Virus, Cachorro & Hechicero vs. Negro Casas, Cavernario & Dragon Lee, CMLL 5/23/14
Everybody's talking about this as a Match of the Year Candidate, but for a trios with four good workers in it, I thought it was pretty disappointing. The only parts that were exciting or genuinely engaging were during the finishing stretches, and the work in between was clumsy and unfocused.
The opening fall was a perfect example. Dragon Lee is a young guy and can't mat wrestle. If you have him work an opening mat exchange with Virus, he'll be scrambling. Virus has got to carry him for the mat work to be effective let alone good, but that requires slowing the bout down and working a different tone. Here, they wanted to work a fast paced bout, so they did a classic "mirroring" exchange where they wrestle each other to a stand still. Which would've been okay if Dragon Lee had been in any way convincing, but he doesn't have the quickness that those spots require. You could almost feel him thinking them through as though they're a series of steps. The exchange didn't look terrible as Virus is still the best wrestler in the company and everything he does looks great, but the stand still didn't ring true and was a waste of a match-up.
You accept that and move on, but Casas vs. Cachorro was more of the same. Cachorro is another young guy, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but Casas should be looking to be get more out of an exchange than this. As we all know, match-ups make trios, and it's the story threads that make those match-ups compelling. You could argue that this was just a workrate trios, but if that's the case, the work wasn't very inspiring. Cavernario and Hechicero tried to inject a bit of stiffness and physicality, but their exchange-cum-brawl was muddled and confused. That was a trend that continued throughout the bout, as Hechicero was well off his game. The fall picked up as Virus did his senton to the outside and the finishing stretch kicked into high gear, but as the dust settled on the opening fall, I couldn't help but wonder why they stray so far from the tried and true.
If you want to do a high tempo opening fall, the pattern has always been to square off once with individual pairs, switch partners and dance one more time, then run the ropes for the turning point and first fall climax. It's a simple formula but works so well. Ideally, you'd build the first fall crescendo to the heights the En Busca de un Idolo has been reaching, but Cavernario and Hechicero didn't pull out the stops and the fall was a table setter at best.
It would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I like their match-up as much as everyone else (in fact, I thought the Cavernario/Virus match-up was vastly superior throughout, but then I think Virus is vastly superior to anyone else in the match), but in a match like this you want the action to culminate with a key match-up, and I thought Cavernario/Hechicero from the En Busca de un Idolo would've been swinging.
The second fall at least had a decent sense of urgency to it. The work wasn't outstanding, but they powered through it. Cavernario looked all at sea during his big comeback in the three-on-one sequence, and I have my doubts about whether he's a polished worker, but his plancha is gorgeous, and along with Dragon Lee's insane dive, they hit the high notes the crowd was looking for. But Virus and Casas... if you're going to do a mano-a-mano standoff to end a fall, you might want to do something a bit more exciting than that. For seasoned vets that was weak. Everybody knows I think Negro Casas is overrated these days (except for when he wrestles Rush), but c'mon, work a few more beats before you celebrate and do the parrot shit.
Casas and Hechicero then worked a muddled exchange to open the closing fall. It actually started off pretty well with Hechicero working rough with Casas, and Casas seemingly giving him a receipt with some great looking knees, but Casas started looking tired and his strikes loosened up. For some reason, their exchange went beyond a reasonable length for this sort of opening exchange and Hechicero went for a nearfall too early in the fall. Dragon Lee and Cachorro's work was earnest without being particularly good, but I remember what the Traumas were like when they first started making tape, so I'm not going to rag on the young guys. The hip toss spot was impressive and Cachorro's tope was spectacular, but again it came too early in the fall to have an impact. Virus vs. Cavernario was great and the one match-up coming out of this that I'd want to see again. Virus is so great at working strike exchanges (both throwing and selling), and his positioning for Cavernario's moves was exemplary. It was notable how much better Cavernario's nearfall came across despite their exchange being much shorter than Casas/Hechicero.
The rest of the fall was about dropping bombs and was a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. The Virus/Cavernario exchange where Virus was trying to get a submission on Cavernario was awesome, and Virus' muscle flex pose when he finally got it hooked was a genuine mark out moment for me, but Hechicero/Lee was an absolute mess and after three falls (good or bad) to finish on a piece of cheating wasn't cool. Satanico could have made it work. Sangre Chicana too. Perro Aguayo. Cien Caras. But Hechicero's not in that ball park as rudo.
It's worth point out that everybody who's seen this bout has liked it. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I wanted to like it since it's not every day you have four good workers in a trios. I gave it a second chance, and even a third as I was writing this up, but despite some good points it just didn't move me like good trios wrestling should. Virus is absolutely awesome, though.