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Atlantis vs. Villano III (CMLL PPV 03/17/00, Mask vs Mask)

atlantis villano iii

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#1 ShittyLittleBoots

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 09:08 AM

The atmosphere was amazing, the drama was epic. Loved Villano in this - his work on top was excellent, he brutalized Atlantis in such a brilliant fashion, and Atlantis' selling of that was really good, too. This is heavily pimped as the best lucha match of the 2000's, and it sure was a classic. ****1/2

#2 soup23

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 07:21 AM

Here we go. I have been putting off watching the March 17 stuff for two weeks now just because of the hype here and watching the feud unfold. There is a tremendous tension and buzz for the entrances here. The heat here is nuclear and the official looks like he has excused the Villanos from ringside. The rudo ref also gets excused and here we go. This being one fall creates an interesting caveat and raises the stakes even more. Opening three or four minutes are classical lucha. Armbars and exchanges with a general feeling out process. Villano rips the mask at the first hint of things getting heated and he hits an early tope to the outside onto Atlantis. Atlantis gets busted open from the tope and him trying to recoup and catch his breath on the outside is great. Another great staple that I love in an apuestas match is the doctor coming out and sure enough he gives a look into Atlantis here. They are really playing up a concussion type affect off of the tope. Replay does a good job of showing that Villano and Atlantis really did bump heads on the tope. Villano pink mask is now blood soaked. The emphasis and effects of one spot are really enriched here as that tope has changed the total dynamic of the match where every near fall feels dramatic now. Atlantis blade job is something to behold as his mask is now a shade of black from the dark blood. With each submission attempt by Villano, the pressure and tension is raised as viewed by the nervous looking crowd reaction shot. You just can’t replicate these stakes in almost any other match in wrestling history. Someone will not be the same after this. In some ways this match really breaks the template because lets face it, it is all near falls but while some of the other matches that I have found great but not all timers like Okada vs.Omega have too much table setting IMO, this certainly didn’t waste much time going into the meat of the match. The next really big spot is a huge crossbody from Atlantis on the outside to Villano. Villano locks in his signature submission and Atlantis is in big trouble until he has a clever counter. Some great strength based submission is next which was really amazing to see 20 minutes into this one and with the blood loss both men have suffered. I knew the Gory special was coming and Atlantis locks it on here. Villano does a great job trying to reach the ropes before having to power out into a really close pin attempt. The slow lucha based counts are doing a great job of building the tension to me. Atlantida is hooked on to a big pop but Villano is able to sneak away. Holy shit this is reaching another gear now. Clubbing clothesline and Villano is so proud of himself as Atlantis is dizzy and in trouble. In rudo style, the bravado of Villano gets the best of him and the second Atlantida is enough to win as the crowd completely erupts. One of those matches that really feels like the end of an era. In regards to the back and forth, this had a lot more than traditional lucha matches. In an ultimate show of class, Villano puts Atlantis on his shoulders and does the removal of his mask. With nearfall exclusive matches, I always say it is dictated on the stakes. Nothing had higher stakes than this match so the back and forth and nearfalls felt extremely justified. I don’t think this is my favorite lucha match of all time but it is up there and it was the ultimate exercise in tension and then release. It is amazing that at March 17, we may have seen the top two matches of the decade in this and the 2/27/00 Misawa vs. Akiyama match. *****

#3 Loss

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:56 PM

I don't think anything I say can do this match justice. It's a credit to Atlantis, Villano III, the buildup and booking, the in-ring style and the conventions of lucha libre and CMLL that this was such a pure and complete masterpiece, quite possibly the single greatest match of all time. The contrast between this and something like a Wrestlemania main event is amazing. WWE has to prostitute their finishers to raise a match's profile to epic levels, while CMLL does quick submission finishes and fairly standard caida pinfalls all year. They manage to have the greatest matches in the world all the same, yet they can really go for drama here in a big way by finally doing a tease with each submission attempt in the highest stakes match possible without any of the holds losing their meaning or impact. It makes Atlantis' backbreaker, which he does use regularly, even more important because it gets the job done. I have talked about move hierarchy and restraint and all of that without even getting into the heartstopping nature of the way the match was worked with the constant fall attempts and submission attempts. Both guys were laser focused on getting the job done, and who could blame them? I knew the outcome and I still bit on a lot of the nearfall attempts, and at times, I imagined how much I'd be on the edge of my seat if I watched the build I did in real time and was watching that match go down live. What an amazing experience that must have been. I can't say enough good about this, so I'll stop here, but my first instinct is to call this a match in a class by itself. *****

#4 Microstatistics

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 05:27 PM

I don't think anything I say can do this match justice. It's a credit to Atlantis, Villano III, the buildup and booking, the in-ring style and the conventions of lucha libre and CMLL that this was such a pure and complete masterpiece, quite possibly the single greatest match of all time.


That is some high praise. Look forward to rewatching this after going through a lot of the stuff leading up to it. It's already been said but this truly has the highest stakes of any match, ever. And it is because of that, the back and forth nature of the match works so well because each nearfall and submission hold is treated like life or death. This generated genuine drama and suspense and is what makes this match unique and different from basically every match that is constructed in a similar manner.

#5 JKWebb

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:43 AM

I'm glad you both were so high on this.  When I watched it the first time, I thought it was the greatest Lucha match I had ever seen.  It was one of those few times where I watched it twice in the same day.  I can say it is currently my personal favorite Lucha match, and it's definitely in the discussion as the best.  I'll be watching it again after reading through these reviews.  Of course, *****.

#6 Tim Evans

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 11:21 PM

Words can not do this match justice. For emotion alone, this is one of the greatest matches of all time. Every single move is treated like a finisher and the crowd pops huge for it. Atlantis trademark white mask turns red from the blood. This match lives up to the build and imo is the match that made Atlantis a true star. The post match was like Savage/Warrior WM7 times 1000. Villano's dad unmasks him while women are crying in the crowd. I don't usually do this but *****.

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