Los Temerarios (Shu El Guerrero, Black Terry & Jose Luis Feliciano) vs. Los Arqueros, LuchaMania
I couldn't pin a date on this one. In fact, I wasn't really sure where it as being held. The Sindicato Nacional de Luchadores y Referees had its name plastered everywhere, but I'm not sure if that means the event was promoted in association with the wrestler's union or if it was some sort of specially promoted union funcion. At any rate, these teams had a long standing feud that involved both the National Trios Titles and individual apuesta matches. Lasser, who was masked here, had taken Black Terry's hair on 12/17/89. A month later, the Arqueros defeated the Temerarios for the trios titles on 1/21/90, and Shu was able to finally get revenge for the Temerarios by unmasking El Arquero/Robin Hood on 2/4/90. This all led to a big apuesta match between the teams, which may or may not have involved Lasser losing his mask (it's all a bit murky.) How this fits in on the road that apuesta match is anybody's guess, but I'd say it's from 1990 at the earliest and '92 at the latest.
Unfortunately, it's all fairly standard. They get a significant amount of time for a trios bout, but don't produce much. The Temerarios with their matching tights and chainmail outfits could easily be people's favourite trio if we had more footage of them, and Jose Luis Feliciano had this great look that could swing both ways; as a tecnico he looked like the mastermind behind some huge selling classic rock band, whereas as a rudo he looked like he convictions in several states and was months behind on his alimony payments. Of course, you're all going to want to watch Terry with jet black hair, and hardcores will also be interested in the Arqueros, all of whom were great journeymen, but aside from that it was nothing special. I'm racking my brains. but I can't remember a single standout exchange or any really great moments. Terry had an awesome smirk when the Arqueros arrived wearing their tiny little archer outfits, but really all this had going for it was that the workers were cool. If I hadn't told you there was history between the teams, you would have never guessed there was bad blood, and to me that's a fail.
Super Brazo, Leon Chino and Scorpio Jr. vs. El Trio Fantasia, LuchaMania
I personally thought was more fun than the Temerarios/Arqueros bout. The Trio Fantasia gimmick naturally lends itself to a lot of fun and silliness, but they were a polished act. Even Super Muneco, who the lucha snob in me would say sucked, was in his element with these guys and as close to an enforcer as a guy with a clown gimmick gets. There were a lot of fat boy exchanges between Super Brazo and Muneco; and Super Raton, being the worker of his side, was naturally everywhere. Holy shit, was Leon Chino awesome. Imagine Negro Casas if Negro Casas were a Richard Simmons looking dude and you have Leon Chino. I need to see more Leon Chino. Even Scorpio Jr got in on the act giving his best Fuerza Guerrera impression. He was smaller here, and mustn't have touched the needles yet because he was a lot more mobile. There was no jeopardy in this, and nothing to get excited about if you're not a hardcore lucha fan. To be honest, I was surprised that the rudos went over as it didn't seem to fit this sort of exhibition show; but you don't watch this sort of match expecting to see an arc. You watch it because you want to see Super Raton square off with Leon Chino for twenty seconds. That's when you know you're a tragic.
Super Astro vs. Leon Chino, WWA World Middleweight Championship
Leon Chino in a suit! I don't think I need to explain the appeal of luchadores in suits. This was rad. I loved the castigos they put on each other in the primera caida and the fact that Chino's second was a veteran journeyman mini was beyond awesome. Unfortunately, there was a bit of time shaving going on for the television broadcast, and they returned to the studio between falls, which broke up the flow, but Super Astro was still in his prime here so his flippy shit looked swank and Chino did a great job of bumping and selling for it while looking legitimately buggered. The tercera caida was fantastic. Really superb tercera caida wrestling. Astro took a big back body bump to the outside, which Chino followed up on with a reckless senton. He kept pressing home the jeopardy Astro was in with pinfall attempt after pinfall attempt. Astro fought back with a beautiful tope and it was Chino's turn to withstand a barrage of pinfall and submission attempts. Both guys were selling fatigue and going at it hammer and tongs. It was a beautiful tercera caida straight out of the textbook. Chino scored a big plancha and staggered back into the ring with the veteran mini toweling him off. Back in the ring something had to give, and when Astro caught Chino flush with a dropkick that was the opening for a beautiful maestro style pinning maneuver that put Chino away. The crowd leapt to their feet and a kid in a Tinieblas mask repeatedly punched his father in celebration. Wonderful third fall. If you enjoyed Arandu vs. Guerrero Negro on the DVDVR set, you'll enjoy the novelty of this.
Bestia Salvaje/La Fiera/Jerry Estrada vs. Huracan Sevilla/Blue Demon Jr./El Hijo del Solitario, CMLL 1/24/92
Bestia vs. Huracan Sevilla, one of the great underrated feuds of the 90s. There were so many scummy looking wrestlers in this. Check out the parts where Bestia, Sevilla, Fiera and Estrada are all in the ring together; it's amazing. Throw in two "shit kid" sons of lucha legends and you have an awesome "advance the storyline" match. Man alive is Bestia awesome in this. Ultimately, he became such a secondary figure that it's easy to forget how good he could be. He's got to be in the conversation when it comes to top brawlers. I mean Huracan Sevilla went nowhere after this feud, but watching him fight Bestia you'd swear he was Dandy. This was a straight falls victory to the rudos, which again may disappoint punters looking for a complete bout, but sometimes you need to book dominant rudo bouts to remind the paying audience that the villains are serious and mean business. And besides, within those two falls were more memorable details than you find in most three fall bouts. Sevilla's comeback railing on Bestia was amazing. Who knew, or in my case remembered, Sevilla could brawl that well?
Of course, as I always say with story based trios, you need the complementary story threads, and here you got La Fiera working over Blue Demon in a typically sleazy way and some pretty good retaliation from Junior. El Hijo del Solitario, who we know has a brawling pedigree, also won his way into my heart by choking Fiera with his bandanna. That's a level of hatred that's crying out for a super libre revancha. The finishes were amazing as well. Bestia caught Sevilla midway through a body scissors and suplexed the fuck out of him for the first fall, then caught him coming off the ropes and hooked a killer submission for the two-fall victory. Boy was he pumped afterwards. Sevilla was over-enthusiastic appealing for a hair match so the rudos delivered a hellacious beat down to cap one of the better two fall bouts I've seen. Bestia was the man, but I'm loving washed up Fiera. Not only did he start the melee at the end; he body slammed the top of Solitario's head into the apron edge. You don't cry about a hair match when you've had your ass handed to you in straight falls and you don't fuck with Fiera's bandanna.
El Felino/El Supremo II/Titan vs. Ciclon Ramirez/El Pantera/Bronce, CMLL 5/7/93
On paper this reads like a workrate opener, but of course this was during the Ciclon Ramirez/Felino apuesta feud so it was a nasty little affair. El Supremo II (now there's a name you don't hear too often) deserves a ton of credit for getting stuck into everything and giving Pantera a torrid time. Unfortunately, Ramirez and Felino couldn't match the intensity that Supremo brought in the way that Bestia and Sevilla were able to outshine a tremendous Fiera performance, which ought to be a no-no since the bout was all about them. You could argue that Supremo overdid it a bit, but you can't blame the Televisa camera guy for focusing on a guy that active. Even at the end when Felino had unmasked Ramirez and was beating on him, Supremo could be seen in the background leaping in the air and dropping the knee on Pantera. Not a bad little bout -- some nice bumping broke up the monotony of watching guys untie each other's mask strings (hate that shit) -- but I came out of this wanting to see Supremo vs. Pantera and you know that wasn't the intention.
Atlantis/Apolo Dantes/Ultimo Dragon vs. Blue Panther/La Fiera/Kendo Nagasaki, CMLL 5/8/92
This began with a classic primera caida style mat exchange between Panther and Dragon that was a real lucha mat exchange not the Japanese inspired stuff Ultimo did with Casas. Despite his rep, you don't actually get to see Panther work the mat all that often so it's a treat when he does. It had me wondering whether I should recheck their singles match in case I've been too dismissive of it; but given Ultimo's track record in singles matches from this era, I probably haven't. Unfortunately, those few minutes were the highlight of the match as opposed to being the kickstarter to something greater. "Old man" Fiera continued to be good to the extent that I'm wondering why I ever said anything to the contrary, but this wasn't a scummy enough match for him. To get the most out of Fiera, you need a dingy, sleazy sort of a match. This match was led by Panther, whom I've never been convinced by as a rudo. I get why he was a rudo -- he was a great worker and a great base for workers who perhaps weren't so great -- but in terms of having the charisma of the truly great rudos? Forget about it. He teased an exchange with Atlantis in the segunda caida and everyone thought back to their classic match from '91, which I still maintain is the greatest pure lucha libre match of all time, but instead of a reprise of what made that match so great, Panther went into full on stooge mode and ended up bumping in a style that was cross between a press up, a breakdance move and a legitimate sell. It seems to me that Panther's selling was always goofy; it's just that no-one ever called him on it. Panther diehards will probably be more forgiving, but this was an average sort of match where I was expecting a Panther vs. Atlantis alert.