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Charles (Loss)

[1990-08-24-EMLL] Atlantis & Angel Azteca & Javier Cruz vs El Dandy & El Satanico & Emilio Charles Jr

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One of the better trios matches so far, with everyone involved displaying some pretty awesome feats of athleticism and hitting all of their spots so cleanly. Emilio is in a constant state of shock that he's getting outwrestled in the early stages, while Dandy is the upstart prick that tries to pick his spots as much as he can, as he still has enemies in Azteca and Atlantis. The dive train at the end is getting awesome when Atlantis cuts off Satanico and submits him to the backbreaker to bring the match home. Really good, and a nice chapter in the feud with these guys.

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These guys are always a pleasure. They worked complicated sequences so smoothly and quickly that it's like watching bugs dance on the surface of a lake or something. This was another trios where most of the competition came in the first fall, and the last two kind of whizzed by. But that dive train interruptus was so cool that I hardly cared. Dandy's no hands tope over the top rope always looked amazing, and I loved the way Azteca's receipt dive hit him almost as soon as he turned around. I could watch this crew every week.

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Dandy is just fucking absurd here. So far on the yearbook we've seen him as a primo mat wrestler, a chicken shit heel, and now he's flying all over the place. And we haven't had a bloody brawl yet. He really is one of the most versatile guys of all-time. Everyone hits their spots beautifully (and with impact--always an important part) and the fall finishes were particularly beautifully complex. It's a testament to Dandy that he stands out among this group of 5 here, and I'd have to put him as my Most Outstanding Wrestler at this point in the year and in rather comfortable fashion.

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Probably my second favorite EMLL trios on the set so far. This was also my favorite Satanico performance of the year as he was grinding it out on the mat and mixing it up. His facial expression when offering Azteca his hand was awesome. Dandy was also great begging off from Atlantis in their first exchange. I do wish the second and third falls were a bit longer but this was really good stuff overall.

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Dandy is looking all class with his tuxedo tshirt. When Satanico has you by the arm watch out for his bulldog/arm bar move. Good exchange between Dandy and Atlantis. Rudos quickly pull out the first fall after it looked like Atlantis had the edge. Cruz and Dandy go full speed. Dandy losing the exchanges so far. Another really quick fall. Everyone is flying around. Atlantis catches Sananico out of nowhere with a backbreaker. Everyone looked really good and the moves were so crisp. I wish it had more time though but it was still great.

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The only reasons I'm not going wild for this is because it was short and ultimately had no meaning beyond the night. But there sure was some amazing action. The speed and fluency of the moves were unreal. Fantastic skill levels from some masters of the craft. It's so cruel to keep it so short and tantalise me like that. Had they kept going at the same level it had higher end potential, which is incredible for a trios.

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There were literally only three offensive moves that I saw in this match: hiplocks, armdrags (which are basically the same thing) and headscissors, along with a backbreaker that was so short you can barely count it as offense. I'd sure like to know where all this great work is, because it isn't in anything I saw. They didn't even offer a replay of one of the falls because they were busy with an interview My luck, it was one of the falls where all three guys were pinned at once and I had no idea who was pinning who.

 

I understand that most of you like lucha because of the athleticism of the guys involved, and I won't deny that luchadores are world-class athletes. But I have yet to see any real grappling skill in the vast majority of lucha matches. The Dandy/Azteca singles bout from June was a welcome exception, and I loved it. Other than that, all I see are dives and takeovers until it's time for all the members of one team to pin all the members of another. I spend most of my time while watching lucha thinking that there's some Uncle Elmer match I could be enjoying instead.

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I'm not normally Dave Meltzer or Frank Jewett, but let's just go back and count...

 

- Double Indian deathlock by Azteca (holds count as offense).

- Wakigatame armbar takedown by Satanico

- Clothesline by Cruz

- Weird double wristlock/double leglock pinning combo by Charles, where he and Cruz work near-falls and counterholds out of it

- Knuckle lock takedown into more counterholds and pin attempts

- Monkey flip by Cruz, with Charles taking a big bump for it

- Dandy trying to throw a clothesline, a back elbow, and a spin kick that all miss in quick succession before Atlantis levels him with a clothesline

- Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Atlantis

- Dropkick by Azteca, in a well-timed spot to show that the technicos were smarter than the rudos as Satanico had turned his back to jaw at the crowd.

(- There sure are a ton of takedowns, but they throw in a whole lot of variations to them, and they're punctuated with character work, especially when Charles is in.)

- A monkey flip and tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Cruz, with Charles doing more over-the-top stooging bumps.

- Dandy gets thrown over Atlantis' head and turns it into a dropkick on Azteca in mid-air, at the conclusion of a bunch of complex heel miscommunication spots.

- Electric chair slam by Charles as part of the rudo first fall--they were mostly outclassed, but Dandy hitting that dropkick turned out to be a lucky break for them.

 

- Satanico opens up the second fall with a phony handshake and knee to the lower abdomen, which is sold as though it might be a low blow. Basic lucha heel psychology.

- Dandy does a sensational athletic counter of Cruz's monkey flip, then eats a knee and takes a great bump that makes it look like a Hansen lariat. Guys are starting to counter moves that worked earlier in the match.

- Then they start varying the armdrags, with Azteca cleverly bouncing off the ropes in mid-air to reverse the move, a major turning point in the fall.

- Leaping headbutt and victory roll by Azteca, a leaping reverse dive off the top by Atlantis, and a power bomb by Cruz--three pretty high-end convincing finishers for the technicos.

 

- Clothesline by Satanico, tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Cruz

- Awesome-looking punches by Charles, and a payback one by Atlantis, before Charles cuts him off with a clothsline.

- Atlantis fakes Charles out with a flying head scissor attempt, but uses a bulldog-faceslam type move instead.

- Dropkick by Azteca, headbutt by Dandy before missing an Eddy Guerrero-style slingshot somersault senton.

- Charles takes a huge back body drop bump over the top rope to the floor--Randy Savage would be proud.

- Azteca winds up for a dive but gets leveled by a Dandy clothesline, in a clever tease and cut-off spot.

- Dandy with a great dive of his own, followed by a bullet tope by Azteca, and then a clever finish playing off the previous rudo cut-off spot, as Atlantis cuts off the dive train and catches Satanico in his trademark backbreaker to win the fall.

 

That's a hell of a lot more offense than your average Shawn Michaels match. The character work is mostly done by the heels, while the technicos are generally generic white-meat babyfaces, but when the rudos are this strong character-wise that works. Uncle Elmer can probably do a million arm drags in a match, but let's see him or anybody else match these guys for speed and quickness in doing them *and* while not blowing any spots and keeping some psychology to it, both in terms of learned counters and in taking the audience for a ride with ups and downs throughout a match.

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garetta's criticisms aren't unique. Meltzer wrote a similar sort of thing in his 1990 Yearbook where he claimed that the only "complete" workes in CMLL were Dandy, Morgan and Estrada, and that the rest of them didn't compare favourably to American and Japanese workers.

 

But the whole "I'm not invested in the match/I don't care about the characters" thing is a two way street. If you're sitting there waiting to be impressed then you're not making an effort to be invested. You can't get into lucha watching a match here and there. If you don't speak the language, can't understand the interviews or vignettes and aren't following the stories or characterisations in the magazines then it takes time to learn about the workers. Watching them on a Yearbook may be enough of an introduction, but w/ a trios like this one it helps if you're familiar with the workers because on paper this is an exciting match-up with six of the best workers on the company and expectations should be high. I think Matt would admit that he struggled to find the narrrative in lucha at first, and now it's like he's been a fan his entire life, but he watched a lot of lucha to get to that point. I can't remember what motivated him to continue watching, but he aptly described it as a journey. The point is that he made a concerted effort to watch something that didn't have an immediate appeal to him. Of course, nobody's saying that you need to do that -- if you don't like something, you don't like it, and that may never change -- but writing matches off for reasons that are patently untrue like these guys aren't great workers or have no character, or whatever, just seems baseless.

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I understand that most of you like lucha because of the athleticism of the guys involved, and I won't deny that luchadores are world-class athletes. But I have yet to see any real grappling skill in the vast majority of lucha matches. The Dandy/Azteca singles bout from June was a welcome exception, and I loved it. Other than that, all I see are dives and takeovers until it's time for all the members of one team to pin all the members of another. I spend most of my time while watching lucha thinking that there's some Uncle Elmer match I could be enjoying instead.

It's not so much the athleticism and moves. Good Lucha is more about rhythm and flow. It's a uniquely beautiful style to watch. When you're transitioning from US & Japanese wrestling you're naturally judging it by the criteria that you've previously used for matches from those styles. Things that you like to see aren't there. Certain aspects such as the choreography and dual pinfalls seem quite alien.

 

I can only advise you to stick with it, because the potential rewards are worth the effort. There's no quick fix, it takes time to truly understand the style. At first when I started watching it was solely through the eyes of a puro fan. There are some matches you can enjoy this way but it's a limited range. After a while I started watching it as more a Lucha fan, and began looking for different aspects than before. Determining if it's good or bad based on its own unique merits rather than a trans-national approach. When you know which move is going to lead to a fall over 90% of the time and wouldn't want to change it, all will start to seem right with the world.

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Maybe it's the trios style that has me buffaloed, because I've enjoyed quite a few lucha singles bouts. It's the multi-man matches that I have trouble with. My Uncle Elmer references were total sarcasm, but my point was that I can understand his style, such as it is, very easily. There's not a whole lot of nuance to Stan Frazier at close to five hundred pounds. With the lucha guys, it seems like a different sport. Zenjo mentioned choreography, and it puts me in mind of an analogy: where American and Japanese wrestling remind me of swimming, lucha reminds me of synchronized swimming. I like to watch swimming races, particularly in the Olympics, but synchronized swimming often leaves me scratching my head and wondering what I just saw.

 

Don't worry, I paid too much money for these yearbooks to start fast-forwarding through lucha matches, and there's always a chance that I'll learn to appreciate the trios and tag matches more as time goes on. For now, though, I'm still trying to figure out where the pieces all fit together, and it's much harder than I thought. I promise not to dismiss them out of hand like I seemed to here, though.

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Most of the trios matches so far have been tecnico vs. tecnico, or at least worked in that style. It's a very showy type of wrestling. The emphasis is mostly on the skill of the workers and just what they're capable of doing. There's little rudo dominance or subsequent tecnico comeback to shape the match. There's usually some build, but for the most part the match is the sum of the individual exchanges. After the 1990 yearbook, you won't see many of them, in large part because they weren't very common post-1990.

 

I imagine you'll like stuff such as the Dandy vs. Satanico trios match in November and the Cien Caras/Mascara Año 2000/Sangre Chicana match in early 1992 more than you liked this series of matches. If not, and if in fact you always find lucha a chore to watch, there's no shame in that. Goodness knows that there's a bunch of wrestling that I have no interest in watching.

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I've got a couple of questions if anyone ever reads this and can answer

 

1. My understanding is that there's a team captain. How does the viewer know who the captain is? Do they always start the match? Are they listed first during the intros?

 

2. To win a fall, I thought it was either pin both guys who aren't the captain, or pin the captain, but the first two falls end by all 3 men being pinned. Was that necessary or just part of the show of this match?

 

I was mostly focusing on El Dandy here since he's the first guy I've connected with, and this was really good and a different than the mat based match earlier. I'm learning to appreciate the cooperation and smoothness of sequences in the matches.

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I liked the ring announcer having to dodge guys trying to fight each other as he did his work. To me, Charles was the guy that made the first fall with his great floor bump and general stooging. I did like the turnaround in that fall also with the flow seemingly showing that Atlantis was going to outsmart all of the rudos, but they turned that around and got the win instead. Second caida was pretty short, and the third was basically a set-up for the dive train (awesome!) and finish. Entertaining match with a lot of athleticism and several massive floor bumps from Emilio Charles. Also, the bit with him denying punching Atlantis only to get punched himself was really good.

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