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  1. The first fall established Averno's dominance. Averno jumps Guerrero on the ramp, whipping him with his jacket. Guerrero monkey flips Averno into the ring and follows up with a quick flurry of offense, but Averno takes the fight outside and whips him into the barricade. Back inside, Averno shuts down Guerrero with a double underhook facebuster, following up with a cross arm breaker to submit Ultimo. Picking up where he left off, Averno targets his opponent's arm. Averno is a wonderfully slimy rudo, snapping Guerrero's bum limb across the ropes, putting the boots to him, and chopping his chest into raw meat. Averno revels in the boos of the crowd, almost as if he's mocking them at points. Guerrero fights back, but his temper gets the better of him, causing the referee to separate the two and allowing Averno to take a cheapshot. A missed splash in the corner allowed Guerrero to hit two consecutive Sentons de la Muerte, and he picked up the second fall. Averno begs off to start the third fall, signaling to the crowd for a timeout. Guerrero heads out after him, but it's another ploy, as Averno uses the diversion as an opportunity to kick Último. Guerrero fires up and hits a low dropkick off the apron, sending Averno crashing to the floor. Guerrero is the consummate técnico, high-fiving fans after diving across the barricade and onto Averno. Showing a bit of learned psychology from the previous fall, Averno counters the Senton de la Muerte by booting Guerrero in the chest. A simple counter, sure, but an effective one nonetheless. Guerrero attempts a moonsault, but Averno is there to yank him off the apron again. Everything builds to a crescendo, with Guerrero's dive off the top rope to the outside feeling monumental. The match admittedly starts to lose a bit of steam in the final act. The cascade of top-rope moves followed by near falls is long-winded, and they take their sweet time getting to the finish after Guerrero's dive, which feels like the apex of the match. But the atmosphere was enough to carry even the weaker portions of the contest. Averno hits a cross armbreaker off the top, but Guerrero narrowly escapes. Averno attempted a moonsault, but Guerrero recovered in time to hit a reverse superplex for the victory. Post-match, Guerrero calls out Averno for a hair match. They may no longer be spring chickens, but Guerrero and Averno delivered a bout that projected the feeling of importance more than almost anything I've seen all year. It wasn't flashy, but it didn't need to be. The raw emotion of Guerrero fighting valiantly to defend himself and a hot crowd wanting to see the villain get his comeuppance were enough on this night. I can only hope some younger luchadores come away from this match with the lesson that less is more.
  2. Ah, 2002, when Shocker was a great worker. I really liked the brief opening matwork, with Shocker flipping around and Guerrero catching him in a great flash Fujiwara Armbar. 2nd fall was short but had UG working Shockers arm over with hurty wristlocks and takedowns. Then Shocker made this great comeback and trying to boot his head off. Shocker looked damn good here, even throwing a great punch combo. The 3rd fall was your typical UG end run where they exchange big dramatic kickouts. Not my favourite thing but it was awesome to watch these two crush eachother with huge chunky guy highspots.
  3. This may be the case of an apuestas not QUITE delivering on the promise of the buildup trios. These two were fighting like mad everytime they squared off, and there are shades of that in this match – Guerrero starts with an awesome punch combo in the corner, and there are scrappy moments throughout the match. In total this was a big match with big moves where both guys worked hard – it didn't quite have the epic transitions or savage feeling I want from a legendary mask match, but rather huge bumps and dives. I'm probably unfairly harsh here because of how annoying bloodless mask matches got in the 2000s, while this was a far better match than any of these.
  4. Lots of good stuff in this Cibernetico with the opening exchange between Ultimo Guerrero and Olimpico being especially good. Really fast and intricate knucklelock work. Lots of great athleticism on display throughout. Unfortunately there were quite a few botches, including Bucanero hitting an accidental(?) avalanche Powerbomb on Sendero and then just killing him with an avalanche brainbuster that seemed to have knocked him out cold. It kind of killed the crowd too because everyone was thinking that poor guy might be dead. Buccanero eliminating a bunch of guys added some intensity and the finish was good.
  5. Some great exchanges between UG and Angel Azteca here. Cool to see Angel still hanging and banging with the kids. Man did CMLL have a roster of amazing athletes in the late 90s, Ninja de Fuego and Oriental are two pretty random names but each looks like the most spectacular dude in the world at various points. It also helps when you got a pair of professionals in Virus and Rencor stooging for you. Another super fun match in a stream of quality lucha material from CMLL.
  6. Quality trios action. Everyone had their working boots on and they didn't struggle with the one fall format. Everyone hits the mat to start with highlights being Arkangel busting out an awesome gutwrench throw in the middle of a mat exchange and Atlantis stretching old Fishman. UG & Arkangel did some expertly stooging including an awesome spot where they accidentally set up a Doomsday Device and end up posting themselves. Just one cool exchange after another in this. Huge dive from Mano Negra Jr. which got a big reaction from this community center crowd. Great stuff altough you wonder if it was just one of 20 great matches of this kind they had that year.
  7. On paper this doesn't look like anything grand and these guys all could easily just go braindead and have a generic trios with some nice moments, but instead we get a STORY~! and a fun unique match layout as Ultimo Guerrero and Mr. Aguila go tooth and nail at eachother whenever they are there together. UG appears to have watched some joshi tapes as he flings Aguila about with some violent hair snapmares before hitting a snug dropkick in the ropes and later a really beautiful judo suplex. Of course everyone in this match is also an athlete in the prime of their career so there are tons of insane armdrags, bumps and dives in the match. Liked the structure a lot with the 2nd fall being especially good avoiding the obvious rudo beatdown. It ends with a huge dive train and UG and Aguila once again squaring off and this is clearly a feud people need to get into. Top tier popcorn wrestling with a brain, why would you watch anything else?
  8. I did a podcast with LuchaWorld's Fredo Esparza talking about every candidate in the Lucha region of the Observer this week and we got into pretty much everyone, but would really enjoy the fine folks at PWO to give it a listen and see what the experts here think, whether you're a voter or just someone more interested in Lucha history I think this show hits on a few levels and we even go into a few meta topics like how important magazines were to Lucha Libre back in the old days, how hot things were in the 80s, how influential Los Misioneros are to Trios wrestling style, "cool" rudos, how awesome Sangre Chicana is, how big a star Huracán Ramirez was in the movies, and who the better dancer is between LA Park and Kraneo, among other things like a comprehensive bio of Ruben Juarez in Fredo's own words. it's hard to tell which way the wind is blowing in regards to the voters, but it was worth it just to talk about all these legends. I did my part to run point and hopefully came across well as outside of Juarez I was familiar with the rest. I really enjoyed the show and hopefully you enjoy it too. Show link: https://art19.com/shows/lucha-talk/episodes/1fa28aab-7c55-42a4-bc64-951fbdc17973
  9. This is the final of the Gran Alternativa tournament and it's a great showcase for Soberano. He looks super impressive here and UG is a wonderful base for him. My favorite moment is right at the beginning of the third fall where Soberano gets the best of Sanson in a slick rope-running sequence and Ultimo comes into the ring and just runs straight into him, which Soberano takes as a gnarly looking bump under the middle rope, bouncing off the floor. There are a few things with Caristico in the final fall that drag this down for me a smidge, but overall it's easily one of the best CMLL matches so far this year. ****1/4
  10. Definitely a really good match but disappointing especially compared to something like Atlantis vs. V3. It seemed to lack the immense drama and emotion of that match. The finish was also terrible. *** 3/4
  11. This is a crisp, paint-by-numbers escalating match, that is easy to follow and really, really good. Ultimo's entrance is interrupted and they waste no time fighting. He goes for Valiente's mask and actually rips it, so the heat is established if you're new to both guys. The first two falls are based around quick submissions, but I liked the counter Ultimo used in caida dos to apply his. Made sense, where sometimes those can seem out of nowhere. Valiente (42) and Ultimo (44) are nearly flawless in execution here and Valiente is flying all over the place (he hit a rana early in the match off the top rope that is picture-perfect). Really snug topes and in turn Ultimo hits a great running/diving uppercut over the ring barricade into the crowd. There's no kind of extended heat here, it's trading escalating moves, which is totally fine for what they were going for. Each guy goes for a top rope move with their opponent seated and the reversals all make sense psychology-wise (taking too long, etc). Ultimo busts out a real nice powerbomb off a blocked rana also after Valiente went back to the well. Valente busts out a double springboard moonsault to the outside here also, which was amazing. Clean and clear finish with multiple finishers hit; these guys did not mess around here. This is really good pro wrestling. ***3/4
  12. A really good **** contest with Ultimo Guerrero leading the way. One blow away spot is UG catching Caristico off a dive and power bombing him on the floor. All falls get time and it builds to a hot end.
  13. It's kind of fascinating how many hyped matches in 2016 are that aren't any good and yet there's a huge amount of really good stuff in Mexico that virtually no one talks about. I absolutely loved the first half of this one as it was basically one control segment of Escorpion beating the shit out of Ultimo Guerrero, laying in vicious punches, chops and back elbows as well as executing beautiful head stomps (which are an underrated lucha brawl trademark). Ultimo Guerrero's facial expressions were on point and really spoke to the crowd-if there's one thing you can't blame him for it's not understanding them. They built a nice mini angle over the ref holding Ultimo's arm and them arguing over whether he was punching or not, and when Ultimo finally got his hands on Escorpion the place went wild, it was deafening. The match eventually became a little too back and forth for my taste although the workrate was on a high level with them hitting great dives and whatnot. Still as badass as Ultimo Guerrero's Dropkick off the apron is I will remember the spot where he jumped on the top rope after an Escorpion irish whip and Escorpion just looked at him and contemplated whether he should go after him for about five seconds more. ***1/2
  14. I love the visual of Ultimo Guerrero-CMLL headliner and El Satanico-bona fide legend-grappling in a half empty arena with kids playing in the background while their dads smile and enjoy some REAL LUCHA. Lots of nifty takedowns, escapes and holds as you'd hope from thse two, I like Ultimo much more when he's working the mat in indy matches like here or in the Black Terry match than when he's Ultimo Guerreroing in CMLL. ***1/2
  15. Ultimo Guerrero's been pretty good since losing his mask, he played to the crowd a lot here but never really dropped selling in order to do so. His highspots (which included a badass sliding dropkick that knocked Rush off the apron and a diving lariat off the ramp in which he threw himself so hard he hit a fan in the first row) ruled. Still you watch this primarily to see Rush smash Ultimo Guerrero's head onto a wall and stomp on his head. ***1/4
  16. Have at it. What was the Match of the Year for 2014? My pick: Ultimo Guerrero vs. Atlantis from the CMLL anniversary show.
  17. Such a pleasure to watch masters ply their craft. Very old school lucha match, had some very pretty mat wrestling, but a little more spice then a straight maestro match. I had no idea Ultimo Guerrero had this in him, add this to his mask loss and we are looking at an out of nowhere classic year from I guy I have been totally indifferent for his whole career. He looked like he belong right there with all of these mat wizards, his stuff with Solar was just great. as was the section where he matched up with Black Terry. Panther is clearly inspired when he gets a chance to do this kind of thing, and he looked great. Loved the third fall, with the very cool Star variations and roll ups. Maestro match of the year for sure.
  18. Will is joined by Phil Schneider & Kris Zellner to discuss CMLL’s 81st Anniversary Show at Arena Mexico. Tons of dives! Weird submissions! Tons of women! Hair vs. Hair! Mask vs. Mask! Join Will as we review an awesome show and a truly historic night of wrestling. ​http://placetobenation.com/good-will-wrestling-cmll-81st-anniversary-show-recap/
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