Thursday, June 14, 2018
Friday, April 13, 2018
This match is great but what else could it be when you get 4 of the best wrestlers in the world and have them just beat the hell out of each other for 15 minutes? The Lucha Brothers really work great when they are put up against a popular team as it allows them to lay in stiff shots and take their time milking the beatings. Fenix has the flashy offense and the huge bumps to compliment the more deliberate sadism of Penta. Caristico is still one of the best at taking these beatings and timing his comebacks perfectly to get the crowd involved.
In an odd bit of synchronicity, I was thinking about how Penta has been losing mystique as a singles wrestler over the last year or two but still ends up really high on my (and other's) year end list, and then today's WDKW dropped with Dylan talking about the same thing. The problem with so many Penta singles matches is that his offense is not particularly flashy or impressive, and so when he gets his comeback spots they are somewhat disappointing. Not only that, it's not particularly fast-paced and does not flow together. Thinking about his best singles matches, his offense works there because it really is a rudo-style offense that works best when cutting off a tecnico or perhaps methodically picking them apart. The flow and pacing of tag matches is different and it allows for Fenix's much flashier offense to get those comeback spots, with Penta filling in the gaps. It's even better when the opposing team is over with the crowd, as it is here or as it was in the match vs. The Besties from last year, as that is when Penta can use his same offense to beat down a babyface until the crowd is dying for their comeback.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Poseidon, Fantasma del Espacio, Super Angel vs. Cat Rocker, Guerrero del Inferno, Guerrero Lee. Ruleta del Muerte for hair or mask. 2/18/18 Club Apolo
Apuesta matches are often out of control and bloody. While this is toned down in CMLL, AAA and the indies continue to have matches in this style, and this match definitely carries on in that tradition. While only a few guys bleed, Super Angel comes out wearing a white mask and ends up looking like a cherry tomato before the match is halfway over. Blood alone cannot make a wrestling match good, but when a guy bleeds to amplify the violence they are receiving and to help emote their exhaustion it can really help a match, and that is on display here.
This a Ruelta de Muerte, which means that when a luchador makes a luchador from the other team submit or pins them, the victorious luchador is eliminated from the match. So, this means that if you "win," your team is going to lose a member and (maybe) be short-handed. Nonsensical rules are endemic in lucha libre, so not only have I made peace with this I can appreciate when a match is booked to make sense within those rules, and this match is. I don't know enough about these guys to know what was going on prior to this match, but I can presume that the teams are either friends of some sort or share an animosity to the opposing team. Either way, they want their team to win, and a quick victory that leaves your team shorthanded is not going to help that, so this match does not have a pin or submission attempt for at least 20 minutes.
The match starts with a rudo beatdown that feels neverending but not tedious. In fact, the beatdown continues so long that I began to believe the match would just turn in to an extended squash (sort of like Lesnar vs. CM Punk at Summerslam) because indie lucha just does weird things some times. Almost immediately as I thought this, the tecnicos make their comeback and I am completely engrossed in their success. I don't know if the timing of their comeback will work for everybody, but it hit at just the right point to really draw me in to the drama of the match and rooting for their success. This is not a fast-paced match by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, since the match is built around two very long control segments to start, the pace slows as the segments go on, allowing the desire for the other team to make a comeback (the crowd is surprisingly pro-rudo, cheering very loudly for one or both of the Guerreros) to simmer and build until it explodes into actualization.
The tecnico segment mirrors the rudos control segment, both of which were fun brawls all over the arena. It's not the wildest brawl but these guys are working stiff enough and whatever shortcomings exist are made up, to me, by the timing of the spots and comebacks. After about 20 minutes (at least, I was not paying attention to the time but this video is 1 hour long and I don't think there was much more than 20 minutes of non-wrestling at the beginning and end of the video) they all end up back in the ring, and begin to try to win falls. It starts with each guy taking turns putting submissions on, only for another guy to come in and break it up and put on their own submission. This is fun, but what really makes it work is how vicious the submissions are. These guys are really wrenching these holds in and making it look like they really want to win, if just to take break if nothing else. This exhaustion continues throughout the match (which I am sure is not entirely being worked) and really helps with the pacing and setting up spots.
The match may go on a bit too long, but the crowd is rabid and the workers milk it for everything it is worth. Again, the work is nothing that will blow you away, but these guys get every ounce of drama from every move in a way that draws me in to the drama of the match. And again, there is a dude named "Cat Rocker" that is wearing leopard-print shirt and pants.
(The match does not start until about 10 minutes in to the video if the 1-hour timestamp is daunting.)
Friday, January 19, 2018
Rey Pantera Jr. & Hijo de Rey Pantera vs. As del Espacio & As del Espacio Jr., mascaras vs. mascaras 01/14/2018
I don't know who these guys are, but I will watch most apuesta matches I come across. These are often the biggest matches of a wrestler's career, so you're unlikely to come across anything but the best performance and effort out of the wrestlers involved. Since these matches usually come out of some fairly heated feud you often have a hot and lively crowd helping the match along. The matches themselves usually vary between brawls and completely out of control brawls, so the wrestlers are generally allowed to use blood and any other tricks to put the match over the top and if none of this seems to work you can always just turn the match off.
So yeah, I don't know anything about these guys (although I have seen the dad Rey Pantera a few times) but like I said I will watch most apuesta matches I come across but one with these familial elements involved sounds even more fun. In much of the world, sports play a huge role in familial relationships. While the relationship is changing, playing sports and watching sports is still a huge aspect of masculinity and also a prominent avenue for men to form relationships. The scripted nature of wrestling allows it to portray family relationships far more than happens in "legitimate" sports, as wrestling has the freedom to not have to rely as heavily on actual skill. And so wrestling not only fills this cultural role of something for a family to enjoy together, wrestling can explore family dynamics in the medium. Families are often paired together based on nothing but blood, and when these relationships turn sour they can be even more vicious and hateful than other relationships falling apart.
Why am I rambling on about wrestling playing up family connections? Because it plays a huge role in this match. The whole match is based around two rough brothers taking on a father and son team where the father is older and maybe a step slower than the Panteras and the son is clearly younger and less experienced than the Panteras.
The video starts with Rey Pantera Jr. coming to the ring while a live band plays. Eventually we see that Hijo de Rey Pantera is in this band! It's a very minor thing, but I absolutely love when wrestlers are involved in their own theme music and even more when they play it live, as it is so self-indulgent but if they are playing a cocky, flashy character (like Chris Jericho, Juventud Guerrera and the Panteras here) it adds so much to that obnoxious aura. Who is more insufferable than a member of an okay-at-best rock band than a member of an okay-at-best rock band that is also a pro wrestler?
The match starts out with straightforward back and forth wrestling, but almost immediately guys start diving out of the ring (and into seats) onto guys that are not immediately involved in the match. It's not the wild brawl that some indie apuesta matches turn in to, but it is a bit wilder than a standard match. As the match continues, the roles mentioned above start to become clearer as the Panteras not only work together as a team better (as they have likely been working as a team for some time now), but there is a really cool segment early in the 2nd fall where the Panteras get Espacio Jr. outside of the ring between them and Espacio comes running over to help his son, only to get double-teamed himself.
The first two falls of the match are over pretty quickly. I'm not a huge fan of this match format but it is so prevalent now that I've gotten used to it. And although I think it is annoying it does work to some extent. One thing people seem really confused or annoyed by in lucha (and really all wrestling) is when a ref ignores blatant rule breaking, as happens in this match. I guess these are the people that NFL and MLB are courting with their recent attempts to turn their sports into byzantine rule interpretation while athletes look on. The idea that a ref (or any ruling authority) can let things slide in the name of a greater justice seems alien to them, but that is exactly what happens in lucha. Refs, like anybody else we invest with authority, can choose to let nominally illegal activity slide if they think strict enforcement will lead to a result nobody wants (i.e. a disqualification finish to end a blood feud) or if they simply don't care. Wrestling is just a mirror of our real world power struggles. There is no escape from them.
So the first two falls of this match are burned through pretty quickly to get us to a third fall where the Panteras quickly take advantage of the ref's discretion. But, since this is wrestling, the Espacios aren't simply crushed under this corruption but make their comebacks. And these comebacks are great. Like any good babyface, they show they can get just as wild a rough as the Panteras, delivering sick chairshots and Espacio Jr. hits some giant dives out of the ring. The pacing may drag a bit, but I think they're just milking the crowd reactions which are not being recorded very well. At some point the entire crowd is out of their seats and cheering the match on.
The work in the match is good, but there are little moments that really bring out the character stuff, like As del Espacio racing back in to the ring to help his son pin whichever Pantera it was that he just hit with a big move. This all leads up to what is one of the most dramatic and emotional finishes I have ever seen. I don't like to describe specific spots when talking about a wrestling match because so much of the enjoyment of a match can be tied in to seeing these things evolve organically within the match. That said, the end of this match involves each team trying to submit the other, and eventually this gives way to a crazy chairshot sequence where they are trying to prove who is tougher. Again the different male relationships of brothers vs. father and son come in to play, and how our roles as protectors or respectors (of the toughness/manhood of another) of each other. We saw early in the match Espacio getting seriously hurt when he rushed in to protect his son. Would you do the same thing for your father, if the roles were reversed? Would you expect a different outcome?
The emotion and drama at the end of this match is unparalleled, and this is two teams of guys I have never seen before! Imagine if this was a feud you had been following! I can't imagine a better blowoff to this type of feud or match, and unless wrestling in 2018 is absolutely phenomenal (I hope it is!) this could easily end up being my match of the year.
Monday, January 15, 2018
Maestro matches are one of my favorite match style in wrestling. Since lucha title matches do not focus as much on mat wrestling and holds as they used to, the maestro matches are the most consistent place to see that style of wrestling. And since that style of wrestling does not rely on athleticism as much as it does precision, you still have wrestlers in their 60s putting on some of the best matches of the style.
Hechicero's role in maestro matches is great. He has been wrestling since 2001, which is a long time to normal people but when he is in the ring with other maestros he may as well as be a child. He can wrestle that similar llaves style, and will, but he is also substantially younger and stronger than the other wrestlers in your standard maestro match, and he is not afraid to bully his way around the ring.
So, here is Hechicero one-on-one against Satanico, who is almost 70 and has been wrestling since 1973. It starts off with both guys working each other on the mat, and Hechicero is not afraid to use his size and strength to overpower Satanico consistently. However, he is never able to put Satanico away and has to keep getting rougher and rougher. This is exactly the same match format Satanico has been using for 40 years, and it still works in 2018 with him as the tough and stubborn veteran rather than the tough and stubborn asshole rudo. Hechicero instead plays the bully that is willing to escalate the violence to break his opponent. Despite this, Satanico keeps hanging in there, showing that he can get just as wild. This match is just a great example of this simple story with excellent pacing and selling from both guys.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Dragon Lee and Takahashi have taken the whole concept of a spotfest past it's logical conclusion into some black hole of wrestling where selling is what brings a match down and a spotfest is the only way to tell a gripping, coherent story. This is the latest in their series of matches and continues to build upon the previous matches with moves that worked before no longer working and the violence continuing to escalate. These two have pushed each other beyond any semblance of having a limit, both in terms of the damage they must endure and the violence they must commit to if they want to win. There is nothing like these matches in the world of wrestling.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
The point of all of this rambling about live performances is that I was in attendance for this match and am very aware that being in attendance live is probably why this is the only Top 20 MOTY list you will see this match on, but I don't care cuz this is match is fun as hell. Fenix and Penta 0M have shown that they are as good as anybody at the fast-paced, spot-oriented US indie style with their matches in PWG specifically, but The Besties often work a bit slower, more traditional tag team style that builds to a hot tag. This match combined both, with all 4 men running in and out of the ring. The story is pretty a straightforward answer to a legitimate question: The Lucha Brothers are awesome so can The Besties hang with them? Reader, they tried. Lots of intricate spots and reversals and just an excellent example of the fast-paced style which was able to snoothly work in trademark spots. One thing (wrestling) logically led to another until finally one team was able to keep the other down, satiating the live crowd, Author included. Would this get over in a crowd not as invested in The Besties? Not likely, but working the best possible match for this crowd is worth something.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Anyway, without really knowing who these two were this match sucked me in right away. The crowd is immediately behind Tigre Rojo, so I may as well join them. The match itself, if viewed in a vacuum, is an above average apuestas match, but the crowd is going absolutely insane for every move and every hold. I know that including crowd response is not a popular idea in reviewing and rating matches, but at a fundamental level the whole point of pro wrestling is getting the crowd invested in what is happening in front of them and I cannot ignore when it is done this well.
The hot crowd is not the only appeal of this match, though. I am a sucker for the "old guy leaving it all in the ring one last time" sort of match. The problem is that this sort of match is often done when the old guy involved does not have anything to actually leave in the ring, so when there are actually good dives and well done moves, as is the case here, I find this sort of match to be an absolute blast. Both guys know this may be the last time they get to have a match, especially a match at the top of the card, and neither one wants to go out on a loss. Great, dramatic action and, again, the crowd eats up every minute of it, making this match one of the best I have seen this year.
Keith Lee vs. Sammy Guevera: Sammy Guevera playing a flashy and too cocky asshole heel in this match is some of the best character work I have seen this year. There are funny spots, but not nearly as many as this type of match up tends to get played for.
Arez vs. Belial vs. Impulso: This apuestas match is everything you could want from an apuestas match between indie luchadors. You get the blood, the brawling and the crazy dives.
Demonio Infernal vs. Black Dragon: Demonio Infernal was one of my favorite wrestlers to watch in 2017. When he was given the opportunity he had some of the most fun brawls of the year. This match was my favorite of his as it shows off his great bumping and selling as well as the viciousness he can bring to a match. He gets caught off guard to start the match but quickly comes back and slows Black Dragon down with brutal looking strikes and moves. Every spot of this match smoothly progresses to the next until we get to the brutal looking finish. Less than 10 minutes of fun spots and Demonio bleeding everywhere.
Authors of Pain vs. Team D.I.Y.: Johnny Gargano may be the best underdog babyface wrestler on the planet. The character work in this match is fantastic, with D.I.Y. coming in hurting and relying on their experience and trust in each other. The post-match angle was great, but even without that the emotion and story these two teams put in to this match was some of the best of the year.
Caristico & Soberano vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Sanson: Caristico and Ultimo Guerrero are obviously going to work well together, but this match stood out to me because of the intensity Soberano and Sanson brought. One of my favorite things in wrestling is a cocky heel that will show the flashy tecnico that they can flip just as well, and whenever Sanson and Soberano are paired Sanson is able to do this. Soberano, for his part, hits all of this big dives perfectly and his offense has a sort of earnest intensity that the best underdog, flashy/flippy tecnicos have. This match made me hope CMLL lets Soberano and Sanson continue to feud for some time.
|PROMOTION NAME||NAME OF SHOW||DATE OF SHOW||MATCH||PROMOTION NAME|
|EVOLVE||EVOLVE 79||2/25/17||Ethan Page vs. Darby Allin|
|WMC||Arena San Juan Pantitlan||2/26/17||Arez vs. Belial vs. Impulso||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpV1ZBkkmxk&t=1930s|
|IWRG||3/19/17||Demonio Infernal vs. Black Dragon||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4OOt_Y9wrs&feature=youtu.be|
|WRESTLECON||WrestleCon Super Show 2017||3/31/17||Low Ki vs. Shane Strickland|
|CZW||Best of the Best 16||4/1/17||Matt Tremont vs. Penta 0 M|
|NXT||NXT TV||4/12/17||Drew Mcyntire vs. Oney Larcan|
|NXT||TakeOver: Chicago||5/20/17||Akam, Rezar vs. Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa|
|Inspire Pro||5/28/17||Keith Lee vs. Sammy Guevera||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1rp2aMBqUs|
|CMLL||Arena Mexico||6/16/17||Caristico, Soberano vs. Ultimo Guerrero, Sanson||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy5gmK4Ym6g&list=WL&index=22|
|CMLL||Arena Mexico||8/4/17||Rey Cometa, Soberano Jr., The Panther vs. Cuatrero, Forastero, Sanson||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5vPRp_nuEM&feature=youtu.be&t=00h44m47s|
|WWE||Monday Night Raw||8/7/17||Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns|
|IWRG||Arena Naucalpan||8/9/17||Fly Star, Fly Warrior, Fulgor I, Fulgor II, Glen Calavera, Jerry Calavera, Mr. Leo, Septimo Rayo vs. Alas de Acera, Aramis, Black Dragon, Demonio Infernal, Diablo Jr., Dinamic Black, Eterno, Golden Magic||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqnkuwDaz2w&index=34&list=WL|
|AAA||Arena Ciudad de Mexico||8/26/17||Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Psycho Clown|
|IWRG||Arena Naucalpan||9/3/17||Villano III Jr. vs. Imposible||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkmYDcciT7c&index=36&list=WL|
|The Crash||Auditorio de Tijuana||10/5/17||Demus 3:16, Ultimo Maldito, Steve Pain vs. Mascarita Dorada, Laredo Kid, Arkangel Divino||https://youtu.be/qi6teINeRB0|
EDIT: I forgot to include the numbers so please know that Dragon Lee vs. Takahashi was my favorite match of 2017, with the rest descending from there. As I write about the matches below I will add a link to those posts on the name of the match.
|PROMOTION NAME||NAME OF SHOW||DATE OF SHOW||MATCH|
|NJPW||2/11/17||Dragon Lee vs. Hiromu Takahashi|
|NXT||6/28/17||Asuka vs. Nikki Cross|
|WWE||Hell in a Cell||10/8/17||New Day vs. Usos|
|Bacaral||Gimnasio Olimpico Juan de la Barrera||3/11/17||Rush vs. LA Park||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kvhrNTEeOw&t=11s|
|Lucha Memes||Coliseo Coacalco||7/15/17||Virus vs. Xtreme Tiger||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPUrE6eMbkI|
|The Crash||Auditorio de Tijuana||10/5/17||Flamita vs. Rey Fenix||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCGnztz9O6k|
|CWF||3/25/17||Trevor Lee vs. Chip Day|
|RCH||Arena Naucalpan||6/2/17||Demus 3:16 vs. Impulso||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riv_hWqXSqQ|
|WWE||Royal Rumble||1/29/17||John Cena vs. AJ Styles|
|NXT||Barclays||8/19/17||Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Almas|
|Chairo||Chairo 9||3/26/17||Black Terry, Negro Navarro vs. Hechicero, Virus||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO23oGSI5Uk|
|Lucha Memes MDA||4/28/17||Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Negro Navarro||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDXmDP4aHpM&index=38&list=WL&t=10s|
|Lucha Memes MDA||Arena Puebla||6/4/17||Hechicero vs. Satanico||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t538_VNDUc&feature=youtu.be&t=01h24m03s|
|WWE||Summerslam||8/20/17||Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar|
|Glory Pro||Spaulding Hall||10/15/17||Penta el 0 M, Rey Fenix vs. Davey Vega, Mat Fitchett|
|Arena Coliseo San Ramon||10/15/17||Tigre Rojo vs. Barbaro I||https://youtu.be/frz4KUMtZ0k|
|The Crash||5/5/17||Daga vs. Zack Sabre Jr.||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR1a6LSVsvA|
|NXT||TakeOver: Chicago||5/20/17||Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate|
|NJPW||2/11/17||Tetsuya Naito vs. Michael Elgin|
|Lucha Memes||Coliseo Coacalco||6/18/17||Iron Kid vs. Demus||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdgmpP0D5WI&t=0s|
Friday, July 1, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts as a S.W.A.T team barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.
. . .
As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for was not there - Wright's estranged wife.
Of course, accidents like this must be allowed when S.W.A.T. teams are looking for public threats, right?
The U.S. Department of Education issued the search and called in the S.W.A.T for his wife's defaulted student loans.
Just call it a "learning experience."
UPDATE: Dale! Cristina! Where did your story go? Alas, much like an h in Cristina's name, we can pretend it was never there. Commenters at Randy Balko's blog found these two articles, though.
NBC lost about $200 million on the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and anticipates losing about $250 million on the 2012 Summer Games in London.
But that did not stop the new conglomerate of Comcast-NBC Universal from putting in a winning bid of $4.4 billion for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro; and the 2018 Winter and 2020 Summer Games, for which the host cities have not yet been determined.
*not really, but close enough.