El Dandy vs. Bestia Salvaje, CMLL World Middleweight Championship, CMLL 9/4/92
Recently, I've only heard negative things about this bout, but it's really not that bad. It's not as good as it could have been; I'll throw that out there right now, but it's not terrible. Would it have been better as an apuesta match on the 1992 Anniversary show? Probably. Is it one of the the better title matches from the 90s? Nope. But is it one of the 90s' biggest disappointments? Not really.
They forwent a traditional build and worked at an almost workrate-y pace, but I appreciated the athleticism and competitiveness of the opening fall, and I thought Bestia's pinning maneuver was cool even if Rangel treated it as a submission. The second fall was a straight-up response from Dandy. It didn't have the overlap that you typically find in a lucha match where the winner of the first fall keeps dominating until the loser seizes an opportunity, but Dandy wasn't about to be trifled with, and I appreciated the step-up in intensity. Probably the most glaring aspect of the match was the lengthy leg-lock they worked in the tercera caida that Dandy blew off to hit a tope. You don't usually see a submission last that long in lucha, and Bestia even had the good sense to sell the effects on his own legs when he finally released it. Dandy's selling was excellent while he was in the hold, but he was moving freely the rest of the way, which is unusual for a seller of Dandy's calibre. What was also strange about the leg lock was that it came during a caida where they'd gone for a straight back and forward; and while they hadn't transitioned into it well, they were at least keeping count with the right number of beats. The leg-lock gobbled up a fair number of beats, and so when Satanico grabbed Dandy's leg on a superplex to cause Bestia to fall on top, it didn't feel like the climax. Satanico's seconding was pretty cool in this bout, but I don't think it should have been the focal point and would have felt doubly so if I'd gone back and watched the build.
Still, even with the bullshit finish I couldn't bring myself to hate the match. Perhaps if I'd watched it a few months ago and was expecting an all-time classic I would have ripped into it, but looking at the history of this belt after the bout, it seemed to get buried on Coliseo shows and wasn't given the respect that a great bout would have demanded. There were plenty of reasons to dislike the bout. The fact that it was the first show back at Arena Mexico after a nine week absence suggests it should have been a barn burner, but to me it was booked like one of those matches where the favourite comes unstuck on the eve of an important apuesta match casting doubt on whether he can regroup in time. That again made Bestia second fiddle to Satanico, but at least he got a title out of it. It's a three star match that should have been four, but it surprised me how much I didn't hate it. Perhaps this is the beginning of indifference.