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Jetlag

[2001-01-28-CMLL Japan] El Hijo del Santo vs Blue Panther

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A really fun slice of pro wrestling between two all time great wrestlers. This was 1 fall and in front of a silent japanese crowd, and the transitions weren't exactly hard fought, so the match felt a little like an exhibition. Still, there was plenty of excellent hold for hold work and some vicious brawling with Santito hitting especially stiff kicks. He even elbowed Panther in the face when he tried to block the Camel Clutch. That and him trying to prevent the Sharpshooter may have been my favourite moments of the match. Santito really had his working boots on and hit every spectacular dive he knows. I also liked how hard his flying headbutts connected.

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What a great match. Calling it an exhibition doesn't do it justice. Sure, it isn't worked like it would be in Mexico, and they do modify some stuff for the Japanese audience, but what a battle. I wasn't expecting this to be so good. I figured it would be a softer version of their AAA trios work, but is there a better post-Monterrey Santo vs. Panther match on tape? I don't remember their England matches being anywhere near this good, though I may have had a bug in my ass about them not being "lucha" enough when I watched them. Usually, I'd complain about the audience reaction and how you could hear a pin drop, but I actually found it captivating how you could hear every grunt and groan and Santo and Panther speaking Spanish the way Japanese wrestlers always talk to each other in Japanese. I'm not really sure what Jetlag was referring to about the transitions since they were miles better than your average lucha bout let alone a fish out of water bout like this. That was one area that kept impressing me as they moved from hold to hold and crowd brawling to in-ring submissions. There were a lot of stiff shots used to set up moves and it really felt like an extension of the Japanese influence on lucha in the late 90s. The bar for lucha in Japan is pretty low, but has there ever been a better lucha match than this on Japanese soil? Maybe Wagner vs. Caras? It was also one of the better matches of January 2001. I would put it in the same ballpark as Wagner vs. Atlantis and Felino vs. Cerebro. Surprisingly great match. 

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To ease my mind at night and relax, I have been falling asleep watching The Joy of Painting. This match felt appropriate to soothe me in the same way. Not to say that I didn’t think it was too exhibitionary. They start out with some beautiful mat work but by the end, they are crowd brawling, Santo is swinging chairs and I thought they escalated the match really well. This is just a classic pairing that I can watch wrestle forever. Kudos to the patrons that watched the BJW show and this one on the same day. Overall, a great showcase of what these two can do and cementing themselves as two of the best wrestlers of all time. ****1/4 (8.4)

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