The previous decade has had some of the most memorable mask matches of all time
By Roy Lucier
With so many matches to choose from, I figured I would make a list of the mask matches that we will look back on through 2010 to 2019 fondly. We all know and understand the importance of the mask and what it means to the luchador involved.
Mask matches are some of the biggest draws in Lucha Libre, and some of the greatest moments have come from the ultimate humiliation, the loss of a luchadores mask, which for many luchadores, is their entire identity.
Some luchadores have been lucky enough that the loss of their mask hasn’t
been “the kiss of death” to their career, but it does happen, when a luchador has their mask removed, and their entire mystique is gone and their careers never recover. I’ve listed my own personal picks, by how important the wrestler’s career (before and after the mask loss), importance to the sport, historical relevance, and also how good the match was where he/she lost their mask, along with some “honorable mentions” from over the last decade. You are welcome to name your own, in fact I encourage it, as this is simply my own opinion. I should note that every single match listed here is available on YouTube, either complete or the finish clipped.
Sin Cara “Negro” (Vs. Sin Cara “Azul” on October 16th, 2011 in Mexico City) – I believe this is the second mask Vs. mask match in the history of the company (Kane Vs. Vader was the first). It was obviously an attempt to cash in on a big crowd for the Smackdown TV tapings, as the two had been feuding for a couple months leading up to this. Good match, but nothing super memorable other than it being a rare time that the former Mistico used “La Mistica” to get the submission. I would have liked it if they had made this two out of three falls, since the crowd there understood that format.
Princess Sugehit (Vs. Zeuxis on September 16th, 2017 at the CMLL 84th Anniversary Show) – The average fan would recognize both these names are luchadoras that appeared in separate Mae Young Classics for the WWE. This is a really enjoyable match, with a lot of brawling and high spots outside the ring, but some innovative offense (and defense) inside the ring, especially the pin in the 2nd fall. As a warning, please try your best to ignore El Tirantes, who’s at an all time bad here, with 4 counts for pinfalls. Worth watching.
El Golpeador (Vs. Golden Magic on November 1st, 2015 for IWRG in “Castillo de Terror”) – In doing research on this subject, this match was mentioned by someone who attended live, who said the crowd really didn’t know what to expect and didn’t have a winner decided beforehand. While the whole match wasn’t available online, I did see the finish, which was very unique. It was a cage match where the first to hit the floor would win, and both luchadores fall down during a move off the apron by Golden Magic. If a finish like this has happened before, I can’t think of it. Very dramatic and unique finish, with Golpeador beating down all the officials because of his level of frustration.
Chamuel (Vs. Micro Man on September 27th, 2019 at the CMLL 86th Anniversary Show) – Had to ask this one. Mini mask vs mask matches are extremely rare, and this one lived up to the hype. Really creative and a fun watch. This was so good, I really wish it had been 2/3 falls. The crowd was really into the near falls and submissions around the end. Odd to see a Canadian Destroyer as a finish, especially since 99% of other companies kick out of it when it happens. Short due to the 1 fall but a fun watch.
La Mascara (Vs. Dragon Lee on September 2nd, 2016 for CMLL’s 83rd Anniversary) –The finish to the 2nd fall was amazing, as Rush got involved and attacked La Mascara. Dragon Lee then goes for the pin but gets DQ’d, and Lee absolutely loses it on his brother and forces him to leave as his second. I’d love to hear if this has happened in other mask matches in the past. The drama in the 3rd fall with Rush returning to the ring and almost costing Lee the match was amazing, not to mention Rush forgetting his brother and having La Mascara join Los Ingobernables afterwards added to it. The way Dragon Lee looked at the mask afterwards, it was almost like, was it worth winning this to lose my brother? Really enjoyed this match, and wonder often if the “car smashing” incident hadn’t happened, how far La Mascara would be pushed nowadays with CMLL. Between this and the Kamaitachi mask matches, this really elevated Dragon Lee in the fans eyes.
Angel de Oro (Vs. Cuatrero on March 16th, 2018 at Homenaje a Dos Leyendas) – This match really helped elevate Cuatrero to the next level, as a lot of people expected him to lose here, since his father and uncles had all lost their masks in the past. The match was good, and featured rare brawling out into the crowd, and a dive from Angel de Oro from the elevated ramp the luchadores come down on. After a series of moves leading to a pin, Angel de Oro called for his mother and father to come into the ring and he was unmasked.
TOP TEN MASK MATCHES
10) Canis Lupus (Vs. Trauma I on September 4th, 2016 for IWRG‘s “Mascara vs Mascara”) – If you haven’t heard of Canis Lupus before reading this, that’s fine, you’re not alone. But once you watch this match, you’ll never forget it (or his opponent, Trauma I). The build up to this match was amazing, as Lupus had beaten Mascara Año 2000 Jr. for his hair previous to this, really coming across as unbeatable. This match alone is enough to make someone make sure to visit Arena Naulcapan to see an IWRG show if they visit Mexico City. Good first two falls, but the third fall is where all the magic happens. After some plastic chair shots, both guys bleed buckets, especially Lupus (whos mask seriously is hanging by a thread as the blood flows off his forehead). You wanna see a match where the near falls and the submissions count and make you believe? This is the match to watch. The ring just covers in blood similar to a crime scene. After a ref bump, Lupus hits the dreaded (and illegal) “martinete”, yet Trauma grabs the rope for the break of the pin. The medic comes into the ring and attempts to put a neck brace on Trauma, but Lupus pushes him away. Trauma then puts on a leg lock for the submission. Amazing match, must be seen to be believed. Great drama, great wrestling, great blood here, oh, and we get a wedding proposal after the match as well!
9) Mascara Año 2000 Jr. (Vs. Dr. Wagner Jr. on August 5th, 2012 at TripleMania XX) – Pretty basic match to start, with a lot of interference from Mascara Año 2000 and the rudo referee either ignoring it or it was a no DQ to start. However, once Silver King got involved and hit his own brother with the chair, it went from 10 to 100. The fans literally rioted, like throwing everything not nailed down. Truly a sight to see. The finish involved a beer bottle across the head and the rudo ref hesitating but eventually counting the pinfall.
8) Kamaitachi (Vs. Dragon Lee on March 20th, 2015 at Homenaje de Dos Leyendas) – Had to include this, especially with the history between the two over the decade all over the world. Hard hitting, lots of flying here, any fan of theirs will appreciate seeing this match, although it’s safe to say the rivalry didn’t die down once the mask was lost, and this match was just a beginning of some insane stuff to come.
7) Niebla Roja (Vs. Gran Guerrero on September 16th, 2017 at the 84th Anniversary) – The best mask matches are usually the ones where the fans seriously question ahead of time who’s going to drop their mask, and I’ve been told a lot of people here were split on who would lose their mask, especially since Niebla Roja had been “established” for some time. Nice first fall, starts hot and has a surprise pinfall. Props to the referee here, by the way. Good third fall, a few believable near falls before Gran hit Niebla with the final three count. Emotional ending, with Niebla calling his dad into the ring to help unmask him.
6) Hijo de Fantasma (Vs. L.A. Park/Pentagon Jr./Psycho Clown on August 26th, 2018) at TripleMania XXVI) – This might be one of my personal favorites from this list. I remember a huge press conference announcing this, which was a huge deal as the public knew there was legal issues between Pentagon Jr. and AAA, so this was the match where he returned. The match started as a cage match between the four, which was really good, with dives off the top, weapons, tables, etc., until Pentagon Jr escaped first, then Psycho Clown, and then the cage was lifted, leaving L.A. Park and Hijo de Fantasma as the final two. One of the best performances ever by LA Park, from the beating he took, and the comebacks from “impossible odds” since Hijo de Tirantes was obviously biased, although both guys deserve a ton of recognition for what they did here. Lots of blood here from Park, this match isn’t for the squeamish. The mask ripping was amazing, both guys faced clearly showed, especially Park‘s, which was drenched in blood. Loved the spot where Hijo de Fantasma took off his own mask to try to get the DQ, but then L.A. Park takes off his own, and the ref just continues the match. After the finish, the drama and “future build up” with Nieto de Fantasma doing the throat cutting signal was off the charts amazing. Oh, let’s not forget the postmatch with Dr. Wagner Jr. challenging L.A. Park to a mask vs hair match, which ended up being changed to Blue Demon Jr. instead of L.A. Park.
5) La Sombra (Vs. Atlantis on September 18th, 2015 at CMLL 82nd Anniversary) – I think it’s safe to say, that if La Sombra hadn’t signed with the WWE, this wouldn’t have happened. The result was a complete surprise to a lot of experts, and was the culmination of the Atlantis/Volador Jr. Vs. La Sombra/Ultimo Guerrero feud, with Sombra taking Volador Jr‘s mask, then Atlantis taking Ultimo Guerrero‘s, leaving this as the final puzzle piece. La Sombra was on the path to becoming one of the greatest that CMLL had ever witnessed, with all the masks and big matches he had won before this. This may be one of the best first falls on this list, as the battle was all over the place, and not just the usual pinfall within 3 minutes first fall. Fall saw Rush interfere and Sombra get DQ’d, and the referee and commissioner Rambo ordered the seconds to leave ringside. Second fall was quick, but damn the third fall was amazing. Lots of brawling in the crowd, believable near falls, near submissions, and every reason why we are fans of Lucha. One day I hope to visit wherever Atlantis has all these masks saved that he has won over his career. As we all know, La Sombra unmasked and is now Andrade “Cien” Almas in the WWE.
4) Volador Jr. (Vs. La Sombra on September 13th, 2013 at CMLL 80th Anniversary) – Great start to the match here, with Volador Jr. doing a dive off of the stage, although the fall did end quickly thereafter. A lot of crazy dives and high spots during the third fall. The fans started really getting emotionally invested once the near falls started. Good match, but not at the level of the others on this list, but Volador Jr. was and still is a huge name in CMLL, even to this date, this match is just missing the drama that many other apuesta matches have.
3) El Felino (Vs. La Sombra on March 19th, 2010 at Homenaje a Dos Leyendas) – The decade started with a mask that I never thought I’d see drop, the mask of El Felino, finally leaving all three of the Casas brothers unmasked. There’s a clipped version of this match on YouTube, and Sombra really shines here, with a lot of smooth high flying offense, and El Felino doing some great technical moves and submissions. Sombra got the pin with the Magistral, and from what was shown, it was a great way to begin the decade. Admit I wasn’t watching Lucha at this time live, so I don’t know the reason why any family like Negro Casas or Pepe Casas weren’t in the ring when Felino took off his mask.
2) Ultimo Guerrero (Vs. Atlantis on September 19th, 2014 at CMLL 81st Anniversary) – This honestly may have been the closest that I felt that Atlantis was going to lose his mask, as Ultimo Guerrero had already won some important masks before this, especially the mask of Villano V and Mr. Aguila. This match really came across as something special even before the luchadores came out to the ring, with the dancing and music. First and second fall were pretty quick with a pin in the 1st by Ultimo and submission in the second by Atlantis. Really good third fall, and one of the most emotional mask removals ever, with Atlantis and Ultimo both on the mic extremely emotional. Atlantis said this mask will have a very special place with him.
1) Dr. Wagner Jr. (Vs. Psycho Clown on August 26th, 2017 at Triplemania XXV) – I honestly thought Dr. Wagner Jr. would be one of those luchadors that would never lose their mask. Lucha Libre AAA did an amazing job here with the pre-match ceremony and build up as well. Looking back, having Psycho Clown be the person who Wagner dropped his mask to was the right call, especially with Psycho‘s age and a long future ahead of him. Maybe the only match on this list I can think of that had the Mexican National Anthem sang before the match started. Psycho was obviously pumped up for this one, and had a large amount of the fan support. Wagner did a great job ripping the mask of Psycho and drawing blood, even biting it. The visual of the blood running down the mask and onto the tongue on the mask was amazing. Luckily there was one point where Psycho went for a third dive on Wagner and missed, yet was able to continue, even though it looked bad. After a lot of near falls, Psycho hit the Canadian Destroyer and got the pinfall and was joined by who I assume is his son and Maximo and La Mascara. Really good stuff after the match with Wagner taking off his own mask and saying his name and years in the business.
VIDEOS: WWE, CMLL, Lucha Libre AAA & Más Lucha
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