It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Yes, it’s Voices of Wrestling Secret Santa time again, everyone. The brainchild of JR Goldberg (@wrestlingbubble), VOW Secret Santa sees all participating website contributors give their fellow contributors, the greatest gift of all: wrestling matches!

VOW Secret Santa Archives:

Rey Misterio Jr vs Psicosis
September 22, 1995

Reviewed by Super Joel Cast (@thesuperjcast)

Gifted by Lee Malone (@Malone_713)

The COVID-19 pandemic has deprived me of some regrettable things. The chance to see my family; my job and life in China; both of my cats. But arguably the biggest loss has been the little dash of lucha I would get to enjoy every year at Fantasticamania (fuck off, I do actually watch it and it’s fun) and whomever CMLL would send over for Best of the Super Juniors. Now, this kind benefactor is thoughtfully filling in that lucha-shaped hole in my life. So let’s crack open a cold can of Mirinda and get into this.

Rey Misterio is being cornered by the White Power Ranger, a moniker that has not aged well and feels bad to type out in 2021. Perhaps he had been sent to AAA for cultural sensitivity training. I do love the whole idea of the seconds rushing over and flapping towels over the wrestlers after each fall, it really adds to the 90s aesthetic, along with the camera work, crowd atmosphere and the rough-around-the-edges production.

These two wrestlers have a historic rivalry, with this match being widely regarded as the best. Even through 2021 eyes, there is a lot to appreciate here, with plenty of moves and sequences I’ve never seen before (and again, I’ve watched at least three Fantasticamaniae). The pace and execution are high quality, with one of the best hurricanranas I’ve ever seen, and a couple of springboard botches to add a bit of authenticity and drama.

There’s no real story, just a fun 20 minutes of great lucha action between two prodigies who would go on to make waves in the US. It’s a nice blend of technical wrestling, high-flying danger moves and fluid submission grappling. Mysterio is particularly brilliant, truly in his element, and you can see how he might have influenced modern wrestlers like Ricochet or Dragon Lee. Although lucha (and wrestling in general) has moved on a great deal in the last 25 years, I imagine this would’ve blown people’s minds back in 1995. 

If you’re looking to pick flaws in this match then it certainly leans towards being more of a choreographed exhibition, and doesn’t quite hold up as an all-time great match. On the other hand, if you turn off your critical eye then there’s plenty to enjoy here. If I had to guess, I would pick Fred Morlan as my secret Papá Noel.