Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

AJPW Retro Selection #12 Mil Mascaras Hen 3/31/04

8/25/77 Tokyo Daen Coliseum, 2/3 Falls UN Heavyweight Title: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mil Mascaras 22:18 (19:48 shown), 7:46, 3:20. This is the sort of traditional style match you either appreciate or you don’t. I’d rather see a shorter match with less submissions and more countering and exchanging holds, but the athleticism of the competitors probably made it a more interesting version of the sort of lengthy, technically sound big match you got in the mid 70’s. Mascaras finds as many positions to stretch an opponent from as humanly possible, and does an excellent job of moving between contortions, but the match is essentially a lengthy series of limb extensions. Mascaras was a great flyer for his time with the plancha and flying cross attack, but actually had few other moves that utilized his athleticism and greatly preferred elongating his opponent. Though Jumbo is much more apt to push the pace, they had a hold of each other almost the entire match. There was some action out of the clinch though, for instance a nice spot where Mascaras held onto a monkey flip and tried to roll on top of Jumbo, but Jumbo saw it coming and rolled up, locking a bodyscissors when they met halfway over. Generally, both men punctuated their matwork with brief spurts of action that may lead to a finish. Mascaras dropkicked Jumbo to the floor early in the 3rd, but took the brunt of the impact on his plancha since Tsuruta didn’t catch him properly, leading to the ring out. ***

8/24/78 Tokyo Daen Coliseum, International Tag Title Match: Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras 14:55, 6:15, 3:10. Watching these matches of the Mascaras & Caras team, it’s difficult to imagine how Mascaras wound up being the world famous one. He’s a little bigger and more powerful, but Caras does all Mascaras’ flying moves better than Mascaras, but also has some good stuff of his own, not to mention being faster and a much better and more willing bumper. For me, the big difference is while Caras twists you up in knots similar to Mascaras, he does it with very quick movements on the mat, shifting from one stretch to the other, so he winds up doing five in a minute rather than just holding one. Caras work with Tsuruta was excellent, working their athleticism and flashiness into the submission game and being more willing to break from it entirely to deliver some running action. Jumbo didn’t exactly work lucha libre, but certainly held his own in the junior heavyweight segments, which along with the athleticism were quite impressive for the time. Though Baba isn’t able to display much litheness, he did alright, allowing Mascaras & Caras to match speed with size. Baba actually didn’t play that big a role because Mascaras’ beef was with Tsuruta. ****

8/22/79 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center: Mil Mascaras vs. Abdullah The Butcher 8:58. I fully expected this match to suck, but both wrestled about as well as they are capable of. They really played the big man vs. little man well, slowly boiling as Butcher played the foil to Mascaras’ nimble dancing early until he got pissed off, following Mil to the floor and tossing him into the ringside seats. Once Butcher hurt Mascaras enough to attack him when he was down, he ripped his sacred mask, causing Mascaras to lose it and no longer care about technical wrestling. The match was much more enjoyable than the rating might suggest, as my problem with it is the lack of length and screw job finish. **3/4

12/3/79 Hokkaido Sapporo Nakajima Taiiku Center, '79 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leaguesen: Mil Mascaras & Dos Caras vs. Wahoo McDaniel & Frank Hill 7:15. I’m not sure what the significance of this match was to warrant its inclusion, as it seemed a short little nothing match. I really enjoy seeing Wahoo in the AWA classics as he works hard and knows how to maximize the ability he has, delivering stiff simplistic matches. This more technical younger version doesn’t seem as good, but then again Mascaras & Caras aren’t turning your heads too often in this one either. **

1/28/86 Tokyo Taiikukan, IWA World Heavyweight Title: Mil Mascaras vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi 8:42. Though a short contest, Kobayashi makes the most of his time. Classic Kobayashi is countering and controlling for the purpose of setting his opponent up to invariably get all the glory. Kobayashi is much more aggressive here at asserting his own offense to get himself over as a heel, coming as close as ever to showing his opponent up. Kobayashi looks really impressive here, a step too fast for the Mexican legend and far more diverse. What we are seeing once again is that although Mascaras has a lot of good entertaining matches, he making very few of them, and his main contribution is good unique offense. ***1/4

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