Wrestler of the Day – March 23: Juventud Guerrera

Next up is the polar opposite of yesterday. Today is Juventud Guerrera.

 

We’ll start with a name we’ll see a lot in this: Rey Mysterio Jr., this time from a Japanese promotion called WAR from July 20, 1996.

 

Juventud Guerrera vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

 

I have no idea if there’s a story here as is usually the case with puro. Rey almost immediately sends him to the floor with a headscissors and follows out with a HUGE dive. This is back when Rey had two good knees so he’s amazing. The yet to be named West Coast Pop gets an early two count but Juvy comes back with a nasty looking springboard flip dropkick to take over. We hit a quick chinlock on Mysterio but Juvy goes to a leg lock instead.

 

A Power Drop gets two for Juvy but an attempt at a second is countered into a hurricanrana and a gutbuster gives Rey a breather. Juvy goes to the apron and gets taken to the floor with another hurricanrana. Back in and Juvy counters a springboard cross body into a fall away slam for two. Something like a Harlem Hangover gets the same on Mysterio and the spinning top rope hurricanrana gets a third straight near fall.

 

A superplex is broken up and they both fall to the floor in a crash with Juvy getting the worse of it. Back in and a springboard moonsault gets two on Guerrera but he gets caught sliding through Juvy’s legs. Not that it matters as Rey breaks up whatever Juvy was trying off the top and hits another top rope hurricanrana for the pin.

 

Rating: C+. These two are always worth checking out but this wasn’t their best work. Mysterio’s offense was almost entirely comprised of hurricanranas, which are entertaining but not enough to carry an entire match. It’s good enough but I would have liked to see more of what Mysterio was capable of.

 

Juvy would make it to WCW just over a month after this and have his first PPV match against Konnan at Fall Brawl 1996.

 

Mexican Heavyweight Title: Konnan vs. Juventud Guerrera

Ok a lot to talk about here. For one thing, the Mexican Heavyweight Title is the AAA Americas’ Title, a title that was a midcard title that Konnan was the first to win. He won it then bailed to WCW with it so they just didn’t talk about it any more. He’s also a heel now with the whole street thing going on and has joined the Dungeon of Doom so he has Jimmy Hart with him. As for Juvy, he’s brand new here, having been around about three weeks.

There was also an internet rumor that he was actually Sean Waltman under the mask which is about as bizarre of a story as I’ve ever heard of. He trips over the steps during his intro in a funny thing, so maybe there was a reason for that story after all. Oh yeah we actually have a match to do now. Konnan is now described as a big man. That’s just odd to hear. In a painful looking spot, Konnan picks him up and just drops him over the top to the floor.

Juvy goes to the other ring and hits a QUADRUPLE jump leg lariat to take over. Take that Sabu. This is back when Konnan was motivated and therefore was actually interesting to watch as well as entertaining. The commentary just stops for like 30 seconds. That was strange. I’m watching a WCW show where there is decent wrestling going on.

Never mind on that strange comment. Juvy is flying all over the place here and it’s surprisingly working for me. Tenay calls the rope the top strand. Ok then. They botch the heck out of a moonsault press. I’d put that on Konnan though as it looked fine but Konnan didn’t sell it at all. He hits a great powerbomb to make up for it I guess. There’s a good deal of sloppiness here but for the most part it’s working.

In a STUPID move, Juvy has him set for a top rope rana and instead just backflips off the top. Konnan hits a dropkick immediately as he lands which Juvy freaking deserves. DAng that looked stupid. The masked dude hits a springboard spinwheel kick which is one of my favorite moves. 450 hits for two. A corkscrew splash gets two as for some reason the crowd is dead all of a sudden. Konnan hits what we would call a Musclebuster for two and then a super powerbomb from the top for the pin.

Rating: B-. This gets a much better grade if not for the sloppiness. I thought it worked quite well though for what they were trying to do. This was another example of WCW throwing some people out there and seeing what they could do. On that level I would say it definitely worked. Again though, the constant botches were hurting it. There was some good stuff though so I’d say it was good.

 

Juvy would be used frequently in six man lucha libre tag team matches, such as this one from May 26, 1997 on Nitro.

 

Hector Garza/Juventud Guerrera/Super Calo vs. Ciclope/Damien/La Parka

This is under Mexican rules, which means if you go to the floor, another member of your team can come in just like a tag. La Parka and Juvy get us going with Juvy taking over with a quick spin kick to the face. Juvy goes up but his cross body is caught and La Parka struts over to the corner and sets Juvy up top. Juvy comes back with a big top rope rana to send Parka to the floor.

Off to Ciclope as Larry complains about the Mexican rules because “we’re not in Mexico.” Sometimes common sense is the best approach. Calo comes in to replace Parka and hits a headscissors to send Parka to the floor. Calo hits a HUGE suicide dive to send both guys into the crowd, giving us Damien vs. Garza. Garza is basically here for one move: a corkscrew plancha to the floor. The idea is that he’s going to hit it but you don’t know when or how many people he’ll take out.

Everything breaks down and it’s almost impossible to tell who is legal as four people came in at the same time when Garza and Damien went to the floor. It appears to be Calo vs. Damien now with Calo in control, only to take his eyes off Damien and get jumped. Off to Garza who speeds things up but gets sent to the floor.

Everyone goes to the floor and it’s time to fire off the dives. Garza hits his big corkscrew plancha, prompting Larry to ask if Garza thinks he’s Captain Planet. Turner property or not, that’s the best Larry can come up with? Damien tries a seated senton back inside but Garza catches him in a powerbomb and hits a standing moonsault for the pin.

Rating: B. This is pretty much the textbook definition for a lucha libre spotfest and there’s nothing wrong with that. Other than Juvy, none of these guys have stood out but they know how to fire off all kinds of flips and dives. While not a great match from a technical standpoint or anything like that, it was fun and the dives were great. That’s what you want to do with an opener too. Good stuff here.

With all of his success, Juvy would get a Cruiserweight Title shot on the first episode of Thunder.

Cruiserweight Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon

Dragon is defending. Apparently Scott Steiner has been fined $5000 for hitting the referee during the tag match. The announcers didn’t even notice it so it’s likely a bit extreme. Feeling out process to start with both guys hitting some quick strikes until Juvy hits a springboard spinwheel kick for two. Guerrera misses a splash in the corner and gets stomped down as we actually talk about the match for a bit. Actually scratch that as it’s time to talk about Starrcade a bit more.

Dragon misses a handspring elbow in the corner as the fans think this is boring. Juvy loads up a top rope rana but gets crotched to the floor instead. Dragon hits a moonsault to the floor but injures his knee in the process. They head back in and Dragon hits a release German suplex for two but the top rope rana is countered again. Juvy knocks him to the mat but dives into a dropkick fro Dragon, only to come back with a quick DDT. The Juvy Driver sets up the 450 for the pin and a new champion.

Rating: C. Pretty slow paced stuff here as their high spots weren’t connecting all that well. Dragon only held the belt for about eight days here so it’s kind of hard to care about the title changing this fast. It’s not a bad match but again at just under five minutes we didn’t have time to get invested in it at all.

Dragon had only been champion for eight days, and since it’s WCW the title would change hands two more times before the end of the month. Chris Jericho would enter February with the title and offer Juvy a deal: a title shot for putting up his mask. Juvy agreed at Superbrawl VIII.

Cruiserweight Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Chris Jericho

This is Jericho’s title vs. Juvy’s mask. Jericho won’t take his belt off. Heenan: “It’s his binky.” He backs Juvy against the ropes with it on and the referee seems ok with it. Juvy slides between the ropes and hits a spin kick into the belt which hurts Jericho far worse. He finally takes the belt off and we’re ready to go. They hit the mat for a bit until Jericho takes over with a knee to the chest. Juvy is backdropped to the apron but comes back in with a springboard spinwheel kick.

A springboard hurricanrana takes Jericho out to the floor and the referee starts counting. Jericho gets caught raising his head up to make sure no one is looking before staying on the ground. Juvy sees through the goldbricking and splashes him from the ring. Back in and Juvy flips out of a German suplex but gets dropped chest first onto the buckle. Jericho throws him to the floor and tries to use the steps as a launchpad, only to be sent face first into the barricade.

Guerrera’s springboard is caught in a tombstone for two as Jericho is getting frustrated. The arrogant cover gets two and Jericho is getting frustrated. A delayed vertical suplex and a senton get two and Jericho hooks a backbreaker submission. Jericho gets two off a clothesline and the frustrations continue. Juvy’s top rope hurricanrana is countered into an electric chair but Jericho spends too much time posing and gets dropkicked to the floor. Air Juvy (love that move) takes Chris down again and the 450 hits back inside for the pin despite Jericho grabbing the ropes.

The referee waves it off and Jericho uses the opening to chop block Juvy’s leg. Guerrera grabs a DDT out of nowhere for two and a springboard hurricanrana gets the same. Jericho takes him down with a reverse suplex but can’t hit the Lionsault. The Liontamer is countered into a cradle for two but another hurricanrana attempt is countered into the Liontamer for the submission.

Rating: B-. This was another good win for Jericho but Juvy did a great job at flying all over the place and making the match exciting. Jericho was on a roll at this point and was such a horrible person that you can’t help but cheer against him. It’s a good match but we’re still waiting on the big showdowns with Malenko and Mysterio.

Jericho rips Juvy apart during the unmasking and tells him to put it back on. For the life of me I don’t get WCW’s thinking about this. Why would you want to give away such a lucrative merchandise opportunity like the mask? Jericho takes the mask for his trophy case in a gimmick someone should bring back.

He would also occasionally fight big guys, such as Reese at Great American Bash 1998.

Juventud Guerrera vs. Reese

Standard giant bully vs. scrappy little guy story coming into this. Guerrera prays before the match starts and we get a LONG staredown. Juvy tries a right hand but is easily sent backwards into the corner. He charges right back and scores with some shots to the face but Reese shoves him right back down. Guerrera bails to the floor and gets Reese to chase him, only to slide back in and try a dive. Reese pulls him out of the air and tosses Juvy back inside but the small man kicks at the knee as Reese gets back in.

Reese grabs Juvy by the head and holds him back to show just how much bigger he is than Guerrera. Juvy goes up and tries a choke before ripping at his face. Reese goes down to one knee where he still comes up to Guerrera’s shoulders. The big man finally just drops back to crush Juvy and the beating begins. There’s a backbreaker with Juvy being bent over Reese’s knee like a toy.

A HUGE beal sends Guerrera across the ring and Reese stands on his hair and pulls on Juvy’s arms. There’s the bearhug with Reese shaking Juvy around like he’s made of paper. Reese lets him go so Juvy kicks him low a few times, which is legal since Reese is in the Flock ala Saturn earlier. In a smart move, Reese drops down to a knee to punch Juvy in the face.

A vertical suplex puts Juvy down but he climbs up the referee to beat the ten count. Now Reese gets a chair but referee Charles Robinson pulls it away. Juvy goes up top for a hurricanrana but gets caught in midair. Lodi has the referee for no apparent reason and Van Hammer pops up to blast Reese with the chair, allowing Juvy to flip him over (even more awkwardly than you would imagine) and get a pin with Reese’s shoulders only about four inches off the mat.

Rating: C+. They were THIS close to hitting this out of the park but the ending didn’t quite work. The hurricanrana looking terrible and the pin being a disaster brings this down but that’s about its only problem. They had the crowd right where they wanted them and could have blown the roof off if the underdog won like he should have. Hammer coming in was fine as if Juvy overcomes too much it becomes comical which is the wrong idea. This was a tightrope to walk and they almost pulled it off.

It was soon back to the Jericho feud though, this time with Jericho’s longtime rival Dean Malenko as referee. From Road Wild 1998.

Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera

Dean Malenko is refereeing and Jericho is defending. Jericho comes to the ring in a purple kimona because that’s the kind of guy he is. As always, he wants us to want him but opts to tease the bikers instead. I wonder if there are any Aces and 8’s in the crowd. Jericho takes him into the corner to start and Malenko tears him away as he’s supposed to do. Juvy takes out Jericho’s legs and chops away but Jericho elbows him in the face to take over again.

Juvy is sent to the floor and Jericho loads something up but Dean pulls him to the mat by the hair. Well at least according to Tenay, as the camera was on Juvy the entire time. Back in and Juvy slams Jericho onto the mat and a missile dropkick sends the champion outside. Guerrera chops him off the platform and into the barricade before going inside for a HUGE placha over the platform and into Jericho into the barricade.

Back in and Juvy gets two off a springboard cross body but Jericho catches another cross body attempt into something resembling a Juvy Driver for two. Dean’s count was noticeably slow and the count off a delayed vertical suplex is even slower. Juvy rolls out to the floor while Jericho yells at some fans before getting hit with a backsplash for two. We hit the chinlock on Guerrera before Chris stomps away and talks trash.

The Lionsault hits knees and Juvy comes back with chops and a hurricanrana. A top rope spinwheel kicks gets the same……slow……two……count from Dean but Jericho counters a running hurricanrana into a powerbomb. Jericho kicks him out to the apron instead of covering and kicks Juvy onto the floor. Back in and a clothesline gets two on Guerrera as the crowd is trying to care about this.

A Jericho powerbomb is countered into a DDT to wake the fans up a bit and the Juvy Driver gets a two count. Jericho is dazed but still manages to crotch Guerrera on the top and superplex him back down. Juvy rolls over for two but has another hurricanrana countered into the Liontamer. He’s right in front of the ropes though and Jericho is getting frustrated.

Juvy pounds away in the corner and Dean seems to have been poked in the eye. A belt shot lays out the challenger but Dean’s slow count means it’s only for two. Jericho is all ticked off and goes to the middle rope. He kicks Dean in the chest and that makes Malenko snap. Well snap as much as he’s capable of. Dean launches a charging Juvy into a middle rope Frankensteiner for the pin and the title.

Rating: B-. The match was good but it’s running with the anchor of this entire show. Maybe the heat of the day has something to do with it but these matches have all been incredibly sluggish. Juvy was trying here and Jericho was his usual great self but they could only get so far. Again though, why didn’t they just have Dean take the title himself?

 

We’ll jump ahead a few months to a match with a guy whose mass appeal I never saw. From Spring Stampede 1999.

 

Blitzkrieg vs. Juventud Guerrera

I’ve heard a ton of great things about Blitzkrieg but I don’t remember him that well. Apparently he’s one of the more insane high fliers ever. I’ve heard his music before somewhere but I can’t place it. The winner faces the Cruiserweight Champion tomorrow night. They shake hands pre match and the crowd is hot. They go to the mat quickly and Juvy might have pulled his mask a bit. Well if you wear one it might get pulled you lunkhead.

They speed things up and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two for Blitzkrieg. Blitzkrieg pounds away in the corner but Juvy comes back with a springboard dropkick to take over. Blitzkrieg goes outside so Juvy hits a great dive to the floor. Brainbuster gets two. Here’s a surfboard which always amazes me. Blitzkrieg speeds things up and hits a spin kick. A dropkick puts Juvy outside and Blitzkrieg sets for a dive but Juvy sees it coming and dropkicks him out of the air.

Back in and Juvy is sent out again. HUGE spinning moonsault by Blitzkrieg kills him and they go back in. Things speed up and they bust out some slick counters. A move we would call Yang Time misses for Blitzkrieg and the Juvy Driver is countered as well. Blitzkrieg tries what I guess you would call a spinning hurricanrana into a victory roll driver out of the corner for two. They go up again and Juvy counters the same move into a Juvy Driver off the middle rope for the pin.

Rating: B. Again, the old school WCW formula works: a big fast paced match to open the show with two guys just going insane out there. Blitzkrieg would only be around a few months and never really had a big match with Mysterio that I remember, which is a shame because it would have been awesome. Good stuff and better than most of the usual stuff from this division.

Juvy would hook up with Rey Mysterio in the Filthy Animals stable. The team would receive a World Tag Team Title shot on the August 14, 2000 episode of Monday Nitro.

 

Tag Team Titles: Filthy Animals vs. Great Muta/Vampiro

 

The champions jump Mysterio to start as there’s some commotion at the commentary table. A low blow puts Rey down again and it’s off to Muta for the power drive elbow. Muta cranks on the leg as the announcers talk about Kronik attacking someone who was at the commentary desk.

 

 

Vampiro comes back in for a release running powerbomb and Muta ads in some unseen chair shots to the chest on the floor. Back in and Vampiro kicks Muta by mistake and we get the hot tag to Juvy. Everything breaks down and Juvy lifts Rey into the air for a powerbomb before laying him on Vampiro. There go the lights and we’ve got Sting. He lays out the champions with the bat, allowing Mysterio to pin Muta for the titles.

 

Rating: D. This was your usual WCW madness at this point. There was barely any wrestling to be seen but we have new champions as a result. I’m still not sure who did what to whom at the commentary table, but apparently it was more important than a title match in the ring. Then again no one cared by this point anyway.

 

Guerrera would be fired for a drug issue soon after this and would of course hit the indies. We’ll start with the WWA promotion in 2001 at their first PPV: Inception.

 

International Cruiserweight Title/Seven Deadly Sins Tournament First Round: Psychosis vs. Juventud Guerrera

So not only is this for the company’s Cruiserweight Title, it’s also in the world title tournament and is a ladder match. Don’t overbook anything there guys. Also since this isn’t the first event for the company, Psychosis already won the title at a house show before this event, but the title was stripped so that the “first” champion could be crowned here. Psychosis won the first one in case you were wondering. Juvy gets on the mic before the match and does his Rock imitation which never was all that funny to me.

Something very different about this show is that the commentary comes through the PA system, meaning the fans can hear it. They head into the corner to start with Psychosis taking over. Juvy comes back with a spinwheel kick and a tornado DDT as things speed up. They head to the floor with Juvy shoving the ladder down so that the top of it slams into Psychosis’ head. FREAKING OW MAN!

Back inside and Psychosis dropkicks the ladder into Juvy’s face, only to get it sling shotted into his own face. Psychosis is busted open bad. Back inside and the fans aren’t all that thrilled with this. Juvy hits a loud chop in the corner and the ladder is laid across the top rope. Juvy tries a sunset flip which means nothing in this so it’s back to the ladder. Jerry suggests going for the belt. Gee thanks King. Juvy gets draped across the top rope and Psychosis hits a guillotine legdrop across the back of his head.

We get the first attempt at going up the ladder but Juvy hits a springboard missile dropkick to take the ladder out and send Psychosis into the top rope. Juvy gets another ladder for some reason but just like earlier, Psychosis dropkicks the ladder into Juvy to knock him down.

Back in and Juvy rams Psychosis into the ladder before climbing up and hitting some kind of a dive which doesn’t really keep going once he hits Psychosis. The ladder falls down and hits the referee but he’s fine because it wasn’t a planned bump. They both go up the ladder with Juvy hitting a sunset bomb to kill Psychosis. He adds a 450 for good measure and climbs up to win the title.

Rating: C+. This was a fun spot fest and that’s about all you need for it to be. I’m not a big fan of the idea of just throwing two guys out there and saying the winner of this is champion, but at least it was fun in the process. The high spots in this were pretty good too and for what it was, this was a solid opener.

After a few more uninteresting indy appearances (including a quick and not bad run in TNA), it was off to WWE. Guerrera would win a battle royal to earn a Cruiserweight Title shot at No Mercy 2005.

Cruiserweight Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Nunzio

Nunzio is defending after Juvy won a battle royal. The attempted murderers are going to be talking on WWE.com if you’re interested. The Mexicools and Vito are on the floor. Juvy gets three covers inside of 20 seconds. Nunzio gets some rollups as well and it’s a standoff. The crowd is pretty quiet for this. A headscissors gets two for Juvy. Tazz, who was all shocked and serious a few minutes before, is making juice jokes.

Nunzio takes it to the mat with a surfboard hold as Tazz has to remind himself that there’s a match going on. Rollup gets two for Juvy. They both go up and both hit facejams to put both guys down. They speed things up again and a seated dropkick gets two for Guerrera. Inverted powerbomb gets two. Juvy tries a sunset flip but gets shoved off so he headscissors Vito instead. Top rope crossbody is rolled through into two for Nunzio but he hits the Juvy Driver a few seconds later for the pin and the title.

Rating: D+. I feel sorry for the guys in matches like these. No one is interested in seeing them and probably even fewer care who wins. This match is background noise while the fans catch their breath before we get to the main event. That being said, the match was nothing interesting at all as the Cruiserweight Title was long since dead at this point.

This run didn’t last long either as it was back to Mexico, where we’ll wrap things up at TripleMania XX.

 

La Hermanadad 187 vs. Chessman/Juventud Guerrera vs. La Familia de Tijuana vs. Hart Foundation 2.0

La Hermanadad is Joe Lider and Psychosis, La Familia is Extreme Tiger and Halloween and the Hart Foundation is Jack Evans and Teddy Hart. This is a Parejas Suicidas cage match, which means it’s escape rules. The only team left in the ring has to face each other later in the night in a lucha de apuesta match. Apparently Lider and Psychosis are back together for one night only after Psychosis (who is wearing his mask again) was burned by an errant fireball.

Chessman is a tag champion with Abyss here but is teaming with Juvy for some reason. Speaking of Juvy, he’s Cruiserweight Champion, back in his mask, and comes out to Enter Sandman of all songs. As the announcer is doing the intros, La Hermanadad destroys everyone with chairs. Tiger gets up too and works over Lider, hitting a big double stomp off the top onto his chest.

Halloween climbs to the top of the cage for a huge dive, thinks better of it, and climbs down to escape. Smart man that painted freak. There are weapons in the cage too. That’s about the extent of the commentary I can give you here as everyone is fighting everyone and there’s no structure to the match at all, which is fine. Halloween is sitting in the aisle with a soda cheering Extreme Tiger on.

Someone ranas Tiger onto a trashcan and Lider hits a knee to the face of Evans. Tiger dropkicks a trashcan into Psychosis’ face as Guerrera escapes. Tiger gets on one of the beams across the top of the cage as Psychosis does the Terry Funk spinning ladder spot. Tiger hits a HUGE dive onto Halloween and Juvy, officially taking La Familia out of the match. In your twist of the match, Psychosis and Lider are fighting on top of the beam with Psychosis firing staples into Lider’s head. They’re partners but they entered the match for a chance to fight each other later. Psychosis gets to the floor.

To recap we have Lider, Evans, Hart and Chessman in the ring still. Evans does one of his WAY overdone flips to Lider before climbing the cage and moonsaulting off the beam. Evans escapes, leaving us with three people inside the cage. Halloween now has some popcorn to go with that soda. Hart hits some backbreakers on both guys followed by a moonsault off the cage.

Hart easily escapes and we’re down to Chessman vs. Lider. Lider crushes Chessman against a ladder and goes up, accepting help from Psychosis despite wanting to fight him. Chessman kicks Lider down though and escapes to send La Hermanadad to a match later tonight.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t so much of a match as much as it was a trainwreck with the focus entirely being on Lider and Psychosis. They were a long running feud so the blowoff being here tonight is a good thing and makes the most sense. The other teams were just kind of there but we got dives off the cage and the fans were into it which is a good thing.

 

Overall Juventud Guerrera is one of the best high fliers we were lucky enough to see in American wrestling. The guy is just insane in the ring and the Air Juvy move was always one of my favorites. He was one of the only people in the world that could hang with Mysterio and he did it to perfection. Check out any of his WCW stuff and you’ll get an entertaining match.

 

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