This was the most responsive crowd of the three days. This is also where the gap between what’s probably best for the live crowd and what I wanted to see widen. Maximo doing the bit he does twice on TV every week does not work for me, but Maximo doing the bit he only does three times a year entertains the Korakuen Hall fans. Euforia/Atlantis is interesting to me because it’s a unique match for CMLL, but it’s probably not as special for people who all the CMLL match up are unique matched. (Stil, could’ve used more Euforia/Atlantis matches on these cards.)
taped 2013-01-19 @ Korakuen Hall
Máximo & Tama Tonga vs Taichi & Taka Michinoku: OKAY – This worked better than the previous day’s Máximo match, because it was just a wacky opening match and the Taichi/Maximo feud wasn’t taking up space from guys I really wanted to see. This was fine!
Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, Titán vs Gedo, Jado, Misterioso Jr.: OKAY – All the interviews were kind of odd, but I think Titan got more interview time here than he has in CMLL all year. Fans did the Misterioso chant, Misterioso spent the rest of the match talking to them between every move. It’s not the most entertaining move. Titan losing was sad, not just because Titan is awesome, but because he was clearly convincing the fans he was something and then down he goes. Match was alright.
Diamante & Máscara Dorada vs Mephisto & Shigeo Okumura: GOOD – This was the same deal, in a better match! Mascara Dorada put on a great show with Mephisto, Diamante and Okumura were fine too, and then Dorada sadly lost. What a depressing run for Guadalajara flying dudes! Dorada really did look great here, and it’d be nice if he could pull of the rope tricks he does here back in Mexico too. This was the match I liked best to this point.
Bushi, Prince Devitt, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Dragón Rojo Jr., Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI: OKAY –A midcard trios match which was fine but felt kind of irrelevant. Crowd didn’t even react when Apollo 55 finally got tagged back in, and Ishii and Taguchi did something bizarre that was supposed to eb a sunset flip. This was just out of place on these shows; it’s a NJPW tag match with special guest Dragon Rojo (and only that much so he can get a win this tour.) It’s not the worst match on the tour, but definitely among the most skippable.
Atlantis vs Euforia: GOOD – This is where FantasticaMania is fun; it’s highly unlikely CMLL will have these two face off in a singles match at any other time (and they wouldn’t have had it here if not for Místico), but they got to have one here and it was good. Euforia was good at making Atlantis look good, and got it more offense than I would’ve expected given the time, and Atlantis was game. This would’ve been one of the better lightning matches had it been presented that way. Here, it was the twelfth match of the tour, but the first (and only in the first two days) to just have CMLL guys doing lucha libre, which is a very strange stat for something promoted around being lucha libre shows.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, La Máscara, Rush vs Okada, Rey Escorpión, Volador Jr.: GOOD – Best mixing of NJPW and CMLL guys so far; Tanahashi’s willingness to play CMLL técnico (even doing the corner escape comeback spot!) goes along way, but they had me with Mascara getting the campana on Okada and taking backcracker. Rudo team work spots were well timed here; Volador and Okada have promise as a tag team!
Shinsuke Nakamura vs La Sombra [IWGP IC]: GOOD – Felt like it was technically good early on but not pulling me in (or maybe that’s the lack of sleep talking), but got really good in the closing minutes. This didn’t quite reach the Great levels I was hoping for, but those last few minutes were pretty good. I’ve been concerned Sombra is headed into an Ultimo Guerrero style rut of doing the same singles match just with different opponents, but he mixed it up nicely here and I’ve got some hope. Nakamura and lucha is a style conflict but they made it work fine here. Sombra seemed legit angry about not winning the title, which you don’t get much for him.