Daga has his most high profile US indy match this Saturday in AAW in LaSalle, Illinois (about an hour or so outside of Chicago) against NJPW’s Michael Elgin. Daga’s been in AAA and had a small role in Lucha Underground, but isn’t as known as most of the Mexicans who came before him (Penta, Fenix, Aerostar, Drago, Fantasma) and hasn’t been as featured as Mil Muertes/Mesias, who’s also debuting Saturday.
Daga hasn’t shown the ability to connect with a crowd of Penta, and doesn’t wow you with flying moves like Fenix. Daga’s more a straight ahead MMA influenced striker, wearing his opponents down with kicks and elbows and chops and hopefully winning the fans over by his willingness to take the same punishment. In Mexico, he’s the very real black & white straight man who stands as a contrast to colorful and sometimes farcical opponents. In the US, where there a few less colors and a little less levity, he’s going to have to fight very hard to stand out. I think he can do it, but this is going to be test.
At the last AAW show, I was asked which Daga matches would be worth checking out before he debuted, to get a sense of how he wrestles. I immediately recommended the Fenix singles match from last year, arguably the best 2016 AAA match.
but the person had already seen it and I was stumped for a second answer. Which was not the greatest endorsement of a guy I like.
It’s not totally my falling as a lucha libre person – AAA seemed to think highly of Daga, but rarely scheduled him for singles matches. His only other AAA TV singles match was the apuesta match with Australian Suicide. That match was alright, but marred by usual AAA single matches issues. Daga’s had a few more singles since he’s left AAA (including one with ACH where ACH steals the show in usual fashion) but nothing that jumps to mind as a great exhibition for Daga.
Daga’s match with Texano in Season 2 Lucha Underground was great for both guys, but LU didn’t put that one online. You kind of have to go back all the way to his dream match against Davey Richards in 2011 for another spotlight singles match, who’s style Daga’s greatly resembles. (That’s also my guess why Elgin/Daga is the match; Elgin had some very highly rated matches with Davey Richards, so maybe Daga can recreate some of that.)
There’s plenty of other Daga of matches, if you’re willing to watch Daga matches where he’s not always the focus and there’s more people around. The four way for the AAA Fusion Championship wasn’t a 1 on 1, but was a pretty good match. It’s a shame the title didn’t amount to much.
There are plenty of tag matches from the last couple years though. Daga, Steve Pain and a changing third partner were a much enjoyed rudo trio in AAA in 2014-2015, and were part of a strong core of TV matches during that period
Daga & Steve Pain challenged Angelico & Jack Evans for the tag titles in 2014
They welcomed Fireball (Flamita) back to AAA in an superb TV match right before that year’s TripleMania.
they had a really good three way tag match with Angelico & Jack Evans and Pentagon & Joe Lider, which played off Daga’s split allegances in his own group and the Perros del Mal
and they meshed well with Australian Suicide & Speedball, in one of Mike Bailey’s last matches with AAA (and part of the long build to Daga/Suicide)
The best match of this run, at least to me, was an oustanding trios match with Aerostar, Bengala (Ricky Marvin) and Argenis, with Hijo del Pirata as the third rudo. This isn’t all Daga being great – Aerostar & Pain have an unreal chemistry and I’m disappointed we haven’t got to see them go one on one somewhere – but everyone comes out of this match looking good.
These matches are generally against smaller or same sized people, guys who don’t look a lot like Michael Elgin. (Not many people look like Michael Elgin!) Daga’s challenge on Saturday will be to adapt what he can do – the strikes might not be as effective against bulldozer, and he’s probably not going to take a headscissors. It’s going to be tough, but he’s got to not give up, and let the crowd know too that he’s to he’s going to keep fighting. Daga’s old catchphrase was #DagaEsLucha – Daga is Fight, and he’s got fight a lot on Saturday.