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Which luchadores are you ranking?

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Trios matches aren't elevated by execution of the structure so much as they are by the quality of the pairings. In most cases, if you have two pairings out of three that work, you have a good match. At least that's been my experience.

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Trios wrestling is completely formulaic. The chaotic elements of lucha involve the haphazard booking. If you do the legwork there is nothing confusing about lucha trios matches.

 

Other than knowing ahead of time who the captain of each team is. And having to learn that referees don't enforce legal men and make the others stand on the apron. And then wondering when they don't if you're seeing a bad match or if that's just the style. And wondering why you can't hear the crowd, and not understanding the hierarchy of moves.

 

It takes some time to understand. I love lucha and still don't entirely get it.

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Trios wrestling is completely formulaic. The chaotic elements of lucha involve the haphazard booking. If you do the legwork there is nothing confusing about lucha trios matches.

 

Other than knowing ahead of time who the captain of each team is. And having to learn that referees don't enforce legal men and make the others stand on the apron.

 

 

Also if the two legal wrestlers leave the ring, two new wrestlers can come in without tagging and become the legal men. I forgot to mention that.

 

Of course during finishing stretches all 6 guys will often be in the ring. The rules about tagging out not really being enforced is often used by rudos to initiate double/triple teams. I view it more as bending the rules than breaking them. It is a definite style quirk that is another differentiator from other styles around the world.

 

But this goes back to OJ's comment about doing the legwork. I don't find any of it confusing and I really never did. Again I credit Tenay.

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The things you guys are mentioning happen in just about every trios match. If they happened irregularly then they'd be chaotic.

 

It doesn't take long to figure out there are three basic types of trios matches -- technical bouts, brawls and comedy matches. There may be variations on those categories but they're basically subsets of each genre. Sometimes a bout can start out as one type and finish as another but that's what is great about trios wrestling. There's a framework and once you master it you can play with the form. Matt has written in depth about the different trios patterns. Basically a fall can be dominated either by the rudos or the tecnicos. If the rudos dominate it then it's generally either a beatdown or a brawl. If the tecnicos dominate it then it tends to be cleaner (either high flying or technical.) The majority of the time the side that dominates takes the fall. Occasionally, they pull a swerve and the opposite side wins. In a tightly structured trios match, the side that wins the opening fall will continue to dominate early on in the second. I usually refer to this as overlapping. Then there will be a comeback from the side that lost the opening fall. The quality of this comeback depends on the ingenuity of the workers. The same overlapping carries through to the final fall and after the second comeback there is almost always 50/50 back and forth action until the finish. You can shorten or lengthen each fall, you can end a bout in straight falls and you can go a beat beyond the move that typically ends a fall and have the bout continue.

 

I don't think any of this is difficult to pick up. If anything the majority of trios wrestling is generic. When t's great it's because the comebacks were outstanding or the work was particularly polished. The vast majority of trios wrestling, IMO, is bad because of how dull and repetitive it is, but that's because of how common trios bouts are. The good ones stand out like a diamond in the rough.

 

Having said all that, I generally don't care about the rules and hardly ever notice the refs. Stuff like the finishes where guys rush the ring is like water off a ducks back after X number of trios. It's just what they do. If it's a hang up for you after a dozen trios matches then you're probably going to always have that hang up. The captains you can identify during the introductions if it really matters that much to you. I guess the rules help to understand the standoffs in the third fall when it becomes a one-on-one situation, but I honestly believe you'd have to be fairly resistant to what you're watching to not *try* to figure that out.

 

Chaotic to me is interpreting the booking. X doesn't lead to Y in lucha the way it does in other styles of booking (when they're booked right.) And if you value continuity in your wrestling then lucha is not for you.

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The things you guys are mentioning happen in just about every trios match. If they happened irregularly then they'd be chaotic.

 

Exactly! That's why i find it weird when people talk about lucha in general being confusing and trios specifically being confusing. If people actually watch matches, they should be able to pick up on the patterns pretty quickly. Its not rocket science.

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Forgot to mention but I did watch and review the entire When World's Collide card: http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/31793-jvk-reviews-pimped-matches-from-late-90s-10s/page-9&do=findComment&comment=5716740

 

AAA When World's Collide (11/6/94)

 

Checking this out after hearing them talk about it on BTS #16. Mike Tenay and Crispy Cruise are our commentators.

 

Mascarita Sagrada and Octagoncito vs. Espectrito and Jerrito Estrada

 

Was tempted to skip this just to wind Grimmas up. 5ft is too tall to be a mini in my view. Not a lot to talk about here.

 

**

 

Fuerza Guerrera, Madonna's Boyfriend, and Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr., Heavy Metal, and Latin Lover

 

Madonna's boyfriend is such a ridiculous gimmick. Also had to laugh when Cruise claimed that this was the most anticipated event in Mexico since the 1986 World Cup. Ha ha. Just a lot of spots and, even with English language commentary, I can't get into stuff like this. Madonna's boyfriend was appropriately goofy. Rey dazzled and it was his show. Very abrupt finish.

 

**1/2

 

The Pegasus Kid, 2 Cold Scorpio, and Tito Santana vs. Jerry Estrada, La Parka, and Blue Panther

 

I love the route 1 thinking that must have gone into Tito being booked for this show, but from the point of view of the average American fan sitting at home it makes perfect sense from a kayfabe perspective. This felt more of a showcase type match all about the various different pairings. I think perhaps Cruise and Tenay went on about Tito being a potential weak link a bit too much on commentary. I can imagine American fans at the time being excited at some of the Benoit and 2 Cold sequences here. Entertaining, but very disjointed and less than the sum of its parts.

 

***

 

Octagón and El Hijo del Santo vs. La Pareja del Terror (Art Barr and Eddie Guerrero)

 

To win each fall, they need to pin both partners. So every fall is like a mini-survivor series. I was watching this from a WWE 24/7 upload which kept fast forwarding the action, so I went to find the full thing. So I watched short version 1.5 times and full one once before this review. There was around eight minutes missing from WWE version.

 

Heels take the first fall in short order after a Frankensteiner from the top rope off the shoulders on Santo by Eddie and a frog splash on Octagon by Love Machine. Art Barr and Guerrero are very effective heels jawing at the crowd and so on. I've always loved some of Eddie's standard spots, like the crawling on knees into the eye poke.

 

Second fall also short as babyfaces bounce back after a double dive swings the momentum. But then Santo is eliminated after a straight Frankensteiner by Eddie. Weird, Santo has been made to look super weak in this match so far. Eliminated first switch and now Octagon has had to save his bacon to make it 1-1. Santo goes over and embraces him for the save. I'd have liked the sense of jeopardy to be teased and dwelt on a little bit more. This has been one of my little issues with Lucha stuff seems to happy too quickly and abruptly to digest. And I've watched these first two falls THREE times now. They could afford to linger a little more on the drama. They don't need the John Cena-like pregnant pauses and internal monologues, just slow down a little bit so we can feel the poignancy and sense of danger. It all happens too quickly.

 

Anyway, now moving into the footage fast forwarded by WWE. Barr puts Octagon away with an illegal tombstone piledriver while the ref's back is turned. So it is Santo, two vs. one going into this final fall. Nice contemptuous slap by Barr to show Octagon is out cold. He's stretchered out. Superplex on Santo. Frog splash. Kick out. Santo dive to the outside onto Guerrero. Piledriver by Blue Panther -- who is there as a second for the faces -- on Love Machine. Crowd erupts. It's going to be Eddie vs. Santo one vs. one.

 

Belly to belly from the top by Eddie. Cover gets two. Frankensteiner from the top by Eddie. Cover gets two. Full Nelson suplex by Eddie. Cover gets two. He tried it again but Samto slips into a sunset flip for three to win the match.

 

The storytelling here was layered and compelling. And both of the babyfaces got to be the hero, Octagon in the second fall and Santo in the third. Heels were fantastic on offense, and being general douchebags. This is a very good match, but for my tastes, it all feels a bit rushed. I really would have liked this to go another 10-15 mins to flesh out those first two falls. It all seems a bit truncated for the drama involved. It might seem like a strange gripe, but it's one that stops this being ranked among the all-time classics to me.

 

****1/2

 

Perro Aguayo vs. Konnan

 

I honestly thought this was as good as it possibly could have been. Aguayo's juice job here is something, and he is great as a grizzled veteran who is never going to say die here. At least as good as Jose Lothario was in Houston in 1979. They used the cage well. Sufficiently brutal. And worked logically. Double boot stomp from Aguayo was cool. Everything involving him had heft to it. And "lack of heft" is one of my typical Lucha bug bears. Eddie and Madonna's boyfriend run out. Eddie throws Coke in Perro's face, throws Konan a pair of brass knucks. The old man is out. Powerbomb! Oh my god this blood. This is up there for juice jobs.

 

The LA fans are getting restless. Aguayo is absolutely covered in blood. Streaming down his face. Jesus Christ! Kicks by Konan. This goes on for some time. Music hits and Cien Caras and his crew run out to deal with Eddie's shenanigans. Samoan drop by Aguayo. Double boot from the top. He escapes the cage to win. Crowd goes absolutely apeshit and this felt huge.

 

Honestly, even taking in the run ins and all the rest of it, I thought this was awesome. Gets a star for the blood levels alone and the feel good moment of he win. I bet back in the day Meltzer and the smart community rated both the six mans over this. If they did, I disagree.

 

****

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I actually totally agree with that high rating for Perro vs Konnan. I've always loved that match.

 

Meltzer's ratings were:

4 stars for the minis

4 stars for Rey Jr match

3 1/2 for the Scorpio/Santana etc match

5 for the big tag of course

3 1/2 for Perro/Konnan

 

So he liked it. But I agree it was pretty easily the 2nd best match on the card last time I watched the show and if you gave me the option to rewatch only one match from this show it might actually be that one since I feel like I could close my eyes and watch the entire tag match from memory I've seen it so many times.

 

I encourage watching the show mostly for Tenay's explanations of the differences in rules, psychology, tradition, etc between Lucha and US wrestling. I used to think it was the best PPV ever way back when. I don't really think that anymore and if I were to watch it and rate it my ratings would probably be much closer to JVK's than to Meltzer's. But it is definitely an important show to watch for people who want an introduction to lucha. Even though the undercard matches are single falls trios matches instead of 2/3 falls, Tenay gives the viewer all of the background information on how the style is worked that if you pay attention to the commentary and think about it when seeking out other lucha, it will help the viewer understand what they're seeing better. Not saying "If you watch this and absorb the commentary, you will definitely be a fan of lucha afterwards." But it answered a ton of questions I would have had if I had gone from "WCW Nitro Lucha Matches" to Real Lucha Matches without seeing that show before anything else.

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The board crashed during the AWA voting period. Incidentally, the lucha set sold way better than the AWA set. The membership of DVDVR along with the board crash killed the voting. Also, with the various holdups in creating a new 80s set, I never set a firm votinng deadline. Chris Harrington took the initiative to tally up the ballots he had. I had a ballot but didn't turn it in. Others I know also didn't turn in a ballot because we didn't know Chris was ready to just tally the votes.

 

 

I do want to apologize for the chaos I caused with the lucha ballots. I just didn't know what was happening with that. If we ever want to set a new deadline and get a revote, I'm game to tally. Like it was noted, there was some turmoil in communications and project continuity with DVDVR and general quietness. But I missed at least one ballot that was sent in and there was certainly others that had rankings that weren't included.

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I talked to Phil tonight and when I release Portland and Puerto Rico, we'll try and reboot the project with voting.

Voting on lucha? If that's a month or so out, I can watch the discs I missed and vote.

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