Atlantis, Negro Casas & Mr. Niebla vs. Dr. Wagner Jr., Villano III & Pierroth Jr. (CMLL 01/14/00)
This was another strong lead-in match. I'm not a huge fan of trios matches where the wrestlers rip each other's masks off but it wouldn't be much of an apuesta feud if they didn't do it. And to their credit, they didn't spend an eternity doing it. Villano looked badass in his alternative strip and I liked how he used Atlantis' mask to clean the dirt off his boots. Atlantis' comeback was good and he got plenty of mileage out of throwing Villano into a row of chairs and dropping a section on him. The only thing that held this back was that there didn't seem to be much of a personal issue between Casas and Pierroth or Wagner and Niebla and the best trios matches usually have that second and third string story to contrast and illuminate the main feud. The kind of role that an Emilio Charles Jr. or La Fiera played to perfection. The rudos were fairly united but Casas and Niebla felt like they were making up the numbers while we waited for Atlantis and Villano to go at it again. Mind you, it's pretty hard for Casas to play second string to anyone and Pierroth was badly broken down compared with his glory days of '90-92. I haven't checked the match listings but it'll be interesting to see whether they plug anyone better in there.
Atlantis, Mr. Niebla & Emilio Charles Jr. vs. Dr. Wagner Jr., Shocker & Villano III (CMLL 01/21/00)
The build for Satanico/Tarzan Boy and Atlantis/Villano was a hell of a one-two punch. This is the kind of thing that CMLL does really well when they bother to do it. This installment was heavily clipped so it's not fair to judge it as a match, but I liked the fact that we got a true blue tecnico fall to start with. I think that's the first time there's been a tecnico fall in this January footage. The clipping sort of ruined the rudo comeback, but they got a nice pose in with the submission. Shocker was in his prime here and it was pretty clear that he and Niebla were the best conditioned of the workers involved. They were heavily involved in the early part of the Atlantis/Villano rivalry, as I'm sure you're all aware, but it wasn't clear from the clipping how much that played into the bout. They did pull a dive on one another, though. Atlantis vs. Villano wasn't as heated as in previous matches, which may be why they shortened this, but Atlantis got a tope in, which was a statement of sorts. The rudos were the ones who mugged the camera in the post-match interview, though, and not for the first time. Villano sure was proud of taking Super Astro's mask. I wonder how he felt about Astro reneging on the deal.
Negro Casas, Atlantis & Emilio Charles Jr. vs. Bestia Salvaje, Villano III & Fuerza Guerrera (CMLL 01/28/00)
ust in case you thought the Villano/Atlantis build was living in the shadow of the Satanico/Tarzan Boy feud here is a match to remind you which match-up has the higher stakes. It wasn't until the Villano brothers got involved at ringside that the Villano feud with Atlantis matched the intensity of the hatred between Casas and Bestia, and I do kind of wish that Atlantis would fire up a bit more, but given the gang warfare mentality of the CMLL booking in January 2000 and the fact that it feels like a rudo promotion right now, this was a timely reminder to Atlantis where the power lay. When you take on the Villanos you take on the family. Let's see how Atlantis responds.