DJ Z vs Laredo Kid – AAW Day of Defiance 2018

DJ Z vs Laredo Kid

05/05/2018

Knights of Columbus Hall, LaSalle, Illinois, United States

(reviewed 07/12/2018) I love authentic Mexican food, or what I surmise to be the “authentic” stuff I find in hole in the wall restaurants here in the Midwest. I’ve been to Mexico and ordered food out of the back of a truck on the side of the road and while the years since might’ve dulled my memory, the burritos I get at the almacén up the way ain’t that different as far as I can tell. The thing is, tracing and defining authenticity is a very difficult process and largely just a fool’s errand. Cultures don’t remain “pure” in any sense in this global village. Familial recipes and guarded traditions are passed down through the generations but it’s hard to say that the tortillas the women at my local joint are making taste the exact same as the ones their tatara-tatara-tatarabuelas were making 100 years ago. There are just too many variables involved now, between the changes in mass-produced food to the changes in technology to the changes in geography to the influence of American/European/Asian/etc. standards and tastes to plain ol’ human deviation. Nothing is static. Cultures are changing and intermingling constantly. What one would call “authentic” today is a pale imitation of what was “authentic” in years past. Furthermore, an outsider like me has little right to judge the merits of a people and tradition they are not a part of. Maybe I could point to certain elements of a product of that people and say “hey this doesn’t look like what I understand other versions of this thing to be”, but what the fuck do I know?

Wrestling’s the same way. Last year I was pretty well incensed at an Indystrongtibles three-way that I felt was entirely too influenced by American and Japanese wrestling to be enjoyable as lucha libre. I’m still wary of the wider stylistic homogenization of wrestling worldwide (principally because I think most of the matches born of that homogenization thus far stink) but I look at a really fun match like this one and think to myself that it’s not all that different from that three-way last year. These guys aren’t doing a bevy of WWE finishers, sure, but they’re doing RVD/Lynn standoff spots and incorporating elements of Japanese junior heavyweight wrestling (things that have been central to a certain sort of lucha for 30+ years now, to be fair) and in general playing to the sensibilities of this white-ass audience in an Illinois mine town. It’s still essentially lucha libre, at its basest form. Laredo Kid’s from Nuevo Laredo and spent half a decade in AAA. DJ Z might be a Filipino dude from Pennsylvania, but he’s spent significant time in Mexico and has a better handle on that style than just about any non-Latinx person in the States right now. Despite the fact that these guys spend so much time twirling around in promotions in the Midwest and East Coast, they’re very much still luchadors wrestling in the lucha style. It might be watered down a little. It might aim for the bare minimum. It might not be “authentic” the way I think of an 80s Sangre Chicana match as “authentic”, but it’s still worthwhile and it’s still enjoyable. Taco Bell is still food, at the end of the day. And who knows, maybe this Gordita Supreme® of a match might actually lead someone to watching something from Neza or Naucalpan or wherever. Maybe then it’ll be worth it.

Anywho this is a neat little thing. Give it a whirl. Take it with a Baja Blast and don’t forget those shitty cinnamon twists. Put a quarter in that one coin drop game they have on the counter. Make a meal of it.

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