Mascara Dorada & Sombra vs. Jushin Liger & Hector Garza
4 January, 2011
Tokyo Dome; Tokyo, Japan
More from Wrestlekingdom 5.
Small observation not really related to this match per se: Jushin Liger has always been a Japanese wrestler that has toured the US pretty regularly. For some reason, perhaps his high flying, Liger has always been able to get over with the US fans - which is often quite hard for foreigners to do. Liger wears a mask, so if you follow the McMahon/Bischoff way of thinking, makes him unmarketable because you cannot see his face. He doesn't speak English, so he cannot cut promo. He is in his late 40s - but somehow he is always over and gets a great reaction when he comes to the US - which he has done consistently thru his career. After establishing himself as, arguably, the greatest "crusierwight" wrestler of all time, Liger was the main booker of the New Japan Junior division - arguably the top counterweight division in wrestling history (I'm discounting Mexico here, where the smaller wrestlers are dominant).
To me, it seems like Liger's current role in NJPW might be as a missionary or sorts. It seems like everywhere Liger goes recently, it is almost as if he is testing the waters for NJPW to work with those companies. I have no inside information on this, it just kinda jumped out at me. Over the last few years, Liger has worked with both ROH and TNA. TNA seems somewhat interested in working with NJPW (as far as getting TNA wrestlers booked into NJPW), but when it came time for NJPW to run a series of cards in the United States, they instead chose to work with Jersey All-Pro Wrestling - a large independent group that Liger has also been working for. In 2007, Liger made a series of appearances in CMLL, after which more and more NJPW wrestlers started popping up on cards - including Yujiro & Naito, Takahashi, Strongman Andersen, Giant Bernard, and Liger himself. Not only that but Liger won a CMLL Championship, has defended it in Japan, and CMLL is running a series of shows in Japan with NJPW.
Jushin Liger is seriously one of the most respected professional wrestlers in the world.
As far as this match goes, it was short, but fast paced and pretty solid. Sombra made an excellent showing for himself in NJPW's Super Junior tournament this year, and picked up a win over Liger by countout. Liger and Sombra have had a few confrontations since then, and after Sombra picked up the win in this match, a match for Liger's CMLL Middleweight Championship was announced for the CMLL/NJPW shows this month.
Sombra, in many ways, has distanced himself from the rest of CMLL's young main event stars. When Mistico has gone to Japan, it was obvious that he was frustrated by the quieter Japanese audiences. Sombra, who is very young, has excelled in the Japanese style because he seems to have a more well rounded repertoire, and is able to work the crowd in a more traditional Japanese manner. While I would say that Mistico is more over with the Mexican wrestling fans, I think that Sombra is a superior wrestler at this point (and probably Volador too, but that is for a different post).
Mascara Dorada came off pretty good here as well - he is another young guy that apparently understands the role he is being put in, and is excelling at doing what he is needed to do. He was obviously here to hit a couple flashy moves and wow the crowd - and he did just that. He screwed up a diving arm drag on Liger early, but that seemed like a slip more than anything else - and he still technically hit the move. Garza was here for the same reason - to make the other guys look good. Garza has a lot of international experience too, and he knew the proper way to work his schtick into the match without the Japanese fans thinking he was a joke.
In all, this was a solid preliminary match that would have been better if it was a little longer.