Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Project 33" - Match #67: Liger/Tiger Mask/Santo/Octagon vs Guerrero/Parka/Panther/Psicosis

Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask 3, El Hijo Del Santo & Octagon vs Eddy Guerrero, La Parka, Blue Panther & Psicosis
15 May, 1994
Estadio Olímpico Benitio Juarez; Zapopan, Mexico



Part 2

So, this match is from Triplemania 2-B, which was back when Triplemania was actually three separate shows for Triplemania.  Not sure why they actually had three events from 1994-1997, but they did. 

This match is really an odd mix of people, but the match itself is really good.  As I stated in the previous post in Project 33, Liger may perhaps be the greatest international cruiserweight wrestler of all time.  Tiger Mask was Koji Kanemoto, who had already lost the mask in Japan to his partner in this match, Liger.  Hijo del Santo was a superior worker, but is an internationally known symbol of Mexico that transcends wrestling.  Octagon was a very solid to great worker, that was at his peak of popularity at this time, as he was a Pena loyalist who jumped ship to AAA, and was pushed as a main eventer as a reward.  Eddy Guerrero wasn't the best wrestler in the world at this time, but he was perhaps the most despised rudo in Mexico - and he was a regular in Japan as Black Tiger 2.  La Parka was still pretty skinny at this point, and was gaining a lot of popularity with this gimmick in AAA.  Blue Panther may have been the best pure technical wrestler in Mexico at this point, and was having a great run as a rudo in AAA.  Psicosis was a young high flyer that was impressive, and was the arch enemy of the popular Rey Misterio, who is not in this match. 


Not sure on any background to this match, but the match tended to have the same guys consistantly pairing off: Guerrero/Liger probably paired off due to their familiarity from Japan.  Octagon/Panther, I believe were feuding in AAA.  Santo/Psicosis may have been feuding at this point, I am not sure.  Tiger/La Parka seemed like an oddball pairing, but a lot of their interaction was quite good.  By this time Kanemoto was having knee problems, and wanted to drop the Tiger Mask gimmick so he could change his style up to protect his knees more.  So, in this match, you see more grappling with Parka, which Parka was very very good at at this point in time.  Some very nice fluid exchanges here between the two - who I am sure had probably never really worked with each other before.  A lot of times in matches like this, that will cause a lull in the match, but it didn't here, as these guys were both good workers and did good stuff. 

The best stuff in the match was between Guerrero and Liger, I thought.  If you isolate their segments, it was essentially them working the NJPW Junior style, but with a twist of lucha.  It doesn't really standout because that style is really compatible with lucha libre, and Liger and Guerrero are both really good wrestlers. 

I thought the first fall of this match was pretty damn complete on its own.  There wasn't a deep psychology to this match, really.  This was a lot of good wrestlers being thrown together to have a really fast paced exciting match. The crowd was pretty rabid for everything that happened, and went nuts when Santo & Octagon did the stereo dives.  Liger getting the pin on Parka after a series of top rope bumps was a pretty nice sequence of big moves. 

And, although I said that the match didn't have a deep psychology, it did have psychology.  It was a basic lucha psychology that can actually get boring a lot of times because it doesn't get changed up.  fast paced action and mat wrestling builds up over a fall, until a few big moved happen, which lead to a pinfall.  The match somewhat hits a peak at the end of fall, one, and then the crowd comes down as the rudos work the heat in the second fall.  The third fall things pick back up though, until the end, when things break down and all eight men start fighting in and out of the ring.  Santo appears to kill Psicosis with a top rope Electric Chair drop, and Octagon adds a dive to put Psicosis away. 

A very solid match from a time when AAA was perhaps the most exciting promotion in the world. 

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