Thursday, February 13, 2014

Best Coast Bias: Más Lucha Libre, Por Favor

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Out of context, it's hard to explain to an outsider certain aspects of professional wrestling. If you're into the WWE, then usually these certain aspects are usually related a certain troika of NXT graduates.

No, not those guys -- the ones they're facing at Elimination Chamber.

How do you explain the joy you get watching a psychobilly cult leader chase a midget in a bull costume? Or the guy who looks like Jason Lee photoshopped to 2000% doing a shockingly good damn-we-miss-you-Eddie style slingshot senton?

As with most things Stamford-based, there's still problems ahoy in the presentation. Because nothing says Black History Month in WWE like taking away a black man's identity, especially when the name in question is Langston. (More on that later.)

So why sludge through the treacle? You know why: an above-average to great wrestling match is the best deodorant, and in getting in maiming shape to take down the Shield they put on a hell of a trios match against Sin Cara y Los Matadores. It wasn't a shock the match was good, but the match being that good was. A receptive crowd who seemed willing to root for everybody regardless of alignment helped, to be sure, but this was the platonic ideal of a Main Event main event: a two-segment showcase opening the show where some of the best rosters on the deepest roster in WWE history got to do their thing, and more.

You know what's really astounding? While the crowd tried to rally Mucha Lucha on several occasions, they never really booed the Wyatts. Seemingly everything was met with oohs and whoas, and it's not surprising as to why. It's a shame Mistico wasn't alive to see this episode of Miércoles Noche Estrellas. As it was, the Tito disciples took punishment and got their masks screwed with while Sin Cara flew around springboarding into almost everything from headbutts to Steamboat presses. Unfortunately for him, the slow attrition towards the end that escalated into cutting it down to one on one meant he was at the sadistic whims of the World-Eater, and one psycho-looking crossbody later it was easy for him to make the acquaintance of Sister Abigail. That said, this is right up there with Sin Cara/Del Rio a few short weeks ago as likely MEMOTY candidate members when 2014 wraps to a close. For Crom's sake, Luke Harper did a slingshot senton bomb as a taunt. You gotta tip your hat when warranted.

Lest you think this was a one-match episode, let me say to you nay. Aksana and Natalya also put on a match that delivered beyond the expected realms, but in retrospect that was less stunning then it may've seemed. Natalya seems to have come back from her little vacay down to NXT hooked up to the Rejuvenation Machine, and Aksana's been steadily improving in the ring less accidentally orbital smudging kneedrops. The lovely Russian seemed to be debuting/more fully developing a knee-based offense (thus making Continuity Bear do the Sprinkler) and NattieKat survived the first wave only to get washed under another one. Seriously, some guys on the roster could learn from Aksana's clothesline, so quick and cutting it almost didn't seem to happen. And her spinebuster's more than perfectly serviceable. Like a Big Rig Eddy bomb, who cares how we ended up in this Earth-2 if these are going to be the results? Hell, even the ending was an old chestnut in new wrapping--the one time Aksana gave in to ego and tried to do her sexy Secretary crawl into a kick Nattie wrapped her up and hooked her into a mid-ring Sharpshooter.

Said area would soon be the chalk outlines of a game Drew McIntyre and a fully hindered Jinder Mahal, as the Intercontinental Champion emerges last nameless like some kind of diva but still the same freight train with a pulse he's been since flipping alignment. Mahal sticking up for his friend and demanding a second match with him lasted shorter than the time it'll take you to read this sentence: 15 seconds of offense, trucked off the ropes, Down Come The Straps, and ENDING. But before that the former Intercontinental Champion showed signs of life that only serve to stoke the memories of long-suffering fanboys like myself. Maybe DMC should get Natalya's flight plan to Full Sail and keep buttressing what he put on here. Finding himself outwrestled and outpowered early, he tried a different tack--throw a bunch of big boots to the face really hard. Off the ropes, one-legged, using the ref as distraction bait, thwack thwack thwackity thwack. For somebody who's supposed to be the roster's floor Drew was making it look like the roof came in before he took the belly-to-Bayley, 747 splash, and eventual ENDING. Even better, his slap of Big E. Langston to spark a comeback got him five huge body shots in the corner.

To the person at Chez Vince reading my columns about making Main Event more like NXT: much obliged. Keep putting together more shows like this and stay on my arm, you little charmer.