Saturday, 30 January 2016

Your Saturday Evening Jerry Estrada

Jerry Estrada v Stuka (AAA, 10/31/94)

I'm not sure where this ranks among AAA apuestas matches of the 90s, but I know I dug it a ton. There are absolutely things about this that non-lucha fans would be turned off by. There are things that lucha fans would be turned off by. Estrada runs the ropes like he's concussed and probably drunk (he's always drunk). Stuka sometimes moves at the speed of moss. The first caida lasts about three minutes and the segunda lasts like thirty seconds. But Stuka bleeds and the dives are fucking nuts and Estrada is a whirlwind of whiskey-soaked lunacy, so you know, I have no problem spending sixteen minutes watching that. Right at the start Estrada takes it to the floor and instigates a brawl in the first row (with Stuka, not fans), then climbs back over the barricade like "nope, this was not a good idea after all." They really ramp up the brawling in the third caida, and Estrada in particular gets pretty violent. I loved him applying an abdominal stretch and just fish hooking Stuka's mouth. Stuka hits a couple spectacular dives in this - they were certainly graceful, but these were of the hateful variety where he's trying to put Estrada through seven rows of chairs - but Estrada's psychotic somersault senton really takes the cake. He overshoots it a little and almost mangles his spine on the barricade, then like a coke-fueled demon he crawls out from under the rubble to punch Stuka in the face some more. Feels like the tombstone behind the referee's back finish in aupestas matches is a AAA staple, but man did Estrada hit an absolute motherfucker of a tombstone piledriver. This was Owen Hart at Summerslam '97, which is sort of terrifying when you think about it.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Eddie Guerrero v Rob Van Dam (WWE Backlash, 4/21/02)

This is an RVD match when RVD is on offence, but Eddie does what he can to make that look okay. About one in three strikes do, so he's above average in that regard. Van Dam does his goofy spots where he throws in forward rolls and cartwheels and it looks like it always does. Just do a regular monkey flip, mate. Match gets way better when Eddie takes over and starts working the back. Van Dam has never really been someone that'll sell long term limb damage, but if he's going to blow off body part work I'd rather it be the back than the leg or arm where it's far more obvious. It also feels like a good idea to work his back in that he's super flexible so you can bend him into all sorts of nasty shapes and angles, which Eddie does here. Eddie putting together a control segment is a beautiful thing -- he has lots of great looking offence, mixes in holds with the high impact stuff (high-angle backdrop --> surfboard stretch --> tilt-a-whirl backbreaker --> Gory Special), knows when to slow it down and speed it up to keep the crowd into it, etc. Has anybody in history ever been able to properly hit that sunset flip powerbomb more consistently than Eddie? He absolutely obliterates Van Dam with one here. Like, this might be the best one he's ever hit. Van Dam takes the bump way up on his shoulders and just gets completely folded in two. I also had no recollection of the finish to this, so I popped for Eddie almost frog splashing RVD's head into mashed potato at the end. I know it's not a sky high bar, but this is probably up there as one of RVD's better matches, right? I've wanted to re-watch that Benoit match from Summerslam '02 for a while, so I might do that soon for a comparison.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

LA Park v El Mesias (AAA, 12/5/10)

I've seen this before, but I remembered nothing about it other than the blood. Well, it's tremendous (and oh my days the blood). Park was incredible. He assaults Mesias straight off the bat and it's pretty much glorious. There's a vocal group of female Mesias fans in the front row so Park drags Mesias over there and kicks the shit out of him right in front of them. He forcibly shoves a portly woman out the way and smashes Mesias with her chair, slams him into the first row on top of that group of women, then follows him in and repeatedly bangs his head off the floor. Some old lady empties a cup over Park's head and I thought he was going to kill her. Mesias' comeback was sort of sudden, but you forget that quick enough when Park gigs himself and hits a 7.5 on the Muta Scale. Mesias throws wild chair shots and Park is staggering around with his mask practically torn completely off bleeding all over the place. Mesias' tope is one of the best I've seen in who knows how long. He fucking bullets himself through the ropes and both guys careen into the safety boards, and Mesias comes up with his right arm absolutely covered in Park's blood. Finishing run might've gone on a wee bit too long, but they had the drama way up there and the roll-up off Park's tombstone was an amazing nearfall. I prefer the 2011 apuestas (that might be my MOTD), but isn't far off. Both might be top 5 in AAA history.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Wagner v Solitario (80s Lucha Set)

Dr. Wagner v El Solitario (12/1/85)

This might be the only match I've ever seen featuring either of these two. I knew Solitario was a big star in Mexico and died under pretty tragic circumstances, but I couldn't have told you a single thing about him as a worker. He certainly had the adoration of the kids in the crowd, though, the way they swarmed both him and second-for-the-night Lizmark before the bell. Based on the pre-match pageantry I assumed this was either a title or apuestas match. First caida and a half felt more like it was a title that was on the line than masks, though there was some unfortunate clipping that was a little jarring. There was one spot involving the ref' that got me thinking about the kinds of ridiculous outcomes it would've led to in Monterrey, only to read OJ's lucha history thread and learn that this actually took place IN Monterrey! Which I think makes it the only match from Monterrey I've ever seen that didn't have some idiotic schmozz involving the referee. Midway through the second caida Wagner goes total fucking apeshit and tries to murder Solitario with a chair, so there you go, it is in fact the masks that are on the line and not a title. There's more clipping in the back half of the match as well, but it's not quite as jarring, even if I think we do miss a Solitario dive (we get what appears to be the set up for it). Thought Wagner looked great down the stretch with his exhaustion selling, the way he'd half slip on a blood stain on the mat and resort to recklessly choking Solitario with Solitario's own half ripped mask. I wish there was more footage of these guys out there.