All the problems I have with Mascara Dorada going to NJPW, enumerated

I’m happy for Mascara Dorada. There’s a lot of complaining to follow, but it doesn’t change that I’m happy for Mascara Dorada.

  1. I was totally shocked by it. I’m not sure if you could tell on Twitter, I kept it pretty chill

but it caught me slightly off guard. Seriously, when I saw Sugibayashi in the ring for Dorada’s enterance, I joked to myself they were giving Mascara Dorada an award for being awesome, and then I heard the crowd cheer and saw the red jacket and I knew it was sad times.

Voice of Wrestling’s eBook pointed out Mascara Dorada actually had more matches in NJPW than some guys thought of as “full time” foreigners and I had been told Dorada really likes Japan, so it’s not like there were no signs. Still, usually everyone starts to hear the drumbeat of that sort of move for months before it happens. There were rumors for months before Dos Caras Jr. left for WWE. It wasn’t clear Mistico was going for WWE, but he was clearly unhappy the last six months before he left and it felt like some change needed to happen. Mascara Dorada did very little in CMLL in 2014, but it’s CMLL so you can say that about dozens of people who are used in main events and it didn’t stick out. (Terrible’s 2014: … ) Dorada winning the Welterweight title was the greatest fake out ever, getting hopes up for a better run in 2015 CMLL, only for it to turn out to actually be the end.

Three months from now, it’s just going to be a thing that happened. So far, the emotions went shock -> confusion -> distraction (match was good) -> anger -> high levels of cynicism (so back to normal.)

  1. I’m doubtful Mascara Dorada’s actually coming back to CMLL in 2016. Look, I didn’t know Dorada was going so I surely don’t know what’s going to happen 12 months from now. I’m also skeptical any decision has been made today that can’t just be reversed down the line. My hunch is Mascara Dorada is going to remain great, NJPW is going to like him, and NJPW’s going to continue want to employ him. The only questions are if Mascara Dorada will be comfortable living away from home for long stretches and if NJPW can keep Dorada without damaging their relationship with CMLL. NJPW seems to have a lot of the power in the relationship and CMLL acts like they can find another exciting flyer any time they want, so this may not be as big an obstacle as it seems.

I also kind of expect Dorada to work as much in Mexico between tours as Ricky Marvin did when he was with NOAH – as in rarely. Dr. Wagner Jr.’s own stint with NJPW, where he worked sometimes in CMLL but was obviously taking it down a few notches and saving himself for Japan, might also be a good comparison. Dorada will be back wrestling in Mexico at some point – the 2040 version of the Leyendas Inmortales show will be so weird, yet still have Canek on top – but sticking around in Japan primarily for many years seems likely.

(I could also be completely wrong and Dorada’s a big part of Dos Leyendas 2016. I hope he gets to work where ever he wants to work.)

  1. I’m doubtful is any sort of trade and CMLL will be getting anything (we see) in exchange for ‘loaning’ Dorada. The story I was told CMLL was getting NJPW regulars prior and it stopped because CMLL didn’t want to to take any more NJPW wrestlers. CMLL didn’t need to loan out Dorada to restart that, they just needed to turn the faucet back on. Not everyone is going to be available when they want them and sometimes they’re going to be handed Yujiro, but CMLL didn’t need to trade a luchador to improve that situation.

(It’s probably moot, but I’m not sure Mascara Dorada was actaully under contract for CMLL to bargin with. Few people are, and Dorada’s 2014 didn’t indicate he was one of those few people. NJPW would still want to work out a deal just to keep the greater relationship going, but CMLL might have not had great leverage.)

CMLL’s been mostly quiet on this whole situation. The only mentions that Dorada is gone has been a short discussion on CMLL Informa (when it was the last news item they had time for) and a brief blurb on CMLL’s Facebook. They’re not sweeping this under the rug, but they’re not reacting it like the beginning of a bigger deal between NJPW and CMLL or even promoted it much as a big deal. It’s less important than Mistico, it’s less important than Zeuxis winning the 2nd (or 3rd) most important women’s title.

CMLL’s shown a willingness to sell their matches to any TV outlet who will pay them (and then maybe they’ll remember to take the money.) CMLL’s sold championships to people in the past (Ultimo Dragon). Why wouldn’t they do the same with their wrestlers? If there was a deal here, a money deal fits CMLL’s goals the best.

  1. CMLL is awful and boring and awfully boring the last month or so. Finding out a guy who’s entertaining is leaving a promotion that’s struggling to be entertaining is no bueno. Rey Bucanero, diminished from his great peak, has been the lead rudo the last couple months. CMLL’s treated Olimpico remembering he had an Egyptian gimmick as a big deal and it almost is because there’s so little else. (Weird they’re both old partners of Ultimo Guerrero.) CMLL decided to build a faction around the lacking Comandante Pierroth (and then had them lose in their first official match of their team.) There’s very transparent cronyism and nepotism going on and that would still be fine if they were having any good. There’s plenty of stuff carried over from previous months that’s been run into the ground by this point – I’d be very happy to never see a Ingobernable vs Peste Negra or Guerreros match again. I think the people in the matches feel the same way, because they’ve all looked so bored. The vacations have made caused guys like Super Porky and Shocker appear on seemingly every show, and they’re not great TV acts to see three times a week. Even the one big new thing they tried – Star/Soberano vs Cholo/Ramstein – completely fell apart at the end because Ramstein wasn’t up to the task. That seems like something the people in charge should’ve known before booking the match, but the reality is it was probably more about getting those rudos the payoff than delivering a good product.

There’s so much CMLL product that there are always problems somewhere, but there’s frequently been good midcard stuff to counter it. There has been this time too, but Titan/Cavernario was a Sabado Retros match which only existed in still pictures for most. Heck, if the Friday Guadalajara shows were airing instead of some of the other stuff, at least we’d have weird/unusual stuff to watch instead of the same people and the same matches.

That’s even putting aside the TV presentation problems (which are many, and getting worse, but not new.) Maybe February will click in and they’ll start trying again, though CMLL is so talent rich they should be able to put together good matches even without even trying. Maybe Rush will come back and things will just be on again, though CMLL has so many depth that one person shouldn’t make such a dramatic difference.

I don’t want to act like an entitled fanboy – that was sort of what I was getting at last month – but I think the promotion has been objectively poor for a while, poor than expected. A poor stretch of product combined with one of their brighter stars looking elsewhere is a depressing situation.

  1. a luchador shouldn’t have to go to Japan full time to improve and make more money. Mascara Dorada is going to do both, and that’s a pretty significant condemnation of CMLL. CMLL runs so many more shows, probably draws a significant more people than NJPW, and yet all but many a couple people are going to make more money in NJPW. NJPW pulls it off because totally different economics, but they also work so much harder at making money and benefit from the work. CMLL benefits greatly from the mystique of Arena Mexico and being the default (if not actual) biggest lucha promotion in Mexico – if they ever lost that, and lost the ability to pay people peanuts for the honor of working in CMLL, they’d have a serious disability in recruiting talent.

I could see the upside of Sombra or Rush ending up in NJPW for a long time. They’ve been decided they want to be heavyweight wrestlers, there are few heavyweight wrestlers they can learn from in Mexico, there are many different heavyweight wrestlers they could be exposed to in Japan, it’s obvious they’d pick up aspects if they were in Japan for a while. Mascara Dorada is a high flying “junior heavyweight” – he’s going to pick up things from working out with the Japanese guys he works out every day, he’s going to learn from the US guys he would have never otherwise faces – but Mascara Dorada is already pretty good and already filled his role in CMLL pretty well. He will gain, but he didn’t need to gain much already. Dorada just needed to be pushed (in all uses of that word) and nothing he’s going to pick up in NJPW is going to get him pushed any more or less.

There’s a thread on PWO debating if CMLL or NJPW is the better promotion. You can argue that on aesthetics, but a guy who actually had that specific choice between the two definitely picked one over the other. Dorada is spending a year in NJPW because it’s better for him to wrestle an ocean away from where his family lives. It doesn’t seem particularly close.

(Also, hand to god, it’s possible to bring good wrestlers to CMLL if that’s what CMLL wanted to expose wrestlers to new styles. Not just NJPW guys either. Most wrestlers accept cash in exchange for work if you want to offer it. But most outside wrestlers aren’t going to take a huge paycut just for the honor of working Arena Mexico either.)

CMLL’s slogan is “el mejor de lucha libre en el mundo”. CMLL comes off as something less than the best wrestling in the world, but something more akin to a minor league promotion. This is not news, it’s made very clear every time a CMLL wrestler turns up for an interview in a NJPW logo shirt. Minor league promotions can be fun, but CMLL should aspire to be more than a minor league promotion. Mascara Dorada aspired to be more than a star for a minor league promotion and I’m happy for him.

3 thoughts to “All the problems I have with Mascara Dorada going to NJPW, enumerated”

  1. I’m very happy for Mascara Dorada. He’ll be missed in CMLL’s programming, but hopefully they can get their shit together, and produce better, more interesting cards. Because, as you said, they have a large, mostly talented, roster to play around with. I’ll freely admit to being a CMLL fanboy,(have been since ’82/83, as a little kid) and that’s why I want the promotion to succeed.
    I think it’s great that Mascara Dorada will be getting well compensated for the crazy stuff he does, whether it’s Mexico or another country. And if more talented luchadores can do the same, even better.

  2. In this particular case, maybe it is not about CMLL (many) shortcomings, my guess is 1. He’s taking his family there and that’s the main reason -even if he doesn’t advance on the cards and gets a pay increase- I just can’t see someone leaving his family behind in a country/city in the middle of a rising crime wave. Most people that have the opportunity to leave the country is taking it. Or 2. He thinks being in New Japan gives him a better shot at being picked up by WWE (so that he can move to the US). It could even make it easier for him to learn English (if he doesn’t speak it already), being isolated and removed from his usual background.

Comments are closed.