3-16-01 Tijuana!

The card, in general, was real fun. The opener was pure stink hideousness and Sabu’s match was putrid in its garbageness, but everything else was good stuff. The second match trios match had a pretty intense performance by Zumbido and a hilarious comedic show by Diablo. The trios match with the Misterios was *hilarious* due to Dr. Wagner Jr.’s and Super Parka’s brilliant comedic touches, and also featured real solid work from everyone else bar Halloween. The ladder match was neat because they opened with a bunch of mat wrestling which Santo obviously carried, and to top it off, the crowd popped for a bunch of parts. My friend remarked how he loves receptive crowds like that and how he doesn’t care for the crowds he sees on WWF and WCW TV who only respond to top stars and high spots. The booking seems to be leading to a Rey Sr, vs Rey Jr. singles match and a Nicho vs Santo hair vs mask match.

Star Boy/Ángel de Tijuana vs Ruby Gardenia/El Tucán

Angel de Tijuana is a short, stocky, somewhat dwarven, Essa Rios-looking man. Star Boy, on the other hand, is a suave looking gent who came to the ring stylin’ in a leather jacket. The rudos feature El Tucan, who’s mask is great, and Ruby Gardenia WHO IS A (masked) WOMAN. At least we think it was a woman. Somewhat bizarre start to a card, having an inter-gender match.

Star Boy and Tucan started the match off with a million arm drags and such. Angel de Tijuana was pretty bad, and so, did not get as many cheers as one would think with his gimmick. Gardenia’s gimmick seemed to be she liked to dance, and so she danced, a lot, and a lot. In-between transitions she’d dance. Various drunk Mexicans on the floor level would shout obscene things to her throughout the match, providing one of the more entertaining parts to the match. I can not quite recall the order of falls although the rudos ended up winning, with me recalling Gardenia flattening one of the technicos with a powerbomb. In the third fall they all did dives, highlighted by Gardenia’s somersault plancha off the turnbuckle onto the three men. The finishing sequence was very contrived and the body of the match was a million-and-a-half arm drags by each combination. Really choreographed looking, which had my non-wrestling fan friend Nin (who only came to get mad style plastered in the clubs afterwards) grimacing throughout. The whole match went 15 minutes total, which was just too long for them in addition to their already apparent green-ness.
[1/2*]

Zumbido/Hijo del Diablo/Depredador vs Kato Kung Lee/Tony Rivera/Príncipe Arandu

Rudos: Zumbido had a blonde mohawk and the crowd actually popped for his entrance, unlike the openers in the prior match. Diablo has a wicked mask and costume while Depredador is some military looking man.

Technicos: Kato Kung Lee is old as dirt, the ladies *luv* Tony Rivera and Principe Arandu seemed to be an older version of Rivera. My friend Mark remarked that at least the crowd recognized some of these guys.

Zumbido worked some real good exchanges with Rivera and Arandu, with one particular series of reversals and nip ups between Zumbido and Rivera getting a round of applause from the audience. Zumbido also chopped the utter fuck out of Arandu’s chest throughout the match. The crowd “ooh’d” at every chop and Arandu’s chest was like hamburger by the end. Zumbido did well to distinguish himself from the other luchadores by working a stiffer style.

The rudos won the first fall with the technicos evening it up in the second. The third fall was total comedy with Diablo and Lee getting stressed the most. The opening to the third fall saw all three rudos chase Lee around the ring with him running around on the second rope, balancing himself with various leaps to evade the rudos. Towards the end of the fall all five wrestlers sans Diablo hooked each other in leg scissors holds around the opponents head so they stretched from one turnbuckle to the opposite corner. Diablo walked to one end to follow suit but got fought off so walked to the other, only to get fought off again (not paying attention to whether it was a teammate or opponent he was trying to hook). He started getting spastic before he decided to climb the turnbuckle and deliver a somersault senton to the entire line, but they all moved to the side as he did this, getting laughs from the crowd. Then the other five luchadores started running the ropes in all different directions whilst Diablo stood in the middle confused as sin. They eventually stopped and Diablo ran the ropes back and forth a half dozen times, causing all five guys to beat up on Diablo together, getting more laughs from the crowd. They broke into a dive sequence that left Lee and Diablo in the ring and Lee (who’s martial arts gimmick called for him to throw many loose, poor looking kicks) picking up the victory for his team. Diablo and Zumbido teased dissension afterwards but ended up hugging. We talked about how this match went 15 minutes like the opener except this one felt like 5 while the other felt like 50. Zumbido and Diablo were entertaining rudos while Rivera showed some good athleticism on the technico side. No eye opening moves or brilliant psychology but everything was crisp and well executed, with great connection with the crowd.
[**1/2]

An older looking fellow came out who my Mexican friend Ruben stated was the promoter of the event, which in turn had me remark that I thought his name was Ben Mora Jr. (does Mora still promote Tijuana?). Ruben translated that someone important had died (possibly a well known trainer of luchadores?), and Mora(?) requested a minute of applause in his memory.

Rey Misterio Sr./Halloween/Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Rey Misterio Jr./Atlantis/Súper Parka

Halloween came out first and brought his son (complete with Halloween face paint) into the ring as well. He then instructed his son to give all the wrestlers crotch chops and certain heckling audience members the same. Quite humorous. Misterio Sr. had a masked valet with him, while Dr. Wagner Jr. was wearing a red and green mask/singlet, causing me to momentarily be clueless as to who he was. Rey Jr. had some sparkler fireworks to go with his entrance (and Dr. Dre music which Ruben marked out for), the kidz luv Atlantis, and Super Parka came out to “Fight Fire with Fire” by Metallica. A few weeks before this, the Misterios teamed against Fuerza and Juventud Guerrera but turned against each other starting up a program against one another.

Primera Caida was a 2 and 1/2 minute brawl with the rudos punishing the technicos nonstop, particularly Rey Sr. bludgeoning Rey Jr’s chest with chops, kicks, and strikes galore. Rudos ended up taking the first fall, with the technicos taking the second. The second fall went much longer at about 10 minutes and had a few themes. The brawl continued into segunda caida until Rey Jr. went berserk and beat up everyone, including clotheslining his uncle into the crowd. It settled into a more standard tag match after that with two themes:

1) Atlantis exhibits a serious display of wrestling against the three rudos, with various lucha submissions being done by he and Wagner Jr.

and

2) Super Parka exhibits a comedic display of sexual poses and themes against Dr. Wagner Jr.

Ruben almost fell out of his seat laughing at Parka’s antics. He’d throw these light kicks at Wagner that Wagner would oversell, then fake the kicks with Wagner continuing to sell, then completely stop with Wagner continuing the comedic selling until realizing Parka had stopped kicking long before. Parka also had a penchant to want to spank all the rudos, and at one point spanked Wagner into the corner, who had bumped one of the refs into the corner. From there it got bizarre with Parka simulating ass rape on Wagner, who in turn simulated ass rape on the ref. Crowd was laughing hysterically at all of it. Parka pretended jerking off on Misterio Sr. in addition to other antics, then took off into the crowd with Rey Sr. taking chase. It was pretty funny. In-between the second and third fall, Parka danced to some music, including taking one of the ref’s shirts off and humping it a bit. Rey Jr. was in tears, finding Parka to be the funniest thing he’s ever seen. The comedy carried over into tricera caida although towards the end they went into high spots, including a Rey Jr. Asai moonsault onto Rey Sr., who did a terrible job in catching him. Rey Jr. was limping afterwards, leading me to think he might have fucked up his knee again on the move. Finish saw each Rey Sr., Rey Jr., and a ref all get low blowed. The ref then petitioned the audience to see who cheated, with them naturally siding with Rey Jr., the technico, so he DQ’d Sr. for the technico win. The entire match went 21 minutes and was a level above the previous in spots, execution, and comedy. Rey Jr. stood out the most in terms of spots with his Asai Moonsault, a spectacular tornado DDT on Halloween, and his overall quickness. Atlantis and Wagner Jr. provided the sweet lucha submissions while Wagner and Parka proved to be comedic geniuses in that I think the entire crowd went away thinking they were the stars of the match even though the goal seemed to be more build in a Rey Sr. vs Rey Jr. feud. In the process of the match, Wagner got his masked ripped off by Atlantis, so a bunch of people got to see his face and mini-fro. Good, entertaining match with well defined in-ring storylines, great execution, and hilarious comedy.
[***]

The cameraman that had previously just been sitting around got up to film this match. I guess it might air on the local Tijuana television.

[One fall, no DQ] Damien 666 vs Sabu

Sabu beat Damien in Mexico City a couple weeks prior to this to defend his XPW match, then was attacked by Damien last week in a tag match, so here they are again.

Sabu had about five fans who continually did his “point to the sky” pose and chant his name, but everyone else in the crowd was indifferent. Damien wasn’t exactly Mr. Over either. Damien had a Singapore Cane, or something, that he used to crack Sabu in the forehead a few times. Sabu set up for his triple jump plancha early on but couldn’t balance himself on the ropes, so jumped back into the ring. The hilarity ensued when Damien, seeing this, climbed up onto the apron to abort the spot, but Sabu tried repeating it! Except the chair broke as he tried taking off of it again so he went flailing into the ropes and Damien. Sabu: master of the blown spot and business exposing psychology. They both bladed, although Sabu did not juice too much. They hit each other with chairs some. Damien put Sabu through a table with a top rope splash. Later, Sabu put Damien through a table outside the ring with a back body drop over the top rope. Finish saw Sabu get pissed off for some reason and knock the ref out. He then hit his triple jump moonsault (on one try!) but the ref wasn’t there to make the count. As he tried to revive the ref, Damien rolled him up for 2 and 99/100. Sabu acted flustered and was quickly pinned a few seconds later after 8 and a 1/2 minutes. There wasn’t any sort of coherent story to the match and the execution was awful. The table bumps were not too spectacular although they got big pops from the crowd since it was like nothing else on the card up to that point. We talked about how washed up Sabu was and agreed the match was pure pish. Post-match, Damien challenged Sabu to an XPW title match since he had just won a non-title bout, but Sabu didn’t seem thrilled. Damien called him a chicken and tried to get the crowd to chant “chicken” at him. Was somewhat strange to hear Damien cut a promo in English.
[3/4*]

Between each match there were these annoying breaks that lasted pretty long, but the longest was between this and the main event. Very, very restless, even with the promoter (Mora?) trying to work the crowd some. They filmed the main event as well.

[Ladder] Nicho El Millonario vs Hijo del Santo

These two had a great feud in the mid 90s when Nicho was still masked and competing as Psicosis in AAA. It is what really put Psic on the map as a top tier luchador. Their 5-3-95 match for the National Welterweight title was a consensus MOTYC and one of the best matches in either’s career. Last week, Psicosis (now competing as Nicho in TJ) defeated Santo in a tag match with a low blow. Post-match, Santo challenged him to a hair vs mask match but Nicho instead suggested a ladder match for the vacant “Latin American Wrestling Association Welterweight Title” (ie. some title they made up). If Santo can win the title, Nicho will put up his hair vs Santo’s mask in a later match.

Santo’s entrance, predictably, gets the biggest pop of the night. My friend Mark says Santo looks completely unathletic with his thing legs and arms, and non-muscular build. I think of ravaging his face for dissing the most consistently good luchador in 20 years, but think better of it. He is a bit unathletic in appearance, true enough. BUT HE’S SANTO NONE THE LESS.

The match opened with mat wrestling that Santo controls. The crowd popped for the good exchanges and particularly whenever Santo gains the upper hand. He did the old Tiger Mask “I balance on head whilst headscissoring you, spin, and send you flying” spot twice to real big pops. Santo tried to get the ladder, but got cut off by Nicho. After five or so minutes, Nicho took over with brawling. He hit an inverted suplex and got the ladder in the ring although did not accomplish much. Some fans tossed some chairs at him, so they came into play during the match. They both hit each other with some stiff chair shots and Nicho ended up blading. He really crazily tossed a chair at the side of Santo’s head, and the entire left side of his mask turned red with blood. We debated whether he bladed or was bleeding hard way, and it seemed it was probably hard way based on how shocked Santo seemed to be with it. They both climbed the ladder but fell sideways into the ropes. They did some of the usual ladder spots in the corners that we’ve all seen. Nicho accidentally pasted the ref with a chair shot that was sickenly stiff. At the twenty minute mark, the luchadores lost control and started brawling with great intensity around the ringside area and the fans popped HUGE. Instead of wildly brawling the entire match they had structured it logically. They started off with mat wrestling, teased ladder involvement, tossed in some chair shots, did some ladder spots and teases, then went into an all out brawl. Great psychology. Every so often during the match, one part of the crowd would try to start a “NICHO!” chant but then get immediately drowned out by a stronger “SANTO!” chant. Nicho set the ladder up balancing on the guard rail and the apron, placed Santo on it, then jumped off the ropes onto Santo in what must have been a hella painful bump for Santo. As Nicho climbed back into the ring, the “NICHO!” chants started up again, but this time the crowd joined in. Great atmosphere. Nicho climbed the ladder to get the belt and got his hands on it as Santo finally got back in the ring to knock the ladder over but it was too late and Nicho stunned the crowd and won the vacant title after about 25 minutes. The crowd was shocked but they were not exactly disappointed as they were clearly favoring both wrestlers by the end even though they’ll always love Santo more.

The match had real great psychology and showed Psicosis can still deliver something of decent quality when he’s being carried. I was hoping to see some more of his patented suicidal bumps than he delivered but that is a nit-pick. I really liked the way they structured the match going from pure wrestling to garbagy stuff to an intense brawl at the end. There were questions about how Santo would deliver in this type of match and I’d say he worked very well. He transitioned into his tope and plancha spots logically from ladder spots, so it was like a Santo-by-the-numbers match except the transitions and high spots often involved ladders and chairs after the opening section of mat work. It wasn’t “santo-by-the-numbers” in appearance, but the psychology was identical. The big weakness to the match was the execution of some of the ladder spots; for example they tried the teeter-totter spot where the ladder was draped over the top rope and Santo leapt off the turnbuckle to hit one end, causing the other to fly upwards into Nicho’s face. The ladder did not extend far enough out of the ring, though, so the teeter-totter effect was minimal and the spot looked pretty bad. Other times Nicho would just flail the ladder at Santo in a rage which looked cool but wasn’t very hard to pull off. Real good match, none the less.
[***1/2]

Post-match, both luchadores worked the mic and the promoter mentioned something involving a mask vs hair match between the two of them. Even though Santo didn’t guarantee himself that match with his win, it was clear they were still building to it in the future. Next week AAA comes to TJ so I will obviously not be attending. It looks like I’ll be going to an indy show in the San Diego area put on by CCW, anyways. If they do line up Nicho vs Santo hair vs mask, I’ll definitely be there.

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