El Hijo del Santo/Espanto Jr. vs. Blue Panther/Black Man, UWA 3/25/90
This was discovered by Phil Schneider in the middle of a six hour YouTube video. Don't ask me how he does it; he's like a bloodhound when it comes to these things. The match was billed as the first time rivals Santo and Espanto had tagged together, and could have easily been parejas increibles given Panther had taken Black Man's mask in '86. Santo was swarmed by kids to start with and I swear he wasn't that much taller than the older kids. We forget how short our heroes are. I loved the smaller kid rushing into the ring after everyone had left. That was like something out of Little Rascals. All four of these guys were great workers, so the execution here was top notch; but as far as dream matches go, it's hard to imagine a bigger dud. The falls were ridiculously short, and a missed dropkick from Santo was the excuse Espanto had been looking for to turn on his partner and deliver a beat down. It was hard to see how the beat down advanced any sort of storyline as the two had fought in so many apuesta matches already, and if they were going to run an angle you'd think they'd maybe tease it a little and build to it. Just another example of how half-assed lucha can be a lot of the time.
Sangre Chicana/La Fiera/Bestia Salvaje vs. Apolo Dantes/Love Machine/Huracan Sevilla, CMLL 2/7/92
Who takes Apolo Dantes and Love Machine into battle against a rudo lineup like that? I was disappointed with how this turned out for Sevilla, but he was on a hiding to nothing with those sort of partners. The match was one way traffic with the tecnicos not even afforded a comeback. As one sided as it was, there were few rudos better equipped at delivering a beat down than Bestia Salvaje, and Sevilla was not only great at selling but a great target. It's just a pity the match never got out of third gear, particularly with the hair match only a week away. The match with El Hijo del Solitario and Blue Demon Jr had been so hot that you'd think they would have built on it with an even wilder brawl, but this is lucha we're talking about. Bestia vs. Sevilla was a great little feud, but this was the second match in a row that Bestia beat him in straight falls. I only just realised that Sevilla was Darth Vader from Pavilion Azteca fame. He was excellent as Huracan Ramirez II, and a better worker overall than the similarly booked Ciclon Ramirez. Even if he was a stepping stone for Bestia, he needn't have been roadkill. Think of how many times he must have combed his hair to get it to puff out that much!! That's commitment to a cabellera feud. Not giving him a win was a bit rough. While I'm at it, how badly had Chicana fallen from grace? How do you go from being the hottest guy in Mexico to only headlining outside of the Distrito Federal? Did something happen to get him on Paco's shit list? Were his suspensions legit? Was it drugs? It's strange to me that Aguayo was treated like the Godfather of Lucha Libre by CMLL while Chicana rode shot gun with other rudos.
El Satanico/Bestia Salvaje/El Supremo vs. El Dandy/Apolo Dantes/Love Machine, CMLL 8/28/92
Were Dandy and Bestia aware that there were other wrestlers in this match? I'm exaggerating of course, but only slightly. I don't think I've seen a match-up dominate a trios to the extent that Dandy and Bestia did. Usually, wrestlers will "tag in" and do their thing until another pair take over, but Dandy and Bestia spilled over to the outside where they kept brawling even though it was another pair's turn to take over. Twice they left the workers standing about wondering what their cue was supposed to be. The second time, Satanico followed suit and began brawling, but if ever there was a trios that was mano a mano this was it. I don't think either of them worked a single hold with another wrestler. They may have been beaten up by them, but they didn't actively engage anyone else. Not that I'm complaining. Bestia was unreal in 1992. If Casas and Dandy are the consensus one and two workers in CMLL (in some order) then Bestia has a strong case for being number three. There was one exchange in this after Dandy had become bleeding that was off the charts in terms of lucha brawling and later on Bestia busted out a bone crushing suplex. Dandy *kind of* popped up on it, which other workers wouldn't get a pass on, but they were going full tilt for the win and it was easy to forgive when Dandy had all that blood streaming down his face. The real question was what the fuck were they doing booking this a few weeks out from the Anniversary Show? It's no wonder Dandy vs. Satanico didn't go over well when all the focus was on Dandy wanting Bestia's hair. I'm wondering if it was a last minute decision to switch the opponent to Lopez as there really didn't seem to be much build to Dandy/Satanico. Dandy flat out ignored Satanico in this bout. Bestia continued to run rough shot over everyone with straight fall wins, and Dandy was pissed at the end, clutching at his hair and demanding an opportunity to put up a wager. I wonder if they got cold feet over whether Bestia could draw? One thing's for sure, it would have been a better match. Bestia was quietly moved to Love Machine after the Anniversary Show and ended up cooling off for real, which sucks, but for the first eight months of the year he was in beast mode. Just unstoppable one-on-one in trios. They should have ran with Bestia.
Atlantis/El Dandy/Konnan vs. El Brazo/Brazo de Oro/Brazo de Plata, CMLL 12/20/91
I hadn't seen a Brazos match in donkey's years. I'm still not sure people get the Brazos. There's hardly any of their 80s footage available, and they show up really late on the DVDVR set, so it's no surprise that people don't realise what a big act they were in the 80s and 90s; but when they finally show up in CMLL the attitude seems to be that they detract from how great 1990 had been when in fact I can't think of anything more lucha than the Brazo brothers. This isn't a match that argues their case as it's mainly just a half-assed tecnico vs. tecnico contest, but it does feature a lot of Dandy vs. Brazo de Oro exchanges, which should get your antennas twitching if you're a hardcore fan. The early parts of this were worked like an exhibition-y show of respect. The exchanges were fun but worked at half speed compared to truly great trios wrestling. Later on they picked up the pace a bit, but it was late December, the end of the season and four days to the holidays. They didn't even take a swing at knocking it out of the park. Amusingly, Konnan had some solid exchanges in this. Scrolling through the match lists, you'd take one look at those names and think Konnan was the weak link holding them back from a Match of the Year Candidate, but you never can tell with lucha. Let it be known that Super Porky was one of the better Konnan match-ups, Jack.
Bestia Salvaje/Mano Negra/Titan vs. Apolo Dantes/Oro/Lassertron, CMLL 2/5/93
Watch this for Bestia, stay for Titan... I really only checked this out because I wanted to see how Bestia fared being transitioned back into a secondary role after his killer run in '92, but he got stuck working with Lassertron. The main feuds here were Mano Negra and Oro and Titan and Apolo Dantes. Someone at Televisa was obsessed with filming vignettes of luchadores training. This time it was Oro training under blue lights. Not sure what the blue light was for? Ambiance? The menacing presence of Mano Negra? The match proper was a rudo beat down. I'm fairly convinced that Mano Negra wasn't as good masked as he was during his Dave Finlay run. He did a tremendous job wrenching the shit out of Oro's arm, but it would have been better with that mullet and nefarious grin. There was an element of Cota or Arandu to unmasked Negra. They were nutters; the three of them. You get some character stuff with masked Negra, but it's not as compelling. I'll tell you what was compelling, though -- motherfuckin' Titan. He beat the shit out of Dantes in this match and it was riveting. Looking him up afterwards, I should have known he was a Diablo Velazco trained journeyman. Please tell me we have the Titan/Dantes singles match on tape. There's nothing quite like a lucha vet getting the three week rub off a singles program. More often than not, they take their money earning chance and run with it, and you get these fun feuds that nobody ever told you about. I've seen Fiera beat on Dante of late, as well as Satanico, and neither of them did it with the verve of the former Comando Ruso. I hope there's a blue light Titan training video, Televisa!