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Atlantis vs. El Satanico (1984)

 

First fall is all Atlantis. He shows his amazing grace from the onset with a great dropkick that sends Satanico regrouping to the outside. He also does a leap up cross body. He hooks on a camel clutch that I thought might be it but Satanico shows his resourcefulness by biting his hand. Atlantis puts him away with a rocking horse type submission that has Satanico reeling to end the first fall. Satanico complains on the outside in between falls and then gets in and starts putting the boots to Atlantis. Atlantis shows he can mix it up in that area and gives some back drops to Satanico and hooks in the abdominal stretch with a cravat variation. Satanico comes firing back with throws into the turnbuckly and outside. Sataico celebrating on the outside and raising his hands in the air is glorious. He puts Atlantis inside the ring and gives him some hip tosses and a elbow drop and finishes it with a pin. He continues to put the beating on him in between the falls. Third fall ups the ante even more with some mask ripping and stiff punches and knees to Atlantis. Satanico is a complete vicious loon just hammering away and biting at him. The ref gets heavily involved by pulling Satanico’s hair to finally pull him off. Atlantis is a bloody mess with it all over his chest. We then get Problemas de Transmission and we go to black and white. This doesn’t detract from the violence though as Satanico continues to put the boots to him. We get a badass king of the mountain spot with Atlantis having to grab one of Satanico’s legs and wrap it around the apron to allow him to get in. We then get revenge spots as Satanico is sent into the corner and Atlantis bites him. Satanico is a bloody mess now. Atlantis goes back to that ab stretch submission but Satanico is able to get in a short elbow and now both competitors are drained and we have a nasty slugfest between the two. Atomic drop from Atlantis gives him the advantage and he follows that up with a backbreaker but Satanico socks him right in the mouth. Atlantis kills him with two beautiful dropkicks and goes for the victory roll but Satanico cuts him off again. Satanico then hooks in the camel clutch but Atlantis fights out of it. Another crazy dropkick sends Satanico to the outside and we get a dive from Atlantis. He goes for a flying headbutt and again Satanico ducks away. Satanico is looking really strong here and this match is a war. Sunset flip gets our closest near fall of the match for Atlantis and now he hits the flying headbutt but he tries again and hits the turnbuckle. Amazing resourcefulness. Santanico then gives him the boots and locks on the submission for the clean as a shit victory. Holy shit was this amazing and told a great story. Both guys come out looking spectacular. I watched this match twice to make sure I wasn’t crazy on first watch but this would be the best match I have seen in 2013 and therefore it deserves the rating I am giving it.

 

*****

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I try to search through your blog Ohtani to see if you had reviewed it but didn't see it. In fact, I couldn't find much of any writeups on this match which made me think I might be on an island which is not entirely uncommon. (I think most people would call both this and the 8/24/94 joshi main event tag good matches but I had that one my #2 match of 1994 and ***** too). There are things I value more in wrestling than anything else. A coherent storyline with a finish that pays off the story of the match is probably the #1 thing. I know lucha is a completely different animal from US wrestling but it was amazing to me to see how resourceful Satanico was throughout this match and that everytime you thought Atlantis, had his number, Satanico dug deeper in his bag of tricks. He was clearly the rudo in this match without having to play hide the chain or goad the crowd constantly. The finish being as clean as it was for him quite shocked me. I have seen rudos go over in these types of matches and maybe Satanico was positioned higher at this point but it didn't seem like it would have been a monumental upset for Atlantis to win. Something like Rude's title win or even Flair's win over Luger at Starrcade 88 are celebrated as evidence of how a rudo can win a big time match rather cleanly by being resourceful. This brought that to another level. Add to it double juice, some stiff shots, and Atlantis graceful dives and dropkicks and I really am struggling to find 25 matches in history I like better right this moment. I plan on rewatching it again so I'm not totally glazed over but at worst, I see this match dropping into the fucking great level.

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Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (1/27/84)

 

The first fall of this is some of my favorite lucha matwork wrestling this side of Blue Panther, Llanes vs. Dandy and dandy vs. Azteca. Giving a running play by play would be mundane but I was completely engaged in everything transpiring. The referee making Cota break the headscissors as a choke gave a nice little narrative and the match was off and running from there. Every submission looks like it could be it, at one point Cota has a pin attempt with all of Roccas limbs tied up that I don't know how he kept escaping from. Rocca wins with the Gory Special which is a fantastic finish to a caida like this. Cota gets in gear in the second fall and schools Rocca at almost every turn. The stuff is done on the mat but with a great viciousness attached to it including the submission finish. The third fall now is for the championship and Cota is even more aggressive ringing out the arm and sending it into the turnbuckle. He then hooks on a nasty looking chinlock that looks more like a rear naked choke a treated as Rocca is in sever danger from it. Cota's second keeps pushing Rocca's legs from the ropes and a fan responds by pelting garbage at him. Cota's throws are something that written here don't seem like much but he does them with such force and disregard that they really look vicious. His whole demeanor in this match has been superb. Rocca makes his big comeback with some pin attempts and a couple of dropkicks. Victory gets caught by Cota and we almost have the Owen vs. Bret finish. HUGE dropkick from Coata sends Rocca to the outside then we get probably my favorite dive of the set up to this point as Cota goes out like a missile and Rocca goes flying back. Both men thankfully make the count and Cota is frustrated. Cota runs the gauntlet of nasty submissions but Rocca wont give it up. Cota slaps the mat in frustration. Bridging armdrag by Rocca and some dropkicks but he gets into the ref. Cota hits and armdrag and even though the legs are under the ropes, the dazed ref doesn't see it. People are not pleased with this. Bring on the rematch.

 

****1/2

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The search function on my blog is buggy.

 

I was a lot more positive about the Satanico/Atlantis match than I remember, though this entry wasn't really a critical appraisal:

 

Atlantis vs. Satanico, CMLL 1984

 

Atlantis was just a kid here. You could see it in the way he swivelled his head, looking for crowd support. That open armed stance is classic rookie behaviour; a type of nervous energy that young technicos have. Satanico, on the other hand, wasn't the least bit unsure of himself, in fact this was Satanico at his cockiest. A vain, ostentatious, altogether glorious display.

 

At one point, Atlantis was lying on the mat; his mask ripped; forehead bleeding; chest splattered with blood... He'd actually won the first fall, largely by staying out of Satanico's reach. It was heady stuff from the youngster, but whatever his ambitions might've been, they were in tatters. And all the while Satanico paraded around like Atlantis was an afterthought. Atlantis tried to roll away and Satanico kicked him out of the ring. He tried to pull himself onto the apron and Satanico knocked him to the floor. It was brutish stuff from the rudo and the crowd were baying for rudo arrogance to get its comeuppance. Finally, Atlantis rallied and began ramming Satanico's head into the turnbuckle (a popular spot in 1984). It was a bit loose and theatrical, but the shock on Satanico's face was priceless. He was bleeding from the forehead and had to check his hand to see if it was real. Atlantis was a real pest now. He'd hung around for far too long and there was a chance he might win. That brought out the wrestler in Satanico and he used his experience to prevent what would've been a major embarrassment; stretching Atlantis for the victory.

 

Veterans always like to teach rookies a lesson or two, but Satanico was drained. He clapped Atlantis' performance and raised his arm in victory. Then he nailed him with a right hand. Another win notched, another technico dismantled. 1984 was a good year for El Satanico.

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Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (2/3/84)

 

Time for the rematch. Cota is more animated at the onset mugging for the crowd. First fall was more beautiful wrestling. Cota spinning out of the chinlock was incredibly cool. Cota trying to frustrate Rocca by rubbing his face like you would pet a dog is also awesome. The arm submission work looks very nasty and unique. Rocca seems to be showing a little more viciousness in this rematch which is appreciated. The flip over victory roll finish was awesome and the perfect way to end the first fall. Cota again is awesome at the beginning of the second fall getting dropped on his dome and trying to shake out the cobwebs. Cota comes firing back with more desperation and aggression because he has to even it up. Constant one arm takedowns and slinging him into the turnbuckle. Big senton and Cota uses his knee to help with pinfalls. Cota finishes him off with a submission that I am sure has a name, but hell if I know what it is. Cota gets a little overzealous coming in and gets posted. The third fall has a much faster pace. Rocca goes for a pin but Cota catches his arm and we get another double pin. I don’t want this feud to end. Third fall being abbreviated made sense but does place this one slightly below the first match.

****1/4

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Atlantis y Lizmark vs. El Egipcio y El Faraón (2/17/84)

 

 

This starts with a heated brawl between Satanico and gang. Lizmark and Atlantis come out and get their ass kicked immediately. Lizmark comes firing back and is great using all sorts of flashy moves including the springboard armdrag. Atlantis looks good in his segment and has continued to impress me throughout this set. First fall ends with a butterfly suplex, powerbomb combo. Really rudo vs. tecnico structure with almost every offensive move from Eqipcio and Faraon is of the kick/punch variety. Rudos take the second fall just clubbing away and ending it with a senton. Third fall starts with more of the same. Egipcio kicks with Lizmark in a submission are not very inspiring. Lizmark makes the big comeback and Egipcio is looking for a foul to be called to no avail. Huge diving headbutt allows both Atlantis and Egipcio to be pinned. It now comes down to Lizmark and Faraon. Lizmark has the win in his grasp until Faraon says enough of that shit and rips off the mask ending the match. The crowd is pissed at this development and someone in the crowd has to be restrained. This was a fun tag but too inconsequential to place high on a set like this.

 

***1/4

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El Faraón, Herodes y Mocho Cota vs. Lizmark, Ringo Mendoza y Tony Salazar (2/24/84)

 

Starts in progress with Herodes and the entire rudos completely kicking ass. Mocho Cota again endears himself to me by tearing apart Lizmark in the corner. He also gives some huge dropkicks to Mendoza to take the first fall. Cota presenting his missing fingers to the crowd is another brilliant touch. I am to the point where I am ready to see every match of his that has made tape. Salazar is a bloody mess and the Rudos are just wailing away on him. Mendoza tries to drag him to the outside and Cota responds by banging his head against the apron. Lizmark tries his hand and again gets beat up. Brawl continues on the outside and then back inside with round two of Salazar getting creamed. Finally Lizmark and Mendoza have had enough and the big comeback commences. Herodes takes a big bump in the corner. Salazar especially shows a lot of good fire in this segment. Stereo dives are made to the outside. Finish makes sense in the fact that Salazar is seeing red and when Herodes goes for a nut shot he responds giving the rudos the win. Really fun match that didn’t have a ton of flow but made up for it in passion and hate.

 

***1/2

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Solar, Ultraman y Super Astro vs. Sergio El Hermoso, Bello Greco y Rudy Reyna (2/26/84)

Never watched anyone on the rudo side before and we get a very grainey camera angle on this one that will probably be tough for me to distinguish. First fall is a blast with tons of fun stuff going on too numerous to name. All three of the faces are able to come in and look good. Second fall begins with a rudo beating. Huge bump to the outside takes out the apron. The chase around the ring resulting in the back elbow smash was the greatest face spot I can remember of that sequence. Those punches by Ultraman that Tim references are super. Finsh was hectic and conclusive ending. This match was a total blast that I could have had 5-10 minutes more of.

 

****

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Enrique Vera vs. Dos Caras (2/26/84)

 

Dos Caras has never been one of my favorites. I should probably rewatch the All Japan matches since I watched them two years ago when I was real wet behind the ears with lucha stuff. This is a good contrast to the previous match on the same card. The deadlift spot where Caras pulls Vera up is really great. Some minor clipping occurs throughout this match but I don’t think we miss much of anything. Vera takes the first fall with a submission. Vera starts off fast in the second fall with two quick dropkicks to try to put Caras away. Caras is able to roll him up to get the quick flash pin. Third fall slows the pace back down. Tons of pin and submission attempts. Really nice surfboard is executed by Caras. Vera does a really awful dive off the second rope. Vera redeems himself with a good dive on the outside to Caras. Caras is able to get the momentum on the victory roll for the win. This match was good but mostly bland. It feels like one of those matches that at the end of the process you look down and see it ranked in the bottom quarter and it’s a realization of how strong the overall set was.

 

***1/4

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Jerry Estrada vs. Ultraman (3/2/84)

 

My favorite old ass crazy bumper from the 90’s, Estrada shows up. Ultraman was great in the trios match so I look forward to what he does in this title match. This starts off very mat based with some snug arm work that does not look like it feels good. Estrada really impressed me working this hold mentality throughout the first fall based on what I have seen of him and he wins the first fall with the same submission that Vera did previously. Estrada takes off the second fall again working over Ultraman’s arm. Ultra gets ins ome flurries but has remained pretty grounded. He finally is able to maintain the advantage with a wheelbarrol slam into a submission. Ultra starts off the third fall hot with some enzuguris and suplexes to some extreme nearfalls. We get some of those great Estrada bumps now off of these suplexes. Estrada has a look of pain with every move that he applies that is really good at selling the damage he has taken. Estrada gives a flash dive to the outside then of course has to take a bump into the chairs himself because that is what he does. Big running knee lift is missed by Estrada in the corner and a great dropkick and dive combo to the outside is followed up by Ultraman. Estrada goes back to the old standard in this match, working the arm. The doctor comes in to see if Ultra can continue and he waves it off given Estrada the win. Huge celebration takes place. I thought this was great and showed good versatility for both of these competitors.

 

****

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Tony Salazar vs. Herodes (3/2/84)

 

 

Really excited that we get the grudge match between these two. Herodes has the awesome beard still and dominates the first few minutes until Salazar comes firing off and wins the first fall. Salazar starts off hot on the second fall and posts Herodes. The ref admonishes Salazar in order to give Herodes back the advantage and him rams Salazar’s shoulder into the turnbuckle and clubs and cranks it away. Salazar responds by going after Herodes shoulder. I love the intensity being displayed here. Referee gives Herodes the second fall with an armbar submission. Salazar gets busted up at the onset of the final fall and is a complete mess. Herodes does a straight choke and this has gotten grim. This choke is really nasty and he comes back firing some body punches. Salazar is able to come back with some wild punches and is really selling the beating well. Salazar is doing some excellent selling of the blood loss. Herodes gets posted now on the outside. Nice bulldog on the outside. Salazar posts and bulldogs him again. Now Herodes comes up a complete mess with the blood just gushing out. The back and forth punches when they get back in is great as you would expect with both guys missing some because of the blood in the eyes. Herodes especially squinting because of the blood flow is great. Herodes with a huge dive to the outside. Salazar responds with a big dive on his own. Herodes again is trying to clear his vision. Diving headbutt and some big time nearfalls that the crowd bites on. Herodes even gets one with a big senton. Referee goes down and Herodes responds with our best nut shot of the set so far. He pins him down but the ref asks the crowd whether a foul commenced. The crowd tells him yes and Salazar is declared the winner. Great final fall and bloody grudge match overall.

 

****1/4

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Hijo del Santo, Ringo Mendoza y Chamaco Valaguez vs. Jerry Estrada, Fuerza Guerrera y Talisman (3/9/84)

 

Some more individuals I am not too familiar with (tailsman, Valaquez). The Santo interaction in the first fall was a ton of fun vs. both Fuerza and Estrada. Fuerza in particular shows a lot of fire in the onset. Mendoza comes in to relinquish Santo from the corner and he has a quick flurry with Fuerza and Estrada bumping around. We then get some neat heel miscommunication spots with Tailsman and Fuerza not being able to get on the same page. Santo and Fuerza have their typical good sequence then Valaquez and Estrada have a nice sequence with Estrada takinga backdrop through the ring ropes. Big tecnico flurry with submissions and dives from Santo wins the first fall for them. Second fall starts off really fun with Santo just bouncing off the rudos and them running into each other with comedy spots. Estrada is able to get the advantage of Mendoza and Tailsman kicks him on top of the head coming in. However, Mendoza is able to fall through to the floor. Valaguez gets a beating to and Santo as well. Rudos are dominant now. More mask tugging and agression from Fuerza. Tailsman gives valaguez a powerbomb without any regard for his health. Rudos take the second fall as Santo gets posted. On the third fall, they really go after Santo and his mask untying it. I liked the other tenicos trying to get in but Estrada keeps them at bay. Finally we get the big comeback against Fuerza. Fuerza gets his mask ripped. Finish comes when Fuerza is able to take Santo's mask off. Now this was a good tag with a lot of good action and followed a formula but something seemed off for me and I think it was how two bit both Mendoza/Valaguez felt.

 

***1/4

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From ze blog:

 

Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (1/27/84)

Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (2/3/84)

 

Mocho Cota is such a compelling worker.

 

On one hand, he looks like an evil genius like the Master from Dr. Who. On the other hand, he's so hyper with his pre-match taunting that when you hear the Bihari relayed stories about how he lost his fingers he may just be a maniac who's on something. Maybe with his "deformity" he's got a whole "if I cannot prove a lover, I'm determined to prove a villain" Richard III thing going on. Whatever the case, he laughs like a madman.

 

Like all of the truly great workers, he puts an amazing amount of detail into his work. Whether he's working from the top or bottom, he's constantly selling. If it's a hold he's applying, he's always moving, shifting, trying to gain more leverage, selling the effort in his face. You've heard all the cliches about it being a game of human chess and having to think two or three moves ahead. It sounds like Larry Z on an episode of Worldwide, but Cota is that type of worker. The matwork in these matches isn't for show or to undo each other, it's a step-by-step effort at dismantling the opposition, and behind that veneer of maniacal laughter is a great wrestling mind. One of the best on the set.

 

I didn't pay enough attention to the January match the first time I watched it. It really is a veritable masterpiece. Some of the best matwork in the history of lucha on tape. The rematch is beautiful and the matwork in the first caida may be even better than the January match. Americo Rocca deserves a ton of credit for the matches being good as he was a more than capable mat worker who shone in the more difficult role of technico, and his selling was every bit as careful and measured as Cota's. They should be commended for working two different mat classics only days apart, but for me it was Cota who really stood out. This was the first time I really saw him being on the level of a Satanico and elevated him to that tier of lucha workers. Watch his reactions in these matches. The way he sells the "strangleholds" that Rocca applies after they've been broken. The way he pounds his fist into his hand when a well planned sequence doesn't pay dividends, or the cocky strut when he knows Rocca has submitted even before the bell. The seriousness with which he wrestles the second caida of the rematch and his selling when he loses a fall demonstrate his range. There's never a point where he isn't selling. I loved the part after the second match where the kids are heckling him at ringside and he scares the shit out of them like a one handed Boogie Monster.

 

These are also great matches for rudo fans as the old adage of "cheat to win" has never been so boldly played out in a lucha libre title match. Cheating of this magnitude usually doesn't occur in a lucha libre match, but Cota's genius makes all things permissible. The wonderful thing about the rematch is that I found myself wanting Rocca to win. They probably went a beat or two beyond what they needed in that second caida, as I thought Cota could have ended it sooner and added the remainder onto the third caida, but still I was pulling for Cota to knock off the bastard. The fact he lost in such screwy circumstances without Cota actually cheating was poetic and Cota rubbing it in to all in sundry was deliriously good. The part where he openly mocks Rocca by laughing at him is such poor sportsmanship for a title match and so removed from Satanico's near face turn in the Gran Cochise fight that it almost blew my mind.

 

I am really high on Mocho Cota.

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Tony Salazar vs. Herodes (3/2/84)

 

This was the first time for me to see Herodes in a single match let alone a mano a mano grudge match. For those of you who don't know, Herodes is considered one of the great forgotten workers of the 80s. This recent discovery sheds some light on that claim and is set up on the disc by a classic brawling trios similar to other blood feuds over the years. Herodes and Salazar bleed heavily in that match, giving the audience a taste for the gore to come.

 

This wasn't a luchas de apuestas match as far as I'm aware, but that didn't abate the hatred. Salazar was a former lucha golden boy who was a twenty year vet at this point and Herodes was equally well established having worked a "Tijera de Oro" gimmick on his way up, a "golden scissors" shtick where he claimed to have taken the hair of numerous men. The two had crossed paths the previous Autumn with Salazar taking Herodes' hair, so there was bad blood between them.

 

The opening falls where okay. I can see people possibly having a problem with their length, but as a relatively long time lucha fan, the length of the falls isn't as important to me as the rhythm and timing and what they actually do in those falls. Here they were going for a "technico gets off to a hot start" take on the opening caida with Herodes having to work his way back into the match. They didn't quite pull it off as neither man was the most polished performer, but Salazar busting a gut in the opening fall set the tone for a high stakes grudge match.

 

First impressions of Herodes are similar to what others have said: he looks like a shorter, stockier version of Harley Race, especially with that beard. I'm not sure his strikes were really that good as there were a lot of lunges and he didn't lay in his shit as much as I would've liked, but for a heavyweight he was a super fun bumper and this match really turns on Salazar's bulldogs on the outside.

 

The blood in this match is gruesome. Seriously. Salazar looks like he's been shot in the face. They do this long close-up of him trying to stop the bleeding with the palm of his hand and it looks like something out of a Peckinpah film. When Herodes blades, there's so much blood on his hand that he could coat the ring with it. Herodes was attracted to bullfighting in his childhood; the pair of them look like they've been gored.

 

With all the bleeding and the heavyweight tope and planchas and sentons this match got seriously good. I thought they went a beat or two too far with the nearfalls at least in terms of how I was feeling the rhythm, but that may be because the crowds are so poorly mic'ed that I wasn't sure if the crowd was still with them. It's not the first time on this set that I've felt a fall could've ended at a better point, but I was cool with the finish. It's true that you don't often see a ref take the crowd's word for a DQ, but since this was a mano a mano it didn't demand a proper payoff and since Salazar had lost the trios for the technico side with the same foul it was cheeky of Herodes to think he could make Salazar pay from the irony of it all.

 

So, this got hot in the third and ended up being pretty great. Herodes' not really a Cota or a Satanico and I thought for large stretches of this that because he was the one selling that he was out on his feet, Salazar was more responsible for the match being good, but still this was a cool find.

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Atlantis vs. El Satanico (1984) –

This is a match that I might be an outlier on. First and foremost, this was a really good match. I might even call it a great one. However, I struggle to see how it’s as good as some people are letting on. It’s certainly a match that’s a good introduction to the style. There was blood, mask pulling, brawling, some good holds, and Satanico pulled some great clever rudo tactics. The low blow out of the referee’s sight was awesome. That was the perfect way to transition into Satanico taking control. I think Atlantis has good offense too. He’s pretty varied and his back breaker is a really good one. The third fall had the blood and brawling which was great. Satanico wiping his face and seeing his own blood then going getting pissed about it was the best moment of the match. The punches were pretty sweet here too. Both guys sold really well here as well. I loved Satanico bringing Atlantis in for a handshake then decking him afterwards. That’s such great heel work. Ultimately, there wasn’t enough in the first two falls to engross me to give this the highest praise. There was nothing bad, but also anything terribly remarkable either. However, the third fall was really great and Satanico’s mannerisms were superb.

Four stars or so. Maybe a A- for this or a B+. This is a great match but not a really great one.

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Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (1/27/84) –

Mocho Cota is fucking awesome. He really takes the lead in this match and is great. Rocca is strong underneath and sells pretty well but Cota was the star. The first fall was excellent. The mat work was all very smooth and deliberate with some gritty struggle and really believable transitions. Cota won on the mat but once they got back on their feet Rocca caught him with a back breaker submission for the win. The second and third falls are all about Cota taking complete control and really focusing on Rocca’s arm. He does some really good work here and keeps everything to Rocca’s arm. Cota forces Rocca to submit in the second and we have a really good third fall with Rocca desperately staying alive while nursing his arm. Cota’s second (I believe it’s Talisman) keeps getting involved and pissing off the referee. Rocca gets a comeback but Cota crushes him with an awesome dropkick and hits him with a great dive into the aisle. Talisman rolls Cota back into the ring which pissed the ref off again. Rocca eventually gets a big comeback going but the ref takes a bump and Cota throws Rocca over his head and covers him. Talisman holds onto Rocca’s legs and Cota gets the win. That finish was terrible and it’s a shame because this was a pretty great match before that bullshit. Cota was tremendous in this match having great tunnel vision working over Rocca’s arm and doing awesome throws and shit. A better finish would have made this better than the previous match but I’m not so sure it is now.

EDIT: Well, I'll give this four stars or so. I thought about the match for a few minutes and Chad made a great point about how engaging the first fall matwork was. I was totally transfixed. That's a really good thing. I'll give it an A-. After a full day of thinking on it, this match is better than the Atlantis-Satanico match. Everything up until the finish kept me glued to the screen. Atlantis-Satanico lost me a few times with Atlantis' pandering to the crowd in his goofy way and me preferring the psychological mat focused match in Cota-Rocca more.

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Enrique Vera vs. Dos Caras (2/26/84)

 

I usually take for granted that Dos Caras is a gran maestro despite the fact that there's really not that much Dos Caras out there. Recently I was watching a tag match of his from his 1980 All Japan tour where he teamed with Jumbo Tsuruta against Dr. Wagner Sr. and Caribs Hurricane. Caribs Hurricane wasn't a luchador but rather Texas draw Ciclon Negro. The match was the usual watered down shit with the Japanese not really getting the lucha spots. To illustrate just how little they understood, the ring boys kindly taped together Wagner's mask after he did the lucha mask ripping spot. But what really stood out was that the matwork between Caras and Wagner wasn't that good. Which got me thinking, is there a mythology we've built up around Caras?

 

I was anxious to see this again, and y'know what, I was pleased with it. The first thing that's obvious is that Caras was very much a heavyweight worker. He doesn't work the same as the other lighter weight workers on the set. His style is very much in the mold of 1970s NWA heavyweight wrestling, at least in this title bout, and there was little of the surreal expressionism that Caras is often associated with. It's almost as though there was exhibition Caras and serious heavyweight wrestler Caras. I'm a bit iffy on whether I like El Toreo as a venue as I think the outdoor ring set-up looks a bit cheap and there's not the same atmosphere that you get with Arena Mexico where kids flood the ring trying to pocket the coins that people throw. This got good heat and no doubt El Toreo was the site of some legendary bouts, but I wonder if the action might've been better in one of their indoor arenas. The third caida didn't work that well for me. The dives were predictable and always seem to the same dives on the same side at El Toreo, but the match itself quelled my doubts over Caras.

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Atlantis vs. El Satanico (1984) –

This is a match that I might be an outlier on. First and foremost, this was a really good match. I might even call it a great one. However, I struggle to see how it’s as good as some people are letting on. It’s certainly a match that’s a good introduction to the style. There was blood, mask pulling, brawling, some good holds, and Satanico pulled some great clever rudo tactics. The low blow out of the referee’s sight was awesome. That was the perfect way to transition into Satanico taking control. I think Atlantis has good offense too. He’s pretty varied and his back breaker is a really good one. The third fall had the blood and brawling which was great. Satanico wiping his face and seeing his own blood then going getting pissed about it was the best moment of the match. The punches were pretty sweet here too. Both guys sold really well here as well. I loved Satanico bringing Atlantis in for a handshake then decking him afterwards. That’s such great heel work. Ultimately, there wasn’t enough in the first two falls to engross me to give this the highest praise. There was nothing bad, but also anything terribly remarkable either. However, the third fall was really great and Satanico’s mannerisms were superb.

Four stars or so. Maybe a A- for this or a B+. This is a great match but not a really great one.

I think this seems pretty close to the consensus. I think I'm the big outlier, watched this again last night when I wanted something on before bed that I wouldn't have to write and analyze about too deeply and it was awesome again. This match just seems to hit on all of my sweet spots in wrestling and think this match exudes a formula match to a tee.

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I think this seems pretty close to the consensus. I think I'm the big outlier, watched this again last night when I wanted something on before bed that I wouldn't have to write and analyze about too deeply and it was awesome again. This match just seems to hit on all of my sweet spots in wrestling and think this match exudes a formula match to a tee.

You're right. I didn't all of the reviews till after I posted mine.

 

Also, I liked the Cota-Rocca match better. I've thought about it all day (because I'm insane) and there's nothing in the body of Atlantis-Satanico that I like better than in the body of Cota-Rocca. Atlantis-Satanico had a much better finish and it's third fall was excellent but everything up until the finish of Cota-Rocca I liked more.

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I liked Atlantis/Satanico quite a bit and it should do well on my ballot, but I definitely liked Cota/Rocca a ton more and I'm pretty sure that'll finish top 10 for me.

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Mocha Cota vs. Americo Rocca (2/3/84) –

Awesome, awesome match. I liked this better than the first match. The first fall was out of this world great with Cota doing detailed work on Rocca’s arm and hand. My favorite part was Cota mangling Rocca’s hand with his mangled hand. The mat work here was done with so much precision. It also has a feel of toughness to it that’s really unique. The finishing run to the first fall was incredible. Cota was taking great bumps and that last sequence was excellent. The second fall got some time and was really good. Cota starts working over Rocca’s arm and neck area using those awesome throws he does. I loved the near falls too and Cota’s reaction to them. He finally gets Rocca to submit to his contorting submission. The third fall was very short but full speed with some great action. Cota’s post bump was tremendous. The finish is another screwy one but much more clever and believable. Cota grinning and strutting around after the match was fucking hilarious. I loved him pointing at and mocking Rocca for pulling another one on him.

This is getting four and half stars from me. That’s a solid A. It was a totally awesome match and all three falls were great. The finish was screwy but at least this time it was entertaining and clever.

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Atlantis y Lizmark vs. El Egipcio y El Faraon (2/17/84) –

This was a fun match. The pre-match shit was great and I liked how that transitioned into the rudos taking insane bumps for a few minutes. Egipcio did the Fuerza bump and he actually went off screen due to the camera angle so that was awesome. All four guys have good offense and great punches so this was worth it. Lizmark had some great heated exchanges with Faraon including one point where they were just mauling each other with punches. This led to the finish where Lizmark gets the better of Faraon who loses his temper and just knees the fuck out of Lizmark’s nuts for the DQ finish. Just to add this, Faraon’s knees fucking ruled. I loved the post-match too with Faraon ripping Lizmark’s mask off and throwing it in the crowd. Good, fun stuff.

I’ll give this three stars or so. It’s about a B – or C+ at worst. This was fun and the rudos were great.

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El Faraón, Herodes y Mocho Cota vs. Lizmark, Ringo Mendoza y Tony Salazar (2/24/84) –

Herodes is the greatest choice for muscle in lucha. This was a trios blood bath with the rudos looking incredible isolating Salazar and Lizmark and keeping Mendoza at bay on the outside. Herodes was tremendously great in this walking around ringside, taking out the trash, posting Salazar, and doing the dirty work. That mugging of Salazar was great shit. I love how they basically crucified him on his knees and just relentlessly beat him bloody. The retreat and storming of the troops led by Mendoza was awesome and I loved the moment where Salazar comes stumbling into the ring and finds a vulnerable Herodes to beat severely. We then have this awesome Herodes-Salazar war for the third fall where it’s just two guys beating the shit out of each other and trading Hep C. Salazar says fuck it and fouls Herodes for the DQ finish. This was a much better trios brawl than the first one in my opinion. It was much less confusing and the chaos was more spread out.

I’ll say this is close to four stars. It’s a give or take kind of thing. B+ match. Great bloody brawl.

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DISC 2

Atlantis vs. El Satanico (1984)

Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (1/27/84)

Mocho Cota vs. Americo Rocca (2/3/84)

Atlantis y Lizmark vs. El Egipcio y El Faraón (2/17/84)

El Faraón, Herodes y Mocho Cota vs. Lizmark, Ringo Mendoza y Tony Salazar (2/24/84)

Solar, Ultraman y Super Astro vs. Sergio El Hermoso, Bello Greco y Rudy Reyna (2/26/84)

Enrique Vera vs. Dos Caras (2/26/84)

Jerry Estrada vs. Ultraman (3/2/84)

Tony Salazar vs. Herodes (3/2/84)

Hijo del Santo, Ringo Mendoza y Chamaco Valaguez vs. Jerry Estrada, Fuerza Guerrera y Talisman (3/9/84)

Lizmark vs. El Satanico (April 1984)

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