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  1. When I saw this posted on another board, I knew I had to watch it right away - and it did not disappoint. Just an epic freakin' war. I loved the all out brawl they had last year, but this was even better. Must see. ****1/2
  2. Nearly impossible to go wrong with a bloody lucha brawl. Many of them are formulaic, but it's a winning formula. This one is particularly famous because of the amount of blood and it's true, Santo's head leaves puddles of blood all around the place. Screwy finish but it's a really interesting twist. ****
  3. What with the return of MLW in 2017, I thought it would be fun to go back and watch the initial run of shows from the company and compare it with the other Indie companies of the time that were all striving to try and fill some of the void left by the closure of WCW and ECW the year before. This is the first match on their first show, and it’s a quarter final match in an 8-man tournament to crown the first MLW World Champion. As with many companies at the time, MLW chose Philadelphia as the place to launch and their first show comes from the artist formerly known as the ECW Arena. As I think we’ll see, MLW would lean on a lot on both the talent and concepts from ECW, and this show has it in spades. Joey Styles being the announcer another clear link. Jerry Lynn was just about to start a strong period in his career, being one of the pioneers of the early days of the X Division and one of the big positives about TNA in their first couple of years. He gets a big pop here and looks very good in the match. LA Parka interestingly is now a featured player in MLW some 17 years later but here he looks positively svelte. I dug his white suit and sombrero look with his normal gear. LA Parka dominates the early stages, being a great dick heel with plenty of kicks and slaps and lots of his trademark taunts and dance moves. He doesn’t do too much, but he doesn’t have to – his charisma and personality carries his offence. When the pace picks up its Lynn that is able to take control, and through his time in WCW and ECW he’s got plenty of experience of course with working with luchadors. The two work well together, and there’s plenty of smooth sequences, but just as it looks like the match is about to kick into high gear it ends rather abruptly via a Lynn Tornado DDT. This was fun for what we got, and with a one-night tournament the first-round matches can’t go too long, but if they had some more time this could’ve been really good. (** ½)
  4. I remember loving this match years ago and it's really nice of MLW to upload this in excellent quality. Some fun early wrestling exchanges where they mesh better than you expect and Sabu hits everything cleanly. They even did a good build, for example by avoiding the obvious table bump early on or La Parka understanding the Camel Clutch is a finisher. But the crowd keeps calling for tables, so the match turns into the usual Sabu bombfest. Parka really outbumps Sabu here, take a big Necro bump where he nearly overshoots the table and just flying into the turnbuckle. Sabu grabbing the scissors (backstory?) and carving Parka up added some needed grit to this spotty type brawl. There was also a great exchange where Parka was working over Sabus body with stiff kicks while Sabu tried these lunging desperate punches. These two are really decent pro wrestler aside from the hardcore stuff, so you get Parka expertly covering up a Sabu botch or selling his blood loss and making the walk back into the ring seem important etc.
  5. What a delightful violent brawl. Park is far from being the most svelte dude in lucha at the moment, specially when compared to a stallion like Rush, but does he have a presence. He and Rush went all out with the fuckery here, and it did not dissapoint. Basically it had everything you could as for: mask ripping, interferences, MARTINETES, blood, refs getting their asses kicked, a fat sub ref with his gut appearing... just a spectacle all around. Crowd was absurdly hot, specially after Park SMASHES Rush with a picture frame. From that point on it's just full on violence, with Park using cable wires to whip Rush, as well as smashing his head against the guard rail. All of that leads us to a draw. Post-match, L.A. Park announces he's gonna fight against Rush Mask vs Hair.
  6. JR Goldberg's "best lucha matches of 2017 so far" article from Paste Magazine brought this to my attention. Here's a quote of his from that article about this match: "This match is like watching a tag match with four Necro Butchers and two of them are actually evil skeleton creatures hell bent on killing one another." And that is literally the best description for this match. ****1/2
  7. The one-fall stip threw me, twice over--once at the false finish and again after the restart. This still built well from matwork to lots and lots and LOTS of near-falls, probably the most of any lucha match I've seen. Also countout teases for near-falls. All the bailouts gave this a very disjointed feel, but it did make the counts more meaningful. Speaking of which, the story here is another officiating controversy, and again it's done in an ambiguous, real-sports bad-officiating way rather than just a plain blind referee. Gotta say that having this on the same card as Aguayo/Mascara is overkill, even by lucha standards where the heel refs are part of the show. La Parka gets every benefit of the doubt on every close two-count and at least one near-COR, though replays seem to support the referee. He then ties up Lizmark and gets a three-count, with Lizmark not getting the same benefit. Replays again seem to support the referee, and Dr. Morales and Arturo Rivera sound like they're one step away from coming to blows themselves in the booth. But after a LONG delay, long arguments, and a conference with the Box y Lucha commission, apparently the match is restarted and we pick up where we left off. The turning point is Parka taking a horrific bump into the corner post, and it's pretty much downhill from there, as Lizmark locks on a shootstyle side mount submission. This was good, and a really coming-of-age performance for La Parka, but as I said--disjointed. The match was building up a ton of momentum and I'm not opposed to the idea of the restart, but the absurd length of time it took (it must have been close to 5 or 6 minutes, or more) stopped things dead in their tracks. And the officiating controversy didn't pay off as spectacularly as it did with Perro and Mascara Ano, though Lizmark deciding to go with a submission after not making any headway with pins was a clever touch. One for a La Parka comp, no question, but overall not quite as fun as the mask match on the same card.
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