Wrestling Grab Bag #5: Beyond Wrestling and Lucha

On a day to day basis, I’m pushed in the direction of various individual matches that might be worth watching. US, UK, Japan, Mexico – a cornucopia of different countries, let alone time periods. Rather than using this column to showcase one ‘weird’ wrestling match from the internet, this will be used to look at a range of different matches each time. No real rhyme, no real reason – just matches that I have stumbled across and want to share with you, the reader. Three matches this time, starting off with hard hitting US Indy wrestling before heading to see the different fortunes of a wrestlers from Japan and … ahem … Uganda when stepping into a Mexican ring.

‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey vs Danny Cannon from Beyond Wrestling

I suggest that you stop what you are doing (…reading this) and watch the above video. It is only ten minutes, so I don’t mind waiting.

Done? Good.

In my head, there are going to be two camps of people following the watching of this match: those who think this style of wrestling is stupid, and those who think that was one of the best uses of ten minutes outside of making a bacon sandwich. I can’t sit here and suggest that every wrestling fan will like this match – the style is too divisive. However, this match left me legitimately open-mouthed at times. Whether this could be blamed on the alcohol I’d imbibed before I watched it, who knows? I can only imagine that a substance designed to lower your power of logical and rational thinking will only enhance your enjoyment of the match.

Both wrestlers don’t mess about with their strikes; each shot echoing around the venue and drawing ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the crowd in attendance. Even then, the guys go above and beyond standard strike exchanges with things that seem more visually impressive, with Bailey in particular rocking Cannon with quickfire right and left roundhouse kicks. We also get to see indy staples, such as double foot stomps and knee drops, though again, with little bits of innovation to make those moves seem fresher – Cannon trips Bailey before landing a standing double foot stomp; Bailey hits a frankly insane shooting star knee drop to Cannon’s back.

The shooting star knee drop isn’t the only bit of high flying we see, as Cannon lands a tope to the outside, before Bailey gives him a receipt of a springboard, second rope moonsault press (the only move that looks legitimately dangerous, due to the low clearance of the ropes and close proximity to the apron).¬† As the match headed towards a finish, Cannon did a modified twisting splash, only for Bailey to get his knees up and block.

Even though it was only six minutes in, I did bite on the near fall where Cannon dropped Bailey with a move similar to the Paige Turner (I feel a bit bad having my reference be to the WWE, but it is the only time I’ve seen the move otherwise…). Indeed, it is Cannon who seems in control, a double foot stomp from a Vader bomb-style set-up getting him another near fall. Opportunistically, it is Bailey who is able to pick up the win, catching a charging Cannon into a standing moonsault slam. The fans go crazy, the guys in the ring hug it out and I pick my jaw up off of the floor.

 

 Rush/La Sombra/Tetsuya Naito vs Euforia/Ultimo Guerrero/Thunder

Having caught wind of the fact that Tetsuya Naito would be at a UK show I’m attending in October, I thought that I needed to see him in his most recent guise as a heel. Marrying this with my general desire to expose myself to more Lucha, and I chose this match as my starting point.

It helps that the name ‘Rush’ was in the tagline. Arguably, there isn’t a better heel in wrestling – and from my understanding, the type of things he says in promos only adds to the easy hatred. Any chance to see him is always worth my time. Los Ingobernables as a stable and overarching storyline are just brilliant, taking the expected divide between rudo and tecnico and ripping it to shreds.

The first fall of this match is fine, as Los Ingobernables attack before the bell, blasting through their opposition in three minutes to pick up the primera caida. La Sombra hits double knees to the face of a seated Euforia for one pin, whilst Rush follows up a corner seated dropkick with the laziest pin going for the ‘tecnicos’ to go 1-0 up.

The second fall is where the match begins to fall apart for me. The storyline running through the second and third fall is the dissension between the ‘rudos’, especially Thunder and Ultimo Guerrero. The issue here becomes that Los Ingobernables are basically the uber-rudos in the match, making a wrestler such as Ultimo Guerrero comes across more like a tecnico – although he isn’t. The skewing of face/heel lines makes it hard to reason out the story – is Thunder falling out with Ultimo Guerrero giving us a reason to like or dislike Thunder? Or like or dislike Ultimo Guerrero, for that matter? Do we just read it as one rudo who doesn’t like another rudo?

This confusion, along with the bitty nature of the altercations in the segunda caida, makes the second fall less interesting than the shortened first fall. After La Sombra submits to Euforia, Thunder pulls Rush out of the way of an Ultimo Guerrero corner seated dropkick, pinning him with his own suplex into a pin. The best part of the second fall is Naito’s decision to mock Ultimo Guerrero’s roof-raising celebration, and Thunder’s pretty brutal looking knees to Rush at ringside – possibly a receipt for some of the less than delicate ways that Rush interacted in the first fall.

Thunder threatens walking out, but comes back into the ring for the tercera caida. In this fall, we get to see Naito’s top-rope ability as he lands a twisting press to the outside. The finish sees Rush nailed by a Thunder clothesline, only for Ultimo Guerrero to push him out of the way and lock Rush in a submission for the submission victory. It may be the way the match is edited, but the third fall only seems to go about a minute and a half to two minutes, which is just not long enough.

Following the match, Los Ingovernables get their heat back by beating up Thunder at ringside, but it is not enough to save what was generally a bit of a confusing mess in places.

 

Atlantis/Rayo De Jalisco Jr./El Dandy vs Satanico/Emilio Charles Jr./Kamala

When I initially conceived this column back in the day, this was the type of match I was looking to cover. In 1991, Kamala went to Mexico and stood across the ring from some of the biggest names in Mexican wrestling history. As a wrestling fan, if that doesn’t at least pique your interest, I think you might be broken – it is Kamala versus luchadors, it can only be an interesting way to spend your time!

That is not to downplay the other wrestlers in the match. When in the ring with each other, the action is crisp, and is often centred around the good face/heel trope of the faces outwitting the heels, with the heels often only getting the upper hand through the use of underhanded tactics or the big, hired gun: Kamala.

What might have otherwise been an entertaining match becomes one that is eminently more interesting by the introduction of Kamala and, more importantly, the way he chooses to present his character. We effectively get cowardly heel Kamala, with stooging off away from Jalisco Jr. early on, handshakes being offered twice (Jalisco Jr. not learning his lesson from the first one and getting hit both times) and general appealing to the crowd, not something you associate with Kamala. It takes Atlantis stomping on his bare feet to really phase the big guy at all.

After the tecnicos take the first fall (El Dandy cradling Satanico whilst Atlantis has a modified leglock/pin on Charles Jr.), we see more of this bizarro Kamala, as he shadow boxes upon entering the ring, before playing a round of ‘catch the pigeon’ as luchadors escape him by sliding through his legs. Eventually, the rudos are able to take control in this fall, squaring the match up following Charles Jr. hitting Dandy with an Alabama Slam and Satanico submitting Atlantis. Adding insult to injury, Kamala then splashes the guys who have just lost! Great heel tactics there.

Unfortunately, the match falls apart a little in the final stretch, as there are prolonged periods where it feels like not a lot is happening. There is a fun spot where we see Kamala being chopped down like a tree by the three tecnicos, only for him to instantly tag out, losing the effectiveness of the attack. Similarly, the ending feels a little strange, as the tecnicos finally have begun to rock Kamala, only for Atlantis and El Dandy to slide under Kamala and out of the ring. This leaves Jalisco Jr. on his own against the three rudos, with Kamala giving him a big splash to pick up the three count.

A complete fish out of water set-up really, and very entertaining for it. If the idea of Kamala playing every cowardly heel you’ve ever clapped eyes sounds interesting, you owe it to yourself to watch this match. Very good match overall – shame about the finish.

That’s it for this time. Hope you have enjoyed my trawl through some of the random wrestling that you can find on the internet.

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