Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas, lightning match, 12/13/13
Looks like Casas is starting to shrink in his old age, and man did that close-up of him at the start look bad. They should have struck while the iron was hot and had the Rush/Casas hair match in the summer when things were at a fever pitch. Now things have cooled off and we've got shit like lightning matches and other shortened bouts. I hate lightning matches even when they're between great workers. There's nothing satisfying about watching workers you like in Nitro length bouts.
The opening mat-work was fine. Nothing life changing, but it served its purpose. I still maintain that Casas isn't an elite mat-worker; he knows how to grab an arm, but the early portions would have been better if Panther had been in control. Still, the point of the mat-work was to provide a stalemate and the work flowed nicely into the Casas dive and the various pin attempts. I'm not sure the Santo head-scissors was as pretty as it could've been, but it kind of worked in the context of two greying adversaries battling it out. Panther's tope was a bit like that. The first time I saw it, I thought it was awful. On repeat viewings, I thought it suited an aging maestro.
Not to harp on about them getting old, but I can't be the only one worried about these guys aging. I remember watching this match-up in 2008. That was five years ago. In another five years both these guys will be 60. They can't keep working at this level forever and when they fall there's going to be a pretty big void to fill. To their credit, what they've done since they began feuding in earnest has been better than what they did in 2008, but it's a worry.
I suppose I should enjoy the match more if that's the case, huh? But remember we're always looking for great matches on this blog.
The finish was a finish for the sake of having a finish to a lightning match, which is a bit of an odd thing to say about lucha as you can make the same argument about the finish to most falls, but I still thought it was a bit of a token fall. I do applaud the effort they made to craft a logical lightning match that worked as a self-contained bout rather than an exhibition of lucha, but Casas vs. Panther aside it wasn't anything to get excited over.
Blue Panther vs. Averno, Arena Puebla 12/9/13
This was... a match. It had a really shitty beginning and end, both worked around a Fujiwara armbar, which is an insult to the Fujiwara armbar. In between that we got Panther working a company match. Averno tries hard, but he's extremely limited and thus there were a lot of repetitive exchanges. There was a long stalemate on the mat through the middle portion of the match, which featured some cool punches from Panther, but it didn't make much sense given the instant submissions that permeate the company style. Match wasn't really an improvement on their Anniversary Show bout.