First up, let me just say that I LOVE the new colour scheme on the Arena Mexico ring. I think it looks fantastic and makes good matches seem even better.
Barbaro Cavernario vs. Cachorro, CMLL 4/18/14
I thought this was an excellent lightning match; much better than the Cavernario v. Hechicero workrate sprint where they tried to hit all the highs of a 20 minute lucha match in 7 minutes or less. Here we got a straightforward build from pure lucha exchanges to high risk moves and nearfalls. Cachorro may not be a great mat worker yet, but working from a standing base he looked a lot like his father. I was impressed with his transitions in the opening exchanges, like the spot where he held onto the ropes to stop his momentum and dropped the elbow onto Cavernario. You don't always associate lucha with transitions like that yet they were done in a way that wasn't horribly telegraphed. Cavernario sidestepping Cachorro's tope and sending him crashing into the barricade was a great midpoint for the match, and Cavernario's offence looked fantastic as he tried to rub Cachorro out.
The only thing that bothered me were the constant cutaways to Casas and the judges and the clock. Each time they'd do it, they'd edit a bit more out of the match until finally we lost about two minutes worth of footage. I also thought the finish was poorly edited and lacked the impact that the armbar usually has, but it wasn't clear from the way they put it together whether it was in rhythm with the rest of the nearfalls. Cavernario's timing seemed a bit off with the way he walked into it and it wasn't applied so well. Still, this was a strong match that gave a real boost to my opinion of Cachorro.
Hechicero vs. Cachorro, CMLL 6/13/14
Watching this so soon after the last bout wasn't a great idea as it didn't have anywhere near the depth of the Cavernario fixture. Rey Hechicero is a great worker -- we've known that for quite some time -- but he hasn't really impressed me so far in CMLL. There was a lot of telegraphed stuff in this like Hechicero avoiding Cachorro's tope attempt only for Cachorro to catch him unawares with a hurricanrana. That's a standard sort of opening -- tease 'em with one dive and pop 'em with another -- but the set up like was like something out of a cartoon with Hechicero turning his back on Cachorro to pose. Eventually, Hechicero was able to ground Cachorro and overpower him, which is about as believable a situation as they could have worked with Hechicero's size and strength advantage, but the dominance felt superficial. Cachorro wasn't given enough opportunities to sell, and they didn't milk any drama from what they were doing. I don't want to say they were going through the motions as they looked like they were working hard, but the end result was the same.
Dragon Lee vs. Hechicero, CMLL 6/6/14
The editing in these matches is awful. There's too many cuts and the shots don't match. I don't know what's happened to CMLL's production values, but I've seen college students do a better job of editing footage than these folks. The unnecessary reaction shots from the judges, the constant jump cuts with the clock, and the overuse of different camera angles left me feeling dizzy at times. I don't need to see the clock every 15 seconds, especially if the workers aren't selling that they're running out of time. The work here was pretty anemic. I'm starting to wonder if Hechicero just isn't that good as a rudo. I've yet to see him lay out a match where he looks the goods. Dragon Lee hits at least one jaw dropping spot per match -- in this case a brutal 'flying' stomp to the back of Hechicero's head -- but his man strength at this point appears to be hurtling his body as a projectile.
Hechicero vs. Cavernario, CMLL 6/20/14
This was a good match and a worthy conclusion to the tournament. I don't think these two match up quite as well as other people do, and I've enjoyed Cavernario more against both Virus and Cachorro in recent weeks, but it was a good match.Too much was made of the botched tope. That's a move with a high degree of difficulty and it's believable within the context of the match that he might miss it. Hechicero did a fantastic job in covering for the botch and following the old lucha adage of laying in a beating when it's been blown, but as far as botched spots go it actually looked pretty good as it was a complete wipe out. By the same token, I thought the beating Hechicero dished out was overplayed. The action after the botch was 50/50, the same as it was before the spot and the same as it would have been without the botch. I don't think they worked the match any differently than they would have done if Cavernario had hit the spot clean. Both guys have a ton of good looking offence, and although they burn through it a bit it's fun to watch. The finish didn't really work for me as I thought it was a beat or two too soon, but I was glad to see a competitive bout with no time limit, proper production values and no annoying cuts. Hechicero's getting a lot of talk about being the best guy in the world, which makes me an outlier as usual, but I honestly think Cavernario is the better of the two when it comes to using offence in a straight forward way to lay out a match and tell a story.