La Fiera vs. El Dandy, hair vs, hair, CMLL 11/27/92
Here we go with the revisit then.
Fiera attacked Dandy on his way to the ring, which comes as no surprise given he'd been doing it to him for weeks. Perhaps Dandy should have been better prepared for it, but I guess they were trying to sell that there was nothing he could do about it. The beginning wasn't as frenzied or as bloodthirsty as it could have been, and in truth some of the trios openings were better, but I liked the image of the big ring announcer scuttling away as he quickly finished his ring intros. Fiera's offence was excellent and he delivered a measured and precise beat down. It was excellent strategy actually. He took his time weakening Dandy, got some nice heat by standing on top of him, and made sure the audience got a good look at him writhing about in pain. I liked the way he wrapped him up for the pinfall as well. Very neat. But that's the thing: it was all a bit too neat and tidy for an apuesta match. Aside from a few of the high shots and the posing on Dandy's back, it could have been a title bout with a bit of an edge to it. Or perhaps a better way of looking at it is that it would have been okay for a mano a mano bout, but an apuesta match you expect to be wilder.
The second fall was more like a classic apuesta match with Dandy bleeding and Fiera gnawing on the cut. It wasn't easy to see the blood on the Lynch copy, but the tone of the fall was classic wager stuff. Fiera did an excellent job of cutting off Dandy's comeback attempt and peppering him with chops that slipped up around the jaw. Probably my favourite spot of the bout was when Fiera threw him to the outside then delivered that vicious kick to the head. I loved the way he crouched in the ring letting Rangel administer the count while Dandy shuffled his way to the ring on his butt. In a typical wager match, Dandy would have caught an opening and fought his way back into the bout, but here he was felled by a big time DDT, and the next one would have been lights out so he had to counter it. A Northern Lights suplex isn't exactly your mama and papa's lucha, but it would have worked better if Rangel hadn't been slow to make the count. The slow counts in lucha never really bother me, but that needed a quick count. I'm not sure it was entirely Rangel's fault as he didn't seem out of position prior to the counter. He was just incredibly slow to react and stopped to check the shoulders. Fiera made it worse by wriggling about too much, which made it seem like he hadn't sustained enough damage to stay down. In any event it was in the books. Fiera may have had a slight gripe about his shoulder being up, but he chose to ignore it and pounce on Dandy instead.
There was a clip at the beginning of the third fall. I'm not sure how much they cut out, but aside from a big lariat that sent they both careening over the top rope, Fiera maintained the upper hand. Watching it a second time in the stop/start manner of writing a review, you've got to appreciate how good Fiera's offence looks. Every thing he does is pinpoint. The shitty little foul in the corner and the finger wag to Rangel are other details I didn't pick up on the first time round. While it didn't have the feel of a classic apuesta match, there were a lot of great touches in this. Fiera delivered a performance that was almost on par with Satanico or Pirata Morgan. There was just something missing from the bout structurally. Dandy's big gambit was a tope suicida that lived up to its name. The match started to shape into a natural 50/50 tercera caida after that with both men struggling and missing dives. Fiera had taken a few knocks and was still trying to shake off the effects of the tope when he countered a Dandy sunset flip attempt. In a beautiful piece of selling, he checked the hand he'd used to counter and leaned into the ropes for a breather. A subtle moment in the context of a hair match, but it showed that Fiera was fading. Don't forget, he'd exerted plenty of energy pummeling Dandy, so while he'd had the momentum for most of the bout, he was feeling the pinch in the third caida. That was a tired and desperate foul on the inverted atomic drop. Was the finish the right call? That's the big question. I think Fiera was definitely fading and Dandy had just countered his power bomb attempt, so it made sense for him to try to steal the victory. Dandy on the other hand was gathering momentum. There's a certain leeway in apuesta matches for tecnicos to fight fire with fire and give rudos a dose of their own medicine, but that type of win isn't very satisfying and not exactly what you'd call payback. Fiera's selling was great throughout the post match as he complained to the ref about Dandy holding the ropes and wanted to continue the fight with a half shaven head, but to me Dandy hardly looked like a gladiator.
Fiera looked great in this match; Dandy not so much. When I first sat down to write this, I considered what my angle would be. Was it a perfectly acceptable three star apuesta match or anticlimactic? A disappointment or something which couldn't be helped? While typing this out, the match struck me as slightly more nuanced than I'd imagined, but the overall flow wasn't that smooth and structurally things seemed out of place. It was an excellent performance from Fiera even if he didn't tear into Dandy, but the finish was all wrong. Dandy should have won cleanly and decisively. The order of the first and second falls could have been swapped around with the blood coming straight away followed by the clear and precise beat down and the third fall built to a bigger Dandy comeback. That would have made for at least a four star bout. Still, it was fun and there was a lot to enjoy about Fiera's performance. Dandy's selling was good without being outstanding and a clearer picture would have made the colour more dramatic. The build up promised more, but I was happy with the revisit. Moral of the story rudos? Don't wear yourself out pummeling an opponent's noggin.