A blog that used to be about things

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

No, I did not watch this match ONLY because the luchador named Cat Rocker is in it and that name entertains me. I also watched it because Poseidon is okay and I love the aesthetics of Club Apolo and yeah it seems likely somebody will bleed all over the place.

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.)