Friday, June 30, 2017

Negro Casas slipping off the ropes in his match against Ultimo Dragon, on March 26, 1993

Take a look at the slip in the video above. I see it as Negro Casas' own twist of a staple spot we see in high stakes, lucha libre singles, usually championship or apuesta matches in the 1980's and 1990's. In many matches throughout that era, a wrestler would go out on the apron, survey the crowd to see if he should do a high risk move off the top rope. The chances always felt like 50/50 if he could hit the move or if he would crash spectacularly.

These spots, when done right, might be the only time I've ever seen an audience actively encourage, sometimes beg a wrestler not to do something exciting, as the risk and stakes are just too damn high.

In this instance, Casas milks this spot for all its worth, as he looks to the audience, visually asking if he should climb or not. Listen to the loud "No!" from the audience. Someone in the crowd can even be seen wagging their finger. "El publico dividido, unos dicen que si, otros que no," ("The public is divided, some say yes, some say no,") the announcer proclaims.

Casas decides to take his chance, climbs up the corner, and slips in the most realistic manner possible. It's hard to really grasp whether he legitimately slipped or if this was intentional, but I believe in Casas so strongly that I can't help but lean towards the latter. The announcer, almost mockingly, says, "Ah...solito." ("Ah...all by himself.")

The audience reaction is huge. Some can be heard laughing, while others are whistling to tease Casas after his grave error. Casas would lose the third fall to Dragon a few minutes later with a Tiger Suplex, dropping his UWA World Middleweight Championship to his Japanese rival. "No se recuper├│ el Negro Casas," ("Negro Casas didn't recover,") said the announcer as Dragon celebrated in the ring.

Of all the guys I've seen do this spot, and I've seen many, this was by far my favorite take on it, and I felt like it worked so perfectly within this match. He just didn't have enough in him to even attempt his move off the top. His gas tank was running on empty, and the end for Casas started with a crash to the mat.

PS: This might be bullshit, but I sometimes think that the reason Casas beat La Fiera in a Hair vs Hair match 7 months later on October 1, 1993 with a top rope splash, was to build off this famous spot. A bit of a macho deal where he wants to prove something to himself, to the audience, to Dragon, to Fiera, and in this high stakes instance, his big risk paid off.

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