Sunday, May 08, 2011

"Project 33" - Match #121 - Negro Casas vs. Blue Panther

Blue Panther vs. Negro Casas
24 April, 2011
Arena Coliseo DF; Mexico City, Mexico

Part 2

Wow, what a fantastic match!  I wish CMLL had more matches like this!  I wish some of the younger guys in CMLL were able to have matches like this, even if it was with veterans like Panther & Casas.  Hell, I wish more wrestling matches like this took place anywhere, not just CMLL!

This match, as the commentators said many times, was two maestros going at it one-on-one.  This match was part of what appeared to be a hotshot build to a hair-versus-hair match between the two, that appears to have been stalled now.  The reason this match started with the brawling on the outside and the very un-maestro like behavior was because this match was supposed to get their feud over as a hot rivalry to the crowd.  Because of the brawling, the first two falls were short.  Unlike the typical Ultimo Guerrero formula, the first fall was shorter because Casas ambushed Panther on the outside, and the two technical wizards brawled in the crowd, until Panther caught Casas off-guard with an armbar. This enraged Casas, who then quickly worked over Panther to get a surprise pinfall win in the second fall.  

At that point the vets had the crowd in the palm of their hands, and they went mat technician on us, and had essentially an MMA-style match for about ten minutes in the third fall.  That third fall alone made this match a potential Match-of-the-Year candidate for me, and I cannot say enough to do it justice.  From Panther biting Casas' fingers in a hammerlock to the rolling tapatia, to Casas fighting out of the Nudo Lagunero, the third fall was everything that wrestling should be about.  Unlike a Navarro-Solar match, these guys didn't release holds either, the either reversed them, or worked to the ropes.  Great, great stuff.  I would totally show this match to a gringo or anyone who doesn't "get" lucha libre.  No dives, no over-the-top crowd interaction, no weapons, just a solid heated match between two veteran rivals that could have happened anywhere, in any country, in any style. 

Although I would love to see these two guys given thirty minutes or more to work a hair-versus-hair match, it needs to be built up more than this hotshot angle was doing - maybe someone realized that and that was why it was cooled off.  Casas just lost his hair less than a year ago to Charly Manson, and it would not be good for him to be scalped again so soon.  Panther has never lost his hair after being unmasked a couple years ago, and when he finally does, it should mean something.  I would have hated to see Panther's hair wasted on a big main event for a Fan Appreciation Show or something like that - it should totally be the main event of one of the "lesser" major shows that CMLL has every year - especially if it is against Casas in a match like this. 

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