Lucha Libre 2016 MOTYC
As you know, I don't follow lucha, because I don't enjoy following lucha. However, a lot of people do like lucha, and so I'm following 8 of the mostly highly touted lucha matches of the year. If I get names or histories wrong, either correct me in the comments or sue me. All of these matches, plus about 15 more, can be found on this youtube playlist:
Kamaitachi vs Draon Lee CMLL World Super Lightweight Championship
Fucking Mark Jindrak out at ringside. Mark Jindrak is still around 15 years after WCW. Wonderful story. He might be the only NBT who is still an active wrestler in 2016 Anyway, this isn't about him. Kamaitachi comes in as champion. I certainly support the hot lucha ladies. Latin culture in general's love and shameless pervertedness is a wonderful reprieve from the repressed, repressive, and regressive attitudes towards sexuality in America. Hot women are hot. You're allowed to think they're hot. And they're allowed to enjoy being hot.
Anyways, this starts on the ramp and heads up to the entrance, where Kamaitachi dives off one of the screens. He's got a real piece of shit quality about him, which I can appreciate. What I can't appreciate is this terrible commentary. Yikes. Dragon Lee wins the first fall after like a minute in the ring with an ugly standing Spanish Fly.
Fall two begins with Dragon in control, then things head to the floor and he takes a nasty Irish whip into the barricade. What are those things made out of? CMLL sure is quick with the replays. The second a big spot ends, they've got 3 replays cued up. Kamaitachi quickly ends the second fall with a seated Meteora.
I'm pretty used to short opening falls, but damn. Fall three opens with Kamaitatchi countering an apron rana with a powerbomb. Some neat spots, but if there is any kind of story going on here, I'm not seeing it. It's kind of "you hit a couple of big moves, and then I'll hit a couple of big moves" type of match. These guys certainly aren't afraid of taking bumps on the floor. Or bumps in general. Dragon Lee eventually wins the fall and title with a Steenalizer. A number of spots and moves were repeated in this, and Dragon Lee especailly seems to have a move set made up entirely of moves from popular guys from America and Japan. It was okay. Kama has some good heel swagger to him, but I was not impressed with Dragon Lee.
Mascara Dorada vs Cavernario CMLL World Welterweight Championship
Mascara Dorada AKA WWE's Gran Metalik. Both men have been on multiple NJPW shows, so non-lucha viewers of the site might be more familiar with them than the previous guys. Why is there a marching band playing music in the crowd? Cavernario wins the first fall in about two minutes with a powerbomb. Not a fan of the ultra short first/second falls at all. You shouldn't be able to get someone down for the count in 2 minutes unless you hit a super move or a surprise roll up. It's an issue I have in 2/3 falls matches in general, since guys will almost always drop a fall way too early and to something that would never beat them in a standard match. Metalik quickly wins fall two with a springboard rana.
Fall three begins with Cavernario hitting a quick lariat/dropkick combo and being in control. Then he sells a superkick by doing the worm. The fuck? He hits a Superfly splash to the floor. Either his knee or foot made a terrible sound when it hit the floor. This ends the same way all of Metalik's CWC matches ended: A driver OUTTA NOWHERE with no set up or build. And that's kind of my main issue with this match and most lucha matches that I've seen in general. Moves have no build, spots have no build, no one really sells, they're just hanging out for the next spot which has no flow or pacing to them. Maybe I just don't get the pacing and flow, but it sure seems like video game stuff to me. Similar to PWG matches of just trying to pop the crowd and do cool shit.
Negro Casas vs Rey Hechicero
Promoociones Reza 5/10/16
Old ass Negro Casas still at it. Forgive me if I have the date or promotion wrong. The date for the match on the video I assume is when it aired, not when it happened, because the only listing I could find with these two in a singles match was from 4/24 in Promociones Reza. Negro is still in great shape. He's pushing 60. Dude's still got it. A lot of nifty and intense mat grapples. After about 5 minutes of neat chain wrestling, Hechicero wins the first fall with a dope whirly bird back breaker.
Fall two sees Casas going back to the mat work. And then...BACKLUND LIFT! Not just a Backlund Lift, but Rey ran around the ring while holding it, put Casas down, then suplexed him out of it. I'll always mark for a dude doing a Backlund Lift. Casas tries to run away, but was actually just luring Rey in. Baiting those traps. Casas wins the second fall with a scorpion death lock.
Fall three drops the mat holds for strikes and big bumps. Casas continues to use his experience to bait Rey into making mistakes. Hechicero won with a rolling spladle/knee bar/ankle lock...thing. This was pretty good. Enjoyed it far more than the previous two matches.
Rush vs LA Park
Liga Elite 7/19/16
Rush comes out to CHRIS BENOIT'S THEME. What the fuck. His WWE theme. The one written for him. Not a production theme that WCW gave him and got associated with him. My boy La Parka still da gawd. The fight starts on the ramp and shit immediately heads into the crowd. Rush gets Parka in the ring and shreds his mask. That cunt. Great atmosphere for this. Rush appears to leave the building, then comes back with a metal trash can that I'm going to pretend was a post box. The only part remaining of Parka's mask is covering his mouth, and he's been busted open. Rush revels in it all. Parka is just down and out, getting no offense...until he gets a chair near him. He BLASTS Rush in the head with it, which busts Rush open. Blood everywhere, fans throwing trash. It's wonderful. So much heat and hatred. Oh shit, 50 year old La Parka doing dives! There are some things about this I don't understand at all. Where they just stop the match, stand around, both play to the crowd, and generally just kind of take a breather. Maybe it's part of the rules of this match that I'm not aware of. The match just kind of stops and they walk off. Was a fun spectacle, but I have no idea what was going on at the end. They literally just stopped, posed, and walked to the back. What I'm told is that the ref ended the match and the office was sending people out, so they stopped because they thought they'd be suspended. Or something. Was a lot of fun until the complete non-ending.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Prince Puma
Lucha Underground 7/20/16
I'm sure there is going to be some crazy shit in this match, most of which will be made shitty by Striker and Vampiro having terrible calls. Rey looks great. The story of this match seems to be Puma proving he's everything Rey is...but better. Should be interesting to see if Rey brings in the cuntiness of a frustrated vet trying to not be shown up. Puma is bringing the cuntiness of a young buck trying to out do his hero, at least. Since Puma has an answer for everything Rey does, Rey has to vary up his offense to surprise Puma. There are a lot of out of place cuts to fans, which leads me to believe there were a lot of really sloppy spots in this that are being covered up. Rey getting into a strike battle is pretty fucking weird. Puma gets frustrated when Rey won't stay down. Experience trumps youth, and Rey wins with the West Coast Pop. Pretty fun, but also sloppy, and Matt Striker is about as grating of a commentator since Mark Madden. He made more than one reference to HBK vs Flair, and it was so out of place and unfitting in what is supposed to be this underground fight club of lucha.
Trauma 1 vs Canus Lupus
IWRG Mask vs Mask 9/06/12
Not familiar with either of these guys. There's a dive 30 seconds in. LUCHA LIBRE! They go into some half ass brawling that looks like something you'd see on an ECW reunion show in 2020. Slow as shit, weak ass punches and chops. Trauma in particular kind of seems not great. Lupus wins the opening fall with a reverse figure four in a few minutes.
Fall 2 continues with the halfhearted brawling. You can't throw punches that weak if you're going to throw him right in front of fans. Trauma evens the score with a wacky lucha submission in a few minutes.
2 falls in under 10 minutes. That's including the break between falls. Maybe they'll get serious now that the next man to lose loses his mask. Their idea of getting serious is to rip masks and then stand around looking at each other. Then they get some molded chairs and take turns hitting each other. Lupus is suddenly covered in blood, even though those chair shots were weak and protected. This is terrible. Weak ass brawling, slow ass roll ups, loose submissions. You can't even use "they're bleeding, they're tired" as excuses for the shit to look as weak and slow as it does, because this is how they were going at it before anyone was bleeding. There's a ref bump, so Lupus takes the opportunity to hit a tombstone. Trauma got a rope break. A doctor comes in to check on Trauma, evne putting him in a neck brace. Lupus attacks the doctor. Then neck brace immediately falls off, and Trauma puts locks on the reverse figure four that beat him in the opneing fall. Lupus must unmask. This was terrible. Just having a lot of blood doesn't make a match worth a shit, and that's all this had going for it. The execution of everything else was so bad.
Volador Jr. vs Cavernario NWA Welterweight Championship
Cavernario struggles to match Volador on the mat to open the match, then gets all up in his face. Cavernario wins the fall in like a minute. Seriously, what the fuck is up with the super short falls? It just makes dudes look weak as shit if they can be decisively put out with one move in a minute. And then it makes the last fall make no sense, because they'll take 300% more punishment and last for 15 minutes.
Fall 2 continues with Cavernario in control, and outsmarting Volador at every turn. Of course, then Volador wins with one move (a pop up Canadian Destroyer).
Fall 3 is more your turn, my turn shit that I hate. It's hard to get invested in either side when there isn't any time for anyone to get any momentum or selling. One guy will do a dive, then they get in the ring and the other is in control. And then that guy does a dive, and then the other guy is in control. Dying for a fucking heat segment. There was an ever so brief one where Cavernario got a series of pretty big moves, but Volador completely no sold them to pop up and do Finn Balor spots. Volador wins with a crucifix driver. Title retained. This was so stupid.
Delta vs Galactar
MDA Mask vs Mask 12/2/16
I think a fan in the crowd has a taser. Galactar starts out trying to get real heat and actually doing heel things to get it instead of just throwing shitty punches and chops. He wins the first fall in 3 minutes with a wacky submission.
Oh sweet, Delta opens fall 2 with a really dumb move I saw Rey Mysterio do in 1997 with Eddie that looked just as stupid then as it did in 2016. It's like a flying space tiger drop without the athleticism. Although Delta did a goofy cartwheel instead of Rey's tactical roll. Delta evens the score with another wacky submission in about 3 minutes.
Fucking DYING at these two brawling 6 inches in front of a grandma, who is COMPLETELY ignoring them to talk to her grandson. Not even looking at them, and they're literaelly kicking and punching each other inches from her head. Even when they fall in front of her and the kid is picked up by I assume his father, she doesn't pay any attention to it. She has absolutely zero interest in what they're doing, and she's in the front row. That's amazing. Galaxy finds a piece of plywood under the table, which gets used as a table. That shit don't hurt. I've tried it. Get outta here. Galactar eats shit on an Asai moonsault, so there's that. These guys are so sloppy, Jesus Christ. Everything they do is fucked up at some point in the move. And this is more "your move, my move" shit. Delta gets killed with a tree of woe double stomp, no sells it so he can hit a dive 15 seconds later. Oh, a BROOM! Galactar hits a package piledriver, which I assume should be illegal, but I guess not. It didn't end the match, and shortly after, Delta was hitting rolling German suplexes. Galactar won while holding the ropes/with help from his second, but the match was restarted. 30 seconds later, Delta won. Galactar unmasks to reveal himself to be the Mexican Grado.
I enjoyed Casas/Hechicero, Parka/Rush, and Rey/Puma (mostly just for seeing Rey look much better than he did in the last 2-3 years of his WWE run), but the other matches range from meh to terrible. The Lupus/Trauma match in particular was so fucking awful. 80 year old Dory Funk Jr. was throwing more believable strikes in Japan in 2016 than those guys.
Lucha is still not for me, but I think what I mean by "lucha" is dumb shit junior matches that have no flow or story. Or 2/3 falls matches with 30 second falls.