of tough, gutsy wrestling I love. Averno's efforts to flip Panther off him and Panther continuing to hold onto the clutch were beautiful, and when Averno finally did counter the clutch into an arm lock and began guillotining Panther in the face, the only thing that could have been cooler than Panther's transition into the winning submission would have been if he'd gone for a palm strike, which of course Panther wouldn't do.
I didn't mind the immediate reply in the second fall and thought Panther sold it well. Panther's selling has improved since he first lost the mask and has become a strength of his it seems. The third fall started with a pointless dive and then settled into some decent submission work, but it went on for too long and really started to drag. There's only so many submission attempts and so many dives you can do before they become redundant. I would have loved the match to continue in the vein of the first fall, which obviously wasn't going to happen on a big show at Arena Mexico, but the alternative of Averno not knowing the stip (or pretending not to know) kind of sucked. It was a silly distraction considering how great their submission battle had been in the first two falls, but the thing with Averno is that even though he was perfectly solid in this match he's not a guy who's able to do a whole lot of interesting holds. So there were more dives and some bullshit with Averno's second, who threw in the towel and caused Panther and the ref to be distracted which let Averno win with a choke hold. The best thing to come out of all this was Panther selling the choke while his head was being shaved.
I'd say it was the best of the big Panther matches outside of the Casas hair match, but still not great.
Guerrero Maya Jr. vs. Virus, CMLL 10/6/13
Now this was a great match. I've thought for a while now that Virus is the best worker in the company and this pretty much confirms it. The surprising thing for me personally was that it wasn't the opening two mat falls that pushed this over the top for me, but the final juniors-esque third fall that I fell for.
The opening stretch-work was stellar and very UWA in the way they worked in and out of wristlocks and hammerlocks and abdominal stretches. It wasn't all Virus either. Guerrero Maya for his part wrestled extremely well. But one of the things that sets Virus apart from his contemporaries is his ability to construct awesome finishes and in a neat bit of detail Virus was able to turn a Russian leg sweep into an octopus like submission that put pressure on the shoulder Maya had already strained from the hammerlock. Nice. The second fall continued with more arm work until Maya realised he'd be better off creating more space during their standing portions, which was smart given their size and reach difference. He caught Virus with a nicely executed shoulder breaker move and won the fall with a cool looking submission of his own.
That set the stage for a scintillating final caida where both guys went hell for leather. They were able to maintain a cracking pace while still selling, still putting some thought into their transitions and bridging their spots with good looking strikes. The Maya tope, which had to be a little lower to strike Virus properly, was stunning, and the new CMLL cameras are really cool. It was one of those caidas where every time they ran a sequence, like the Maya scoop slam or the baseball slide into the top rope plancha, they made good choices. When that happens, it's pretty magic. The new camera that seems to give high definition handheld shot that made Maya look like Spider-Man descending from a building. The nearfalls and slow ref counts added to the drama and the struggle over the simplest of things like a schoolboy was beautiful to watch. The escalating big moves were what made the fall so juniors-esque, but it was wonderfully done. Virus' arm drag off the ring post was superb and his final submission and pose sealed this as a classic.
I would have no problem calling this the match of the year.
Máximo, Stuka Jr. & Super Porky vs. Dragón Rojo Jr., Pólvora & Rey Escorpión, CMLL 10/4/13
Escorpión really is a c-nt to beat on poor Porky like that. This was extremely well done for what it was. I haven't seen much Escorpión, but he seemed to have a Michael Hayes vibe to him. That was my take anyway. Porky gave Escorpión some receipts for that beating and a hair match is in the works. That could unseed Maya/Virus as MOTY.