Thursday, January 23, 2014

Best Coast Bias: ¡LUCHA LIBRE! (clap clap clapclapclap)

¡SI! ¡SI! ¡SI! ¡SI! ¡SI!
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For a long portion of Main Event, it seemed to be following the usual template of a lower-level show leading into a monthly event, to say nothing of the fact that the one looming was the Royal Rumble: buy the PPV or the kitten gets it.

This isn't to say that Sandow/Truth or Foxsana/Bellas were bad matches. They weren't by any stretch. They just didn't have something compelling between the ropes to rise the eyebrow and stop the endless fast forward to be like "Wait, I want to check that out."

And then Sin Cara mach 2 came out before Alberto del Rio to put a bow on the crown jewel of Ion TV, and the luchadores kicked out the jams.

And let me drop the veneer of objectivity right here: I've been a fan of lucha libre almost my entire life, nearly three decades. That's another in the myriad of benefits you get when you live fewer than 10 exits away from the border, you can find lucha libre several times on the weekends and Dr. Wagner Jr. and Satanico were just as much a part of my growing up as John Facenda voicing over NFL Films stock or Montana finding Rice and burning some poor defensive back for six. Memories of a very young Chris Jericho getting heckled with "¡Corazon del Pollo!", La Parka dancing to "Thriller," annoying little guys in blue furry suits getting Tombstoned by Vampiro and grandmothers swinging at rudos with their purses when they got too close, like 70 degree weather, sunny skies, and sipping drinks at summer rooftop club parties just kind of feel like home.

For two segments they bricked and mortared my heart, and of course they could've gone another two without a complaint from me. del Rio started off the match suffocating Sin, and at the end you're damn right he ordered the Code Red, but it was in the increasingly rocky road he found getting there that let this match shine. Should this be the last time they end up meeting for a while, it served both purposes that it needed to heading into this weekend: Sin Cara looked like a comic book superhero come to life who can hang with anybody in the ring whether or not he wins or loses, and del Rio's offense looked as nasty as his snarl. The alert should've gone up when Sin Cara busted out a tope in the opening minute and a half, and from then it was in play akin to a large ape throwing barrels at his enemies. It's the way del Rio's stuff lands with such a hard-hitting sound that the ring mics can pick it up, whether it's tilt-a-whirl backbreakers or vicious, vicious basement superkicks.

Given what we missed during the break even with a replay of Sin Cara almost going Full Rollins into and damn near up and over the barricade was an Owenzuigiri that was probably brutal as well, it almost felt like the former WWE and World Champion wanted to atone for his minor masterpiece being cut by landing a vicious rope-hung double stomp to Definitely Not Hunico that was so precise you could almost see the arena deflate. Pro graps may be fake and all, but somebody being ambulatory after that? The idea was so ludicrous even the five year olds watching couldn't cotton it, no matter how predisposed they've been to hate El Patron.

Hell, it was almost enough to make one forget the show opened with R-Truth and Xavier Woods dancing down to the ring together as if just writing the phrase Sambo Voltron in the last article that went up on TWB meant it was something to be enjoyed. LE. SIGH. In all honesty, the match wasn't as compelling early as it could've been; fortunately that was muzzled by the fact that Mr. OVER 9000 was adept on commentary as a man of his mental stature should be. There were a lot of bowling pins to keep in the air: in addition to the match with his hetero life mate taking place with the last Money in the Bank winner in front of him, he and Miz wove in several narrative threads in the Rumble that'll pay off to varying degrees. Can you really trust your partner, no matter how much you may get along right now, given what's at stake and almost always only one man can win it? (Seeing Sandow in the ring while this happened was just a bigger underscore of the possibility of one member of a tag team going for himself to get a title shot and getting a short-term Pyrrhic victory in the process.

Intentional or not, it added another little garnish of reality to the subject as it was being discussed.) Is No. 27 the same magic number to victory that it used to be? How do you game plan for the Rumble and how the *cough* random draw can totally subvert all of your plans? That would've been a line of questioning that would've borne more fruit the more it was examined, since having 29 contingency plans is a bit ridiculous. But after Truth won after a game of Tiny Toonsesque "not your finisher my finisher", Miz did drop a couple of tidbits he was loath to with the Angel Grovian at the table. Even with the memories of Awesome Truth called clearly by the former WWE Champion himself, this probably won't pay off for anything Sunday. It's just nice they didn't pass it over and treated it as if it was in play, since it is until they know better.

Speaking of that, in a backstage segger between the Bellas and Foxsana, it was alluded that OUR MAIN MAN D-BRY RIGHT THERE went so rogue in order to get Bray one-on-one not even his own fiancee knew what he was up to. Unfortunately for Aksana, she talked smack, and you know what that means. Surprisingly enough though, it ended up not being Brie but Nikki who came in and personified a domicile ablaze. It was like a two-minute tornado that's probably going to have back problems in the future, and any time one gets to sing Tyga when the finisher comes down it's going to be a good time. If only Alicia Fox had gotten more time...but then, that's almost always a valid complaint when it comes to these things.

It's like this iteration of Sin Cara/del Rio in a parallel universe that way.