A Lucha Rivalry for the Ages


AS I SEE IT: A Lucha Rivalry for the Ages
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

There’s always been a controversy among wrestling fans about what “isn’t wrestling”. Some didn’t like ECW because of its violent matches (while ignoring the other matches the promotion had, including those on the caliber of the Eddie Guerrero-Dean Malenko series). Others continue not to like lucha libre or high-spot based wrestling, feeling it’s nothing more than a collection of high spots, and has no character development or “wrestling”. Some don’t get various styles of Japanese wrestling, usually because of limited access to it. Still others don’t like Southern wrestling, feeling it has next to no action. and is “boring”.
All too many Americans don’t understand lucha libre. I’ve heard Power Ranger jokes. I’ve heard it’s nothing more than anonymous faces under masks tumbling and flying (insert Vince Russo reference here). Lucha libre may have its flyers.

But like any almost any form of wrestling, it has traditional rudo (heel) vs. tecnico (babyface) feud like any wrestling promotion. There are storylines with heel and babyface stables (see Four Horsemen)…all of which is much like American wrestling.
Well, Mexico’s CMLL (Consejo Mundo de Lucha Libre) lucha libre promotion has its 81st Anniversary show (think Wrestlemania) on September 19th, which aired via United States TV on the Azteca network this past Saturday. On Anniversario…you want big matches…they had big matches. You want spectacular entrances…they had spectacular entrances. Lucha libre has its flyers. But not every match.

Like I said, it also has traditional rudo (heel) vs. tecnico (babyface) feud like any wrestling promotion; and has storylines with heel and babyface stables…all of which is much like American wrestling. You want character devlopment and big matches…how about a match five years in the making?

The main event was a mascara con mascara (mask vs. mask) match. This is the ultimate blowoff for a feud in lucha libre. CMLL Anniversario 81 had the main event of Atlantis vs. Ultimo Guerrero, who have been both partners and hated enemies. This match was five years in developing. These days, it would be unheard of for any storyline to go longer for much more than a year, with the way WWE cannabilizes storylines to build a monthly PPV/event.

This match was as close as any match in any form of professional wrestling representing an old school 1980s-style wrestling match; and has been said to be “truly the end of an era, once and for all”. Atlantis has worked a old school Championship (think Harley Race/Jack Brisco/Dory Funk) style.

Atlantis has been primarily a tecnico (but not entirely) throughout his 31 year career. He’s won 33 championships and major tournaments won. He’s won 13 mascara con mascara matches (Villano III, Mano Negra, Kung Fu, Talisman, Hombre Bala, Tierra-Viento-Fuego, Animals I&II) and won 3 máscara contra cabellera matches (MS1, Fidel Sierra, and Gran Markus Jr.).

Ultimo Guerrero has been primarily a rudo through his 24 year career. He’s won 24 championships and major tournaments, and has won 4 mask (Villano V, Mr. Aguila, Guerrero Zulu, and Difunto II) and 4 hair matches (Cuchillo, Stuka, Super Parka, and Scorpio, Jr.)

Their match was the most highly anticipated match in recent CMLL history in 20 years. The show will likely be the first million-dollar (US) gate in CMLL’s 81 year history.

If you want the full storyline of the Ultimo Guerrero-Atlantis storyline (it’s a bit long to reproduce here, plus they’ll do it better than I can) and some notes on where to find lucha telecasts online or on local/cable/satellite TV, go to websites like PWBTS contributor Kris Zellner’s Lucha World website, or The Cubs Fan blog

The match has been aired online via Terra.com.mx, and is available to watch below. You don’t have to understand one word of Spanish to know that between the entrances, the commentators, their tone of voice, the crowd, and what you’ll see in the ring…this is truly a big deal.

Atlantis vs Último Guerrero, mask vs mask

News bulletin: the constant pullbacks inbetween sequences to show the crowd are annoying, yes. But it did serve to get this over as a big match.

So give it a look over the next

To conclude, three promotions have agreed so far to do Toys for Tots and related shows:
DJ Hyde has agreed and plans are underway for the annual Toys for Tots collection (in conjunction with the Marine Corps Reserve) to take place for the tenth year in a row with Combat Zone Wrestling’s 16th annual Cage of Death, to be held at The Flyers Skate Zone, 601 Laurel Oak Road, Voorhees, NJ with a 7:30 pm bell time. Tickets can be purchased at CZW events, or online soon.

The originator of Toys for Toys…at least in the Philadelphia/South Jersey region, United Wrestling Coalition, will be holding their Toys for Tots event the same evening as well. More details to come.

ECWA Pro Wrestling will hold its annual Toys for Tots show on December 6 in Newark, DE.

Between the two, thousands of children have been able to have a Christmas or Hanukkah. Please help your local independent promotion do the same, or encourage them to schedule an event soon for the Holidays if they haven’t already.

Until next time…

Bob Magee