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What has Virus been up to?

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ohtani's jacket

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Virus is my favourite guy left in lucha and yet I never watch his matches the week they air. That's terrible.

 

Hopefully, I can catch up by the end of the year.

 

Virus vs. Cachorro, lightning match, CMLL 10/21/14

 

This was pretty good. It was nice to watch a lightning match where you weren't reminded of the clock every five seconds. Props to the editor for concentrating on the action. Lightning matches are tricky even for maestros like Virus because they put the worker in two minds: you can either work them like one long primera caida or try to condense a three fall match into 10 minutes. The latter is more dynamic but often quite telegraphed in the way workers move from section to section without the natural break in falls. The first approach is sound, but it's rare that anyone works a primera caida that lasts 7-8 minutes so the workers run out of things to do. Here Virus seemed to take the primera caida approach, extend it out a bit, and loop it. It worked out pretty well despite some sloppiness from both men.

 

The matwork in an opening caida usually ends in a stalemate or draw, which is basically what happened here. Virus kept going for the arm, and in true maestro fashion was thinking several moves ahead and all the rest of the cliches. Cachorro had no choice but to counter with the leg, which meant they switched positions a lot. There was a lot of movement on the mat although not a lot of fluidity. I wouldn't really call it great matwork as Cachorro's only real contribution was to trip Virus, though in fairness to him, Virus kept blocking his submission attempts and didn't really give him anything. Still, a good five minutes of holds and counter holds is nothing to sneeze at.

 

In a typical primera caida, they end the stalemate by working some up tempo exchanges that usually end in a pinfall or submission. Here they had a bit more time to fill so Virus actually aborted the first rope exchange and went back to the mat and back to the arm. This led to the only real false note in the match when Cachorro hit a tope. It was a good looking tope and you can justify it in many ways, but to me the tope's not a primera caida move. Younger guys are increasingly doing it at any point in a match, but I was reared on a different sort of lucha where topes came deep in the match. Yes, it was a one fall bout and not a primera caida, but it didn't fit in with the general theme, Virus shouldn't have been dazed enough for Cachorro to even hit it, and it ended up being little more than a transition into a typical first fall finishing stretch where the workers chance their arm on a flash fall. Virus in fact shelved a lot of the bigger stuff that he probably would have done if the workers had been going for broke with a three fall narrative arc. The match ended with a final flourish and Virus came out on top with a flash submission that probably would have looked better if he hadn't lost his balance. Still, the muscle pose while in the Virus Clutch makes for a great statement, and he finally got that persistence with the arm to pay off.

 

Definitely better than your typical lightning match, but not a match where Cachorro was made to look particular good. He looked better in the En Busca de un Idol, in my opinion. Virus could have done more to make him shine, but Cachorro could also do with taking a page out of his old man's book and mastering the mat before he worries about the mechanics of anything else. If he could become a bit more forceful on the mat in the way that say Trauma II did, he'd show a heap of potential. As for Virus, he's slowing down a bit as he approaches the wrong side of 45, but still a modern day genius. If only he had a running partner to create something special with. That's sort of the catch with Virus these days. He's getting more and more singles opportunities but it's mostly carrying young guys. Still, beggars can't be choosers, and we'll see what the rest of his year brought.

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