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[1992-04-03-CMLL] Atlantis vs La Fiera

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This connected with me so much more than Salvaje/Sevilla because of the way the first two falls were paced. Atlantis isn't as charismatic as many of his contemporaries, but he's so fluid in the ring that it almost doesn't matter. And a pattern I've always noticed with him is that he's really good at making his matches seem really important and drawing people in. The matwork here is strong, but not particularly special. But I love basic wrestling executed superbly like this.

 

La Fiera does have charisma. He is a much bigger personality than Atlantis. He's not as accomplished as a worker, but he's not that far behind. What puts this match over the top is Atlantis' selling, especially in the third fall when he's outside the ring nursing his arm. Occasionally, he teases a comeback but gets quickly cut off each time. He finally does come back and start working over Fiera's leg, but one well-timed low blow behind the ref's back cuts that off.

 

Kind of oddly paced in that the first two falls were full of action and the third fall was all selling and matwork. It felt a little backward. But I think I liked that in some ways because it put over the match and the fatigue from the first two falls. Atlantis finally submits Fiera with his backbreaker to take the match.

 

Not a perfect match, but a really great one.

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I think in some ways Atlantis is sort of like the El Samurai for Lucha, he is not as flashy as some other personalities, but is usually at least consistantly good in most matches and has the abilitiy to make a match a classic like the Ultimo/Sammi and Atlantis/Villano matches prove.

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I think you guys are SEVERLY underrating Atlantis. From '89 to '93 I would put him up with anyone in Mexico, that's how much I like him. He is at worst a top 5 guy. I don't think Samurai compares to him.

 

I am curious to hear what OJ thinks.

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Samurai was in my opinion one of the top 5 junior wrestlers in Japan for a decade. I really really like Atlantis but in the 89-93 era I see him as maybe top 10 or perhaps top 5 but I would not put him above El Hijo Del Santo, El Dandy, Satanico, or Negro Casas from that era.

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Ok, I see what you guys were saying. I have not seen that much El Samurai and always thought the consensus on him was capable wrestler but nothing more. If you think more highly of him then this may indeed be an apt comparison.

 

As far as the other luchadors soup listed, I don't know if I could make a case for Atlantis being better than any of them, but I don't know if any of them are better than Atlantis either. I think Dandy has the strongest case. Also, how much Santo/Casas UWA footage is available? It can't be too much so you're arguing based on a much smaller sample.

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I guess I've got the complete opposite reaction to this as Loss. Thought this was very disappointing as it never really got going into high gear like the Salvaje/Huracan match. Fiera seemed out of it most of the time as he'd take bumps and then just go to the next move. I like both guys but I just wasn't feeling this match.

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Kind of oddly paced in that the first two falls were full of action and the third fall was all selling and matwork. It felt a little backward. But I think I liked that in some ways because it put over the match and the fatigue from the first two falls.

This ruled, re-wound the finish to the 1st fall 3 or 4 times, so smooth. This is made 100% by the 3rd fall however. Disagree on the pacing being weird as this wouldn't have worked at all the other way around. Didn't see it as putting over what happened earlier either as they pretty much just switch the entire dynamic of the match mid way through after Fiera gets lucky and injurs Atlantis' arm on the dive that ended the 2nd and then smelling blood and trying to capitalize. That it all kind of came out of nowhere helped the story, a swerve, in a good kind of way I suppose.

 

Anyone else besides me hate the ref in this? Replay showed he was clearly looking when Fiera low blowed Atlantis, then later on he tips over Atlantis when Fiera was going for the tombstone allowing him to reverse it. Was ready to riot and kill the bastard by the end.

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Bestia Salvaje was supposed to work Atlantis but was hurt so La Fiera was his replacement. The 1st 2 falls weren't much, though the 2nd fall set up Atlantis arm injury. I loved La Fiera working over Atlantis arm. I dug how Jalisco jr. tried to pop the "seperated" arm back into the socket. If anyone has had this happen to or tried to help a friend pop a shoulder back in place, this hurts a ton. I dug Atlantis working over La Fiera's leg. Just a good final fall and match.

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Anyone else besides me hate the ref in this? Replay showed he was clearly looking when Fiera low blowed Atlantis, then later on he tips over Atlantis when Fiera was going for the tombstone allowing him to reverse it. Was ready to riot and kill the bastard by the end.

This put me off too as seemed to be so obvious in front of the referee. Inconsistent referring in matches just annoys me lots. I do like the pre match photo by everyone. I really dug the first fall and did like that we didn't get the usual two quick falls. Second fall was a step below though. Third fall was good also but I was starting to lose a bit interest in this. I was waiting for it to really get going and felt it didn't.

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Some nice bumping and fun lucha spots highlight a quick first fall, which is followed by a similarly fast second fall featuring a nice plancha by La Fiera with much of the action on the outside. La Fiera works on Atlantis' arm for much of the third fall with good focus and a great variety of spots. The finishing sequence with a creative torture rack was awesome. Thought they did a really good job of pacing this.

 

***1/2

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I didn't find the pacing all that weird overall, but it did stand out compared to other lucha matches--if that makes sense. Lots of long control segments and extended body part selling that isn't always a focus of lucha matches but are commonly seen elsewhere. The finishes to the first two falls, Atlantis' reverse flippy thing off the top and Fiera's great dive--are both beautifully done. Then we get the big limb work in the third fall, with Fiera making an awesome return to offense when Pierroth tries to remove the boot from his injured leg, and while the referee is chastising him and Rayo de Jalisco Jr. Fiera uppercuts Atlantis in the groin. And yes, the referee did turn around too early. Still a clever rudo transition, though. And of course we get Fiera's terrific back body drop bump (where was he in that Microscope thread?) I think I liked this more than the Blue Panther match as an Atlantis performance, as the stakes seemed higher with Atlantis having to fight for his life against a larger, nastier opponent. Fiera didn't have a performance as transcendent as that AJPW '80s match with Tiger Mask but I agree that he makes his matches seem "big."

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I like La Fiera. A cool, cocky rudo with a funky outfit. He also impressed with his in ring skills as he showed he could work technically in the title match confines. Whilst I've viewed numerous good performances from Atlantis I haven't yet seen why he's rated by some as an upper tier all time Luchador. It's the same story with Lizmark. My mind remains open as it's quite possible I haven't seen the right matches yet.

 

The matwork early on was excellent, with the smart usage of leverage in the holds and counters. Fiera then showed superiority in the air which wouldn't normally be the case. The tercera featured body part work. Nobody could complain about a lack of variety from the three different falls. With an injured shoulder a modified Argentinian Backbreaker is not the right finisher to utilise. It was a quality match yet slightly disappointing. They'd given themselves the base to go higher but it didn't quite happen.

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I enjoyed this. They didn't do too much, everything had a purpose and every move was sold like it meant something. It felt real. I loved that the biggest highspot was a dive which ended a fall and had lingering effects on the rest of the match. Just excellent, writing this makes me want to watch again.

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I wasn't aware that the dive at the end of the second fall was where Atlantis hurt his arm, though looking back it makes sense that he was hurt, as most of the time guys make it back into the ring after receiving a dive like that.

 

Fiera's arm work in the third fall was tremendous, and as Pete said you don't see that kind of stuff very often in lucha. I agree with Zenjo concerning the third fall finish, although I believe that the backbreaker was Atlantis' standard finisher, so maybe it was important to the match that he show courage by using the hold even with a bad arm.

 

I liked Pierroth's work as Fiera's second during the third fall; I didn't realize that he was trying to pull Fiera's boot off after Atlatis had worked on his leg. He also distracted the ref nicely for the low blow spot. I didn't realize that the ref turned around too soon, but if he did, that was an inexcusable mistake on his part. I thought he was right to reverse the tombstone, though; it would have been an automatic disqualification if Fiera had used it, and he (the ref) didn't want to see the match end like that, so he wasn't afraid to do what he thought was the next best thing and physically stop the hold from being applied. It's not something we see (or would want to see) too often here in the States, but it's not that much different than an American ref kicking a heel's hands off the top rope when the heel's trying to avoid being sunset flipped.

 

Is there any special reason why Pierroth didn't come out until the third fall? It's the first time I've ever seen a second in a lucha bout come to his man's corner that late.

 

This wasn't the greatest lucha bout I've ever seen, but it was more than adequate for its purpose, mainly because of the final fall. I wouldn't mind seeing a rematch between these two at some point down the road.

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A couple of months ago, there was a thread about favorite title reigns. I said Atlantis' with the NWA middleweight championship was one of the best but lamented that all it meant TVwise was the big defense against Blue Panther and then just a bunch of failed challenges by Emilio. Shame on me, because I forgot about this match, featuring one of my main men going for Atlantis' belt at the biggest show of the year. Here we have Fiera in the rudo character that made him one of my main men, but we also have him in title match mode. The technical side of La Fiera isn't one that he showed off very often. Perhaps breaking in as a Sangre Chicana protege taught him that no one really pays to see that stuff, or maybe he just wasn't that proficient with his holds. Either way, he couldn't hide from it here, so instead they worked a good, honest hold for hold first fall, with spots like Fiera talking shit before the bell, Atlantis armdragging him off a handshake, and Fiera breaking a hold with a kick to the face thrown in to establish some heat between the two (as mentioned above, Fiera was filling in for Bestia Salvaje so they hadn't interacted before this). It takes guts to work an old school wrestling fall in front of a huge crowd waiting on the big mask vs mask main event, and not only did they work a terrific fall but the crowd stayed with them the whole way. Atlantis seems like a guy who sort of gets the backhanded compliment of being able to hang with legitimately great rudos, but this is a fall I'd use as an example of him taking someone up a level, as I've never seen Fiera have another extended technical exchange this good. Fiera for his part did a great job selling, especially on Atlantis' knucklelock counter and pumping headlock. Eventually they established that Atlantis was the better man on the mat, and when Fiera tried to up the pace he got burned.

 

I don't know if it was something special they were doing because this was a big show, but between falls they stayed in the arena instead of going to commercial, which gave us a great shot of a disgusted Fiera shaking his head in disbelief about how the first fall ended. It was a wonderful bit of acting, especially as he had no one to play off for it (for some reason, Pierroth didn't come out to second him until after the second fall). What a dedicated performer. The second fall was back and forth and this time it was Fiera who scored with the big dive, knocking Atlantis out on the arena floor and giving a half smug, half exhausted pose when he was the only one to make it back to the ring ahead of the count. Outside, Atlantis' arm was clearly messed up from the dive, an ominous lead in to the deciding fall.

 

Unfortunately, although they did use the arm to create some danger for Atlantis' reign, they did it in the least exciting way possible. Fiera worked on the arm the way he would have in the first fall of a mano a mano, slowly and with no science or nearfalls. The worst was when Atlantis was making a comeback and Fiera caught him with a desperate foul, but instead of going for the pin he just loosely applied a cangrejo, which Atlantis escaped without a fight. I liked when Panther started tearing at Hijo del Santo's arm in their match from April 2000, so it wasn't the armwork that was the problem, it was how dull it was and how the pace fell back from where it had been in the second and even the first fall. And the win came out of nowhere. Not in the sense that Atlantis got it suddenly and surprisingly, but that you can usually tell when they're building up to the finish, and here I couldn't. I don't know. It was a good match, really good and maybe even great for the first two falls, but the fall that should be the most thrilling of all was the most boring. The Kahoz match was better, even though it was a lesser version of Fiera against a lesser opponent than the one he had here. The one saving grace that the third fall had was that afterward I was annoyed how they weren't even bothering to switch to a shot of the beaten Fiera, before finally he got up, sarcastically clapped for Atlantis' effort, and then told him to go fuck himself. Truly a legend of the sport.

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Atlantis is easily one of my favorite luchadors.  He's solid all-around and when he goes up top he is such a graceful and smooth high flier that it's hard for me not to love watching him.  So few guys who do those really flippy aerial moves can do them in a way that doesn't leave the opponent standing waiting to catch them.  It's one of the things that I appreciate most about Atlantis.

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