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Charles (Loss)

[1998-01-15-WCW-Thunder] Rey Misterio Jr vs Juventud Guerrera

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Rey isnt going to let Juvy attack him at the onset here as he takes Juvy out and has a flurry of action climaxing into a somersault splash to the outside. It is a shame that Rey is really favoring his leg starting a trend of injuries with that limb throughout his career. Juvy catapults Rey out to the floor and then hits a beautiful dive to the outside. The commentary team of Tenay/Marshall/and Brain is so odd to hear. Juvy is relentless with high impact moves including a brainbuster. Juvy gets overzealous and hits the ring post and he comes to the floor favoring the knee. Juvy is still on top though and hits a leg drop from the ring all the way to the floor. It is shockingly nice to hear all three of these guys focused and getting over this match on commentary. Springboard dropkick gets a nearfall for Juvy. Rey is able to avoid some of Juvy's moves and makes his comeback. Juvy goes for a powerbomb but Rey is able to drop down on top of him. Rey sends Juvy off the top and goes for the hurricanarana. Juvy tries to capitalize with the 450 splash but is able to land on his feet. Unfortunately, Rey is there to catch him with a rana and we have a new cruiserweight champion. Rey will face Jericho at Souled Out. Glad to see Thunder being used as a platform at this point for long-form cruiser matches. (***1/4)

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I thought this was a fine match but out of all of the many Rey/Juvi matches over the years, it doesn't stand out all that much. I will see for sure when I get there, but my recollection is that their matches in the fall and winter of this year were stronger. Juvi drops the title in his first defense. I am not sure why Rey just couldn't go over Ultimo Dragon himself, but I guess they wanted to get over Thunder as being "must see" with two rapid fire title changes.

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I think I liked this more than anyone else. Juventud was a machine in this. The layout was similar to Rey/Ultimo at World War 3. I don't think the match was at that level, but that's kind of how this was worked. I thought this was really good and a nice change of pace for the division. It still had some great flying, but Juventud being dominant was more methodical than usual. I loved Juventud countering the top rope rana attempt into a powerbomb, as the whole match was worked as Juventud having Rey really well-scouted. This was pretty easily the best TV match of January.

 

On a side note, someone needed to tell Bobby Heenan to stop with the "Ohhhh!" on every highspot.

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Juvy looks real strong here, punishing Rey with power moves and dominating most of the match. Is it wrong to like Lee Marshall on commentary? He has a similar cadence to Bob Caudle - the old time football announcer vibe. I really liked the finish as Rey moves out of the way, but Juvy has the presence of mind to land on his feet rather then splat on the mat. Rey rips off the rana for the title change. ***1/2

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Lasted the best part of 10m which was long for a TV bout. It still felt rushed though as they tried to shoehorn too much in. Some entertainment but they've both produced plenty better.

 

The thing that stood out to me here was how dangerous the style was they were working. It's no wonder Rey's knee got fucked up. And Juvy did this diving legdrop from inside the ring to the floor. It looked terrible as he didn't land it properly, but if he does land it properly he could easily injure himself. The risk to reward ratio on some of these moves is way out of whack. You have to remember that it's a 23 year old and a 21 year old who are living the life, so they're not going to be thinking long term health. And the promoters sure don't give a shit if they get hurt pushing the envelope.

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I wholeheartedly agree with Charles that this has a similar layout to Dragon/Mysterio from WWIII '96 as that was the first thing popped in my mind during watching this.

 

WCW Crusierweight Champion Juventud Guerrera vs Rey Mysterio Jr - WCW Thunder 1/15/98

 

Juventud Guerrera, had just beaten Ultimo Dragon for the title, who had just beaten Eddie Guerrero for the title. It was hard to have a long reign with the Crusierweight Championship. Rewatching these crusierweight matches, I forgot how awesome Juventud was. I was always a big fan of Psychosis, La Parka, and Rey Mysterio, but my memories of Juventud were that he was good, but just not one of my favorites. He was been a total offensive dynamo. Rey Mysterio has great offense, but his bread and butter is his selling, just like Psychosis' is his bumping. Juventud may have the best offense from an asskicking perspective. Once he got control with a crazy catapult over the top rope (incredible Rey bump on a legitimately hurt knee), it did not look he was ever going to let up with chops, brainbuster, springboard legdrop and an incredible top rope suicide dive. Even when Rey gets a desperation monkey flip to send him into the post. He jumps keeps coming like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I love that lucha spot where you get kicked in the back of the leg as your running and you run ass first into the top rope. I loved the heat strike exchange between the two. Damn, I forgot how hard the luchadores hit. Rey makes his comeback, which is sort-lived from a Juvy powerbomb. Juvy looks to polish him off with 450 Splash, but Rey moves and nabs the title on a hurricanrana. This match was perfect for what it needed to be. Rey was alreadye established as a star and in order to make Juventud still look a big shot, Juventud gets to kick ass for the majority of the match. Rey is able to sell and make Juvy look great. Then when it comes time to get the booking right for Jericho Rey makes a quick comeback to win. You get the Rey/Jericho match you want for Souled Out and Juventud still looks strong for a future title defense. ***1/2

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This had sort of a big match feel for a Thunder cruiserweight match. Opening stuff was a lot of fun and then Juvi hits an outstanding dive to settle into being in control. Rey gets some brief hope spots but doesn't really pull off much of a run of offense for a comeback, and then hits a quick hurricanrana on Juvi when he misses a 450 splash which I really liked as a finish. Good stuff.

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I liked this quite a bit--actually at times it felt grittier than almost any other Rey match you'd care to name. There was some intensity and hate behind that forearm/chop exchange. There were lots of pretty moves of course, but that stood out to me as well. And the lack of competition on the other channel may have something to do with the at-times more deliberate pace. Excellent finish as Juventud kills Rey with a power bomb out of the huracanrana, misses the 450, lands on his feet, but is caught with another huracanrana for the title change.

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I'd need a huge refresher course, which I'm sure I'll get throughout '98 and '99, but this was a very good Rey/Juvi match, especially for TV. I agree with Loss when saying it's easily the best TV match in January (thus far at least). This is something I've seen a thousand times before and since, but still enjoyable.

 

RATING: Can't go wrong with a title change on TV, especially with these two.

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The opening exchange felt a bit like something from these Ricochet/Ospreaye matches. Flips galore! But the match works because Juvi is viciously cutting off Rey the whole time. Lots of big moves, bumps and some amazing sequences. I actually didn't feel the match was crammed because they let everything breathe just enough. Agree about that legdrop not looking so dandy. As far as spectacular wrestling matches go you can never go wrong with these two.

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