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[2008-09-19-CMLL] Blue Panther vs Villano V

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I just watched this while researching Panther for the GOAT project, and thought it was fan-fucking-tastic. I ran a search to try to find some other opinions on it, but have a hard time navigating the search function here. This was just incredible to me though. Panther just pelting Villano with topes, both men ripping the other's masks off, Villano getting busted open hardway, Perrito Aguayo being a scummy prick on the outside, the fans being so exultant it literally seemed like they were praising Jesus at the finish... Just an absolutely captivating experience.

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Great, great, great match. The DQ on Panther for the mask-rip seems like a ridiculously clever move on the fly if I have it figured out. Perrito pouring his water onto the back of his head to "treat" the wound (which he wouldn't have done had Villano not gotten busted open) made it harder for Panther to rip the mask. But the water also makes the mask more porous and easier for Panther to just pull off. You can see him looking at Mistico and telling him that he didn't realize that it would happen; he wanted to work the cut. Makes for a segunda where Villano doesn't have to take a lot of damage and can get the momentum for the tercera.

 

At least I think that's what happened.

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I remember this being a totally shocking result when it happened. Villano V wasn't really wrestling super regularly, and it felt like he was being brought in specifically to get a mask loss payday, plus Panther had one of the iconic masks that you figured he would keep forever. Panther is a guy best know for his llave, but this was a straight up brawl which had some of the greatest topes in wrestling history. Villiano V delivers an insane dive bumping performance, he is flying recklessly back on every Panther tope. There is the iconic moment in the first fall where he smashes the back of his head on an armrest leading to a grisly bloodstain, but also he hurls himself into the crowd on another tope, and takes a full force back bump on the floor on a third, Panther has a great looking tope but Villano made it look like a cruise missile. Loved the finishes of all three falls, Villano is woozy from blood loss and tries a rudo trick by swiping Panthers mask, and rolling him up before he can recover, before he could steal a fall, the ref sees the maskless Panther and DQ's V5. Perro Jr. is V5's second (which is kind of weird, he's Villano 5, aren't Villano's 1-4 available to second their brother?) and he spends much of the fall break pouring water on the bloody back of Villano's head, including loosening his mask. Panther rips the mask to work the cut and his slips right off in his hand giving V5 the even up fall. Third fall is awesome with more great topes and a sneaking old school finish, Panther nearly gets the tap with his snap Fujiwara, but when he goes for it again, Villano counters with a crucifix pin. This match had a odd pacing with the Villano injury, but man did it build to an epic climax, worthy match for Panther drop the hood.

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After reading Phil and Eric review it, figured I'd watch this today for the first time in ~8 years, since I'd only ever seen it right when I was first getting into lucha and didn't really get everything. But man, what a match this is. Such drama, such suspense. It's been a while since I could call a match actually, literally breathtaking, as I was gasping at a few of those topes. Both men play their roles superbly working to and from a faux heel turn in the first two falls, to the point that people are booing Panther (against a Villano, no less) just before he rips the mask off. By the time the tercera starts, though, he's won them back, despite the fact that Villano has already started bleeding through his replacement mask and is in a very sympathetic spot. Watching this, I figured that Panther had just ripped off Villano's mask in a moment of righteous indignation, but these comments about the water loosening up the mask never occurred to me and adds a very interesting layer on top of an already great match.

 

I don't always take into account how the crowd reacts when I'm watching a match, mostly due to the fact that we usually have very different reactions. But here, due mainly to how much CMLL focuses on crowd shots, the audience really stood out to me. In the tercera, I think, there's this shot of an old woman in some nice formal wear, and she's arguing with a fan a row or two behind her, off camera. She's got a Panther mask and in the process of arguing with this fellow fan, she puts it on and looks at the camera before returning to her argument. When Villano wins, there's a bunch of shots of fans celebrating, some practically weeping, some jumping for joy. They return to this old woman, first peering down to the concrete floor to see that she's dropped her Panther mask, or perhaps has thrown it down in disgust. Quickly she pulls it up and tosses it into the crowd, frustrated, humiliated by her idol. This moment of defeat juxtaposed with so many images of triumph really sticks with me. So much of wrestling just doesn't warrant a big reaction from me most of the time, even when the crowd watching it live is loving it, so when my own reaction is somewhere close to the sort of adulation we see here after the match, I think it's the sign of quality. Delightful stuff.

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