365 matches in 365 days, each from that specific date on the calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
If you wanted to introduce wrestling to a friend of yours who hadn’t seen it, what would you show them? This is a question I’ve tossed about in my head for years, and one with endless potential answers depending on what you define as good wrestling. What about if you wanted to show someone a specific style of wrestling… lucha libre for example? I might suggest showing them this match that served as the opener of Souled Out 1998. Sit back and enjoy this eight-man tag (or, to use the parlance of lucha libre, atomicos) in all its splendor: Chavo Guerrero, Jr., Lizmark, Jr., Super Calo, and Juventud Guerrera facing La Parka. Psicosis (billed as Psychosis at this time by WCW), El Dandy, and Silver King.
You can watch this match on the WWE Network.
Eric Bischoff and his role in wrestling remains a pretty polarizing topic, but I always felt he deserved credit for making the cruiserweight division relevant during his time running WCW (which was the predecessor in many ways to Ring of Honor and the X-Division of TNA and the style that is now popular across a variety of promotions with TV exposure). Bischoff also brought in a solid contingent of luchadores in the summer of 1996, most of them straight from Mexico, and several of them taking part in this match. Both these moves — emphasizing the cruiserweights and giving luchadores a platform on nationwide American TV — changed wrestling. Not only that. Bischoff let the Mexican luchadores wrestle their style, as opposed to signing them and trying to “Americanize” them. Would there have been a Lucha Underground if not for these moves? I think it’s a fair question.
This is the first look at most of these guys as part of the project, although La Parka is a longtime favorite of mine. Juventud was part of the January 3 selection, and since that match aired, has already won and lost the Cruiserweight Title.
This match is contested under lucha libre rules, meaning that leaving the ring is just as good as a tag in the corner. Even then, the rules kinda sorta pretty much get thrown out the window by the end of this match. If you’ve been reading this long, you know these write-ups are not intended to be a move-for-move recap of every match I watch, mainly because I want to encourage you to seek these matches out, watch them for yourself, and come along on this journey with me.
That said, there are some highlights:
–Calo and Psicosis start, but Silver King and Lizmark really get the crowd going with a swank exchange of chops punctuated by a titl-a-whirl backbreaker by Lizmark, Jr.
–El Dandy doesn’t play a big role in the match but he makes the most of his ring time, most notably taking a monkey flip by Chavo and then delivering a headfirst suicide dive as part of a sequence of dives near the end of the match.
–A couple of nasty-looking clotheslines to cut off dive attempts.
If I had to give an MVP to the match, it might be Silver King. He fully commits at every moment he’s in the match, whether on offense or feeding into one of the four tecnicos. He also takes the biggest bump of the match, springing off the middle rope on a plancha to the floor only to miss and eat the concrete.
After Chavo finishes things with a tornado DDT on Psicosis, La Parka runs amok with a steel chair, wiping out every member of the four-man team that just defeated him, and then bonking Dandy and Silver King for good measure. Following a celebratory dance on the chair to the delight of the crowd, La Parka tucks it under his arm and strolls out. The character work here is a delight.
-This appears to take place before Heenan starts waxing philosophic about how Super Calo’s hat always stays on his head. Or maybe it just doesn’t come up here?
–Speaking of Heenan, I laughed out loud when he praised La Parka for having “pizazz.”
-I always love those moments when Dusty is on commentary and gets so excited about what he’s seeing that he drops his accent and reacts in his normal speaking voice. That happens at least twice in this match, by my count.
Final Rating: 7.1
This match lasts less than 10 minutes but damn if these eight don’t pack in a good 20 minutes’ worth of action (or more) in the time that they are given. It’s also a fantastic opening match for a card, with nothing but action and a bunch of big moves to get the crowd fired up for anything and everything coming next.
We head back to Japan for another joshi offering, this time featuring one of AEW’s top women’s talents.
Got a match you’d like me to watch as part of this 365 Wrestling project? Agree or disagree with my take on this match? Let me know by using the contact form on this site, or reach me on Twitter.