Rush v El Terrible (CMLL, 1/22/13)
When did Rush get so good? I don't think I saw a single Rush match from last year, so maybe it was a 2012 thing and I just missed it, but he definitely hasn't been at this level in anything I've seen him in before. He was fucking awesome here. Terrible throws some really vicious looking strikes and brought a level of hatred to everything, but Rush was doing all that, ramping it up about seven more notches, and then doing a bunch of other great shit on top of it. I'm pretty sure Rush is a full time technico at this point in the year and Terrible is a full time rudo, but the crowd is almost entirely behind Terrible. It's not like a smark crowd turning on Cena, though. Terrible deliberately acts like a sympathetic rudo. And oh my Christ does Rush deliberately act like a complete cunt. There's a great bit where he pretends to take Terrible's head off and punt it into the crowd like a football. He's so good at making his comebacks with these amazing roid-raged spurts of violence, like repeatedly chucking Terrible head first into the ring barricade in a really nasty fashion. He also hits a screwball tope con hilo that would've taken a six year old's head off if there were no barriers around the front row. All of the slugfest spots looked killer, primarily because Terrible is at his best when he's throwing wild hooks, and Rush has a few incredible KO sells of potato shots. Stretch run got a bit your turn/my turn, and Tirantes is the WOAT pro-wrestling referee (well, prominent one, anyway. He's been around for like sixty eight years), but Terrible constantly putting his feet on the ropes during pins to a chorus of cheers was great. And if you're gonna do a dick kick finish then you really need to do it right. Terrible did it right.
Negro Casas v Valiente (CMLL, 2/4/13)
Thought this was a step down from Rush/Terrible, but well, Rush/Terrible feels like a real MOTYC to me, so that's a pretty high bar. This was still pretty great, though. First caida in this certainly had better matwork than the first caida of Rush/Terrible. Although the primera in Rush/Terrible was more about the hint of violence that everything carried as opposed to guys WORKING THE MAT. This didn't have the same kind of violent and hateful tone to it, but it wasn't supposed to. What it did have was two guys that can go on the mat, GOING on the mat. They kind of flub a spot and wind up tangled in the ropes, so Valiente grabs a leg and tries to hook an ankle lock while Casas tries to shake him off and scoot away. It was a minor moment, but it's the kind of thing two lesser guys wouldn't have been able to pull off. With most guys it would've looked like a flub. With these guys, it looked like a legit struggle. Casas will pretty much always have cool little bits like that in his matches, not necessarily in covering up for flubs, but by adding neat touches to otherwise routine things. There's another example in the tercera where Valiente hits one of those Lesnar-style double pwerbombs. Usually I hate that spot, because it's so obvious that the guy taking the move is cooperating because the guy doing it basically can't pull it off properly without his help (I think Lesnar is the only guy with freakish enough Hercules strength to make it look at least somewhat organic, and that was on Spike Dudley who weighs about fourteen pounds). After Valiente hits the initial powerbomb he holds on so he can cradle Casas. Casas then tries to pry open Valiente's grip, so there's at least a viable excuse for him holding onto Valiente as he's picked up for the second powerbomb. It's obviously still cooperative, but it's a cool touch that at least makes it easier to buy into. Casas works the leg briefly in the segunda, and even though it gets dropped after a few minutes it means you get Casas taunting Valiente to get back to his feet before kicking him in the knee again. He also drags him into the crowd and stomps a chair onto the knee, so it was worth it. Badass finish, too.