Sunday, 1 June 2014

Virus! Virus! Virus!

Virus & Shigeo Okamura v Blue Panther & Delta (CMLL, 12/23/13) - GREAT

I thought the first caida of this was really fucking good stuff. Virus and Delta have a nice exchange and get to do a bit on the mat, but it was Panther and Okamura matching up that I liked most. I've seen a few Okamura in CMLL matches now and he's taken to lucha really well, which isn't something I've felt about a lot of Japanese wrestlers working Mexico. His mat exchange with Panther was great here. It wasn't fancy, but it was rugged and methodical, like two guys thinking several steps ahead. Panther's maestro matwork is something I've come to really love over the last couple years. Whatever he's lost in flash and quickness he's made up for in surliness and old bastard roughness. Unfortunately we never got a lengthy section where he and Virus could replicate their lightning match from earlier in the year, but you take what you can get, and the two of them pairing off for the finish was yet another piece of evidence that a big singles match wouldn't suck. Delta brought some real prettiness to things with a big moonsault that got massive hangtime and a nice headscissors to the floor, and late in the tercera he hurls himself at Virus with the dive of the match (and Virus almost KOs a beer vendor by flying up the ramp). There's a goofy submission train in the third caida that felt pretty out of place in comparison to the grittiness of the opening Panther/Okamura exchange, but I wasn't hating it or anything. This was one of Virus' more quiet performances of the year, although he still got to rip someone up with submissions and hit his awesome run-up-the-ring-post armdrag from the Maya Jr. match (and it looked even more spectacular here). Minus a couple matches that I can't seem to get working on youtube I've watched just about all the Virus from last year that I want to, and this was a cool way to go out. 


Some other Virus matches I've talked about before that I'll just repost here for the sake of keeping things organised:

Virus v Guerrero Maya Jr. (CMLL, 6/7/11) - EPIC

I'll probably only watch another 10 non-WWE matches this year, but I see this and get the sense I could watch a hundred and not find anything better than it. This was terrific. Virus used to wrestle in the minis division as Damiancito El Guerrero and he had that match with Cicloncito Ramirez that's the best fucking match ever. That was 14 years ago. And he STILL rules it like an absolute king. The first caida matwork isn't quite up there with the best IWRG grappling, but it was all good-really good stuff. Third caida is what propels this into the stratosphere, though. Just tonnes of great moments and the finishing stretch is as dramatic as any lucha finishing stretch I've seen in the last 10 years. There's one woman who looks to be in her 20s in the front row completely losing her shit. At one point the camera pans to her and it looks like she just had a heart attack. Not sure what my favourite part was. Virus' dive was truly spectacular in a totally chest-crushing sort of way and served as the *perfect* catalyst for his comeback, but the chop exchange that ends with Virus "winding up" his right arm for a big chop only to CRACK Maya right in the grill with his left fist was TOO fucking great. And I have no idea what you'd even call that finish, but it looked amazing.

Virus, Cancerbero & Raziel v Magnus, Stigma & Starman (CMLL, 2/24/13) - GREAT

I dug this a ton. Honestly, I thought the first caida here was up there with just about any opening caida that I've seen in a long time. I loved all three Cancerberos in this, but Virus especially looked incredible. His opening exchange with Stigma was really awesome, but he was great any time he was doing something, no matter who it was with. Stigma looked really crisp and can obviously go on the mat considering he was hanging with fucking Virus himself. I'll try and check out some more of his stuff from this year. Los Cancerberos were pretty awesome shitheads in the third caida, instigating a mugging then back-pedalling when it blew up in their faces. Virus gets into a slap exchange, then when he thinks it's going south he just waves his hands and leaves the ring like, "nope, this is not fun after all." Cancerbero gets caught in between Starman and Magnus on the ramp, and he has this great "okay, let's just be friends" reaction to it. It's like they're just waiting for the right moment to strike, then it presents itself and the niceties are thrown out the window like you and I and everybody else knew they would be. Virus is probably the best wrestler on the planet at this point in time.

Virus, Puma & Namajague v Angel de Oro, Diamante & Valiente (CMLL, 4/30/13) - GOOD

Man, Namajague had a rough couple months. First he loses the mask, then he loses his hair. The tag with Okamura against Cometa & Stuka was actually the first time I'd seen him, but I'd read enough pimping of him that my expectations were high. After that match and now this (still need to see the match with Cometa where he loses the locks), I can say they've been pretty well met. He never did it in this match, but in the tag there was this great spot where he went to kick Cometa in the gut, but Cometa caught his leg and pulled him forward, so Namajague wound up doing the splits, and while he was in that position Cometa just kneed him clean in the face. He's clearly a total bump freak of the highest order, and here he takes two AMAZING monkey flip bumps out of the corner where he gets like four seconds hang time. Honestly, I don't remember the last time a Japanese guy came in and took to lucha like this. Still, for all that, the Virus/Valiente section at the start was the highlight of the match. When are we going to get a singles match? Oro and Diamante do a bunch of neat rope-assisted armbrags in this, but they're at their most interesting when the rudos are mugging them. The technicos' stereo topes in the tercera was a pretty great spot, though. I'll take Virus v Valiente now, thanks.

Virus, Fuego & Vangellys v Negro Casas, Stuka Jr. & Valiente (CMLL, 6/14/13) - EPIC

Fucking killer trios sprint. Everybody got to look at least really good here, especially Vangellys (which was a pleasant surprise) who had a massive chip on his shoulder the whole match and just relentlessly went after Casas. I have no idea why, but it made for a great little subplot. Casas was fucking phenomenal, though. At first he kind of reacted to it like a guy that knew someone was after his blood, but wasn't really sure why (there's a great bit where he's hunched up in the corner with this "what did I do this time?" look on his face). Then after a while he stopped wondering about the why and decided to give as good as he got. Now and again a young pup will pick on the old dog. Maybe the young pup thinks the old dog has been around too long and it's time he was put out of his misery. The young pup could make a name for himself if it was him that did it. Except the young pup clearly doesn't know why that old dog has been around for as long as he has. If he did, he'd let that old dog lie. Any time Virus and Casas are on opposite sides of a trios match you really want them getting a lengthy section to pair off. This wasn't exactly the kind of trios where that was going to happen (it was pretty much hell for leather from word one, so nobody was getting a lengthy mat section), but the part where they were tearing each other to ribbons with chops and spin kicks to the guts was great. And of course a Virus/Casas singles match would rule the fucking earth. The big dives in this were spectacular as well, especially Valiente's moonsault plancha, primarily because they come out of nowhere (seriously, Valiente's was fucking incredible). Awesome stuff, and of all the CMLL from last year that I've watched so far, this might be my favourite match yet.

Complete & Accurate Virus

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