The Best of WCW Lucha Libre! (Part 3)
It’s that time again! The part where we review a boring CMLL Monday or Tuesday show? The part where we take unprovoked shots at the overrated Finn Balor? No, it’s time to talk more about the rich history of WCW lucha libre. Only 15 matches remain to be talked about and we’re knocking five more out of the park today. And if you thought it was crazy yesterday and the day before, to quote Al Jolson as he ushered in the talkie pictures, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Or was it you ain’t heard nothing yet? Oh whatever, seen works better than heard in this comparison. And with that let’s stop talking and get to the column. Moses is out today, so let’s have Cíclope take it from here! Be sure to check out part one here and part two here.
15. Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing (Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo and Último Dragón vs. La Parka, Psychosis and Silver King, Nitro, June 9, 1997)
If not for the next match on this list, I’d say this was the wildest WCW lucha match to ever take place. And not just for good reasons. The match (which should be noted was booked as a follow up to the legendary Memorial Day trios match just two weeks before) infamously starts with the always smooth Último Dragón actually botching his turnbuckle headstand spot, soon after transitions into Super Calo nearly decapitating La Parka with a Monkey Flip through the ropes and I’m pretty sure at one point all six men lost track of what the plan was and just started winging it. And yet all the chaos does is make things more exciting, culminating in a dive train that featured this…
AND HOLY SHIT, ESPECIALLY THIS!
It’s like I always say; a little chaos never hurt anything. Well that and there was no Grodd and the cage wasn’t 30 feet (sorry Teddy). The point is that, despite everything that went wrong, these six somehow found a way to make it right. And they did it all while the Boston, Massachusetts crowd called the match boring. BORING! If ever you needed another reason to hate New Englanders, them chanting boring while La Parka turns into a cross between Ricky Marvin and Sabu is that reason. No wonder I loathe living in this region.
14. Chaos Control (Konnan vs. Juventud Guerrera, Fall Brawl 1996)
It’s only fitting one of the greatest PPV’s of the Nitro era would contain two of the best WCW lucha matches ever. Unfortunately for Konnan and Juvy, their match had to be the one that began with Juvy tripping over the steel steps.
Now, normally that sort of thing would be seen as a warning that Juvy was going to follow that by botching fifteen moves before Konnan dropped him on his head. Not so fast my friends! Instead these two had an absolutely bat shit encounter that featured Juvy botching only a few moves while twisting and diving his way to glory, Konnan looking like his name sake Conan the Barbarian and Nick Patrick doing the greatest El Tirantes impression in the history of the western hemisphere. And it was all beautiful! It’s almost a shame that the match is remembered more for Juvy’s trip and Juvy’s dives, because Konnan is bonkers good as the unstoppable powerhouse with an unlimited arsenal (thanks to Juvy being able to bump for everything). But it was Juvy’s first big match in WCW and ultimately the match that sums up his career the most. Sure The Juice may trip up every now and then, but he’s going to get it right more often than not and when he does, you’ll be sitting there mouths agape with Samuel L. Jackson telling you to hold onto your butts.
13. The Curious Case of the Yellow La Parka (Rey Mysterio Jr. and Juventud Guerrera vs. La Parka and Psychosis, Nitro, December 15, 1997)
Add Konnan and Eddy Guerrero to the mix and you’ve got the six most popular luchadors from the WCW Lucha era all in one ring! Alas we had to settle for four, including La Parka dressed up as if he had bathed in a bowl of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Why did he look like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? Who knows and who cares; he’s La Parka and he can do whatever he wants. Sadly for him there wasn’t much to do here except dance and not get owned too much by Rey and Juvy, who show they could’ve been the greatest tag team of all time if they had been allowed to team regularly. It’s just one amazing move after another for them, with Psychosis and Parka doing their best to hold on for the ride and make everyone look good. I’m still trying to decide what the best part was; a Rey Mysterio double crossbody where he flew so high he (as Red Foreman would say) “cruised the vistas”, the rapid fire finish or that part in the match where Juvy and Psychosis are both on the top rope and I can't say anymore because it's so good it shouldn't be spoiled!
12. Salt Lake City Atomicos! (Cíclope, Juventud Guerrera, Lizmark Jr. and Último Dragón vs. La Parka, Psychosis, Villano IV and Villano V, Nitro, September 22,
You know, looking back on it, the Salt Lake City Nitro in September of 1997 might’ve been the most lucha centric Nitro ever. The show opened with our #19 entry as Rey Mysterio took on Silver King. The dark matches featured Damien in singles action and a trios match featuring El Dandy, El Texano (Texano’s father), El Pantera, Mike Segura (under the Oro Jr. name) and tortas mastermind Super Astro. And somehow, Hector Garza won a match against Scott Hall! Sure it did nothing for him and he was squashed the next week, but still; HECTOR GARZA BEAT SCOTT HALL! No lucha match was more memorable that day however than the Atomicos match that immediately followed Garza’s big win. I’m not sure how it got lost in the shuffle with all the other classic lucha bouts, but this six minute dandy is DYNAMITE! The Villanos (making their first appearance) are around to keep the chaos somewhat contained while delivering nice suicide dives and devastating slaps (I can still hear the slap one of them delivered to Lizmark Jr. in my dreams). Juvy and La Parka show off that underrated chemistry. Lizmark does the clumsiest and somehow greatest Space Tiger Dive ever. Somehow the feud between Último Dragón and Sonny Ono gets time to be developed. And of course, there’s that beautiful gorram dive train that features Cíclope pulling a Super Calo and nearly wiping himself off the face of the earth.
No wonder the dude dressed up as a cross between his two famous gimmicks for this match! Throw that and everything else that happened here together and it’s no wonder this was the best WCW lucha thing to happen that night in Salt Lake City. And again, this is a show that featured a luchador doing a Reverse Rana and Hector Garza pinning Scott Hall.
11. Gods of Thunder (Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera, Thunder, January 15, 1998)
Did you honestly think we’d make it a whole WCW Lucha series without at least one Rey-Juvy one on one encounter?! The two actually fought countless times in WCW but the only match of theirs to come close to their best in AAA and ECW was this minor classic that took place on the second ever episode of Thunder. It’s actually slower than you’d expect; Rey does a lot of selling while Juvy slows the pace down and the dives are actually spread out instead of coming at you from all directions. As Rey proved in his matches with Konnan and Eddy just a few months earlier, slower doesn’t mean worse and ultimately there’s still plenty of action to digest and the ending sequence is absolutely fantastic. For any other pair of performers this would be one of the better matches of their career. For Juvy and Rey it’s probably somewhere in the teens. Not a bad way to bring us into the top ten I’d say!
And that children is how WCW Lucha concludes today. Fear not, for tomorrow we enter the top ten, which features more Mysterio, more Juvy, more La Parka, the return of Hector Garza and at least one Super Calo spot that once again makes you question his sanity. Tremendous stuff. Till then, a special sneak peak!