Chilanga Mask: Arena Naupalcan (08-16-2015) Dr. Cerebro vs. Virus


Matcore or #GrappleFuck; you decide!

I watched this match four times the other day. I knew upon watching it once that it was a great match. The decision to watch it a second time came about because I wanted to properly gauge my feelings on the match. The third time was because of me wanting to focus more on the intricacies of the match. When I decided to watch it a fourth time I had reached the just because stage, and if ever there was a match worthy of a just because watch it is this match.

I’m not gonna lie and say I am super familiar with Dr. Cerebro. I’ve seen some of his work here and there over the years, but not enough to where I could claim to have a great feel for him as a wrestler. I have seen enough of him in 2014-2015 to know that I enjoyed his not quite a rudo but not quite a tecnico either routine. That gave me a base to work off of with him coming into this match and that added somewhat to my enjoyment of what he was going for against Virus. The seeking audience approval one second and then muscle posing while having a submission locked in the next is the definition of Luchador bipolar disorder, but it makes his character unique and interesting; at least to me.

On the other end of the spectrum is Virus, who has become in every way possible an old school Maestro. He’s an extremely versatile wrestler, one can see that in the way he can wrestle like a chameleon in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. But, he appears to be having the most fun and to be at his absolute best when he is working the mat and only the mat in Maestro matches. In that sense he moves beyond being a tecnico or a rudo and becomes a respected craftsman. I believe, and he can correct me if I’m wrong (like he actually reads what I write), it was Rob Bihari who said that the money was flowing into the ring after this match. That makes sense, as Virus was in full on impress the crowd with my mat wrestling greatness mode.

And what an impressive mat performance this match is. I get a kick out of Lucha matwork. What Luchador mat workers do is their own thing, not quite catch-as-catch can, World of Sport, or #GrappleFuck. It’s an amalgamation of all three with added Lucha goodness to boot. The result is cool as hell sequences like when Virus is on the ring apron and Cerebro is inside the ring. Virus stops a charging Cerebro, traps his arm, Slaps his chest, jumps into the ring and carries Cerebro with him in an Arm Drag. Not letting go Virus rolls through to end in a standing position where he now has hold of Cerebro’s leg and is able to seamlessly begin to apply what looked to be a Figure Four Leglock (I say looked to be because Cerebro blocked the attempt and Kicked Virus away). That entire sequence occurred with Virus not once letting go of Cerebro, came from a Lucha base and incorporated mat work that clearly draws inspiration from 1950s catch-as-catch can style. Frankly, it’s amazing to watch and often leaves me staring at the screen with my mouth wide open like a dumbfounded idiot.

For a little over thirteen minutes Cerebro and Virus flow off of one another, working holds like great mat technicians. There’s a rhyme and a reason to what they are doing, with one move working off of another and the beginning of the match tying into the ending and so on and so forth. It’s very impressive stuff, the sort of wrestling that I seek out and make a point to watch. I guess you could say that Cerebro/Virus is a match made specifically for me. That being said, their mat game is so on point that anyone who prefers the grappling style just a little bit should at the very least like this match.

Like I said in the beginning, I watched this match four times. Each time I found new little things to fawn over. I’ve never seen Cerebro this good, and he very much carries his own. For as great as he is this is no Virus carry job. That being said, Virus is damn great in this match. Him effortless transitioning into and out of holds and precarious positions is thrilling to watch. I have no qualms saying that Virus and Cerebro put on a mat classic. This a Lucha match that would be right at home in any era, on any card, and that would shine for every person watching. I’m thankful for the Mexican independent scene these days. It gives me matches like Virus/Cerebro, and there’s no way that can be a bad thing.

Bill Thompson


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