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Your Fuerza Guerrera of the Hour #1

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ohtani's jacket

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Fuerza Guerrera/Emilio Charles Jr./La Fiera vs. El Hijo del Santo/Mascara Sagrada/Misterioso, CMLL 11/29/91

 

You all like Fuerza right? Everyone likes Fuerza, but not enough is written or said about him. So whenever I have an hour to spare I'm going to write one of these. I read something cool about Fuerza when I was doing some research for the Lucha History Lessons. Apparently he was a big lucha fan growing up, but his family didn't have enough money for him to attend the big arenas in the Federal District, so he would go to the smaller shows instead. There he was exposed to a lot of costumed gimmick workers, who maybe weren't as talented as the guys working in the larger arenas, but who were great entertainers. That experience clearly had an influence on his own wrestling philosophy, and throughout this series I'm going to point that one Fuerza moment in every match that typifies the charm of Mexican lucha libre.

 

This was trios was part of the build up to a rematch between Guerrera and Misterioso for the NWA World Welterweight Title on 12/8. Misterioso, for the unaware, was a protege of Rey Misterio Sr, who'd knocked around the Tijuana/California area for a number of years before being brought in by Pena on the advice of Konnan. Pena, as you'll know, was always looking for fresh new talent to play the gimmicks he'd dreamt up in the CMLL back office, and this feud with Fuerza was the fabled rocket strap you hear so much about on wrestling forums.

 

The rudos attacked from the get-go, and I tell you, if there was ever a guy I'd want to take to the ring with me to attack from the get-go it would be Emilio Charles Jr. He was so great as the secondary guy in a classic rudo fall. In the span of a few short minutes, he'd done a number on his own man (Mascara Sagrada), helped Fuerza work over his own man, got the crowd all hyped up, worked beautifully in tandem with the other rudos, and made Santo submit while biting his fingers. Fiera was also good in this fall, really fucking with Santo and the referees, which made me think two things: one, maybe that chain match with Estrada wasn't an anomaly and I just haven't been paying attention to early 90s Fiera, and two, Fuerza was good at choosing rudo partners. A really succinct and efficient rudo fall. It wasn't particularly violent, but everything the rudos did was bound to piss the tecnicos off, and Fiera's frog splash was picture perfect.

 

There was a great shot between falls of the tecnicos recouping on the outside and Santo raring to go. Fiera had worn his bandanna for the entire first fall, but he pulled it down around his neck during the interval like a bandito. The stage was set for a tecnico comeback attempt and with the bell came a charge of sorts. It was more like a confrontation really as Misterioso was determined to show he wouldn't back down from Guerrera. The rudos tried to double team the young man, but both Emilio and Fiera at Fuerza right hands, and in the ring Santo went to town on Fiera as the son of El Santo has been known to do. Fiera's exaggerated sell of Sagrada's backbreaker was one of the golden moments of the bout as he froze in pain while twisting and contorting himself like Wild E. Coyote. I don't know if it was the quality of the rudos, or if Sagrada was particularly on this day, but he was a perfect clog in this. He did a series of nice drop toeholds on Emilio, which led to the Fuerza Moment of the Match. This one was a double act. Every time Sagrada hit his toehold, Emilio would sell his nose being smacked into the canvas. Finally, he became irate and kicked the bottom rope that Fuerza had been leaning on. Fuerza took the most brilliant spill between the ropes. It even looked in real time like he'd hit his head on the middle rope. It was the kind of spot Psicosis would have been proud of and there was probably a boyish glint in his eye recalling those long ago cards in tiny arenas.

 

The match dipped a bit as Fuerza began dancing about feigning a foul and ripping Misterioso's mask, which are tactics I'm not particularly fond of, but there were still a lot of great moments in the tercera caida. I loved the camaraderie of the rudos to begin with. Fiera put his arm around Fuerza to reassure him they weren't letting this one get away and gave Emilio the same kind of assurances. The fall began with Emilio vs. Santo, which is an absolute dream match-up. If those two had been booked in a match during this time period and given more than the truncated amount of time that Emilio often got for singles matches then you'd probably be looking at an all time classic. The mask ripping sucked, but interspersed between it all was some tremendous bumping from Emilio and Fiera. Fiera took a glorious posting while Emilio got his legs caught in the bottom ropes and had his head rammed into the hoardings. Later on, Fiera missed his spinning heel kick and sent Emilio flailing to the outside, which set up the tope de cristo sequence that ends with Santo running across the ring, going through the corner and hitting the tope suicida. No matter how many times he's hit that, it's still the best sequence in lucha. This time was kind of cool as he entered from off camera and dove into the darkness. Afterwards there was a clear replay of it, but I dug the spontaneity. (The replay also showed Fiera shuffling into position, which was too bad.) That was pretty much the end of the fun, though, as Misterioso got the big win over Fuerza, whose mask was sprouting tuffs of dark black hair.

 

Not really a showcase match for Fuerza as his partners did a lot of the heavy lifting, but this is the kind of lucha I love. It wasn't a four star classic or a hidden gem, but the kind of lucha you can sit back and enjoy and trust you're in competent hands. Hopefully, we'll have much more of that and more as the Fuerza hours continue.

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