Dragon Lee, Stuka Jr. & Volador Jr. v Kamaitachi, Gran Guerrero & Negro Casas (CMLL, 2/19/16)
Pretty awesome spotfest sprint. Maybe it's just because I've seen so little wrestling from the last two/three years that it only seems this way to me, but Casas in this type of match feels like one of those beautiful pro-wrestling rarities that comes around once in a blue moon and knocks your socks off, not because it's Negro Casas being good at the pro-wrestling, but because it's Negro Casas doing a balls to the wall spring with guys almost forty years his junior and not looking one bit out of place. He's a bit like late-career Mikel Arteta only with functioning hamstrings and quadriceps and spine. He might not have the pace or legs to go box-to-box like he once had, but he has an astonishing mind for his craft and the capability to control everything around him. There were absolutely moments where guys were kind of caught standing around waiting for their part of an intricate sequence, Casas included, but I love how he'll still more often than not make it look like he's selling at the same time, whether it's by stumbling around a little more groggily than the others or taking an extra few seconds to lay low on the apron before getting into position. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I still haven't watched a Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi singles match yet. All of their interactions in this were cool at their worst, absolutely spectacular at their best. The speed at which they do rope running sequences, the sheer audaciousness of some spots. Right at the start Lee just yanks Kamaitachi out the air, muscles him into position while he's clinging to Lee's body, then launches him way in the air with a fucking suplex-powerbomb. I should watch one of their singles matches already. Stuka Jr. has always been a low-key favourite of mine, especially in trios, and ESPECIALLY in trios like this. It's been a minute since I've seen him, but his splash is still pretty and his dives are still gorgeous. And holy fuck if the stereo tecnico planchas weren't immaculate. Negro Casas also kicked a midget in a blue chicken suit. I give this eleven stars.
JR Kratos v Joe Graves (Premier, 3/6/16)
Really cool, unique match; had a bit of a Battlartsian feel to it with Graves as your Ishikawa and Kratos as your Viktor Krueger or some such (only way better, because I got the sense Kratos was actually quite good). I guess it's grappler v much bigger dude who can also grapple and ALSO throw you around and elbow your head into the floor. All the matwork and grappling itself was really snug and fought for. Graves was dogged in going for submissions and Kratos was someone that wouldn't panic, being patient and using his weight advantage to work himself into position to throw his elbows. And man, when he threw those elbows he really threw them. There was one in particular that he threw from a mounted position into the back of Graves' head and it was just brutal. I also absolutely loved the spot where Kratos fakes to throw a punch which causes Graves to duck, and as soon as he does this Kratos grabs him and hits a nasty, awkward snap piledriver that landed Graves on the side of his head and neck. It was a spot I assume was planned, but it was so quick and well-executed that it didn't seem that way at all, instead coming off as Kratos thinking on his feet and seizing an opening. Finish was pretty great as well. I'd never seen nor heard of these two guys before tonight, but I bought into the story they were telling and popped at the end, so I couldn't really have asked for much more.