El Canek vs. Dos Caras, UWA 02/02/92
This was on one of the earliest lucha combo tapes I bought and I remember thinking it was pretty great. Not too many people had seen it at the time, but it's been floating around on YouTube for a while now and it was part of the yearbook project where it got positive feedback. I'm not in the habit of re-watching stuff and haven't seen his in a decade or more, so I'm coming at it from a different angle.
Over the years, I've enjoyed piecing together this early 90s UWA TV bit by bit and I think it would make an interesting comp at some point. The UWA style was clearly different from what CMLL were doing at the time and what AAA would present and that includes the heavyweight style. On top of that, the UWA heavyweight style was different from what was happening on the promotion's under card. It's quite fascinating to watch what has become an antiquated style. Every time I watch Caras, I have to remind myself that he was a heavyweight and not a middle or welterweight like so many of the guys I enjoy. I also find I have to increasingly curb this notion I have that he's some kind of mat genius. I think that's a notion deeply ingrained in my generation because of the artistry of his match with El Samurai, which predated the lucha maestros era, and while he certainly could wrestle that way, it wasn't the way he worked heavyweight title matches from the footage which exists. This match was all Caras and all leg locks. The matwork was good, but not good in an "Oh my God, lucha is the best thing ever" kind of way. Probably the most outstanding thing about the match was that they worked a no-nonsense pace while adhering to the traditional structures, though I suspect that may have been because of how cold it was. Canek is a guy who I've thought in the past is mechanically good, but often dead weight. I don't think he added a ton to this, but he gave Caras a lot of the offence and put him over strongly and I was certainly pleased to see Caras win the match, so it wasn't a Canek performance you could really fault. I'm not so sure how great a match it was, however. There's nothing about it that's quintessentially "lucha," which for me is a big problem, and while I appreciate the difference in the more 70s stylised UWA heavyweight wrestling, I think if you were to study the mechanics of this as a wrestling match and not a particular style, the pace of the match didn't really make up for it not having the sort of dramatic, back and forth deciding fall you associate with lucha. It was good without really kicking into great territory, although Caras continued to salvage his reputation with me with another rock solid performance.
Cien Caras, Máscara Año 2000 & Sangre Chicana vs. Konnan el Barbaro, Perro Aguayo & El Rayo de Jalisco Jr, CMLL 03/01/92
This was an excellent trios. It was actually uploaded for my benefit, but I slept on it the first time presumably because I wasn't in the mood for a brawling trios. It was more of a ringside brawl than a proper match, and it was really these guys plying their stock and trade, but the lengthy heat segment was extremely well done. The main narrative thrust was Konnan vs. Caras, but the star of the show was Sangre Chicana. It was one of those matches where you've got a guy who's charisma is so palpable it's like the glue holding everything together. Here it shone through when he tried to hold onto the leg of a guy in the crowd or when he accidentally slipped from the apron and drew laughs from the crowd. There was a tremendous range in what he was capable of, as he'd do these comedy spots where he looked like some half drunk vagabond and then jaw with the crowd and raise their ire. If you want to see a guy who is to lucha what Jake the Snake is supposed to be to US psychology then Chicana is the guy, especially this older version. Everybody else was solid and what you'd expect from this crew. Konnan had a few weak moments, but this made me want to go through his main events and see if any of them are worth a damn. That may be a dangerous proposition, but it speaks highly to how good this was.