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[1994-04-02-AAA] El Hijo del Santo & Lizmark & Tiger Mask vs Blue Panther & Eddy Guerrero & Love Machine

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When people say they don't understand the point about AAA being Sports Entertainment Lucha Libre, this is the match you tell them to watch. It would have been the best luchadore six-man in WCW history had it happened there. Here, it's disappointing and feels out of place in its environment. I used to not understand when people would say they didn't like the Japanese influence in lucha, but after watching this match, I get it. It's a styles clash and I don't really Eddy and Kanemoto trading suplexes. The Los Gringos Locos schtick is lots of fun at times, and it's really over, but it doesn't feel very lucha. Add in Los Gringos Locos turning on Panther and this feels ... cheap.

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Because Panther was a heel.

 

The point was to get across that Gringos were even more heel that the rest of the rudos.

 

John

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Why wouldn't the Gringos turn on Panther? Who took Art's mask... then his hair? :)

 

John

Understand that part. It was just the quality of this match, with the turn on top of it, felt like a ton of shortcuts. It's similar to how some of the old timers used to think Memphis wasn't pro wrestling, it was a parody of pro wrestling. I hope that makes sense.

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I liked Tiger Mask/Guerrero the most here but I'm not a Lucha fan. Just don't know enough of the back story to know what is going on here. I was confused with the second fall decision also. Was it a DQ for unmasking opponent?

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This was out of place. It wasn't a lucha match at all really. I didn't like this very much at all. There was a little bit of good in this but it just didn't fit in.

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Thought this was pretty fun in sections and the Gringos Locos schtick was amazing in some sections. Also enjoyed the Santo/Panther exchange in the first caida. I think this fell off the rails after Tiger Mask got unmasked. We then get Panther unmasked which didn't lead to a DQ and then the Gringos Locos turn on him in a weird moment.

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I thought Panther and Los Gringos Locos were already in conflict, too. I was confused when he was aligned with Jake earlier, and them teaming has me even more confused. Either I got mixed up on my timeline or they did a big reset on the Panther face turn. And is this Kanemoto under the tiger mask here? It would have to be, wouldn't it?

 

Anyway, I thought the first two falls here were really good. It may not entirely be cricket lucha, but the velocity with which Eddy and Art execute their stuff is really compelling. Eddy absolutely kills Lizmark dead with a lariat at one point and TM with a brainbuster at another, and the technicos step it up and respond in kind. It's one of the stiffer lucha matches of the '90s. This is also the first real look at the "real" '90s Eddy that we're all familiar with, in fact. Barr has junked all of the complicated stuff he tried and failed to execute in earlier matches, relying on shtick and a few key offensive moves that he does well. It's a good change for him, even if it seems like a very WWF Style thing to do. The third fall this, as Chad says, goes off the rails. A lot of meandering brawling and while all the mask-pulling was fun, the Gringos Locos turn made almost no sense in context. I get the build-up to it, but why wait until the third fall and then leave him laying? Maybe it's my American booking mind here, but at least have Panther fuck up and accidentally hit one of the Gringos, or build up the tension throughout the match, or something. As it is, it just didn't work.

 

Funny post-match image, as the children's chorus "Love Theme for Santo" song is playing, while the Gringos continue to lay waste to Panther in the ring.

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I just watched this and it appears to me the gringos turn on panther because lizmark takes his mask, puts it on, attacks one of the gringos and then puts it back on panther. Their attack was retaliation for what they thought was his attack

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Well, I loved this. Maybe it's just three yearbooks' worth of lucha exposure getting me a better appreciation for the style, but I'm really digging it so far in 1994. Art & Eddy are so great at gathering heat - my favorite bit was when Eddy slipped off the top rope setting up TM for a superplex, and getting some razzing from the crowd, then he flipped the crowd off while doing the move. And Lizmark (RIP) looked great in the quick bits he was featured in. Looking forward to digging more into him.

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One other thing - Tiger Mask is working AAA? When did the New Japan-CMLL relationship start? I had understood that it was pretty long-standing, since the '80s.

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