Virus vs. Fuego, CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship, 6/15/14
This was a tremendous match and my working MOTY at this point. Virus was outstanding and showed once again why he is without peer not only in CMLL but in the whole of Mexico really. Fuego deserves credit for his part in the match as well. It would be easy to put all the focus on Virus & Kid, but Fuego put in about as assured a performance as you can expect from a kid.
The opening exchange saw them work from a tie-up into a series of arm and leg locks without a single reset, When they did break, they worked a neat exchange where Fuego began to realise he had the height to trouble Virus. There was a hip toss takedown that really seemed to bother Virus as it came after a series of counters from Fuego, so he popped up and struck Fuego across the chest. This was the set-up for them to run the ropes and close out the fall, but it was also a concession from Virus that he couldn't beat him straight up on the mat. At least not in the first caida. One of the things I love about Virus is that despite his height he can lay in his strikes. The elbow he gave Fuego off the ropes caught him flush. He went for a lariat and Fuego countered with a short arm clothesline of his own that had an extra bit of oomph to it. The finishing stretch was awesome as Fuego monkey flipped Virus onto the apron, Virus caught him with a headbutt, missed a senton attempt and rolled through to catch Fuego with an armdrag. Just awesome shit. The ref had no idea whether the finish was a submission or a pinfall, but it couldn't sour a sublime opening fall.
You'll see better lucha matwork elsewhere, but as far as the modern style goes, the fall had purpose, it had a narrative, and a minimum of resets. Fuego had a chance when Virus was back to canvas, but he couldn't pry the opportunity open and Virus outsmarted him in the rope exchanges.
The second fall began with VIrus working over Fuego's leg and looking to force another submission in quick succession. This is another area that Virus excels. Nobody works a body part quite like him. It's like a beat down and classic body part psychology all in one. Fuego's selling might bug a few people as he decided to hobble and then blow it off, but he scored points with me for his urgency and for keeping Virus honest. It looked like he didn't hit his pinning combination cleanly, but the little shimmy across Virus' body to slide into position was enough of a break dance type move for me to give it a pass.
The third caida was a little rough around the edges to begin with since it was Fuego in control, but it got going as soon as he hit his topes. Fuego has a really beautiful tope. Great technique, lovely looking flight through the air and his his opponent square on. Virus also took the tope beautifully not to mention the bump through the ropes to set up the dive and the bump as Fuego threw him to the ground to set up tope number two. Back in the ring and I loved Virus' big wind up punch to take back control of the match. The nearfalls he created in this match were fantastic. For a guy who's not exactly a noted flyer, his top rope maneuvers have tremendous impact. The flying elbow is a personal fave of mine. I just love seeing the little guy drop the elbow like that. Uncorking the Samoan backdrop with the bridge was sweet as well, but he got a lot of pay off a sunset flip. The guy is a bona fide legend. His selling in terms of both desperation and fatigue is yet another thing he's unparalleled at.
Things were pretty tense at the end, as they should be in a world title match. The moment where I thought Virus had it was when Fuego went back to the pinning combo that had won him the second fall. It was at that point that he seemed bereft of ideas whereas Virus was able to pull out the "La Motocicleta." That highlighted the difference between the two as Fuego simply didn't have a move like that up his sleeve when he needed one, but boy, Virus celebrated that one with more than a little relief mixed in with the elation.
Great match from a great wrestler. An all-time great really. They deserved the money that was thrown at them and the match itself deserves more accolades. It wasn't perfect, but it was consistently excellent and fundamentally stronger than the Virus/Titan match. I see that they had a match a few years ago that somehow slipped through the cracks. I'm going to check that out and see how it compares. In the meantime, I hope more people seek this out and enjoy it.