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[1997-09-02-CMLL] Dr Wagner Jr vs Mr Niebla


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I remember reading about this back in the old DVDVRs. Like, fifteen years ago, not back as in all the way back IN THE DAY of 1997 as at that point I was merely a pup and the internet didn't reach Scotland until 2003 anyhow. I wasn't really hip to the lucha libre then, intent as I was in tracking down the New Japan juniors and the All Japan classics, but I knew Wagner from his stint in Japan and Dean gushing over this match made it seem impossibly cool. Those old DVDVRs were the best. I wish they didn't get ether'd when the board went down, because they probably shaped my tastes in wrestling as much as anything at a time when I was paying £40 for three tapes from fucking Golden Boy and the likes.

Anyway, I finally checked this out a few years back on one of the re-released Schneider Comps and it never quite lived up to my hype. Rewatching it today it stands up as being good without ever reaching that upper level, although they aimed for that in the tercera. The first two caidas were pretty neat and made up my favourite stretch of the match. Niebla doesn't necessarily look like he'd be the most graceful flier, but for a light heavyweight he sure could move. At times it looked like Wagner didn't know how to handle him. Everything he tried, Niebla would flip out of it, whether it was landing on his feet off a monkey flip or straight backflipping off the top turnbuckle. You could argue that he went to the dive too early, but it was a great tope and it at least made sense for him to stick with what was working. It followed a similar pattern in the segunda and Wagner was still having trouble keeping him grounded. That Niebla sold the winning crucifix pin between falls longer than the Liger bomb a few minutes earlier was a bit jarring, but Wagner coming out aggressive in the tercera covered well enough. The tercera itself was something that wouldn't have looked out of place in 2007, at least in terms of some individual moments. Then again if you transplanted this into the third fall of a 2007 title match it would look about a hundred times better than the norm. I mean it was largely a collection of bombs, but they built the nearfalls gradually, and even if the flow was a little stop-start it was head and shoulders above your shoddy Mistico/Averno bouts of a decade on.  We got some decent legwork for a minute there, Wagner stopping mid-beating to get on the house mic and talk trash, and Niebla's second tope was a peach. Wagner dipping into his New Japan bag was a cool touch as well and the finish looked brutal. Not a classic, but 1997 was an absolutely loaded year so I guess it's hard to stack up.

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