The Best of WCW Lucha Libre! (Part 2)
I don’t know about you, but I had a blast yesterday with the first part of the Best of WCW Lucha Libre series. I mean that goes without saying; I did write the thing after all. Even still, I thought it was a great start for this trip down memory lane, and it’s only going to get better today. Why? Because while all five matches we talked about yesterday were awesome, they were also the weaker batch of what this series has to offer. In other words, it’s only going to get better from here (at least in my opinion). So let’s not waste any more time and get to the meat. Moses, put on your Lizmark Jr. mask, get on your bike, and lucha! Be sure to check out part one here!
20. The Triple Threat (Lizmark Jr. vs. Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr., Nitro, August 10, 1998)
You gotta love Lizmark Jr.; the son of the legendary Lizmark not only was pretty good in his own right, but he was really good while also looking like he was 8 feet tall compared to all the other luchadors (he’s in fact 6’2). If WCW had wrapped him up as a mummy, Lizmark Jr. would’ve been The Yeti of the luchadors. Thankfully he wasn’t and we were able to see him have matches like this one against Mysterio and Psicosis (under the weird spelling WCW assigned him). It’s actually a slow match for the first few minutes as Psicosis beats up both guys, but then Rey takes to the air, Lizmark shows off his own unique athleticism and it all builds nicely to an outstanding finish that sees Psicosis Monkey Flip Mysterio into Lizmark, with Mysterio turning it into a match winning snap hurricanrana. Great stuff. And if that doesn’t float your boat, you can always watch this match to learn that Lizmark Jr. was once a Cliffdiver and that Lizmark was once confused for this guy.
That’s right; Atlantis wrestled in WCW sports fans and I will keep reminding people that this was a thing until Cagematch acknowledges it. Don’t you just love how WCW had one of the greatest legends in lucha libre history (while he was still young!) and not only had no idea what to do with him but confused him for the much taller Lizmark Jr.?! Classic WCW.
19. Two Kings (Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Silver King, Nitro, September 22, 1997)
This was a match that barely goes more than three minutes, but boy does it make the most of its time. The action never stops, the pace is like one of those basketball games where both teams are constantly on the fast break and, most impressively, Mysterio and Silver King click so well that they are able to twice win back a crowd that was distracted by the arrivals of Raven (walking through the crowd for no reason) and Eddy Guerrero (who came out to distract Rey). It’s honestly a shame these two didn’t get more high profile matches together because their chemistry was off the charts, as exemplified by Rey being confident enough to pull off this.
That, my friends, is indeed a reverse hurricanrana some twenty years before everyone and their brother was doing them. I don’t know if Mysterio innovated this or if it was the first time it was ever done, but it’s definitely the first time I can recall it being used on US TV. Huge kudos to Rey for pulling it off and to Silver King for being the right guy to take and sell the move. Finally he can be remembered for something more than the villain from Nacho Libre and the son of Dr. Wagner that didn’t make a truckload of money losing his mask to Psycho Clown.
18. Insanity at the Clash (Super Calo, Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Chris Jericho vs. Mr. JL, Konnan and La Parka, Clash of the Champions XXXIV, January 21, 1997)
A weird match to make the list considering Chris Jericho and Mr. JL (aka Jerry Lynn) are neither Mexican nor trained as luchadors (though Jericho of course worked for CMLL in the early 90’s). Even weirder is that neither Jericho nor La Parka was supposed to be in this match; Parka replaced and injured Psicosis while Jericho replaced Juventud Guerrera for…reasons that are still unknown. Whatever it was it worked out and this match became the template to which even better trios/atomicos matches followed throughout 1997 and 1998. Things started off slow with Konnan and Parka grounding the technicos with double teams with the pace getting faster and faster until things culminate in a giant ass dive train. And what a dive train it was, filled with planchas, sling shot planchas, Parka showing no regard for human life and Super Calo, fresh off returning from injury, going YOLO before YOLO was cool with a Somersault Senton to a prone Parka. All of that would’ve conspired to make the ending underwhelming if Jericho hadn’t pulled an amazing Super Rana off on JL to pick up the victory. An absolutely crazy match that you’d think would never be topped at the Clash…until it was just a few months later.
17. Blitzkrieg Juice (Blitzkrieg vs. Juventud Guerrera, Spring Stampede 1999)
This is one of those matches that are spoken about in hushed tones while Little Texas’ “I Tried Not to Think About What Might’ve Been” plays in the background. Or maybe it was The Offspring’s “Gone Away”…I’ll have to look it up later. In any event, Blitzkrieg vs. Juvy is one of those matches that feels like it should’ve taken place during 1997 or 1998, when it instead took place as WCW Lucha was turned into something commentators laughed at as the promotion entered its twilight. That doesn’t stop it from being an unforgettable experience, with Juvy finally getting a chance to strut his stuff for the first time since his late 98 feud with Billy Kidman while Blitzkrieg takes his first opportunity to show a PPV audience what he can do and blasts it out of the park. Some will argue it’s a bit too sloppy to be considered as great as its reputation suggests and I will state now that, had they been given the same platform to try it again, Blitzkrieg and Juvy probably would’ve topped it. That doesn’t change the fact that this is ten minutes of heart pounding, innovative action that’s so good I can’t even show you any gifs because you should really watch the match for yourself. Each time you think it can’t get any more nuts, it merely does…at least until the greatest ending since Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2.
16. La Parka Time (La Parka vs. Juventud Guerrera, Nitro, November 18, 1996)
For all the talk of how great The Juice worked with guys like Rey, Billy Kidman, Blitzkrieg and the works, many forget that one of his best opponents of all time was La Parka. I mean sure, most of their best work with each other happened during trios action, but isn’t that really semantics? The point is that Parka was the perfect “bigger” opponent that could serve as a great base for Juvy’s big moves, while also being a dude who could dish it back with shit like this.
All of this is to say that whoever booked Juvy as Parka’s first WCW opponent in Florence, South Carolina was a genius. The two tore the house down for almost ten minutes, with Juvy flying around like his life depended on it, only it didn’t matter because Parka was also flying around like his life depended on it WHILE hitting power moves Juvy couldn’t do. Really the only thing Parka didn’t do was the strut, because WCW inexplicably didn’t allow him to dance till the early summer of next year. But that’s a minor quibble. Overall the Chairman’s introduction to the WCW audience was exactly what it needed to be, with Juvy coming out of it looking strong and Parka showing promise as the unique luchador who had the skill and the size to potentially be the biggest star of all. All of which makes it even more depressing that you could argue this was the biggest singles win La Parka had in WCW. And with that we’ve now reached the first of many times where I wonder how WCW didn’t make Parka and Hector Garza the lucha versions of Rock and Austin. Man what wacky, chair and tornillo filled world that could’ve been.
Down goes part two! Let’s do this again tomorrow for part three, shall we? Till then, I’ll spoil you and give you one awesome Blitzkrieg-Juvy gif. But only because I’m assuming you watched the match already!