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Grimmas

El Hijo del Santo

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If I were to make a list right now he would be my highest ranked luchador (not including Rey), probably in the lower part of my top 10. Theres something so captivating about watching him that I can't quite put into words, it's almost like watching a real life superhero.

Theres few things that scream 'pro wrestling' to me as loudly as Santito pouring blood from behind a ripped mask as he finally makes his comeback. It gets me fired up just thinking about it. 

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One of the wrestlers I'm considering for #1 at the moment. One of the most aesthetically pleasing wrestlers of all time, all of his spots look so good, and in a style where that isn't always the case. He can brawl, he can do high spots, he can go to the mat. Plus he has the Santo aura. 

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Five years is a long time, but I feel like I went too high on him last time, maybe due to peer pressure. I appreciate his output far more than his input and someone like that's going to end up right in the middle of my list (which isn't a bad place to be, really). I can see him being my tenth luchador.

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I feel the opposite of Matt. He is pretty easy to contrast with Casas just based on being career rivals and I have been living in 2000-2001 which skews things but Santo has shown much more variety and high end performances than Casas In this timeframe. Santo is currently fighting with Austin as my WOTY for 01 which I wouldn’t have predicted going in. All of this is to say, I think Santo will place higher for me and likely in my top 10. 

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Panther and Santo were neck and neck for my Lucha WOTY for 2001, but in the end I gave it to Panther. Casas' issues in 2000-02 are largely due to with how the company uses him. The biggest singles program he has in that time period is against Wagner and it doesn't air because of the Olympics. The only time he's relevant aside from that is whenever Santo shows up to reignite the feud with GdI. Meanwhile, Santo benefits from working dates in CMLL Japan, Monterrey and IWRG. 

As for as Lucha WOTY goes, I have it like this so far:

2000: Villano III (Runner up: Blue Panther)
2001 Blue Panther (Runner up: El Hijo del Santo)
2002: Shocker (Runner up: Ultimo Guerrero)

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Santo was one of my favorite discoveries of the last year. Such a crisp and precise high-flier with tons of awesome brawls. It took me a little while to appreciate the Casas matches but they're awesome.

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It is hard to say who is in real contention for #1 on my list at this point, but El Hijo del Santo currently ranks in my top 10 and is probably JUST inside my real considerations for #1 at this point.  I'll entertain a lot more in the next 5 years (the more I say five years the more daunting this becomes), but that REAL consideration is different.  At some point in the past 6-7 years I went from thinking he was great but probably a bit down my list of luchadors to thinking his work was more or less undeniable.  I think it was an input/output thing for me.  At a certain point the output just outweighed the input and then I started to appreciate all the things he was doing in a match that I might have nitpicked before. I really can't think of anyone outside of the other #1 contenders for me that I feel more confident in when I pull up a match or especially when someone recommends something. I KNOW if someone says "check out this great del santo match" I am going to love it. His highs are that high and that reliable. His timing is elite. He is fluid. His physical storytelling is on par with anyone.  He captures a lot of what I associate with Lucha, including that emphasis on timing as well as the super-heroness (as mentioned by bennyowens) of his work.

Right now he is my #1 luchador (maybe Satanico could jump him) and he is firmly in my top 10.

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Eh, I've got time here, but I struggled with him five years ago. I'll struggle with him in five years, I bet. Plenty of time to work this out. There are things I love about him but not a lot that I actually like. That's how I'd put it for now. But he deserves a better than that. I have some suspicions but I'd have to rewatch things to delve into them. I agree with how special and varied his 2000-1 is though.

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Singles matches against Blue Panther, Psicosis (As Nicho el Millionario), Dr Cerebro. I'd have to dig around more for trios matches, but you kinda know what to expect from Santo in trios matches. He's gonna do all of his spots and nail them. 

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Best matworker ever. One of the best formulaic wrestlers ever. Obviously, one of the best babyfaces ever. Amazing signature spots. Lot of great and legendary matches trhoughout 20 years. Definitely the best luchador in my eyes and a clear #1 contender.

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I feel like I owe Hijo del Santo more words. 

When I first got into tape trading way back when as a kid, there were a few people who immediately jumped off the screen and I "got" right away. Some folks you have to watch a few times, read about and watch a few more times and others you just know right away. El Hijo del Santo was a know right away sort of guy. Immediately he felt larger than life and important compared to his peers. He's not just another wrestler. He's special. Then the match starts and he's still not just another wrestler. Everything he does is more graceful and beautiful than everyone else. Everyone does an armdrag or a dive out of the ring. But no ones dives or movements are prettier than Santo's. Some people are just more special than the special people. Its what separates Michael Jordan or Serena Williams from everyone else. Santo's like that. The more I watched the more that was confirmed. Sure he's formulaic but when you have the best signature spots and everytime you hit them it looks like a Da Vinci, you can run your formula and delight everyone. He's the closest thing wrestling ever got to a real life super hero. He's everything you could want out of a Greatest Wrestler Ever. 

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Santo was my number 20 in 2016, which is probably about where he'll land again next time. I get the point about formula, but I'm with everyone saying he might be the best formula wrestler ever, and I'm not against wrestlers using a match formula anyhow. And besides that, it's not like you can formula your way into being one of the best mat workers in lucha libre history. A stupidly graceful wrestler who could brawl and bleed like a total freakshow bastard, so you get the best of both worlds with Santo. Laundry list of great matches, from singles to trios, title matches to apuestas, over the course of four decades. 

 

EL HIJO DEL SANTO YOU SHOULD WATCH:

w/Atlantis v Fuerza Guerrera & Lobo Rubio (EMLL, 11/25/83)

v Espanto Jr. (Monterrey, 8/31/86)

w/Eddie Guerrero v Negro Casas & Blue Panther (Gimnasio Josue Neri Santos, 1987)

v Negro Casas (Los Angeles, 7/18/87)

v Espanto Jr. (UWA, 4/10/88)

v Brazo de Oro (UWA, 1/13/91)

v Negro Casas (WWA, 5/17/91)

v Espanto Jr. (UWA, 5/14/92)

w/Bestia Salvaje & Scorpio Jr v El Dandy, Negro Casas & Hector Garza (CMLL, 11/29/96)

v Negro Casas v El Dandy (CMLL, 12/6/96)

v Negro Casas (CMLL, 9/19/97)

v Felino (Monterrey, 10/18/98)

v Blue Panther (Monterrey, 4/9/00)

v LA Park (Monterrey, 12/23/01)

w/Villano IV v El Hijo del Solitario & Angel Blanco Jr (TXT, 2/25/12)

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I've been watching quite a lot of Santito lately and something I've started to really notice is the way that he carries himself like a symbol to the lucha crowd. You could chalk it up to him bearing the same iconography as his father or donning all white gear, but I think that's underselling his actions and gestures away from the big spots. The ways in which he interacts with audiences, selling an attack by falling to the floor without any excessive movements, or leaning onto something to hold him upright is quite distinct from many other luchadores I've seen that I'm almost certain is intentional. These are very simple, basic things that I would expect just about any wrestler to be able to do, but the difference with Santo seems to be in how essential they are to how he builds his matches, portraying struggle and hardship at the hands of his opponent, before an inevitable sense of triumph. It's a very fundamental approach to wrestling, coupled with some of the best execution of high-flying moves and comebacks in general. He's not the kind of candidate that excels in the micro-level details, but he also never needed to. His appeal was entirely in the spectacle, and Santito was often spectacular at what he did.

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though santo is not my absolute favorite luchador, he is still one of my favorites. he has so many great matches with a huge variety of opponents that he is definitely a lock for my top 50

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