Thursday, January 9, 2020

Top 30 Lucha Matches of the Decade

(Usual disclaimer: This is a subjective list. I am just one man. This isn't meant to be taken as the be all, end all. These are just the 30 matches I found to be the most memorable - taking heavily into account match quality combined with importance/crowd reaction/nostalgia value - covering the decade from Jan. 1, 2010 until Dec. 31, 2019.)


5) Mistico vs Volador Jr. - CMLL February 5, 2010 / Mistico vs Volador Jr. - CMLL February 12, 2010

When watching some stuff back to refresh my memory I couldn't remember which of these two matches was the better one but I was sure at least one of them was making my list. After watching I came to the conclusion you could take parts of each match to form one amazing top 10 match but seperately they are both missing a certain something. Each match has moments where either things fall apart a bit or in the case of the match on the 5th - the editing is so atrocious it's hard to come away without feeling like you saw only half a match. These were very important matches (Mistico's first official rudo matches) & had all the heat you'd want from big matches so they definitely past that test. The work is great at times, only decent at other times. In the CMLL bubble both these matches definitely make a top 30 list. When you have to include matches from everywhere in Mexico, both these just finish outside the cutoff.

4) Triton vs Cavernario (Mexican National Welterweight Title) - CMLL September 16, 2015

(On my tenative list of matches I ended up with 31 selections & decided that's an awkward number so one had to be cut... and this was it. So I did a write-up of it anyways for the sake of fariness.)

On a day of many shows in Mexico City due to the holiday this match, which looked like just another
generic mid-week CMLL title match, managed to steal the day & provide much regret to myself who was actually in Mexico but chose to attend a different show. This had actually been built up a few weeks in various trios matches as was the norm at the time. What wasn't the norm was thinking both these guys would try to have the match of their lives on a holiday show occuring on a day when most guys take many bookings and have to conserve themselves. This was the lucha definition of "throwing bombs" in a rapid MMA fight where each guy is just trying to end the other. We saw Triton do a tope right into the guardrail, Cavernario take multiple bumps straight to the floor & of course Cavernario bust out maybe the sickest version of his plancha to the floor. No doubt this was the match of Triton's life & lucky him for it to occur on a holiday where the crowd size was up so there was far more emotion for this than the usual lifeless Tuesday atmospheres. The finish gets a little clunky but everything before it was off the charts and all you can ask for as a paying customer watching two guys give it their all and more.

3) Turbo vs Black Thunder - Perros Del Mal January 31/2010 / May 2/2010 / July 24/2011

Somewhat of a selfish pick here as I find these guys to be two super underrated wrestlers who were just way ahead of their time. These matches, much like the Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi series, are really tough to discuss seperately since they tie in together. Especially with creative minds like these two have. I think the general consesnsus is the May 2nd match is the best of their singles series but I find the July 24th match to be the peak of what they can do inside a ring. Unfortunately that match also suffers from being held at a Lucha Expo event where the crowd had seen so much wrestling they were completely burnt out & gave the match a very negative response. The shame was these guys were doing stuff inside the ring that has still yet to be replicated to this day by anyone. Spots that Arkangel Divino/Bengala does these days that gets spread all over twitter via RTs & likes are just stuff he cherry-picked from Turbo's offense. I know many years from now these matches will still be looked upon fondly and the future generation will consider the work of these guys to be trailblazing, followed by the inevitable follow-up question of "why did these guys never make it?" I don't know. I really don't know.

2) Marcela & Princesa Sugeith vs La Seductora & Princesa Blanca (Mask/Hair vs Mask/Hair) - CMLL August 1, 2014

Without question the greatest women's match of the decade in Mexico, even if no actual full version ever made it out (though it got plenty of time on TV). It was a match nobody expected much from and the result was never in doubt for various reasons. But these ladies went out to prove something, notably Seductora who was never considered anything but an older lady who was adept at being 3rd person on a trios team. She had the match of her life. Marcela was dropkicking the shit out of everything in sight & the crowd was hot the entire time including a huge pop for the finish which plays into weeks of the rudas cheating to win leading up to this match. The irony of course is this ended up being Princesa Blanca's final match in a CMLL ring & she went out with a bang, unfortunately leaving the division in the hands of ex-sister-in-law Dalys.

1) En Busca De Un Idolo Torneo - CMLL March 25, 2014 / Torneo Alas De Oro - AAA June 14, 2015

Two similar torneos with the CMLL one being far better than the AAA one but both definitely being the best torneo ciberneticos of the decade. The CMLL one was to determine qualifiers for what would go on to be the greatest CMLL tournament of all time - En Busca De Un Idolo 2014. This was at a time CMLL wasn't streaming Tuesday shows so the idea was they would transmit live just the 2 En Busca matches starting in April. Except they started 2 weeks earlier without telling anyone so a lucky few got to watch this torneo live & enjoy in it's pure insanity with a record total 24 dives. Any question about the future of CMLL was answered watching guys like Dragon Lee, Cavernario, Hechicero, Cachorro, Star Jr., Soberano Jr., etc. just tearing it up. An all-time favorite match of mine.

Now the official top 30 in reverse order................

30) Rush vs Negro Casas (Hair vs Hair) - CMLL August 1, 2014

This match was definitely polarizing. Some would argue it was hardly even a match. An actual good comparison would be the John Cena/Brock Lesnar match from Summerslam which... funny enough... actually took place 16 days after this occured. This was a blood feud but since it was in Arena Mexico they couldn't do blood. They also couldn't do weapons. So they went the route of violence. Moreso, they went the route of a brutal beatdown by a much larger and younger guy who tore apart the veteran. This was as one-sided of a match as I've ever seen in Arena Mexico. Lucha libre is not known for doing squash matches yet this was largely a squash which is what makes it so memorable. The brutality was off the charts. Rush doesn't hold anything back. Negro Casas probably told him not to. There are two dropkick spots that look like legit crimes. You really feel for Casas watching him get destroyed. The added insult to injury at the end is Rush doesn't even win clean, he uses a low blow behind the ref's back even though he could have ended the match whenever he wanted. If you are looking for a match full of big dives or nearfalls, this is not your match. If you want to see something special that has never been replicated in Mexico, this is the match for you. A legendary performance by Negro Casas in putting over a younger wrestler emphatically. I loved this.

29) Arez vs Pentagon Jr. - XMW March 30, 2014

BRUTALITY. The only word appropriate to describe this match. Or was it a spectacle? Who really knows? It's in the eyes of the beholder. For me this match will always stand the test of time as one of the most brutal matches I've ever seen and the best "lucha extrema" of all-time. Arez attemps a Brillo Dorada and gets hit directly on the top of the head mid-rotation with one of the most sickening chairshots you will ever see (or hear) in your lifetime. Fans are horrified. Children are screaming. The referee is stunned. Arez lays dead as Penta celebrates his first ever kill. It's fucking amazing. And that's just 30 seconds in! When he eventually manages to stumble to his feet it doesn't get much better for him as Penta just ragdolls him all over. Arez gets in some hope spots but Penta is always there to shut him down and do disgusting things to him with the aid of chairs & lighttubes. This is violence at it's best and the most authentic form of lucha extrema that I witnessed in this decade so it has to be represented on a best of list.

28) Flamita vs Rey Horus - Chilanga Mask May 17, 2015

This was a weird one to include on the list since I presume anyone taking the time to read all this is
going to eventually look up these matches and to this day (December 28, 2019) there is still no complete version of this match available to the masses. That's not a surprise considering the involvement of the individuals in charge of this group at the time but it is a surprise since Mas Lucha has the full match and have chosen to never publicly release a complete version. So you're probably asking yourself... how can he be including a match that isn't available in full? Well, obviously I have to out myself as having seen it in full through certain means I won't go into. The hype is real. Literally moments after this match occured in Coacalco there were multiple people writing on twitter it was the match of the year and one of the best matches they've ever seen. The final few minutes of this were absolutely electric. It was a high end US indy style match, the likes of which hadn't really been seen in Mexico at the time and in front of an audience that was already split cheering both guys. The post-match involves all the fans surrounding the ring chanting 'esto es lucha' which actually meant something at the time instead of just being what you chant after a big dive these days. Due to no full version being available anywhere this match still has a sort of mythical quality about it although it would be a nice gift one day for Mas Lucha to share it with the world since it is, in fact, one of the best matches of the decade in Mexico.

27) Mascara Dorada vs Mephisto (CMLL Welterweight Title) - CMLL November 4, 2011

There's a fine line when it comes to CMLL title matches in this decade between being the usual formulaic popularized by Ultimo Guerrero style title matches & heading in that direction only to jump off the tracks and do your own thing to improve on his formula. For me this match accomplishes that mission. The first two falls are the usual extremely short meaningless falls just to fulfill the 2/3 falls obligation but it's the 3rd fall that puts this into classic territory. Mascara Dorada just unleashes everything in his arsenal at Mephisto. Some spots that have a '10' difficulty level he was doing without breaking a sweat. You could make a highlight video of him just based on clips from this match. Mephisto isn't just along for the ride either. He brings back some moves he hadn't been using regularly in years. The crowd was really into everything they did & showered the ring with money afterwards. To this day Mascara Dorada says it was his best match in Arena Mexico. While I don't personally agree with that statement, I do think this is a top tier match for the decade & an example of how to work to get over title matches being more important than your average singles

26) Fenix vs Flamita (CRASH Cruiserweight Title) - CRASH October 5, 2017

CRASH shows are strange because they are always loaded with international talent combined with the top Mexican talent... but you either get these weird multi-mans which tend to fall apart or you get guys who for whatever reason aren't giving their A+ efforts. A couple weeks before this match these two had a match in San Luis Potosi. The show drew terribly but these guys still went out there and absolutely tore it down and fans who were there not only reacted great but also showered the ring with money afterwards. So there were high expectations going into the rematch here since a handheld of the *full* SLP match made it onto YouTube. In true form for The Crash, this match has 3 different handheld versions available and none are 100% complete. Quality wise this was a step up from the SLP match. Crowd raction wise it was not and that was very frustrating because this match is an absolute masterpiece with both guys busting out counters to counters of everything in their repitoire. It's definitely a fantastic US/Japan match held in the wrong setting because it went over the heads of a crowd that wasn't really appreciating the intricate stuff they were pulling off. However, I appreciated it & even on re-watch was amazed at the quality they put forth. Moreso, whether good or bad, this is the style a lot of indy lucha has trended to where the guys want to work a more US indy style match regardless of what the crowd wants. These guys at least managed to put their own spin on it and
incorporate many 'only in Mexico' style spots which I very much appreciated. They had 3 matches in total in 2017 for The Crash and this definitely ranks as the best & perhaps the highest quality match in the history of the promotion.

25) Rey Cometa & Stuka Jr. vs Namajague & Okumura (Mask/Hair vs Mask/Hair) - March 15, 2013

An old school Mexico vs evil foreigners double stip match to headline Homenaje Dos Leyendas 2013. The thing about this match was if you looked at the lineup, even though it was technically the headlining match - you could argue there were 3 other matches that had more build. A women's hair match, the return of Rayo De Jalisco Jr. & Universo 2000 to Arena Mexico & the finals of the incredible partners tag tournament that was done to setup the Anniversary Show. So not only did these four have to follow all that, they were also four midcard guys thrust into the main event. It could have been rejected but these four stepped up and put together a super dramatic match full of twists & turns like any classic tag team apuesta match. The 3rd fall had moments such as the tecnico team have communication issues & Stuka getting fed up with Cometa leading to a shove and double suplex from the rudos for an amazing nearfall. Later Cometa took out Stuka with the Brillo Dorada by accident. All this led to Stuka being eliminated first which left Rey Cometa all alone to defend both his hair & Stuka's mask against the foreigners which of course caused the pro-Mexico to get 100% behind him. It led to a super heated final few minutes ending with Cometa hitting the 450 splash to pin Namajague and give Mexico the win! Apuesta matches are supposed to be full of drama and this delivered in spades.

24) Titan vs Polvora (CMLL Welterweight Title) - CMLL September 4, 2012

Coming off his (unplanned) victory of En Busca De Un Idolo, Titan was the fast rising tecnico in CMLL. While the planned winner Dragon Lee was off becoming the new Mistico & getting boo'ed every week in main events for being a fake Mistico, Titan was quietly building a nice little fan base by being booked as a strong underdog tecnico vs the like of Dragon Rojo Jr., Averno, Mephisto & the man who would surprisingly become his best singles opponent... Polvora. In a 5 month span they would have great matches against each other in both Guadalajara & Arena Mexico. This one ranks as the best and undoubtebly the best performance of Polvora's CMLL career. He's a guy who seems to excel in singles matches which is a shame since he works for a company where 98% of his matches involve 5 other people. Left to his own devices here he blew everyone watching away with how capable he was keeping up with Titan & pulling out offense nobody knew he even had. Titan had an equally great performance but we knew he had it in him. It was just another in a string of great singles matches he was having around this time. In the end, Titan ended up winning his first major title to a very positive reaction from the live audience and it seemed clear he was destined to be the new top young tecnico in CMLL if crowd reactions were what was most valued to the company.

23) Fenix vs Cavernario - CMLL June 29, 2018

This match didn't have much build and quite frankly didn't need much build. Fenix was an indy guys, still largely considered an AAA guy by the masses, who had come to Arena Mexico and Cavernario was defending his home territory. You knew Fenix was going to go all out to impress & you knew Cavernario wasn't going to let the "AAA guy" upstage him. So we had two guys giving it their all, doing all their big spots & an actual shocking finish where Fenix got the win to set up a rematch down the line. It was easily the best match to be occur at Arena Mexico under the CMLL banner since the Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi series. Their rematch later in the year was on it's way to being another classic until Fenix suffered a torn groin and they had to cut it short.

22) Flamita vs Volador Jr - CaraLucha June 14, 2015

It's very hard for the indy promotions to compete on a list like this for all the usual reasons you
would expect. The big companies can make matches come off much more important than their smaller counterparts & moreso they have the ability to produce feuds/stories leading up to matches while the indy groups rely on all-star match making and then hoping the all-stars show up with their working boots on. On this day CaraLucha got lucky. This was a big promotion type match held in an intimate setting. Volador came to work and even more - he came to a total professional. This actually had somewhat of a build as the two had met in a tag match on the previous show with Volador cheating to win. So it set the stage for arena hero Flamita to be heavily cheered against the CMLL invader but there was no chance the CMLL guy was going to lose... right? Wrong. After a fantastic 15+ minutes back and forth match with great nearfalls and the CMLL guy giving Flamita way more than anyone could have imagined... Flamita hit the Flam Flay... and the ref counted 3! It wasn't even a mistake either! Flamita got a shocking win which only added to how memorable the match was since top CMLL guys losing clean like  this had largely been non-existent for many years. Personally I look back on this match as a regret since I had the chance to go attend live with friends and chose to pass on the opportunity. Shame on me.

21) La Sombra vs Volador Jr (IWGP Intercontinental Title) - CMLL June 28, 2013

This match took place 4 weeks after Sombra pulled off a stunning upset of Shinsuke Nakamura in Arena Mexico to win the title. I remember Enrique Yniesta being the first person to tweet the result since he was there live and nobody wanted to hit the RT button since it seemed so unbelievable. It was made clear once the rematch was announced that this was just going to be a hot potato title switch with Nakamura regaining the title in a matter of weeks but in the meantime Sombra had a very pristigious title and CMLL was going to give him at least one defense in Mexico. Enter arch rival Volador. The match was treated as a very big deal and worked 100% clean up until the finish. Having an actual important title on the line clearly influenced the work ethic of both guys who are usually great against each other but this was another level for even them. Volador did one of the craziest stage dives you will ever see. The 3rd fall was nothing but bombs back and forth with the crowd exploding at every 2 count. Then the finish came. Not one for the highlight reel and probably not one that needed to be done but CMLL was trying to combine an important title match with build for their upcoming Anniversary Show. It was basically the Dusty finish with Volador appearing to win the title only for referee Rafa El Maya to reverse his decision and award the title back to Sombra due to Volador's cheating. The only blemish on another classic battle between these two enemies.

20) Laredo Kid vs Hijo Del Vikingo - AAA 6/9/19

This may have only made the list due to recency bias or it may be one of the most memorable matches of the decade. Time will tell but alas we have to make best of the decade lists only 6 months after this match took place so it makes the cut. Maybe in a year or two it will be looked at as a mistake or eventually it will be looked at as a true classic. Either way... it was an easy perfect match (5 stars using that scale) & of course in typical AAA fashion - it was a match not even originally scheduled to take place (Jack Evans was included in a 3 way). This match largely opened up the eyes of folks to Vikingo who don't regularly watch AAA & even to Laredo Kid who had been around for 15 years.

19) Rey Cometa vs Cavernario (Hair vs Hair) - July 1, 2016

A rare rematch of a hair vs hair match that occured at the 2014 Anniversary Show. Unlike the orignal match which kind of flew under the radar due to it having little build & being completely overshadowed by the legendary main event - this was actually the top promoted match on the Gran Prix show and in rare CMLL fashion they actually told the story of Cometa looking to right the wrong of the past. The match was excellent as was to be expected but it was the third fall that set it apart from their other encounters. Twice Rey Cometa managed to get Cavernario into his own La Cavernaria and even the viewers who always think they know everything (hello) were starting to doubt themselves about the finish. Not just those two submissions in particular, the way the match was going led you to believe for sure Cometa was pulling off an upset here to give Cavernario his first ever haircut. Alas it wasn't meant to be as Cavernario got Cometa to submit to his Cavernaria but this match was all about the ride to get to that point. If you invested in this match it was totally worth it... unlike the iPPV it was offered on.

18) La Mascara/La Sombra/Mascara Dorada vs Averno/Mephisto/Efesto (CMLL Trios Titles) - CMLL July 15, 2011

Context is key and so this match needs a backstory. These tecnicos & rudos had largely been feuding
throughout the year but it was typical CMLL feuding where it goes hot and cold. Dorada/Averno had teased a mask feud early in the year. Sombra/Efesto had teased a mask feud. Then out of nowhere all the heat was put on a La Mascara/Averno feud which led to a mask match 4 weeks before this match where Mascara unmasked Averno. It seemed to be very rushed for such a big match & with good reason... Averno was WWE bound. It was hardly a secret. SuperLuchas magazine was openly talking about it & nobody was denying it. Averno was pretty much cashing in on his mask & doing his final matches before getting the green light to head off to Florida. So when his feud with Mascara continued post-mask match it was surprising but it made sense when CMLL announced this match taking place. The tecnicos would get one last trios match against their rivals and beat them clean to send Averno packing, perhaps even getting turned on by his long-time friends before he walked out the back door. The match itself was fantastic. So fantastic that on the weekly CMLL TV show, it was the only match that aired as editing wouldn't do the match justice. A near 30 minute 3 fall classic with both teams getting all their best stuff in leading to a very dramatic 3rd fall where both Sombra & Efesto ended up eliminated. After Dorada took out Mephisto with a big dive we ended up exactly where everyone had expected - La Mascara vs Averno. They went through a very intricate sequence that always ended the exact same way... La Campana. Only one thing was different this time... it was AVERNO trapping LA MASCARA in La Campana! To this day I still love watching this moment as the fans you can see on camera realize what's about to happen & can't even believe it. You can even hear some women screaming off camera. LA MASCARA SUBMITTED CLEAN AND THE RUDOS WON THE TITLES! One of the most shocking outcomes you will ever see. The post-match
celebration by the rudos, seemingly unable to believe they had actually won, is an all-time memory for me. This kind of match & finish is the stuff classics are made of.

17) LA Park vs La Parka - AAA June 6, 2010

A match nobody thought would ever happen. Most notably La Parka who at one point would openly tell people he would never step into the ring with LA Park out of fear he would legit get his ass kicked. But AAA stepped up to start the decade and made LA Park an offer he couldn't refuse. Come in, take our money, beat up our La Parka... but give him a sham win in the end. LA Park = master negotiator! There was lots of build to this match but it really wasn't neccessary. Everyone knew the story here and it was considered a dream match the likes of which didn't exist any more at the time. The actual work between the two in the match wasn't that bad by La Parka standards. He did a great job at getting his ass kicked and when it was his turn to give a little back he did all he could. Not that it mattered since this crowd came to see him get his ass kicked. The obvious negative is the usual overbooking by AAA who got the Roldans involved which led to an absurd finish nobody really understood and didn't even matter since the idea was this was a match for the name but both guys had different names anyways so it was a meaningless stipulation. Even with that said it's hard to make a list for best of the decade without including this match which was a dream come true for hardcore  fans down to casual fans.

16) Titan vs Cavernario (Mexican National Welterweight Title) - CMLL July 29, 2014

In terms of importance this match probably ranks at the bottom of this list. It was just another random
title match on a Tuesday. In terms of quality inside the ring it probably ranks right near the top. So much so that it's hard to exclude it from a list like this. These two Guadalajara natives got their first chance to work together on a major stage and took full advantage of it. Some incredible sequences & a very smartly put together match with every fall ending exactly as it should have. The (small) crowd was into everything they did & very into seeing Titan escape with his title. It was a close one as Cavernario had him locked in La Cavernaria but Titan was incredibly able to reverse the hold and transition right into his Titanics for the victory. This is the type of match you watch and fall in love with lucha libre all over again.

15) Blue Panther vs Negro Casas (Hair vs Hair) - CMLL March 2, 2012

Two all-time greats still going strong nearly 30 years into their careers getting the chance to headline a major CMLL show in a feud that has months of build. It would have taken an act of god for this not to be a classic and my sources tell me god took the day off to watch this match. Just brilliant. This is one of those matches no writing can really justify. You just have to watch it to see the brilliance of these two legends. Every hold is fought for. Every strike is hit with the intent to hurt. Panther does a tope only for Casas to slam his head into the barricade. A spot guys half their age even refuse to do! Holds are not only countered & reversed but also fought out of with vicious power bombs into the turnbuckles. It really is a true masterpiece. The finish seems to come off confusing because the crowd came to see a winner but once they realize what they are getting instead, it's a pretty special moment since you don't often see draws any more. These guys don't even do the customary post-match respect deal... they keep going at it! They don't like each other at all! If you haven't seen this match you are doing yourself a huge disservice as a pro wrestling fan.

14) LA Park vs Mesias (Mask vs Hair) - AAA June 18, 2011

An epic conclusion to a fantastically built feud. These guys had been opposite each other for months and were a perfect match. Mesias was more than willing to brawl with LA Park and not afraid to give it right back to him in their wild matches. Lots of blood was shed & a couple of tombstones were handed out leading to the big match with actual meaingful stips as someone would be unmasked or shaved bald. This match delivered exactly as promised with both guys ending a bloody mess and the action spilling all over the building. There two insane table spots including a power bomb off the apron to the floor & Park standing on a table in the middle of the ring only to get speared through said table in a spot I still can't figure out how they pulled off. It wouldn't be an authetic big LA Park match without some screwiness at the finish but even that couldn't detract from the performance of these two. Some had this as their 2011 MOTY and it would be tough to disagree. Still holds up as possibly the best Triplemania match of the decade.

13) Psycho Clown vs Texano Jr (Mask vs Hair) - AAA August 17, 2014

Even though it wasn't the Triplemania main event officially - it was the Triplemania main event this year. The match that cemented Psycho Clown as the standard bearer in AAA & Texano Jr. as the rudo of the future. It was a combination of everything you love about the lucha with a little US style tossed in such as the spot where there is no ref but a new one comes running down the ramp to count a huge nearfall which sends the crowd into a frenzy. There was even the commision tossing out the referee right before that. Both guys bled a lot & you had tables get involved which like it or not is something fans have come to expect in the big feuds like this one. All the nearfalls had the crowd going crazy. You could argue they went one move too long as the Destroyer onto the table didn't have the impact of the previous Destroyer and took a little while to setup properly. Either way it didn't detract overall from the match being one of the best AAA matches of the decade and something people still look back on fondly as the crowning of the newest superstar in lucha libre, a guy who some would argue was the luchador of the decade.

12) Canis Lupis vs Trauma I - IWRG September 4, 2016

Arena Naucalpan tends to have lots of insta-feuds where either guys in random gimmicks appear just to lose their masks within a month or even less time than that. But Arena Naucalpan also has regulars who have been around a long time & when the time comes for them to have a big match - notably a mask match - it's a pretty big deal. This match was a pretty big fucking deal. IWRG hyped it like crazy and the atmosphere for the match was pretty crazy with a largely split crowd who were already chanting for both guys as the undercard matches were taking place. Did the match live up to the hype? Of course. It was exactly as expected in this building - a total bloodbath to the point it was uncomfortable to watch for some folks. The white canvas was completely blood soaked by the end and that's no exaggeration. They brawled all over the place, they exchanged holds, they used weapons... it was a near half hour of drama. The finish was controversial depending on how much suspension of disbelief you are willing to deal with. After a ref bump Lupis gives Trauma I the dreaded tombstone piledriver which renders Trauma I unable to move. He still manages to get a hand on the ropes to avoid being pinned & then stop the ref's count by grabbing his arm. After blocking a flying splash from Lupis using his knees, a doctor enters the ring to apply a neck brace. Lupis still seems to have the match won but then Trauma grabs his leg, rolls back & applies a submission hold to get the victory. The crowd goes apeshit so clearly it worked for the live audience. On video... it was split. Trauma I not being able to move one minute but then fine to apply his own submission requires a huge amount of leeway from the viewer who isn't there live and/or isn't personally invested in either guy. In my opinion it's hard to deny this isn't a classic in a time period when bloodbaths like this don't exist & you cannot overlook the emotion of the crowd who are totally into watching the drama going on in front of their eyes. Definitely a match where context is key to overall enjoyment.

11) Mascara Dorada vs Negro Casas (NWA Welterweight Title) - June 2, 2013

The type of match I would call lucha libre on another level. Negro Casas doing exactly what an all-time great should do by leading Dorada through a fantastic match, putting him over clean & endorsing him after the match. This is the type of video all legends should be shown & told is mandatory as they wind their careers down. Every moment in the match mattered. No move was done without purpose. Casas was trying to keep Dorada in check with his flying & Dorada was showing he was one step ahead of the legend at times. The story was also based around Negro Casas trying to apply La Casita which made it all the more sweet at the end when Dorada ended up winning the title with a Casita of his own. It was a perfect match. 5 stars without a doubt in my mind. What makes it even more special was the post-match speech by Casas about Dorada which wasn't your generic legend putting over a youngster because he was told he needs to. This was Casas talking from the heart & making sure the people knew Dorada was something special.

10) La Sombra vs Volador Jr (Mexican National Light Heavyweight Title) - CMLL August 30, 2010

Spoiler: The only match from Arena Puebla to make this list! Surely a shock to newer fans but I swear to Rey Misterio Jr. - the wrestlers used to work hard in Arena Puebla! But even moreso, as strange as it seems even though these guys would end up having many matches together at other CMLL arenas from 2012 onwards - this was their first singles match on record. And you know what they say about the first time, right? I can actually remember watching this when the capture made it's way onto YouTube and not really expecting much. I loaded it up to watch before bed and when I was done... there was little sleep to be had. There was no question in my mind this would be the 2010 MOTY and it easily won. These guys had a classic that laid the groundwork for their eventual series of matches down the road. Volador Jr. was embracing his new rudo persona & the two were very eager to finally get to work together. All the spots you've seen a million times with 2019 eyes were brand new here & came with a red hot Puebla crowd. The finish is definitely one that lucha fans will accept and non-lucha fans may be repulsed by. I loved it. This is a match I have re-watched many times to this very day & remains to me the best singles match these two ever had with each other.

9) Mistico vs Volador Jr (Copa BiCentenario) - CMLL September 17, 2010

With the Anniversary Show occuring earlier in September, CMLL needed a gimmick for the usual big Friday show on Independence Day weekend. In typical CMLL fashion they created a random tournament for a trophy that would never be mentioned again. It was all just a fancy way to get a Mistico vs Volador Jr. match booked. The feud of the year based on Mistico's shocking rudo turn which got a reset months later when CMLL felt it was hurting business and instead Volador Jr. ended up being the one to go rudo. Of course this would lead to split crowds who felt like Mistico had betrayed them originally so he was the true rudo in the feud whereas others still loved Mistico from his heyday and looked at Volador Jr. as the evil jealous ex-friend. The perfect recipe for a sold out super heated Arena Mexico crowd. These guys had an absolute classic with super drama. Every nearfall had the crowd screaming. Great spots such as Volador Jr. not only trying his own La Mistica but also escaping La Mistica causing Mistico to lose his mind. It all built to the memorable finish where Mistico went for his running tornillo dive........... and Volador Jr. just stepped away. A throwback to a risky spot Mistico used to do in his early days to get sympathy. The crowd EXPLODED! Volador rolled Mistico back into the ring, watched him stumble to his feet, hit a backcracker... and won clean! Half the crowd was furious, half the crowd was delighted as confetti fell from the ceiling. Post-match Volador Jr. got his trophy and said some nice words to Satanico who was on hand to present the trophy. If any one match cemented Volador Jr. as a top guy - this was the one. The match aired on TV but with an edited down 3rd fall. It did eventually end up airing in full on The Fight Network in Canada which was getting old CMLL footage.

8) Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi (CMLL Super Lightweight Title) - CMLL August 30, 2015
7) Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi (CMLL Super Lightweight Title) - CMLL December 4, 2015
6) Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi (CMLL Super Lightweight Title) - CMLL March 4, 2016

These are all individual matches but hard to discuss without grouping them together since it was a series that told a story. A story of basically two insane individuals who were born to fight each other going to the most extreme of lengths in trying to beat each other. The August match includes Kamaitachi deciding to take a bump (or many bumps) down the stairs of Arena Mexico. The December match has Dragon Lee trying to impale Kamaitachi with a tope suicida in the first fall. The March match has both guys finding new ways to drop each other on the apron at sick angles. These are the peaks but don't let it fool you into thinking these were all stunt shows. Each match builds upon the previous one with them learning from past losses and countering previous finishes. The December match in particular goes to the ever-so-rare 4th fall after a controversial 3rd fall finish! The March match provides some finality (at the time) to the feud with Dragon Lee dropping Kamaitachi on his head to cleanly win back the title he had lost in Japan months earlier & largely ending Kamaitachi's time in Mexico. I've seen people go back and forth as to which of their matches were the best with the general conclusion being it's either the December or March versions. I can't leave the August match off the list since it set the bar but December eclipsed that bar & for me the March match eclipsed even the December one. It's possible Arena Mexico will never see a feud of this
quality ever again.

5) Volador Jr vs Rey Escorpion (CMLL Light Heavyweight Title) - CMLL January 29, 2013

A first time ever meeting in the finals of a title tournament on a Tuesday night. Exactly the type of match one may overlook. But if you overlooked this match - you missed two of the top performers of the decade bringing their A+ game. Volador Jr.'s track record speaks for itself. Escorpion had always been a super underrated guy to the point he started in CMLL as an opening match guy before someone realized he doesn't belong there and he moved up the lineups remarkably quick. This was his first time headlining Arena Mexico on his own and he clearly had something to prove to the fans that still saw him as "an AAA guy". It was a Jerry Estrada-esque performance. They exchanged all their big moves and did some crazy sequences/spots not seen in this building for quite a while. Everything executed perfectly no matter the difficulty level. The finish was a little iffy but nothing to ruin the masterpiece they had created. Escorpion pulled off the upset and won the vacant title. The real tragedy here is the only time these two would cross paths again would be twice the following year in CMLL's secondary buildings, both in edited for TV matches.

4) LA Park vs Rush - ELITE July 14, 2016

If I was making a most memorable matches of the decade list - it would be hard to argue this not being #1 or #2. Every fan who went to Arena Mexico live on this night remembers this near disaster turned into an instant classic due to the two individuals involved. It was promoted as a super libre (no rules) match and both men had vowed to brawl. Everyone knew what they were getting it seems except for CMLL management who were running the show even though it had the ELITE banner. The match started in the crowd. Weapons got involved soon after. Then the blood came. At this point management had enough and told Edgar (the ref) to just call a DQ & tell both guys to get out of there. Edgar did his part... the two guys, however, did not. Edgar got out of dodge leaving the two guys to just go on with their planned match minus a referee. It was a surreal scene as the fans didn't leave even after the DQ was called and seemed to get even more into the "match" knowing both guys were going against the directive of the company. Obviously with no referee there were no nearfalls or an
actual finish (past the DQ earlier) but both guys ended up doing a stand-off and agreeing they'd be back one day in the same building to settle the score. It would take nearly 2 years as LA Park was kicked out of the building for his performance here.

3) Mistico/Valiente/Volador Jr vs Ultimo Guerrero/Euforia/Niebla Roja (CMLL Trios Titles) - CMLL February 13, 2015

An absolute masterpiece of a match. So much so that even though I hate writing - even I took the time after watching this match to post a long recap of it on my blog and discuss how special it was to me. The Guerreros largely had a formula for their title matches. So did the tecnicos. For whatever reason... maybe they were feeling the love coming up on Valentine's Day... these two teams decided to break the mold and deliver an unforgettable match. All the tropes went out the window and got replaced by finishers being countered, dual multi-man submissions & dive sequences getting cut off when you least expected. Basically - they put a lot of thought into this match! It got plenty of TV time although in something very strange that I will never be able to explain, it was edited differently on the two stations. So if you watch the Fox Sports Mexico version you get a clipped third fall... but you can see the part clipped out on the Azteca America version (which includes one of the most insane spots ever by Mistico) except then you miss a different part of the third fall. It's very illogical and very lucha. One day maybe someone will edit in the missing parts to form a full match. Not me. But trust me, the work in pausing one version to go to the other and then coming back to the original version to see it complete is worth it. An easy ***** match using that scale and to this day the last time I've seen the trios format tinkered with this well. An all-time classic to me.

2) Rey Cometa vs Puma King (Mask vs Mask) - CMLL September 14, 2012

It seems redundant to write more words about the greatness of this match as when it occured I felt so
strongly that it was an instant classic I decided to write an entire blog post on it. I'll link to it here
but will add that even now, 7+ years later, it still holds up as one of the greatest matches I've ever seen. The TV version is not only joined in progress but also edited down so you probably want to look up the handheld show from the upper deck at Arena Mexico. It captures the atmosphere in the building much better than the TV version anyhow. These days with more apuesta matches occuring with mid-carders, the opportunity is always there for guys to step up and take advantage of the stage being all to themselves. These guys took that opportunity to provide an all-time unforgettable classic that not only rewarded the live fans, it also rewarded fans who had been following both their careers. The perfect match.

1) Atlantis vs Ultimo Guerrero (Mask vs Mask) - CMLL September 19, 2014

Would be impossible to leave this match off a best of the decade list considering it was literally dubbed THE MATCH OF THE DECADE before it happened. Not much really needs to be written that hasn't been written already. CMLL had teased this match happening exactly a year earlier and swerved the fans. This time there was no swerve. It was happening. It drew, at the time, the all-time record gate for Arena Mexico. The emotion in the crowd was unmatched in any major match anywhere in the world this decade. Not since the all-time famous Atlantis vs Villano III match had Arena Mexico seen a moment this special. The match itself was pretty basic by the standards of wrestling quality in 2014 but it didn't need to be more than what it was. They did all the nearfalls and near submissions the crowd expected. The Atlantida was teased as well as you can imagine which made the ultimate application of it leading to the win an even more amazing moment. Of course this led to an all-time memorable post-match with lots of tears shed and the most money thrown into the ring I've ever witnesssed in a lifetime of watching lucha libre. In terms of importance & being memorable - nothing can come close to touching this. Perhaps nothing ever will.


  1. awesome, awsome list Rob! Gonna go watch a bunch of these matches now. Thanks for the great list, great reporting, and all of the links. Just a great and amazing post! I really enjoyed reading and remembering all the great matches of the last ten years. I think, personally, I'd put LA Park vs. Mesias as my "favorite" match, followed closely by Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Psycho Clown mask vs mask.

    1. Thanks for reading! Park vs Mesias or Psycho vs Texano are what I consider the two best Triplemania matches this decade so either one over the other and I won't argue with you. I like Wagner/Psycho and if I was making a most important matches of the decade list I'm sure it would be top 5 for sure. I think in like 20 years people will remember that as an all time famous match.