Virus vs. Stigma, CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship, CMLL 7/14/14
This was generally regarded as the weakest of Virus' title matches this year, largely because Stigma didn't hold up his end of the bout as well as Virus' other opponents, but it was still a decent title bout.
I especially liked the opening fall. It was great seeing Virus back in his element after the somewhat disappointing Navarro bout. Virus was back in the driver's seat where he belongs and guided Stigma through a high quality primera caida. I liked the way Virus rode Stigma here and the force with which he applied his take downs, especially the arm lock. Like most Virus opponents, Stigma was mostly limited to counters, but Virus did a sterling job selling each hold and it never felt like he was leading Stigma by the nose. Stigma's problem wasn't on the mat, but in the standing exchanges. He had one beautiful arm drag in the opening fall, but another instance where he was all at sea figuring out what to do with a hunched over Virus, who really had to feed Stigma a lot of his counters when they were standing. Stigma's the kind of youngster who likes to add a flip to everything to stand out from the pack, but he really needs to work on his transitions. Fortunately, Virus gave him plenty of examples like the little shoulder tackle that led to the power slam and submission. Neat fall that played out well in Arena Puebla. I don't know if you can have a fall like that in Arena Mexico these days as the workers are cordoned off so much from the crowd. The ring looks like it's surrounded by a moat and the atmosphere's not really conductive to title match wrestling.
The worst part of Stigma's performance came in the second fall. Virus was dominating the fall and it was time for Stigma to make his comeback, but it didn't seem like he had a cool how to transition back onto offence. There was an awkward pause in the corner where it was almost like they were taking a timeout. Even Virus seemed to be thinking "don't you wanna win this fall, kid?" Then when he did make the transition his offence was less than inspiring and the submission he applied was laboured. Tecnicos are meant to have superior technique to rudos or at least do cool shit. Still, Virus sold it like a champ and the match continued. The third fall was an honest attempt at an old school barn burner. It didn't really work because of how nervous Stigma seemed on offence, but once Virus took over he did his damnedest to make it seem like he was going deep in the pocket to pull out the win. There were some nice nearfalls towards the end, and I thought the selling and pacing were good which meant the effort was there even if the execution wasn't. The only real misstep Virus made was not saving his best stuff for late in the stretch run. Unlike his other title matches this year, he didn't take any bumps to the outside or hit any big moves. Stigma had already tossed out his best dive; the one where he takes off from the second rope. I don't know if it's just me, but it looks like a blown spot in real time. It's kind of ugly and pretty at the same time. Without any big artillery, they ran out of things to do, which is surprising in a match laid out by Virus. I liked the way he took it home w/ the heel hook and elbows that set up the finish (more examples of the transitions Stigma lacked), but the match didn't really end on the right beat. Despite all that, it was the best Virus performance so far during this catch up period and an enjoyable attempt at trying to create something memorable amid the millions of hours of regular programming.
Virus vs. Dragon Lee, lightning match, CMLL 9/2/14
This was skippable. I liked the tenacity that Virus showed while they were rolling around on the mat and some of the chippiness later on when neither man had any qualms about kicking the other in the face, but for the most part it was a generic lightning match that was geared towards the finishing stretch. Regrettably, the finishing stretch was unremarkable, and Lee wound up over doing the boot to the face to the point where he seemed to be aping New Japan workers. Not a great Virus performance this one. Wouldn't really bother with it if I were you. Lee brings a lot of energy to his bouts, but I wish he would slow down and stop being so hyperactive. If he picked his spots more, he'd be better to watch. We'll see how good he looks in the title match to cap this year-end review.