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Grimmas

Mercedes Martinez

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I said:

"From 2017-19 (when I started to really focus on women's indies) Mercedes was the best wrestler in the world (any gender/promotion). A great technician, who can have a technical match, but also with deadly strikes and brutal suplexes. She can brawl, be a heel, be a babyface, or whatever you need. Going through Shimmer she rules in 2005-06 before the injury, that was 15 years ago. She's still really great when chances arise in the WWE. I have some gaps to fill outside of Shimmer and before 2017, but she's making herself a top ten case in my view."

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Just finished the watch party on Mercedes and yeah she's a top 25 candidate for me. She's so casually charismaticly bad ass! Her selling and facial expressions are off the chart. She's extremely smart too in the ring, and can easily adapt to almost any situation. More hype please!

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The no rope submission match against Kylie Rae is a spectacular must see match. I have never watched Mercedes before but I really liked the little bit I saw today and definitely want to watch a whole lot more. 

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5 minutes ago, elliott said:

The no rope submission match against Kylie Rae is a spectacular must see match. I have never watched Mercedes before but I really liked the little bit I saw today and definitely want to watch a whole lot more. 

One of my favourite matches of the decade. Gives you a great glimpse of how awesome Mercedes is.

 

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7 minutes ago, Phil Schneider said:

Drop some match recs. On the surface Mercedes as a top 25 seems insane, but I like her a lot and could see myself convinced to put her on a list 

What we watched on the Watch Party: 

vs Sara Del Rey (SHIMMER Volume 1, 2005-11-06)
vs Davina Rose (SHIMMER Volume 41, 2011-10-01)
vs Kana (SHIMMER Volume 46, 2012-03-17)
vs Kylie Rae (RISE 13, No Ropes Submission, 2019-03-29)
vs Thunder Rosa (Hurricane Pro, 2019-07-27)
vs Jordynne Grace (The Summit, 2019-08-10)

If you want some other great matches, you have the MYC with Meiko, vs David Starr from Beyond Uncharted Territory (2019-10-19), the Iron Man match from RISE with Tessa Blanchard. Those should give you a good rounding view of her, but I could throw in more if you would like.

Top 25 may be too high, she may not last there and definately some bias there. Top 50 is very reasonable though.

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I really enjoyed the watch party, it definitely made me think more of Mercedes than I did before. I'm not certain she'll make my 100, just because there's a lot of great wrestlers out there, and 100 is a small number. She didn't immediately stand out as a "Oh my God, yes" candidate the way Yokota did last week. I'll check out the matches Grimmas listed above (bar the David Starr, because he sucks as a human and as a wrestler) and some of her WWE standouts, but at the moment she feels more top 200.

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That Rae match was fun, but I actually thought Rae looked better. She did all the fun/unique spots, unpredictable bumping, ate some nasty punishment and was super expressive while Mercedes looked a little bland faced. I actually like that Martinez carries herself like a badass I don't recall ever thinking she was high end. There's def. some good looking match ups there, tho.

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That was a fun two hours.  I enjoyed Mercedes slugging it out with Kana and the submission match the most.  I'm so glad Mercedes and Kylie didn't go the Benoit/Angle route for the submission match, and the no ropes stip was dope and loved the use of the streamers.  I will definitely be checking out more of her.

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Very fun watch party.

Mercedes is definitely in contention for my top 100.  I’ve enjoyed her in NXT, but after watching 2 hours of her indie stuff I get the sense we’re only getting 20% of what she’s capable of in NXT (other than the Meiko match).  The two matches that stood out the most tonight:

1) Vs Sara Del Ray, keeping in context that this was 2005 this felt ahead of its time and I really enjoyed the technical aspects of this one.  They didn’t really telegraph they were going to a time limit until the announcer said 5 minutes remaining and even then I could of bought a finish happening for either woman.  What this gives me is first hand proof that Mercedes has been a good wrestler for over 15 years.

2) Vs Kylie Rae no ropes submission, I have no idea beyond it not being a major promotion why this didn’t get more praise in 2019.  I thought it was fantastic with both woman playing their roles perfectly and working to the stipulation well.  

Overall across the six matches I thought she had a great veteran presence, and mixed nasty strikes (those chops) and great looking submissions into her matches.  Looking forward to watching more of her stuff. 

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I was possibly most impressed by the Jordynne Grace match, because Grace is someone who's matches never feel as good as I think they should. She's very athletic and powerful, but often the matches don't come together. Here, everything made sense, there was a proper story and structure, and I think Martinez was integral to that. She played the wily veteran perfectly

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This was a fun watch along; I enjoyed every single match. The match against Kylie Rae was the highlight and a match to go out of your way to see, the work around the stipulation was really smart.

 

The match against Divina Rose/Bayley was not the second best match but it is the type of match that strengthens a GWE case. They worked within a clear hierarchical dynamic, everything mattered and made sense, and it put across the characters of both women. They packed quite a few distinctive and memorable notes in a 7 or so minute match.

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That was a great watch party - I had to miss the last match, but the others were all really fun. The Kylie Rae one blew me away and, as MichaelZ said, the Bayley one definitely strengthened her case for me with how well they did in a short match.

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Missed this watch party, but I need to dig on her. I am well open to her being on the list, but am a little skeptical of her placement. Undeniable talent that I am somewhat familiar with, but need a deeper dive on given what I am seeing/hearing and what I know I don't know.  I honestly hope I am wrong, because she is a wrestler I would love to put on my list and be able to go to bat for.

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I've been watching a few more Martinez matches following the watch party, and one thing she has in her favour is that, by being a long time indy vet who was never really tied to one promotion, you get to see her in a lot of different circumstances against all sorts of wrestlers. In a way, it's a lot like Eddie Kingston, in that you can type her name into the IWTV search bar and get loads of matches that just sound fascinating. I watched her wrestle 19yr old rookie Candy Floss and 49yr old exotico legend Cassandro back-to-back, both great matches and bough fought differently. The Cassandro match had one moment where he hit the ropes and ringpost on a dive attempt, and like a pro Martinez grabbed a choke while clearly checking he was ok, then left him on the floor for a countout to give him time to recover. Just quick thinking to protect her opponent and keep the match flowing realistically. At this point I'm all in on her being great, top 100 isn't out of the running.

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Mercedes is back on the indies and tearing it up again! Stock rising again! 

Heck she just carried Rachael Ellering to a pretty damn good match.

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If anyone has the time/patience for it, check out the Martinez Vs Blanchard 75-minute iron woman match. For my money the 2nd best US Women's match ever.

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imo AEW has exposed something about her which may or may not be important to yall but does matter to me: she isn't working to get over with unfamiliar crowds.

Since both these matches were on the same night, compare the Mercedes-Deonna main event from this week's Dynamite to Yuka Sakazaki vs. Riho from Rampage.  The former had very little crowd heat while Yuka had the fans popping hard for all the big moves & nearfalls even though she hadn't been in AEW in a long time and there were likely a lot of newer fans who didn't know her (and this was Riho's first match back from injury to boot).  What struck me was that the Dynamite match was very "mechanical" and didn't really throw in strong character touches or eye-popping spots, which are what you need to quickly make new fans in this day and age.

My friends had an interesting theory here: Yuka & Riho (who was also amazing at this at the beginning of AEW when nobody knew her either) both come from promotions influenced by Japanese idol culture, which is a world that heavily stresses projecting a distinct character and connecting with the fans.  Someone like Mercedes, on the other hand, comes from places like SHIMMER which had more of a "workhorse" mentality by comparison, a "your stuff in the ring will get you over" mindset.  i'm not saying SHIMMER was just a bunch of female Dean Malenkos, of course, but TJPW is one of the most heavily character-driven promotions anywhere in the world so they pretty much do look like Malenkos by that comparison.

AEW doesn't give you much space to show your personality unless you're one of a handful of people, so in that environment you need an extremely obvious hook (no pun intended) that's apparent right out of the gate.  Idol experience is perfect for this, so imo there's something to that thinking.  Just look at Maki Itoh, who actually was in an idol group before wrestling...she instantly got herself over in AEW as well and was selling more merch than a lot of their contracted talent while she was there.

Again, i suspect this wouldn't make the difference in whether or not she makes your 100, but it kinda does for me as i've increasingly come to value the ability to win over any type of crowd.

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1 hour ago, funkdoc said:

imo AEW has exposed something about her which may or may not be important to yall but does matter to me: she isn't working to get over with unfamiliar crowds.

That's quite an interesting point (not quoting the whole thing but obviously that's what I'm referring to). I've seen Mercedes Martinez in several settings where she wasn't the cult hero (IMPACT, NXT, ROH and now AEW) and I never came off thinking she was that great worker she's pimped to be. Maybe the fact she always kinda works "cold" (or as you mention, kinda Malenko-like) plays a part. I do think she's very good, always, but she never blew me away in any setting I've seen her and indeed, I never saw her won over a crowd that wasn't her own acquired SHIMMER audience, and I never saw her work translate any kind of sense of greatness in any of those settings. Of course that comes off as a putdown in the context of the GWE poll (which is why it's kinda frustrating to me, because it's like I enjoy some people less than I normally would if I just watched pro-wrestling, see also : Hashimoto, Shinya), but it's not. If I dive into SHIMMER eventually (which I may or may not, likewise tons of other stuff, as I absolutely prioritize my enjoyment of the current product over anything) maybe I'll eventually get to see her at that level, but from what I saw over the last, say, 5 years or so in those context, she's a very good, super solid pro-wrestler and excellent veteran to have around to work with younger girls (as opposed to a top 100 workers ever).

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12 hours ago, Clayton Jones said:

What exactly is the difference between an acquired audience and a regular audience?

An acquired audience is, well, already acquired to you (because of familiarity, an established relationship, the fact you're a "star"), so whatever you do will get over no matter what, you don't have to work that hard for your reactions (or do very little). Of course that doesn't mean that most people won't work hard anyway, especially in today's landscape. But it is why I disagree when I hear about the great psychological prowess of some workers whose so-called "great psychology and crowd control" has everything to do with a status already acquired by different means (looks, promo ability, promotion strapping a rocket on you etc...) and not a whole lot because of their actual talent as pro-wrestlers if we consider in-ring ability (which is what GWE is supposed to be about). The idea that everything (including moves) is equivalent everywhere and not taking in account not only each different context but also what social spot worker X occupies in said context always leads to a lot of confusion to me.

Of course when you're talking about Martinez, who's a workhorse, this doesn't take away her actual in-ring ability, which should be pretty obvious to anyone watching her. But I get why the fact she may not translate outside of a captive, or acquired, audience that easily may hurt her case for some people. Then again, it's a tricky thing because there's plenty of reasons why some people don't get over in front of certain kind of audiences, and you can't always blame them for that (some audience just want to see a bunch of big names do their entrances).

(status, or what I called "social spot in a specific context" to me should be taken in account, especially when dealing with some guys who get praise for "working smart by doing less" when in fact they are just allowed to do so because they are working in a certain context from certain social spot that allows them to do so. Which is why older, established guys, especially those who got their push because of looks, size, politics or nepotism, telling younger workers that they do too much and don't know how to get over is basically privilege rich guys telling the working class they don't know how to make money. Which is why judging "moves", which really is the only thing that we actually have access too, as much as we can flap our gums about psychology we aren't in the brains of the workers, is much more democratic while the entire talk about "charisma" and "crowd control" is a much more aristocratic or bourgeois approach, which goes along with the "less is more" cliché. Yeah, I'l going far off now B)

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I just don't understand how one "acquires" an audience. It seems to me a wrestler would have to get over with said audience in the same ways Mercedes is being knocked for not doing in order to acquire them in the first place.

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To be honest I wouldn't say most worker get the benefit of a truly acquired audience. Such a term I would only reserve for very specific contexts and levels of social status within those contexts. And even then, Hogan who definitely had had acquired audience at one time, ended up losing it because of a change of context. On a much smaller scale, a guy like Mickey Whipreck for instance definitely occupied a very specific spot in the ECW social field, which he lost when he showed up in WCW and never got over (of course it's not like the booking allowed him to try and get over anyway, which is another element that make things tricky, no pro-wrestler gets over by the magic of his own being, there are many processes playing a part, coming from within, the promotion, and outside, the audience). 

In the case of Mercedes Martinez, I couldn't say as I watched way too less SHIMMER to have an opinion on the matter. The only thing I can say is that thus far, although I think she's very good, even excellent at times, I don't see her at the level she's been hyped for years on the indie scene and yes, indeed, I never saw her work translate to that level in contexts where I watched her.

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So she is 20 plus years into her career is given ten minutes with a commercial break a few minutes into the match facing an opponent who has never appeared in the company before where she hardly has and pulls out a decent match instead of a great match and we are treating this has some big negative. WTF are we doing here?

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