Kato Kung Lee y Shogun vs. Kung Fu y Xavier Monarca Cruz, 10/2/92
Javier Cruz in 1990 had one of the best babyface runs I've ever seen. There are a lot of classical babyfaces in lucha, but Cruz played the fired up babyface to perfection. He was like a lucha version of Tito Santana, able to play a perpetually pissed off babyface without coming across like a complete dick. The trouble with Cruz is that outside of that run his career really wasn't that interesting. He was a team player more than a leading man, but with the AAA defections beginning to take their toll, there wasn't much of a team to have a run on. Still, they turned him heel and he began wearing a black studded glove to distinguish him from his technico look. They also played up his history of hair matches. He'd won so many hair matches in the past that he'd earnt a rep as an El Tijeras de Oro (Golden Scissors), but after two straight losses to Apolo Dantes he needed some midcard hairs to build him back up, and that's how he wound up in this feud with ex-Fantasticos, guys he'd knocked around with in the past. I'm not sure Shogun was. I don't think he stuck around CMLL for long. At first glance he looks like another guy trying to cash in on the Fantasticos gimmick ala Octagon. This was a fairly tame tag that was build for the year-end show, a card which usually featured a couple of lower profile apuestas matches to see out the year; in this case, Cruz vs. Kato Kung Lee and Pierroth Jr vs. El Supremo, though it would be remiss of me not to point that out that El Supremo's mask had some historical value.
Los Brazos vs. Los Infernales, 10/2/92
This is exactly what you'd want from Los Brazos vs. Los Infernales in a midcard spot as opposed to the main event. Some violence and intensity from the Infernales, a bit of blood from El Brazo, and the usual dive train from both sides. It was fun watching the guys walk around in various stages of their hair regrowth. MS-1 was recovering from a hair loss to El Faraon in the summer, El Satanico had just had his head cleanly shaven after losing to El Dandy at the Anniversary show, and Brazo de Oro had short hair from an issue with Chicana. This wasn't your four star hidden classic, but it was guys you know are good putting on a good performance.
Atlantis, Love Machine y Mano Negra vs. Bestia Salvaje, El Supremo y La Fiera, 10/2/92
This never got going, and aside from a few glimpses of what Atlantis vs. Bestia Salvaje might have looked like around this time was nothing to write home about. It did have a cool ending though, as Fiera was passed a towel which concealed his favourite weapon, the chain. He proceeded to whip the absolute shit out of Love Machine, which may have been hinting at something bigger, but Barr left shortly thereafter.
King Haku, Ultimo Dragon y Vampiro vs. Black Magic, Negro Casas y Pierroth, 10/2/92
King Haku, Ultimo Dragon and Vampiro, that's my trio right there. This started off with a disagreement between Pierroth and Smiley over who the captain was and squabbling among the rudos. Negro Casas squaring off against King Haku has to be seen to be believed. He sold Haku's chop like he'd been shot in the chest with a double-barreled shot gun. The rudos began beating Pierroth up, and in one of those lucha quirks he kept tagging with them instead of an instant technico turn. Ultimo Dragon tried to bring some workrate and had some pretty slick exchanges with Casas, but this match was all story. Pierroth had gotten so big in '92 that they turned him technico, which killed probably one of my favourite runs in lucha history, but he was getting big cheers and they needed to do something with business sagging. Vampiro was surprisingly okay in this, in that "every once in a while Konnan was surprisingly okay" sort of way.
Black Magic vs. Rayo de Jalisco Jr., 11/20/92
I was hoping for a big, dumb and dopey Rayo match and instead I got a grounded, not so good mat display from Smiley. It was kind of interesting that they made him the heavyweight champ, I guess.
Los Metalicos vs. Los Cavernicolas, 12/18/92
This was the most wonderful undercard match I've seen in a mighty long time. I might even go so far as to say it was the perfect lower card CMLL workrate match. Los Cavernicolas were a short-lived repackaging of Popitekus, Verdugo and Hombre Bala as cavemen. All three were breaking down physically, but were still fantastic bases (especially Bala.) The Metalicos were your perfect trio of sensational young fliers, led by the incomparable Oro. Awesome bumping and catching from the rudos and absolutely gorgeous tope suicidas from the Metalicos. This stuff is so beautiful when done right. The highlight was Oro doing a springboard moonsault that will long be embedded in my memory as how to do that move. Really exciting match that I almost didn't watch until I decided I'd watch everything available to me. Would definitely make my short list for best matches of the year.
Xavier Monarca Cruz vs. Kato Kung Lee, hair vs. hair, 12/18/92
This was the type of hair match which you know isn't going to reach any grand heights, but it was simple and effective and stuck to the basic tenets of hair match wrestling: blood, brawling and submission attempts. So long as you stick to those tenets pretty much anyone can have a good apuestas match. It's the great workers that take it to another level. Cruz wasn't really in that category, you'd have to say, at least not without an opponent who was equally as good. Still, this was a decent way to cap a fairly insignificant feud and it probably wouldn't have made sense to have a legendary bloody match in a token end of year apuestas match, though it would have been cool.
As many of you will know, I'm a big fan of the '89-92 CMLL period, but the strain on the promotion was really starting to show here. The guys who you'd expect to be good were good, but dark days were on the horizon and you could tell that the clouds were gathering. Still, I love this era, out of nostalgia if nothing else. Next I'm going to take a look at some CMLL from the lost years of '93-95, where the hardcores stopped taping CMLL and we literally lost stuff.