Steve Cook brings you his Top 5 Luchadors from the world of Mexican wrestling!
If you ask most of my Internet wrestling colleagues which non-US wrestling they love the most, they’d tell you all about the puroresu. Japan’s brand of workrate & stiff action has a great appeal to most of us that were born & bred on serious wrestling. But for me the luchadors is where it’s at.
I’m not a very serious person. Funny may not equal money, but I’d rather watch a colorful spectacle with big moves & characters than a super-stiff showdown any day of the week. That’s why I’ve always preferred the world of lucha libre. Something about the masks, the personas & the flipping just appeals to me, and the luchadors often deliver.
The Mexican culture in general appeals to me. The food, the wrestling, the women…it’s all good. People talk about building walls to keep it all out, butI’d prefer building a wall around the people wanting to build walls while still getting drunk & wearing sombreros on Mexican holidays. In a somewhat delayed celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I’m going to honor my Top 5 Favorite Luchadors.
5. Brazo de Plata
It doesn’t get much more fun than Super Porky! This guy doesn’t look like he should be anywhere near a wrestling ring, but that’s part of his charm. At one point, Porky had a somewhat regular physique and wore a mask as part of the legendary Brazo wrestling family. His weight got away from him over the years, and he became a fun-loving happy-go-lucky character whose matches were more comedic than anything else. Nothing wrong with that, except the health problems he’s run into in recent years. He has five children in wrestling. One of them is known as Psycho Clown and has become one of AAA’s top stars.
Check out Joe’s Lucha Libre Report!
4. Lucha Brothers
I was pretty early on the Pentagon Jr. bandwagon. From the moment I saw him in Lucha Underground, I knew the dude was going to be a rock star. Penta had something about him that made his stuff matter more, a badass charisma that transcended language. His brother Fenix is an absolute crazy man. He’s constantly doing insane moves that occasionally don’t end well for him. Together they make one of the most dynamic tag teams in recent memory. They also make pretty good opponents.
3. Los Villanos
Like most Americans, I discovered the Villanos through the work of IV & V in WCW. The fact there was a Villano IV & V, with no sign of a I, II or III, was a subject of great fascination to me. Who were these masked men? Just how many Villanos were there? It turned out there were five. Ray Mendoza, a wrestler of great fame in Mexico, had five sons that followed him into the business. Each of them became Villanos. While IV & V were the ones I was familiar with, III was considered the best worker of the bunch. I was well regarded as well. II kind of slipped through the cracks and became the forgotten Villano. They were all evil, sinister men to keep an eye on. Never trust a Villano.
Elisa looks great in her Chairshot gear.
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2. Dr. Wagner Jr.
BIEN BIEN BIEN BIEN BIEN. Wagner has been one of the top stars in Mexico over the past three decades. He’s become this generation’s answer to Mil Mascaras and other legends of the past. Even losing his mask hasn’t hurt him too much, as the main takeaway was that he resembles The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Eqis commercials. Wagner has done it all in Lucha Libre. He’s headlined TripleManias & major Arena Mexico events. He still headlines TripleMania & wherever else he appears today.
1. L.A. Park
We’ve all seen wrestlers get more popular than their push would have ever allowed for. WCW had a ton of cases like this during the 1990s, but I don’t think one stood out more than that of the original La Parka. Parka was one of many luchadores brought in by Konnan that were used to fill time during television shows. There weren’t any ideas for most of them, and most of them never did much more than matches with tons of flips. Parka stood out from the crowd, mostly because of his costume & antics. Dude is a dancing skeleton. It’s one of those universal gimmicks that gets over wherever.
WCW ended up doing some things with him here & there. He hit people with a chair and became known as the Chairman of WCW. He did some dubbed-over promos. Eventually he went back to Mexico, and even though AAA had replaced him with a different La Parka, ParK was still one of the top stars wherever he went in the country. The rumor was that he was finally going to lose his mask a year or two ago for the big payoff, but then he got noticed by people that hadn’t seen him in years during the buildup and got a ton of bookings out of it. So why bother losing the mask?
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE 205 Live (5/21/19)
Did the 205 Live Crew deliver this week?
Tiffany Takes time to look into this week’s edition of WWE 205 Live. Did the Cruiserweight Division deliver?
After a tough bout at Money in the Bank, where does the Cruiserweight Championship (and all of the WWE 205 Live crew) go now?
Singh Brothers vs Jack Gallagher and Humberto Carrillo: I was a little disappointed that Lucha House Party’s RSVP got lost in the mail, but I’m assuming that they’re selling the beatdown from Lars Sullivan. However, it was nice to see that things are good-ish between Carrillo and Gallagher after last week. However, it sucks that the Singhs still lost! Sure, they look like cut rate male strippers in their ring gear, but they’re really talented should be getting better than being beat every week, didn’t they suffer enough of that working for Jinder Mahal?
Fatal Five Way: Akira Tozawa vs Brian Kendrick vs Mike Kanellis vs Oney Lorcan vs Ariya Daivari: Before I discuss this match and how much I hate multi-man matches that aren’t for a title or a contendership, I want to praise Maria Kanellis for her tribute to the late Ashley Massaro, who passed away over the weekend. During Maria’s first run in WWE way back when, she and Massaro were friends and sometimes on-screen partners and allies, including the storyline of Ashley convincing Maria to pose for Playboy, over the objections of Maria’s onscreen boyfriend, Santino Marella. Yes, THAT Santino Marella. Maria wrote Ashley’s name on the palm of her left hand and showed it as she and Mike Kanellis did their pose. I know Maria has talked about how much Ashley meant to her, but it was nice to see her pay tribute to her former friend, especially since WWE has made no further mention of Massaro outside of a ‘In Memory Of’ at Money in the Bank. Plus, I loved her outfit.
Back to the ACTUAL match. I really hate when WWE does multi-man matches that don’t really have a purpose. This match wasn’t for a #1 Contendership, it was just to put the five top-ish guys in the ring and see what happened. I was actually stunned that Tozawa won since I still think Daivari is going to be going for the championship in Saudi Arabia, but it was interesting to see Tozawa and Kendrick mix it up a little. Kanellis’ bad luck continues to be frustrating, it’s hard to see what, if anything, WWE has planned for him other than just having him lose every week.
Overall Thoughts: So, how was 205 this week? It was a little…lacking. It had two great matches but it felt like there wasn’t a real direction they were heading. The Fatal Five Way was just to see who was the best but that logic was a little dumb because it was more about who was opportunistic than who was better in the ring.
I did enjoy the team of Gallagher and Carrillo, but I can see Carrillo’s gimmick, whatever it is, getting old really quick. Hopefully the teaming with Gallagher will give Carrillo more of an edge, like teaming with Sasha Banks gave Bayley more of an edge.
I still think it’s going to be Nese vs Daivari II at Super Show Down, but we’ll have to wait and see.
That’s it for Tiffany’s 205 Takes! Tune in tomorrow for my takes on the NXTs!
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE SmackDown Live (5/21/19)
Did Smackdown deliver in your eyes?
WWE followed up an eventful edition of Raw with another eventful edition of WWE Smackdown Live, and Tiffany has her Takes on the entire thing!
After the shocking events of Money in the Bank, how will SmackDown move into SummerSlam season?
Money In the Bank: I’m already over this. The yapbox for Mr. Money in the Bank managed to be so obnoxious tonight, it made want to do things with that briefcase that are physically impossible. Hopefully the fact that there hasn’t been a successful men’s Money in the Bank cash-in since Dean Ambrose in 2016 will hold true.
WWE Championship: I felt really bad for Sami Zayn. Here he is, becoming a top heel, but he gets sacrificed after a great match with Kingston, just so Dolph Ziggler, who hasn’t been on TV since January, can walk in and get a title shot. Really? Plus, what was Ziggler’s malfunction? Way he was acting, you’d think Kingston double crossed him or something.
As for Ziggler, I actually rolled my eyes at his explanation. Ziggler got the shit knocked out of him by McIntyre back in January and hasn’t shown his face since. WWE wasn’t denying him a damn thing, so the idea that he was more deserving of Kofi’s spot is nonsense. Sit down, Dolph.
One thing I found interesting was the whole situation with Big E, the real one, not the fake schmuck that came out first. Big E and Ziggler were once business associates when E first debuted on the Main Roster, the fact that E got conveniently taken out, leaving Kingston without his New Day pals raises some serious questions.
WWE 24/7 Championship: There’s a lot of things you can say about Carmella, but she’s a good friend. Not only did she spend most of her evening trying to help R-Truth keep the WWE 24/7 Championship, sacrificing a chance to pummel Mandy Rose in the process,she even tried to help him with his disguise and didn’t take advantage of him to try and grab the belt for herself. That’s friendship.
Women’s Championship: So, Emmie Slattery (Lacey Evans) and India Wilkes (Charlotte Flair) took on Scarlett O’Hara (Becky Lynch) and…I hate to refer to Bayley as Melanie Wilkes, but I’ve painted myself into that corner with the ‘Gone with the Wind’ references. ANYWAY, the two Women’s Champs took on the women they beat on Sunday. Charlotte was clearly still mad about losing her title less than five minutes after she won it, but not only did she and Emmie not win, but CHARLOTTE took the pin. However, don’t be fooled into thinking things are rainbows and unicorns between Scarlett and Melly. Becky and Charlotte are owed rematches and Becky’s coming to collect hers.
Mustafa Ali vs Andrade: God love Mustafa Ali. He took a hell of a beating on Sunday and lost the opportunity, that RUMOR says he was promised, to be the Money in the Bank winner, but then he and his poor back got another pounding at the hands of Andrade. However, unlike what happened at Money in the Bank, Ali refused to let another victory be snatched away and fought through what looked like serious pain to pin Andrade and leave Rhode Island a winner.
Roman Reigns vs Elias: Remember when everyone predicted that Drew McIntyre would be a world champ and the best thing since sliced bread last year? Well, he’s back in the position he always seems to end up in: Lackey to someone with more personality than him. It was revealed on Monday that Shane was using McIntyre as his new muscle and used him to punish Roman Reigns after Reigns defeated Elias yet again. Problem is that Reigns is great at getting guys over, but unless he can manufacture a personality and charisma for McIntyre, this feud is going to be a waste of time because McIntyre is as interesting as beige paint and barely gets a reaction.
Overall Thoughts: So, how was SmackDown? Well, it was actually pretty good. There was a lot of of story progression as WWE gears up for Saudi Arabia, Mudhole Stomping, or whatever the next US PPV is, and SummerSlam season.
I will admit to being hesitant about the 24/7 championship and there are some issues I see with it long term, but right now it’s a hoot to watch and definitely helps break up the show.
I’m ‘bleh’ on Ziggler vs Kingston. They always have great chemistry, but this whole situation is uncomfortable and weird. It feels like whoever WWE actually wanted to put with Kingston in Saudi Arabia is refusing to go and so they’re putting in Ziggler just so the match will be on the card.
Becky and Bayley was a great team up, but it’s clear that Becky isn’t going to be leaving SmackDown anytime soon, RAW Women’s Champion or not. Charlotte taking the pin was odd, but very satisfying to see.
The whole thing with Reigns and Shane is good, but it seems that WWE hasn’t given up on trying to get McIntyre over with the crowd with or without a personality. Vince is a stubborn one.
That’s it for Tiffany’s SmackDown Takes! Up next is 205 Live!