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[1997-09-19-CMLL] El Hijo del Santo vs Negro Casas

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Forget this being unlike any Santo vs Casas match I've seen before. This is unlike any lucha libre match I've seen before. The matwork isn't really remarkable in terms of difficulty -- at least not compared to something like El Dandy's matches against Azteca or Casas -- but there's a mean streak and aggression here that is lacking in all but the very best matches in wrestling history. I thought this built beautifully and really threw a lot of conventions on their heads while still working a match that felt true to the style. It had the build of a classic world title match and the hate of the best brawls, yet I loved that the tension never really boiled over. I feel like this is a match that deserves a better review than I'm capable of giving, because I'm having trouble putting what makes it so cool into words. The layout of the match, the way Casas dominated so long before Santo showed signs of life and little things like Santo's repeated headbutts to set up his submission win in the end combine to make this an all-time classic. I'm not sure I would have fully appreciated this without going through so much of the 1997 CMLL match, to see what other good and great matches during the time look like and why this shines above them all.

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I was beginning to think these guys were done with each other. Yay, they are head to head. So had Santo turn face? With the stipulations it was obvious who was winning but still a really good match. Casas was getting himself a Sasaki hair cut.

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I hadn't watched this match in a long time, and I was a total lucha novice on last viewing. The match stands out as something that's really easy to appreciate if you don't know the style. As Loss said, they worked very aggressively with a classic pro wrestling build that would be immediately recognizable to an American fan. But I don't think I'd recommend this to a newbie as a good example of lucha. With only one fall, they worked an unusual rhythm, and they never really built to the violent crescendo you see in the best wager matches. This sounds like I'm shitting on the match, which isn't the case. It's great. It just struck me as something very "other" this time around.

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In a year that doesn't feature the greatest match i have ever seen, this has an excellent shot of being my MOTY. For example, this would have been my 2013 MOTY. I think it is Santo's masterpiece as a match in being able to milk in wonderful wrestling and selling with his graceful highspots and overall aura. He wasn't losing the mask but damn if I wasn't fully invested in this match. I agree this is not a great match for a lucha novice and even though I am by no means an expert, the lucha I have watched in the past 3 years helped prepare me for the specialness of this match. Only Dandy/Satanico 12/90 and Chicana/MS-1 are the two contenders to this being the best lucha match I have ever seen.

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This is one hell of a match. I got a bit thrown by the rudo/tecnico designation, but I think ultimately, it doesn't matter. Casas was the first one to really get aggressive with his running leap across the ring onto the leg, but Santo not having to be fit within a formula of overcoming adversity was somewhat freeing to him. He was able to bring a lot more intensity instead of sitting up out of moves and what not. The one fall structure was used very well; I don't even think they go for a pin for the first fifteen minutes. Loss is completely right on how this screwed with the conventions, but it did so in some really smart ways.

 

The sequence of Casas hitting the corner dropkick to Santo in the tree of woe, going for La Casita, getting pushed away, going for another corner dropkick only for Santo to move and then Santo hitting the plancha was amazing. My one problem with the match was that Casas didn't sell more after Santo's super arm-breaker rocker dropper of doom thing, which was so impressive looking that they even replayed it. It didn't have to be long term selling (and he did sell the arm after the first cross arm breaker and the stuff in the ropes) but since the finish followed directly from it, it would have been nice. The rest of the selling was really great, both Santo's leg selling early on and then Casas' full body selling late in the match, including his arms draping away on the Camel Clutch attempt.

 

Great stuff.

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At the end of the 1990's, a lucha libre special aired on some channel where they showed highlights of all the greatest, or most memorable matches of the 20th century. I remember when they showed this, it always struck me as something unique, and I remember loving the armbar finish. This was many, many years before I saw the complete match.

I need to re-watch this to give a full detailed breakdown. If you saw this match online, you might have not seen the post-fight, which is interesting. Casas says that Santo didn't win, but that he (as in Casas) lost. He then points to his clavicle/shoulder area, and claims that Santo's win was illegal, it was a dirty move since someone must have told Santo he was (secretly) injured going into the bout. Casas said that he'll only cut his hair for the fans. Santo denies any wrongdoing and blows off Casas' claims.

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I really liked the build to this match. The intensity keeps moving in the right direction, but never enough to boil over. I also liked the way Casas never resorted to mask ripping, it showed a confidence that he had the win despite the odds of that happening. Very gritty pro wrestling match in a setting you expect something different, which makes it seem even better.

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I just watched this match and really loved it. I have just been getting into Lucha so there is still some adjustment to the rhythms and psychology, but the high end stuff is still really easy to appreciate. I watched it right before the Triple threat between Casas/Dandy/Santos (which I LOVED) and a day after watching some more recent Casas stuff (vs Rush and vs Mistico). I think that was a good place because I got to see how much more fluid and realistic this felt than say the Mistico match (which I loved when Casas was on top, but didn't love when he had to wait around for Mistico's offense). Santos is so quick in transitioning from being in a world of shit to being on top with a big dive or a quick and brutal shot. For example, when he is hanging in the tree and sits up to avoid a slide and before Casas is even really set Santos has jumped tot he outside. It was awesome. That made the back and forth really easy to get into let me get lost in their aggression and urgency. I absolutely love Casas and his confidence, how he has swagger between his moves that constantly adds to who he is as and what he wants to accomplish in the match. It also provides some room for his offense to set in. I loved the leg and arm work too, it kept the match grounded. Just fantastic stuff overall.

 

I am glad I watched it before the triple threat. The brutality of that match was such that I might have not really looked at this match fairly.

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Definitely a MOTYC and maybe a winner in other years. It won't win this year, as 1/20/97 set a bar that was awfully high. But it feels wholly unique in a good way for lucha, from the stips to the aggressiveness and shooty vibe of the matwork, to the unconventional but logical finish. A big turning point is Santo pulling himself up out of a tree of woe and Casas missing a dropkick and going to the floor--in the very same motion of pulling himself up, Santo stands up on the turnbuckle and dives off with a graceful and high-impact plancha. It's one of the most beautiful transition spots you'll ever see, which stands out even more in a match that was so gritty, and a reminder of why Santo is who he is.

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Is it too easy to say that this match is kind of like Casas & Santo running a touring match in BattlARTS? Una caida. No blood or mask-ripping. Only one pinfall attempt that I can remember and far more countout spots. Only two dives, both from Santo. The focus of the match was always on the opponent and just beating his ass with any kind of strike. I thought that it was super off-putting on first viewing but it's a hell of a damned match.

 

And now I'm sad that there wasn't some Bat-Bat version of the FMW match with Casas & Santo, but replace Onita/Tarzan/Leatherface/Horace with Ishikawa/Ikeda/Otsuka/Greco.

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For my 1K post here I reviewed the 1996 MOTY. For my 2K post I've seemingly progressed 9 months.

 

This was the biggest Lucha match of 1997, being the main event of 64th Anniversary Show. It felt like it as well with a great atmosphere. The rich backstory and history of this feud dated back over a decade. Their first famous battle was in 1987. Like people are saying this is a great match in isolation. That's what I thought the first time I saw it. But having closely followed this rivalry over all the years makes it all the more rewarding now. The extra knowledge and experience unlocking a new level of appreciation. They'd had classic matches before, including my 1991 MOTY no less. On 9/19/97 the Santo vs Casas rivalry reached its zenith.

 

Unusually only una sola caida. A change that worked really well. It went full length, yet had no breaks to the relentless intensity. They began with matwork. Not the kind that's for show, it wasn't about looking flashy. It was hard and rough. The stiffness and ferocity kept on rising and rising until full on warfare broke out. The intensity level was off the charts. The emotion overwhelming. I was in tears the majority of the match. The drama unfolding was so breathtakingly powerful. There were no rules, no pacing, no structure anymore. They'd ceased to matter. Everything had completely broken down into a fight to the death between two men who hated each other to the core. And it was glorious!

 

There was no blood and no mask ripping. Yet it felt savage. During the course of the bout there were several moves that were countered due to familiarity. So it was fitting that a surprise move like the Jujigatame should claim the victory. And the Rudo winning elicited an overjoyed crowd reaction. Several things were out of the box and different with the layout and structure. The storyline as well was far from your typical good vs evil wrestling narrative. The best rivalries go so much deeper into the very essences of the men involved. I didn't fully understand the aftermath. It was pretty tasty no doubt.

 

In January I was half complaining about the MOTY for 1997 coming so early on in the year. Well I've changed my mind on that. It's touch and go, but this just shades it. The greatest Lucha match of all time.

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Utterly incredible match. I've seen it before, and my impression hasn't really changed much, but I'm still sitting here thinking what a sensational fight.

 

The first outstanding thing is of course that this is like UWF meets a lucha match. For an apuestas match in Mexico between two guys who have been feuding for a decade this really turns the usual tropes of that kind of contest upside down. I guess starting the blowoff to a bloodfeud with matwork is a weird choice, but in a way it underlines how unique their rivalry is. Santo/Casas matwork always feels like watching bullriding, and it was a fitting start to the contest.

 

The next thing is that this is one of the most violent matches in history. Seriously, not much less so than Misawa/Kawada or any WAR or BattlARTS match. Every other minute in this bout, somebody was getting stomped on his head or kicked in the teeth. It was a total streetfight integrated into a wrestling contest and they sold accordingly. The fact that it was otherwise a clean match just made the battling in the ropes etc. all the more intense.

 

Next, you had flawless build and style. Both guys going through multiple waves of attacks & counter attacks with the pendulum swinging and swinging and the tension rising and some moments burning into your head like glowing thorns. Santo smashing Casas' head into the edge of the ring apron while Casas' body went limp, Casas throwing desperation headbutts on the ground & coming up with a bloody face, an almost depleted Casas stubbornly twisting Santo's wrist only to be met with punches to the face from below etc. etc. All great imagery. Then you also had the story of Casas pushing Santo to the limit with Santo working nearly heelish but then making a triumphant comeback.

 

So you have a match with great wrestling & tremendous suspense and build and swinging back and forth & and boiling with hatred and brutality. Really a totally amazing match and a GOAT contender.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/2/

 

#13

 

They work this match with so much aggression. The kicks in this are so vicious. You can feel so much hatred and Casas is just off the charts with his charisma in this. I think my favorite moment is the punch exchange that leads to Santo out on the floor holding the head of Casas under the ropes and swinging blows all the while Casas is swinging right back. *****

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On 3/12/2017 at 5:55 PM, JKWebb said:

http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-50-1/2/

 

#13

 

They work this match with so much aggression. The kicks in this are so vicious. You can feel so much hatred and Casas is just off the charts with his charisma in this.

 

Really well put. The venom behind all the strikes is just something else. Also Santo is great here but Casas is just on a different planet with facial expressions, character work, selling the struggle, violence etc.

 

This is one of the most unique matches ever. An apuestas match but they start off with lucha title style matwork. No blood or mask ripping. Yet the aggression, hatred and hostility are off the charts. One fall structure but the first pinfall attempt is 15 minutes in because the win is irrelevant and they just want to maul each other. Add some body part psychology and moments of real, gritty struggle and you get a lucha classic. **** 1/4

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Watched this again a few days ago because it had been too long. From the jump when Casas just kicks Santo's left leg with such a lack of care for his well-being you know this'll be special. This is such a stream of consciousness brawl in the same vein as the Hansen/Kawada '93 match that I'm almost always shocked at how they manage to keep up the hate and vitrol for so long with no let up.

 

And the violence. The stomps, the soccer kicks, the headbutts. Casas kicking Santo's arm off the ropes like he was trying to break it. They definitely found the right substitute for blood when it came to an apuestas match. And that dive Santo set up in this after dodging the dropkick made me stand up. The armbar to finish Casas off was nuts too.

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I get that I'm in the minority here, but I prefer their '87 match over this. Casas extreme bumping and those insane lucha spots left me speechless, but this is a damn fine brawl that felt like it had more in common with a hockey fight than a wrestling match. Casas setting the tone with a single leg kick to start the match made a lot of sense. Santos sells his leg and Casas tries to go after it, so an intense mat wrestling war ensues. Santos' attempts at armbars look a tad bit shit, but the brawling is solid enough to ignore the weak technique. Crowd erupts for the Casas submission to end this lucha classic. 

★★★★¼

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