Emilio Charles Jr./Pierroth Jr./Javier Llanes vs. El Dandy/Ultimo Dragon/Silver King, CMLL 1/25/94
Javier Llanes was so good in the Dandy feud. If you only watch the title match, you might think he was along for the ride, but watching the build I'd almost suggest he spearheaded the feud. No matter what you think of Dandy post 1990, whether you think he entered into a steady decline or was still an all-time great, there's no denying he was spinning his wheels until this feud happened. Llanes was sporting emerald green for this bout, making him look every bit the Ace of Arena Coliseo that Misawa was at Budokan. A low angle close-up of his nose and teeth exaggerated his ugliness and made him seem like some repulsive figure from a German expressionist film. The fact that he was the least likely guy to enter into this feud with Dandy worked for him and he ran with it. I love the way he'd line Dandy up for the fingers to the throat or a punch to the jaw; and while we didn't see the fabled digit manipulation, Llanes' arm work was every bit as good.
The primera caida was a great rudo fall with Pierroth and Emilio being perfect in their roles as thug henchmen, and a wonderful image of Dandy trying to crawl back to his corner on his elbows. I know I harp on about it a lot, but there were more points of action in that opening fall than in any trios match I saw last year, and I simply don't understand why no-one has the chops to work this way anymore. It's not like sizing guys up and delivering theatrical looking strikes is difficult. It just takes a bit of panache.
One of the reasons why I don't think Dandy was the one fueling this Llanes feud is because his retaliatory work wasn't anywhere near as strong as Llanes' heel work. Admittedly, there was a whole deal with the ref not allowing Dandy to fully retaliate (and Llanes getting heat by hiding behind the ref), but it wasn't vintage Dandy. I've been known to be harsh on Dandy in the past, so your mileage may vary, but I saw the rudos as carrying things in this match. Llanes used what looked to be a roll of coins to bust Dandy open and pinch the bout, so it was definitely a match where the tecnicos were meant to be stymied; but something about Dandy getting riled up and challenging Llanes didn't quite click for me. I think he put too much windmill on his punches. What I did love was Llanes sticking the object in his knee pad then slipping it to Emilio, who shoved it in his trunks and left promptly; the master conspiracy complete.
Brazo de Plata/El Dandy/Vampiro Casanova vs. Mano Negra/Black Magic/Javier Llanes, CMLL 2/6/94
This was the Javier Llanes show if ever there was one. The footage began with Dandy lying prone and Llanes kicking him in the gut while still wearing his robe ala Ric Flair. Vampiro came over to help and was punched in the face, the same way a babyface would vs. the Horsemen. I love it when a guy like Vampiro gets punked.
Llanes finally got the chance to take his robe off and we were away. He worked Dandy over with a series of rights and knife edge chops, making sure to dish out a little treatment to his partners as well. In particular, he harried poor Porky. The inside shots kept coming and the clothesline chops, and he began dropping the elbow onto Dandy. He even went up top for a plancha like he was Misawa going for the frog splash. Again he made Dandy bleed; this time by ramming his head into the hoardings and punching him repeatedly in the face. That'll please some of you out there! It was actually a nastier cut than it looked as Dandy ended up getting blood on his arms and by the end of the match Llanes had Dandy's blood all over his tights and even smeared against his own forehead. Of course when Dandy wanted to fight mano a mano in the ring, Llanes quickly bailed, which had the Coliseo faithful screaming and shouting at him. When they finally did square off, they went for a Casas/Dandy style inside/outside spot, but it looked like Dandy pulled something getting back into the ring. Vampiro chased Llanes around the ring as Llanes scurried about trying to avoid him and finally Dandy uncorked one on Javier's jaw. There was a real Memphis feel to Llanes' shenanigans. They call him "the worm" in Mexico. Whether that's flattering or not, I'm not sure, but he was certainly worm-like in the way he evaded Dandy here. In a neat little touch, Llanes went for the elbow drop again, but missed, and Dandy turned it into a submission.
The tercera caida was either joined late or one of the shortest on record as Llanes pinned Dandy within seconds. When he stood back up, you got a good look at how bloody his tights were. I'm sure it was Dandy's blood on his face, though he may have jigged himself. Watching Negra trash talk Vampiro over his continued uselessness was a treat. In a hurried trios there wasn't much chance to for the others to shine, but Negra had a few golden moments like his jawing contest with a woman at ringside who stood up and danced while her partner roared with laughter, and his ongoing pestering of Porky. The wild eyed grin he gave Porky before they locked up was classic and later on he tried a comical fake out on a tope before hitting a plancha off the apron. They even had a workrate exchange, Porky style, that saw the same woman catcall Negra. This match was all about Llanes lording it over Arena Coliseo with a part Flair/part Tully performance, and a bloodied Dandy on the mic afterwards looking as though someone had smudged red ink all over his face, but Negra's goofiness was awesome.
I thought Dandy was better in this than the first match. Again the story was him only getting a piece of what makes the Nature Boy tick, but by bell's end, he was rightly looking ahead to their singles match, looking to inflict a little payback even if it was a title bout. I'm not a huge fan of title match feuds where the build up is brawling trios, but this is as fun a Coliseo feud as it gets during the lost years.
Emilio Charles Jr. vs. La Fiera, CMLL 4/1/94
I can't believe these former partners squared off. Remember that consoling nudge Fiera gave Emilio during the Misterioso/Fuerza feud? It's almost sad in a way. Fiera had a falling out with Sangre Chicana in '93, which knowing them was over drugs. Fiera either turned clean, found God, or hated Chicana that much he'd rather be on the tecnico side. Why the tecnicos would let him return to their side is one of those things you shouldn't think too hard about if you're a wrestling fan. I suppose in a heavily Catholic country like Mexico, tecnicos accepting stray lambs back into the fold almost has religious connotations if you think about it. The door's always open, I suppose. You wonder how a guy like Emilio felt about watching a brother turn face. Emilio had a couple of runs as a tecnico, but he was basically a lifer as far as rudos go. Is there a sense of betrayal when a guy you rode with turns tecnico like that?
Here's what I do know: this was a decent mano a mano bout with the obvious caveat being that it was a mano a mano bout, meaning they spent most of the time bleeding. The names might get people excited, but honestly I like Fiera better as a shady rudo than I do a baby, and I can't shake the feeling that as God-like as Emilio is in trios, he's not that good at singles matches. Don't expect anything as good as a grainy Sangre Chicana mano a mano bout where you're squinting to make out the blade job; this was a simple piece of build to their hair match and nothing extraordinary.