the Big Story: Nacho Libre premiered in Mexico. It’d debuted in the United States in June, and this should’ve been mentioned there, but I sort of forget. And I’m not sure it’s a major story for any other reason than it’s supposed to be.
For those of you reading this in 2010 who aren’t familiar, Nacho Libre starred comedian Jack Black and featured the writer/director of recent the indy cult favorite Napoleon Dynamite. It was loosely based on the life story of Fray Tormenta, but really just lifting the concept idea of a religious figure who led a double life as a luchador and making up everything else from there. (It was still close enough that Fray Tormenta got interviewed dozens of times before the movie even aired.) The movie was promoted as a Nickeloden film, aimed at a young teens.
Nacho Libre received below average reviews, with critics complaining about the one joke nature of the film, and the movie trying too hard to be campy for it to work. The movie did find some fans, who were into the underdog story of the lead character. The movie cost $35 mil to make, and grossed nearly $100 mil in box offices alone, so it was certainly a financial success.
The lucha libre scenes weren’t authentic lucha libre, just what they could do to fit the movie in the time wanted to spend in the ring. The movie did feature appearances by lucha libre wrestlers, most notably Silver King as the lead rudo, Ramses.
One of the big questions surrounding the movie, at least for people already interested in lucha libre, was what effect the movie would have on those who didn’t know Mexican wrestling. There hasn’t been a big surge of interest as a result of the movie, but I think there was an increase of visibility from the movie. Nickeloden obviously liked the numbers they saw, as they’re working on a lucha libre cartoon, and airing a Kaiju Big Batte inspired wrestling show. It’s going to take some time to see if this has any long term traction, or if it’s just a minor fad.
In Mexico, the movie hit #1 in the box office during it’s run. (It peaked at #2 in the US.) Silver King continued his role as Ramses outside the movie (wearing the gold Ramses mask, but still being listed as Silver King since everyone knew it was him in the movie), and an indy wrestler or two took up the Nacho Libre gimmick themselves. The big promotions didn’t seem to take advantage of any crossover with the movie themselves.
I still haven’t seen Nacho Libre. I’d heard so much about it for the months up till it aired, and was just happy that part was over when the movie finally aired. The reviews didn’t help.
Masks banned: The big screen wasn’t the only place lucha was making news in August. For at least the last year, some Mexican soccer players had celebrated scoring goals by putting on lucha masks. After a similar bit was done in the World Cup, the federations decided they had enough, and banned wearing masks, declaring the illegal foreign objects. Gabriel Pereyra, a more well known soccer player with the Cruz Azul team, who would do this bit and was invited by CMLL to Arena Mexico for some photo ops with Mistico, seemed to be the focus of this regulation
Roberto Rangel passes away: the long time referee passed away on 08/22, due to diabetes. He’d been out of the ring since the start of the year due to his declining health. Rangel had been a long time part of CMLL, back to the time of the original Santo. He’d also wrote and run wrestling magazines.
RXLL: With Vampiro out of AAA, he and partners announced the formation of an indy group based in Guadalajara, called RXLL. The plan for it seemed closer to a US indy group – flying in big names, making the money back on DVD sales – though there were plans for local and eventually international TV. There was lots of hype for the first show on September 2nd.
Things started unraveling pretty quickly. The way I’ll always remember this promotion is the ‘faulty’ early lineup that was passed around. A poster on the Box y Lucha forum posted a lineup, I and others discussed it, and then there were that somewhat upset e-mail to me about posting bad information from a person involved in the promotion. I hate having incorrect information and sharing like it’s true – that’s why I try to question some things and indicate the unsureness of others – so I was more than happy to post a correction. Except, wait, no, the ‘erroneous’ lineup was the one listed on posters advertising the show. That experience sums up RXLL’s difficulties – the different parts of the group weren’t on the same page, and communication problems seemed frequent.
Looking back at it now, I think I spent way too much time on something before it actually delivered anything. I think the end total was 1 or 2 DVDs (nothing worth seeing), 2 or 3 tapings, and everything falling apart within about a month. One of the business partners walked of with sponsor money, Vampiro moved onto other projects, and some others tried to relaunch the promotion under a different name (LLX), but those shows are being promoted just as inconsistently as before.
Too bad we never got that Blue Panther/Ron Killings match.
Latin Lover makes CMLL cameo: This was a surprise. On the 08/19 show, Latin watched the show from the front row. When the Perros del Mal appeared for the main event, he was invited in the ring by friends Perro Aguayo Jr. and Hector Garza, and put on the Perros del Mal shirt while a million flashbulbs went off. Latin and the Perros were on every single magazine cover that weekend, gaining a ton of press.
CMLL said they were going to try to sign Latin Lover, but that never panned out. Latin has left AAA, and after back and forth in the press about who owns the name, appears completely at odds with his old promotion. That may have been the plan all along – it was just a bit of publicity for both sides.
In his biggest CMLL match of the year, El Hijo del Santo beat Perro Aguayo Jr. on 08/25, with the help of foul.
Dr. Wagner Jr and LA Park finished their Arena Mexico feud in the much smaller Arena Lopez Mateos for AULL on 08/09. Wagner won while some referee shenanigans took place.
India Sioux beats Medusa for her mask: I was worried about this match. Not because I thought India was going to lose. It was pretty clear Medusa was being used to give the new young tecnica her first big win. India and Medusa just didn’t click together in the lead up feud, having exchanges that made you not want to see the match they were working hard to build. Happily, the mask match on 08/13 turned out good, which was impressive by previous standards.
Maximo beat Mr. Mexico for his hair on 08/07. This was Maximo’s fourth hair match win of the year, and he wasn’t done yet.
Universo actually defended the CMLL Heavyweight Title, beating Dos Caras Jr. in Guadalajara, his third title defense of the year. That’s huge for him. It’s huge for him that he knew where the belt was three times in a year.
Metro->Fabian, Neutron->Fabian: Fabian el Gitano, who’d spent the year as Metro (a sponsored gimmick) was replaced under the hood by Neutron. Despite the two men being different body types, different styles and wearing different outfits, CMLL didn’t actually acknowledge the change. Fabian kept working with CMLL as a regular, so the change is believed to be the sponsor’s decision.
Straight out of Russia: Alex Koslov debuted in Mexico as some random guy from the NJPW-LA Dojo. He became the first Russian to ever wrestler in Arena Mexico (we think) on 08/19, and a favorite rudo by the end of the year.
CMLL and Warners Brothers made a deal for t-shirt sales. It seems to be only on-site sales, as they still don’t have much merchandise on the CMLL site.
Thru the month, AAA pushed the Mexican Powers/Sect feud over the Atomicos titles, while Chessman continued to break away from the group. AAA started the Dream Tournament, but that and the Leyenda de Plata finished up in September, so we’ll save the talk for then. Super Porky and Scorpio Jr., and Alan Stone and Intocable, feuded elsewhere on the shows.
In the pages of Box Y Lucha, Chessman accused CMLL of stealing all their ideas from AAA, specifically citing the similarity between the Perros del Mal and the cool rudo groups of AAA.
Scoria breaks his leg – or not: There was this story about AAA’s Dark Family being involved in a cage of death match on an indy show, and it coming down to Scoria and the indy wrestler who was due to lose. As the story goes, Scoria tried to climb out, but fell, ‘breaking his leg’. Instead of the indy guy leaving the cage, they just stopped the match and awarded the win to Scoria, as that was the planned finish.
The problem with this story is Scoria wrestled a few days later at a AAA TV taping, showing no signs of a leg injury. I don’t know what actually happened here.
La Fiera, who had made a cameo at TripleMania, hurt himself badly on a dive on 08/07 in Nuevo Laredo. La Fiera didn’t wrestle much of the year, and had been deal with personal issues.
El Dandy was telling people he was going to retire. No one actually retires, but Dandy’s kept a lower profile after not getting the right feedback from his request to join CMLL.
In IWRG, Panterita lost his mask, his hair and even his name (changing to Free Lance) in a short time, which seems to happen once a year with someone in IWRG (and usually has to do with money.) Amazingly, he kept his title belt in all of this, and is still IWRG Welterweight Champion.
Rey Misterio Jr. instigates a riot: Not on purpose. He was in Mexico to sign autographs to hype up a WWE RAW tour, which he wasn’t actually scheduled to participate on. That seemed dumb, even before 5000 people got in line for an autograph, and lots of those were left empty handed when Rey’s time was done. Some of the disappointed people worked thru their depression by tearing up the mall.
…I think this was my funniest month.