Mistico vs Ultimo Guerrero, 02/25/05

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CMLL: Arena Mexico, Mexico City, 2/25/05 (US Air Date 7/30/05)

The Buildup

For over a year now, Mistico has emerged as the rookie phenom in CMLL. Previously a mid-card worker as Astro Boy, Mistico got the chance of a lifetime, given the character of a superstar. With a mask bearing a striking resembalance to the legendary El Hijo del Santo, and the blessing of Fray Tormenta (the preist who moonlighted as a wrestler to fund his orphanage, also the story for an upcoming Jack Black film), Mistico became CMLL's Next Big Thing. He received a mega push to the main events almost immediately, teaming up with stars like Santo, Negro Casas and Atlantis. He was matched up against the biggest rudos in CMLL, Los Guerreros Del Infernals (Ultimo Guerrero, Rey Bucanero and Tarzan Boy).

But unlike other wrestlers who get the big push based only on looks and charisma, Mistico had the skills to back it up. He's the most graceful flyer in Mexico today, with ability that hasn't been seen since the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psychosis in AAA. Known for his amazing armdrag dives from anywhere in the ring, rarely if ever will you see Mistico mess up his timing, or miss his target. In fact, each week it seems Mistico finds new ways to string together moves with his opponents, to create a spectacular visual. Mistico is as gifted a wrestler as any, and the fans know it. Mistico is a proven draw in the main event at Arena Mexico, as you can see for yourself at 2005 Attendance Figures of Various Lucha Shows

At the beginning of 2005, Mistico began getting bigger and bigger matches in order to prove himself as someone who could potentially lead CMLL, and Lucha Libre into the next generation. Mistico feuded with Averno for the NWA Middleweight championship, with two title matches (1/30/05 Guadalajara, and 2/11/05 Arena Mexico, both being talked about as MOTYC as well), before eventually winning the title on 2/11/05. Mistico's next big feud would come in the form of the leader of the top rudo force in CMLL, the GDI: Ultimo Guerrero.

On the 2/18/05 Arena Mexico show, Mistico teamed with Negro Casas and Black Warrior to face Ultimo Guerrero, Rey Bucanero and Averno. As Mistico entered the ring, Ultimo attacked him from behind on the ramp, and tossed him into the ring like a rag doll. He immediately began tearing at Mistico's mask, the ultimate insult. Ultimo continued the beating throughout the first fall, showing off his superior strength on the smaller Mistico. Ultimo got carried away though, press-slaming Mistico over the ropes down to the floor in a sick spot, as Mistico landed on the hard wooden floors with a loud splat. Ultimo was DQ'd, giving the first fall to the technicos. Ultimo continued the assault into the second fall. But Mistico avoided a triple-team, and immediately tore into Ultimo with dropkicks and slaps, before literally tearing at his mask in revenge for the attack earlier. Mistico hit a gorgeous plancha off the top down to Ultimo on the floor, gaining huge hang time, as his teammates in the ring scored the victory for the second fall. In the third fall, Mistico and Ultimo fought once more, with Mistico getting the upper hand. Mistico went for his finisher, La Mistica (a satellite armbar), but frusturation got the better of Ultimo, and he brutally low-blowed Mistico, giving the technicos the third fall win, and the match.

Afterwards, Mistico in a fit of rage grabbed the mic. He wasn't going to win like this, nothing was settled. He challenged Ultimo to a one-on-one match for the next week at Arena Mexico. Ultimo responded by running down Mistico on the mic. He said (loosely translated of course) that Misitco was nothing more than a flash in the pan, and he would end his superstardom before it even began. The match had been set, with a hot feud behind it.

This really was the perfect buildup for the mano a mano match. In this match, we saw a different side of Mistico than we had before. Before, Mistico was all about grace, and wrestling ability. But here, he was a man pushed over the edge, bullied around by the more powerful Ultimo Guerrero. What resulted was an intense brawl, with mask ripping and dives all around. Even though Mistico got the win, he was hardly a winner as Ultimo humiliated him with the low blow. Mistico wanted revenge. The fans were out for Ultimo's head. And they were going to get it.

The Match

We see interviews from both men before the match, basically reitterating what was said the previous week. Ultimo's going to prove to everyone that Mistico is a fluke, and he's going to destroy the fans' hero TONIGHT. Mistico says he may be small, but he won't be pushed around. He'll prove how tough he is TONIGHT.

Ultimo comes out first with one of the greatest entrances ever. 4 Aztec warriors proceed UG with a war dance and drums, as UG comes out in full Aztec gear. Helps that his entrance theme is an awesome CMLL knockoff of We Will Rock You, with hand claps and organs. Rock on.

Mistico enters next, and he's not wasting anytime, he wants UG and he wants him now, so he sprints to the ring. Unfortuneatly Mistico runs into UG like a brick wall, and UG repeats last week's match by picking Mistico up like a ragdoll and tossing him into the ring. He powerbombs him and once again starts ripping at the mask, to expose Mistico to all his fans. He whips Mistico to the outside, and press-slams him onto the ring apron. UG is a total rudo dick here, taunting the fans as he beats their hero right in front of them. In the ring he violently picks Mistico up by the mask and whips him down. UG takes great joy in kicking Mistico around, whipping him off the ropes and tossing him into the lights. But UG gets cocky, and Mistico fights back with a beautiful tilt-a-whirl hurricanrana. UG goes sailing outside, and Mistico looks to the fans for energy, as he readies to deliver a huge blow to UG. He comes off the ropes, looking for a corkscrew plancha over the ropes, and....

SPLAT. Mistico hits nothing but arena floor, in a dangerously sick bump. Mistico is dead on the floor, and the crowd gasps in horror. Even the rudo fans in attendance have to ask UG when is enough enough? UG takes great pleasure in rubbing it in to the fans at ringside, asking where their hero is now. Mistico is rolled back into the ring, and here comes a spot that seems to have many non-regular viewers of Lucha confused. As soon as Mistico re-enters the ring, he signals to the referee he wants to quit. He'll sacrifice the first fall, so that he can continue fighting in the second fall. This is proven on the instant replay, when announcer Dr. Alfonso Morales screams "NO MAS, NO MAS!", indicating Mistico had quit in one of the better announcing calls I've heard in pro wrestling this year. The referee was about to call for the bell, but UG pushed the referee out of the way to continue the beating. He lifts Mistico onto the top turnbuckle, and proceeds to hit the spot of the year IMO...


UG hits a moonsault fallaway slam from the top rope, with the greatest of ease, to Mistico. It's an amazing show of strength, and the fact that these two men pulled off the move without it being blown is a testament to how good they really are. It's not often you see a move that makes you say 'holy shit', but this does simply because I've never seen anything like it before. Upon landing, the referee steps in. But instead of allowing Mistico to quit...HE DQ'S ULTIMO FOR EXCESSIVE VIOLENCE!!! The crowd loves it, UG not so much. So Mistico not only survives to the second fall, he wins the first fall to boot.

Of course, this does nothing but serve to push UG even farther into rage. His desire to destroy Mistico cost him the fall, and Mistico is still walking. UG walks off in disgust at the call, but eventually returns to the ring. Mistico is face-first down in the ring with no ability to defend himself. But UG still goes after him, with crossface punches. Closed-fists are rarely used in Lucha Libre, because it makes no sense to see a wrestler punched dozens of times and still be standing. So when UG does it, especially to a downed Mistico, the fans are irate. UG kicks him around some more, but Mistico avoids a running senton into the corner. The first thing he does is go after UG's mask, for revenge for the massive Smackdown [TM] up until this point. He hits a tilt-a-whirl armbar sending UG to the outside. But Mistico remembers what happened the last time he went for a huge dive in this match. So he changes his gameplan, and goes up top with a trademark springboard plancha armdrag, hit beautifully, flinging UG into the crowd.

In the ring UG is met with swift kicks. He tries for a powerbomb, but Mistico has learned to avoid this, and turns it into a hurricanrana pin for a close 2. Mistico tries again with a Code-Red style sunset flip for another 2. These nearfalls serve to really heat the crowd up, as Mistico's throwing everything he has at the bigger UG, and UG is too stunned to counter. UG is careless now, going for a running splash in the corner but missing, allowing Mistico to chop away at him. Mistico puts UG on the top rope for another high-impact move to show off his abilities. UG has had enough, he's sick and tired of the miracles Mistico's pulling off. He catches Mistico on top....TOP ROPE POWERBOMB!!! A huge move that serves to knock Mistico out. UG covers...1....2.......NO....UG PICKS HIM UP!!! UG is so fed up, he doesn't want the match to end, he wants to beat on Mistico some more and totally destroy him. UG gets him up top....TOP ROPE SITOUT POWERBOMB!!!!! But wait.....UG has injured his leg!

UG is hurt bad, he landed wrong on his leg. UG got cocky once again, and went for a huge move that would be the final kill, but the plan backfired and now UG is the one that's hurt. The doctor goes to check on him, but Mistico's back up! Because UG landed wrong on his leg, the powerbomb didn't have full impact. Mistico asks the crowd if they want to see him attack. Normally a technico wouldn't do this, hit an injured man. But after the viscious mauling Mistico has received in this match, Arena Mexico is out for blood, they want UG dead. Mistico obliges with swift kicks. Mistico says it's time to defeat UG once and for all. He goes for La Mistica, but as he turns he knocks the ref back. Mistico sees the ref's down.....AND RIPS ULTIMO'S MASK OFF!!!! UG has to cover himself up, but Mistico rolls him up, FOR THE 3 COUNT!!! Mistico gave UG a taste of his own medicine, and in the end humiliated UG in front of Arena Mexico, winning in two straight falls.

Final Analysis

One of the main complaints people have with this match is that it's too short to be MOTY, clocking in at just over 10 minutes. On the contrary, this is one of the reasons why I love this match so much. They were able to tell a complex, engaging story with exciting action and big spots all the way through to keep you on the edge of your seat, cheering for Mistico to overcome the odds, or if you're a man with no heart, cheering for UG to beat the little dude up. smile.gif

IMO, if you saw a match like this in WWE or the indies, it'd take them 30-40 minutes to tell the same story. Sometimes less is more. And I'm not in the camp that thinks a long match = a great match. An enjoyable match = a great match. This my friends, is a great match.

I believe that if any 2 other wrestlers in the world did this match, it wouldn't work so well. But because you have Ultimo Guerrero and Mistico, two of the best wrestlers in Mexico, they make this something special. I didn't touch on this earlier, but one of the main reasons why Mistico has become so popular, is because of his stature. He's a small dude, in the same vein as Rey Mysterio, matched up against much bigger and more powerful opponents. The fans want to see him overcome the odds, they want to see his heart and spirit. Every match with him is like David vs. Golaith. On the other hand, Ultimo Guerrero is a machine, perhaps the best wrestler in the world today. I'm convinced he could have a match against anyone, and make it good. Here, he is the ultimate rudo. He makes the fans hate him, through his treatment of the smaller Mistico, kicking him around like a puppy. How can you not hate him?

It's emotional attachment at it's finest, something that's severely lacking from wrestling today. A lot of times I'll watch a match, and yeah the work in it is great, with chain wrestling and high spots, but if I don't care about either guy, and I don't want to cheer or boo them, then I can't enjoy it as much as I should. Too many guys go out and want to preform for the fans, basically doing what the fans want, rather than pulling the fans in to their world, making the fans do what the wrestlers want.

And thus, there you have my Match of the Year.

-Anthony Smith