Sunday, February 06, 2011

"Project 33" - Match #83: Blue Panther vs. Hijo del Santo

Blue Panther vs. Hijo del Santo
9 April, 2000
Arena Monterrey; Monterrey, Mexico
WWA Welterweight Championship

Part 2    Part 3

The person that uploaded this match entitled it "Matches Better Than Every Shawn Michaels Match Ever".  That is not quite accurate.  I am not as big of a fan of Shawn Michaels work as many other people, but I will readily admit that he had some tremendous matches in his career.  I am a big fan of Blue Panther though, and although this match does show a few of the reasons, I will admit wholeheartedly that it is not the best match of his that I have seen.  Santo, I like depending on the match - and I figured that going into this match with a complete mat technician like Panther, this match would be outstanding. 

One of the reasons that I like Blue Panther is that he is a monster on the mat.  If you have been paying attention to this here "Project 33", you probably realize by now that I love mat wrestling, which is why I am such a big fan of Negro Navarro, Black Terry, and los Traumas.  Aside from perhaps Navarro, Blue Panther is superior to all of them on the mat.  In recent years he hasn't really shown this working in CMLL, but when you watch and older match like this one, it is obvious that Panther excels on the mat.  In addition, which you do not really get to see in this particular match, he is also able to adapt well to the more modern style.  Panther is able to go in and trade punches and give/take bumps with the best of them.  Panther has a formula to his matches, especially singles, that still draws fans.  It is as if he were a mixture of Negro Navarro and Black Terry - except he still wrestles in big arenas for CMLL while they toil in front of a few hundred fans on independent shows. 

In this particular match, we have two guys that know what they are doing going at it hold-for-hold in an awesome technical match.  Panther is the rudo here, but a crowd favorite.  Santo is Santo, so he has the majority of fans behind his tecnico act.  The duo wrestle the match relatively clean, the only funny business being that the referee is very quick to break a hold Santo has clamped on when Panther reaches the ropes; No count to break the hold, he just pulls or shoves Santo off Panther.  He does not do the same thing when Panther gets Santo in the same situation. 

The two men worked a very back and forth first fall, with Santo getting the win with a roll-up.  Panther even things up with a very nice armbar in the second fall, which Santo sells as if it destroyed his arm.  In the third fall Panther attacks and stays on that arm, with Santo fighting back with his trademark moves.  We build up to a few nice dives, and finally Santo goes for a big victory roll, but Panther counters it, and cradles Santo.  As the referee slides into position, Panther hooks the bottom rope for leverage - his first bit of cheating in the match.  Santo grabs the rope to break the count, but the referee misses it and counts the pinfall, giving Panther the match and the Welterweight Championship.  Awesome, awesome rudo referee spot.  That is the kinda stuff that CMLL should have done with Tirantes with this invasion angle, not making him blatantly favor the rudos all the time. 

A very good match that is probably not for everyone, but that I really enjoyed.  Both men busted out cool holds that I hadn't seen very often, and that always makes me happy.  I also enjoyed how Santo fought off many of Panthers holds - such as when Panther went for a surf board/Tapatia, and Santo tucked his arms under his chest, so that Panther couldn't hook his arms and get him into the hold.  Too often you see a guy feed his arms back, rather then fighting it off, so I thought that was pretty swank. 

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