Luchamania was a one match show. Literally – they didn’t advertise any other matches, just as list of names. It was the usual Dr. Wagner Jr./LA Park match, but the lack of an actual finish to the main event and the horrible matches on the undercard made it an unsatisfying experience. These shows are attended by a lot of people, but it’s not an indication of quality.
It was about a two hour drive back to Congress Theater from Milwaukee. Not much traffic until I got into the city (though google had me taking the Skokie Highway for unknown reasons.) A bit behind schedule thanks to the delayed show, but the plan had been to stop and eat along the way to avoid some of the undercard, so the meal had just moved around.
Congress lists a few official parking lots on it’s website. One, the one I went to yesterday, was staffed and cost $20. The next one north, not much farther away, was completely unstaffed and also completely free. I went to that one this time, and spent the money I saved on a ringside ticket.
The building was packed. They’ve ripped out so many seats that the capacity is way down, but it felt like there were four times as many people here as there were for the DGUSA show the previous night. A completely different makeup – it felt like most of the crowd was families, with few ‘hardcores’ but everyone seemingly familiar with the two top names. There’s probably points I could/should make comparing how the DGUSA and LuchaMania shows will be covered, which one means more – again, attendance wasn’t close, but much different ticket prices and no one was making money off DVD sales and there was 1/20th the merchandise (and even masks!) of the night before – but I’m tired. The LuchaMania show was poorly run, poorly staffed, contained mostly awful matches and actively detracted from them with a sound guy who was playing random basketball jingles and sound effects for moves, and yet it still reached an audience that isn’t coming out for indy shows. If it was easy to figure out how to get those people out to non-lucha shows, it would’ve worked with Blue Demon in ROH or Lucha Libre USA (cheaper ticket prices seem to be a hint, tho’) and no one seems to have cracked the nut yet, but it did totally feel like a reality that those who only pay attention to the indy/WWE stuff in the US were totally missing.
(I hope that paragraph makes sense, at all.)
Again, since there were no matches listed, I’m guessing on who was who. I think there were five matches; in the continuing flair for timing of the day, I passed the people who surely worked the opener walking away from the building as I was walking to it. (This also always sort of confuses me – if you like wrestling so much that you’re willing to work hard and get paid very little to be on a show, why are you not a fan enough to watch the show? Different reasons for different folks and maybe they had places they needed to be.)
3) Guerrerito del Futuro & Malefico b Justiciero (not the DF guy) and Broken Down Looking Unmasked Guy
I think that was the result. All I knew is I saw Guerrerito del Futuro, a Malefico, guys on the apron tightening the ropes while the match was going (by then, the second fall of the match), the ring announcer talking during the match to get people to yell at the referee for no reason, everyone looking very unprepared and out of shape – I was seeing every lucha show here ever. The Justiciero here wasn’t just not just the Coliseo Coalaco guy, it’s very possible this Justicero ate that man, and ate two other people, and still had room in his enormous gut. A true rotund man. This match was simply bad, not awful, but I could not begin to tell you the finish.
Singing intermission one! Or probably like three at this point. I was so relieved when they announced the semimain was next.
4) Imagen Nocturno & Principe Azteca II b Principe Franky & Alcon Oriental
This might have been five minutes long, but it definitely was a horrible five minutes. Principe Franky appeared to have pregamed well for this one, and he might have not been the only one. Guys were not on the same page, not in the same book, not visiting the same library. First fall finish was Oriental rolling up Azteca for a pinfall, but Nocturno and Franky decide the finish is Nocturno faking a foul for a low blow. Referee and other wrestlers were confused for a bit but ended up giving the fall to the rudos via DQ. I think someone lost track of how many falls there were. Second fall lasts about two minutes longer, with nothing going on. Franky fakes his own foul, then just stops, then Nocturno just fouls him for real and covers him for the pin. Oddly, this was actually going somewhere.
Crowd did not care about any of these people at all. Crowd was smart.
Singing intermission two! This was the highlight; not for the singing (which was fine, I guess), but for the singer trying to walk the ramp to the ring and slipping off and falling halfway to the floor. She wasn’t hurt and she was helped up, but as she struggled, the voice on the speakers was completely uninterrupted. (Quite a bit where her mouth wasn’t moving but sound was still coming out, too.) Later, when she talked to the crowd to try and get them back on her side, her actual speaking voice sounded noticeable different. Funny, that.
They didn’t actually appear to have CDs or anything they were trying to push for the singers. Someone just thought they needed to have music.
Long pauses between matches anyway, as usual.
5) Dr. Wagner Jr. & Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. DDQ??? LA Park & Hijo de LA Park
This was the Dr. Wagner/LA Park match. If you’ve made it thru this far, you probably have seen this match before – the sillyness in the ring and then brawling and going thru the crowd and around and back in and such. I recorded the third fall and a lot of the post match on my phone, and I’ll post if it turns out (and we’ll see if you can see anything at all.)
I enjoyed them Dr. Wagner & LA Park for what they were, don’t get me wrong. Even before the match started, when the ring was swarmed by fans and people were going nuts for Wagner in particular, it was pretty easy to draw a connection to recent events – if any WON Hall of Fame voter had been in the building, they would’ve declared Wagner worthy on the spot, no further debate necessary*; this wasn’t 300 people who were praising a guy for his work, this was about 1,000 who treated Dr. Wagner Jr. like a rockstar (or like he was the Rock.)
* – later, they’d ask “wait, why did we decide on this during a show? That seems like an awful unreliable way of doing it.” and I’d say “darn! but you see what I mean, right?” and they’d grant me at least that, and I’d take it as a big moral victory over a fictional person. You know I’m tired, right?
This match was more about the kids for me, trying to get a feel about how they’re going to turn out and what they have at the moment. By the end of the match, it was pretty clear Dr. Wagner III is a lot farther around. These matches are a lot of schtick and a lot of crowd brawling, stuff that’s not always possible in TV matches, but Wagner III showed more of his father’s charisma personality. It helped that he had a easy predefined role to play – Dr. Wagner III did a lot of the WagnerManiacos bits that Silver King and Ultimo Gladiador had been doing with Wagner, but he felt like a complete enough personality to use the name without a direct link to his father.
The suit is too big for Hijo de LA Park at the moment. Literally – most of his gear fits, the skulls on his shoulders are way too big for his shoulders, and that comes off as pretty symbolic. Hijo de Park hasn’t put on any weight since his Black Spirit days. He’s so skinny, he comes off as the taller male equivalent of Estrella Magica. He doesn’t have his father’s aggressiveness or his aura; he has the suit, the mask and a tentativeness, but no personality. His offense is a closer aligned to Volador than Parka; he’s not a crazy high flyer by any means, but the highspots he does are off out of the basic modern lucha flying bits – springboard armdrags and such. He is by no means hopeless, and he didn’t run into any problems, but he seemed less ready. Wagner III came off as a clone at times, but Park II was much more in his father’s shadow. It felt like it was too soon for him to be on this stage, to be using this name – he ought to have been given the chance to figure things out longer as Black Spirit before being in this role – but with bookings as tough to come by as they seem, I guess you’ve got to use the name Hijo de LA Park if it’ll get you some more.
Team Park won fall 1, Team Wagner won fall 2. After Wagner took out Park with his usual dive, that left it up to the kids – or not, as Imagen Nocturno hit the ring and went after Hijo de LA Park’s mask. Everyone was more confused than angry; Wagner III among them, but Nocturno went after him and ended up with both masks. I don’t think it clicked with most that this was meant to be the finish; I know I was expecting the match to restart after both kids got new masks.
Instead, we got minutes on minutes on minute of talk between everyone (Hijo de LA Park saying the least) to set up a Hijo de LA Park vs Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Imagen Nocturno mask match for the next show. I don’t think they ever said a date; after about fifteen minutes of everyone walking thru the setup to the match, I got bored and left.
I really should’ve known better – neither Wagner or Park will do jobs, even on shows like this, if it can all be avoided. I thought maybe they’d have the kids take the loss, but clearly not. Obviously, Nocturno is losing his mask in that match (if it ever happens, and there’s zero track record of followup here), but how will they ever decide who gets to win the match? For luchawiki purposes, I want to go so I can write the result and see how these guys continue to develop, but I have no interest in paying to see this sort of show again.
(Maybe I should’ve just gone to the GALLI show in Rockford? It would’ve been an idea.)