CMLL "The Lost Years" (1993-95)
Mocho Cota, Felino & Kahoz vs. Silver King, El Texano & La Fiera, 8/22/95
Is it time to re-evaluate old man Cota?
He was pretty damn good here. He didn't move as well as the 1984 version we've been watching, but he brought a little mat work, a little brawling and some great trios bumping. It helped that he was working against world class workers in the shape of Silver King and Texano, but long time fans of the blog will know that I've never been the biggest fan of Los Cowboys and yet here they looked like absolute world beaters. It may have just been the occasion as even La Fiera looked surprisingly athletic for this point in his career and was doing all his old spots with gusto. This had a little bit of everything and was given enough time to be one of those neat Arena Coliseo matches that pop up from time to time. Felino and Silver King had a mat exchange to begin with where Silver King looked like the most exciting guy in Mexico, and then Cota and Texano had themselves a good old fashioned contest on the mat. The finish to the first fall was really cool as Cota was resisting a sunset flip attempt by Texano and Silver King nailed him with his super kick. Between falls, they tried lifting Cota from the mat and he fell straight back to canvas. Later on, he sold one of Fiera's kicks by taking an amusing bump to the outside where he signaled that he'd had enough of Fiera and stumbled into his corner. Back in the ring, he had Texano in a suspect choke hold, which led to a punch exchange between the two of them where Texano kept delivering jabs to the face. Basically, everybody was ruling it here. Not to be outdone, Felino took a bump off Fiera's spinning high kick that looked like it could have easily decapitated him. The only weak link was Kahoz, who was a fairly average worker, but had been in a thousand career trios and at least knew what to do. The big talking point, though, is whether Cota was some sort of 90s maestro. It's too early to say whether this is the start of a reappraisal, but if I were scything through '95 looking for the good stuff this would definitely be a keeper.
Dr. Wagner Jr., Gran Markus Jr. & El Hijo del Gladiador vs. El Dandy, Silver King & El Texano, 7/15/94
On one hand this version of La Ola Blanca were better than I expected as El Hijo del Gladiador (Talisman) served as the the workhorse and Gran Markus Jr.'s involvement was kept to a minimum. On the other hand, they weren't that good. Talisman was a decade past his best, and while Wagner did plenty of his father's mannerisms, he wouldn't really get how to work until he went to Japan. This was a title match for the CMLL Trios titles, but you wouldn't have been able to tell that by watching the match as it wasn't treated as special. Having said that, for as important as trios matches have been in Mexico in the past 30 years, the various trios championships have never been accorded the same prestige as the national and world singles titles, and you'd be hard pressed to recall too many classics for the trios titles. The trio of El Dandy, Silver King and El Texano should be a dream trio, but something about them felt a bit off. Their opponents weren't ideal, but to be honest I don't think this was the best period of El Dandy's career. He'd get a lot better when he started working for WCW, ironically, as whenever the WCW luchadores worked Mexico dates they tended to blow the cobwebs out of their working boots.
Dr. Wagner Jr., Gran Markus Jr. & El Hijo del Gladiador vs. El Dandy, Silver King & El Texano, Arena Coliseo 7/94
This was an earlier match that set-up the trios shot. I'm not sure of the date as cubsfan didn't have anything listed for Arena Coliseo. I suppose they were holding something back for the title match, but both the match and the post-match challenges lacked conviction.
Samson Fuyuki, Pierroth & Emilio Charles Jr. vs. Ultimo Dragon, Vampiro Canadiense & Atlantis, 6/10/94
This was a decent enough match for what it was. There are times during this period where Atlantis feels a bit stale as he'd been going at it with the same gimmick for a decade, but he ran through his classic exchanges with Emilio and no matter how many times I've seen them they always warm the cockles. In the past, I've tended to be down on Ultimo Dragon's early years in Mexico, but he's been serviceable in these past couple of matches. And God help me, I kind of dug the Pierroth/Vampiro kick-punch exchanges. Mind you, I'm an unabashed Pierroth mark. He could kick and punch the corner ring post and I'd dig it. The finish here was kind of weird as Vampiro went to the top rope, slipped and took a bad spill. Emilio pounced on the opportunity by entering the ring and pinning him, and on the replay Vampiro could be seen selling it as though he'd blown out his knee. I couldn't really figure out whether they were covering for the blown spot or it was real, but either way the match ended on a flat note. For those WAR enthusiasts out there, Fuyuki didn't do much, just stereotypical East Asian heel stuff.
El Dandy, Negro Casas & Ultimo Dragon vs. Ray Gonzalez, Bestia Salvaje & Felino, 8/11/95
Disappointing given the talent involved. There was a lot of focus on El Dandy vs. Gonzalez as they were scheduled to meet for an NWA World Light Heavyweight title match in a fortnight. Gonzalez wasn't the most talented of the Puerto Ricans they brought in around this time so I wasn't really feeling this as much as I would have if it had been say Miguel Perez Jr.