AN IMPORTANT THING: Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday morning in Mexico. It’s a week later in the United States. ALL MEXICO STREAMS WILL BE AN HOUR LATER NEXT WEEK. I forgot about this until Albert pointed it out. CMLL Sunday’s show will start at 6pm CT, Puebla will come on at 10pm CT, Tuesday’s show will be at 8:30pm CT, Friday’s show at 9:30pm – all an hour later. I’m going to have to say this about 50 times in the next week but maybe some people will read this?
CMLL (FRI) 10/28/2016 Arena México [+LuchaTV, CMLL, ESTO, MedioTiempo, Sipse]
1) Apocalipsis & Metálico b Bengala & Flyer
Rudos took 2/3
2) Disturbio, Okumura, Virus b Oro Jr., Pegasso, Soberano Jr.
Rudos took 1/3
3) Estrellita, Marcela, Sanely DQ Amapola, Dalys, Metálica
straight falls, with Marcela being KOed after an illegal choke to cause the DQ. Marcela was stretchered out (though it seemed like a worked injury) and gets a title shot out of this. Dalys was the evil god thru the night (along with Valiente and Volador.) Starting with this match, the losers were all taken to hell.
4) Carístico, Dragón Lee, Mistico b Ephesto, Luciferno, Mephisto
tecnicos took 2/3
5) La Máscara, Pierroth, Rush b Euforia, Niebla Roja, Último Guerrero
Rush snuck in a foul on UG.
6) Valiente b Volador Jr. [CMLL Universal, final]
Seconds were Soberano and Mephisto (Valiente, also back from Hell rather quick.) Valiente took falls 1/3, the last with two Valiente Busters to win.
Valiente said he couldn’t come up with the words to describe what he felt; he seems as surprised by the outcome as everyone else. Just three years ago, CMLL saw Valiente as not being as important Vangellys in the final of that year’s En Busca de un Idolo tournament. Vangellys is currently the fourth man in a three man group. Valiente won the national welterweight title when CMLL wanted to move him up to the midcard. Since then, he’s lost thirteen straight singles title matches, including one just a month ago. There’s overarching story you can tell, about a guy who quit lucha for years because he was going nowhere, then came back to work himself from the very bottom of CMLL to the very top in a place (and a country) where that is extremely difficult to do. However, the microstory is how CMLL used him just three days before this, as a guy who at best comes close to winning but always ends up losing at the end, and with fans mostly accepting it rather than getting fired up about. (Hechicero cheating didn’t seem to get people fired up for Valiente, it just came and went.) If CMLL is committed to make Valiente a top guy, with a specific destination in mind, then this was a great way to destroy those old impressions of Valiente and make people give him another chance to start off that new role. If Valiente continues in his usual near top role, then this is just a waste of tournament and a waste of booking an upset winner. Yes, you’ll have taught people that upsets can happen but, unless there’s strong follow up, you’ll have taught people that it doesn’t matter all that much.
The bitter part is, new guys strongly put in top positions is what we’re always asking out of major lucha libre promotions, this is CMLL doing that, and we’re still unhappy because it’s not the right guy (and they did so by beating a more deserving guy.) I’m not sure what dark horse in the field would’ve been a good upset winner. People would’ve been happy for Rey Cometa winning, but it’s take even more for the fans (and CMLL itself) to see Cometa as a top guy. I would’ve liked Dragon Rojo better, because he’s put in the work in improving his wrestling and his character, but I doubt it would’ve been a generally popular pick. Otherwise, it was just a group of guys who are not very good or would gain only little by an upset run like this – there wasn’t a young guy like Barbaro Cavernario or Titan or even a Rey Escorpion were a series of upset wins would represent a big change.
Three years ago, Valiente would probably have been that guy to represent a big change. He hasn’t been successful as a singles wrestler, but he’s been a trios champion for two of the last three years. He’s best suited for that smaller role, and has slipped in other areas as he’s grown older. His wrestling isn’t as varied and interesting as it used to be. He’s the same OK promo he’s always been. Valiente’s costuming has become polarizing; most people would say it’s for the worst, but he obviously thinks it’s much better. The only major change from the guy who wasn’t considered vital enough to be Vangellys to the guy who beat Volador is his physique, turning into a small ball of muscle. Valiente doesn’t seem to use that muscle in any significant way during his matches – he’s only doing a stripped down version of the same offense he’s always done – but he clearly takes great pride in it and it certainly seems CMLL feels the same. It was hard not to notice both Mephisto and Sobreano wearing Omega Team track pants while seconding the guys in the main event. That same logo has been on Valiente’s gear for the last couple of years. I’m not sure if they have a sponsorship deal with CMLL itself or just the individual wrestlers, but the result of the main seemed like an endorsement of their supplement/steroids products above anything else.
Volador losing can be chalked up to CMLL’s usual bit of spreading all the big wins around and feeling he just got one. I’m skeptical that’s the best way to make a star. Attendance seemed down this year compared to past Dia de Muertos shows.
LuchaWorld has a translation of +LuchaTV’s interview with Rey Fenix. There’s a lot in there, and you should read or watch the whole thing. Some of the same stories were told on the Highspots interview with Fenix a month or so back too, so you may want to check that out.
The immediate most important part of the interview is Rey Fenix says he separated his shoulder in the CaraLucha match, but is expecting to be back by 11/18 for the Guadalajara Muchas Luchas show and making every date about that. He does not sound too concerned about the injury long term, but is taking care to rest until then.
It’s clear he won’t be going back to AAA when he’s done. Fenix seems to have had issue with AAA with how he was being used, how much he was being paid and how the wrestlers are treated, but the actual breaking point was when he decided to move to San Diego. Fenix did tell AAA, and AAA was angry with him for not telling them and generally moving. The way Fenix told it, AAA’s both sort of cut him off from working for them and threatened him with legal action for working anywhere else. Fenix says he was willing to work both the Veracruz and TripleMania shows, called to ask for travel info, and was never sent plane tickets for either. He says the Roldans would only take to him for a few minutes to allow him to explain what he was doing, but at the same time have gone to lucha libre commissions to try and get Rey Fenix blocked from wrestling (because AAA owns the Fenix name.) Rey Fenix notes he may eventually be forced to change his name yet again.
Rey Fenix does not know where this will leave him with Lucha Underground. He’s hoping to have a meeting with the LU people to discuss things soon. Rey Fenix loves Lucha Underground and very much wants to keep working there, but not if he has to go back to AAA. He’s rather just keep doing the indie traveling he’s doing rather than go back to AAA under any circumstances.
AAA always has their own side to these stories, and rarely actually tells them. It’s possibly, maybe even likely there’s more going on here than Fenix wants to talk about – money is usually the source of problems, but no one in lucha likes to talk about money in public (or much in private.) In a small way, I can feel for AAA here. If one of your employees decides to relocate out of the country without telling you, that’s a bit rude (and in a lot of other industries, maybe grounds to let someone go.) But, if it’s gone down the way Fenix says, and AAA just both cut Fenix off and stopped him from working anywhere else, then that’s crazy. You’ve got to work with people. It sticks out that AAA seems to definitely have worked with Taya in what seems to be same situation. Maybe Taya gave more of a heads up on her move, and Taya’s earned a lifetime of points with AAA for her work (and they’re not going to break ties with her while booking Mundo), but Fenix going forward seems to be as valuable as Taya is, except AAA doesn’t seem to value the relationships the same. Even a part time Fenix is a big help for a promotion short on stars, and AAA’s is currently willing to fly in lots of other people from the US because they need the star power. Maybe a better comparison is Hernandez, who had an ugly break up with Lucha Underground, and still got brought back to be the third or fourth most important guy in Team Trump. AAA got over whatever issues they had there to bring in a guy in a much less important role than Fenix. Flying someone out of the US is an added cost, maybe one not easy for AAA to afford, but there seems to be a larger statement being made about staying in line with AAA or else that’s being made.
Fenix isn’t the first person to complain about the working conditions in AAA. He probably won’t be the last. AAA showcases the giant buses they use take people to TV tapings, but the spot shows are a much less glamorous life. AAA has the hardest schedule of any major league promotion. So many small shows in random locations and rough situations. CMLL has some of that too, but they also have a handful of regular weekly stops; it’s probably not fun to be a bus for a long time to go to Guadalajara, but you know the bus, you know the venue, you probably know the area around the venue, there’s a routine to it. An AAA luchador can go to any city in Mexico on any day of the week in whatever vehicle they happen to have available to send them at that point in time. It’s not even the US indies, where at least you might have the privacy/security of your own car, it’s more public/group transport. You’ve got have to a definite adventurous spirit to want to do it, and I’m sure it seems a lot less attractive once you start comparing it to flying into cities in the US. (When someone eventually writes about the effects of LU, this is going to be one of them – if that show never happens, then those guys never get booked in the US, and they never see the differences between Mexico and US wrestling conditions for themselves.)
If Fenix is telling the truth, that means AAA absolutely and shamelessly advertised someone to appear at TripleMania that they had no intention of actually wrestling at the show. If lucha libre was a commissioned sport, someone probably would be looking into those statements.
Sexy Star quit AAA in February. She hasn’t missed a Lucha Underground taping, and, at least in front of the crowd, there’s been no indication she’s in trouble with Lucha Underground or will be written out of the company. If anything, the people who write LU have specifically gone the other way, making it clear she’s still very valued to them no matter what happened with her and AAA. Jack Evans worked LU shows last weekend despite being already fired from AAA. I suspect Fenix will have a conversation with Lucha Underground people next week when they’re in San Diego, and he’ll be back in Lucha Underground for Season 4 this year. It seems pretty likely, and Konnan’s said as much, that AAA’s power in Lucha Underground has been reduced to where they can no longer ban AAA wrestlers who are no longer AAA wrestlers. They have money in LU so they have influence, but the impression I get is if the other people want someone to stay enough, they will stay. Fenix is a key part of Lucha Underground for the first three season and I’d suspect he’ll stay that way as long as he’s under contract to them.
My bigger concern is is how this affects everyone else. If AAA truly is trying to block Fenix from working in places in Mexico, then it stands to reason they’d try to force that elsewhere where they have leverage, and the only leverage they really have is taking away Pentagon. I imagine Angelico & Jack will still work their tag stuff even while Jack’s gone from AAA, and I’d imagine Pentagon & Fenix would keep wanting taking their match and their tag stuff around too. Fenix lets slip that he’s booked for PWG in December, and I’ve got a very strong suspicion it’s going to be a follow up to the Fenix/Pentagon versus Young Bucks match from BOLA weekend. Pentagon makes good money working PWG, he makes good money working AAW with Fenix, if AAA tries to block him from working those sorts of places, it’s going to force Pentagon to make his own choice. I don’t think AAA wants it to come to that. I’m sure they want some revenge on Fenix in their heart, but they ought to be thinking with their head and back off before they make it worse.
CMLL’s back in Arena Coliseo tonight – or maybe it already happened, given the pace I’m going. The scheduled main event is Shocker, Terrible and Rey Bucanero versus Stuka, Diamante Azul and Valiente. That sounds not great. CMLL’s preview doesn’t mention Valiente coming is a Universal champ, which make me think it was written Friday and they hadn’t been told Valiente was winning. Drone makes another appearance in the semimain.
A show in Chilpancingo is advertising Dragon Lee & local Rey Nocturno versus Xtreme Tiger & Bestia 666. Sounds fun. An indie show in Mexico City has Wotan vs Impulso vs Obscuro, and seems like the kind of thing that might show up on YouTube. There’s a GDR free show at Gimnasio Juan de la Barrera using CMLL & Elite wrestlers, with Cibernetico & La Mascara versus Pierroth & Rush. There’s no way that will be good, but the Star Jr. & Bandido vs Cuatrero & Sanson match probably will be.
Sunday’s CMLL show will air live on CMLL’s stream as part of the Dia de Muertos run of shows. The main event is Ultimo Guerrero versus Rush, which just aired weeks ago on the same CMLL stream. CMLL strongly believes different audiences go to different days of the week and so they can run the same matches on different days without burning people out. They either haven’t realized it’s the same audience watching all these streams, or they just aren’t bothered by that part so much. The only thing which seems safely worth seeking out is the segunda with Blue Panther Jr., Guerrero Maya Jr., the Panther versus Misterioso, Morphosis and Tiger.
Sunday has the Titanes del Ring loaded show in Arena Naucalpan. Rey Fenix will not be on it; Laredo Kid replaced him in Queretaro, so maybe that’s the plan here too. I don’t know if this will be taped by AYM (kind of doubt it), but that’s another one where handhelds will probably turn up.
Sunday also has a Demasiado versus Maximo hair match in Xalapa. And Lucha Underground runs in Houston.Misterioso’s 11/03 Ring of Honor match is a four way match with Hangman Page, Lio Rush and Sho Tanaka (Raijin). That’s going to be weird. The Panther’s match is not yet announced. Ultimo Guerrero, Hechicero and Okumura are in ROH tonight. Even in the airport, Ultimo Guerrero wears that bandage.
Taya says she’s heading back to Japan in three weeks, I think. Haven’t seen anything specific announced.
The Rey Mysterio museum in Tokyo is being kept open an extra week due to high levels of interest.
The Crash says Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy will be in their 10/26 main event. Aeroboy is also advertised for the show. The Crash is using big names and already taping (and sometimes streaming) their shows; they should be an obvious get for one of the hopeful streaming networks.
Caristico and Rey Fenix are half of a Lucha Libre Boom main event on 12/08. Caristico & Rey Fenix were supposed to be tag partners in AAA in one of the many 2014-2015 storylines that were just dropped a third of the way thru.
CMLL (FRI) 11/04/2016 Arena México
1) Astral & Stukita vs Mercurio & Pequeño Nitro
2) Blue Panther Jr., Esfinge, Pegasso vs Okumura, Pólvora, Virus
3) Guerrero Maya Jr., Rey Cometa, Stuka Jr. vs Bobby Z, Dragón Rojo Jr., Terrible
4) Dalys © vs Marcela [CMLL WOMEN]
5) Atlantis, Dragón Lee, Mistico vs Ephesto, Luciferno, Mephisto
6) Marco Corleone, Máximo Sexy, Volador Jr. vs La Máscara, Pierroth, Rush [Relevos Increíbles]
Title matches probably should be higher up. CMLL announced this title match during the show to the live crowd; you’d also think they’d want to have Marcela earn the show in a more impressive way than being choked almost to death. It’s just an odd way to set up a title match.
Main event is a relevos increibles because CMLL’s insistent on Rush being a tecnico even though they never explain it and no one else sees him as a tecnico. Valiente celebrates his big win by not even being booked, though Volador versus Rush should be entertaining. The Hijos del Infierno are together for a second straight week, so maybe there’s something coming up with them. Rey Cometa was taken off shows this week, but perhaps he’ll be back next week. (The women being reduced to a title match means the usually good men’s tercera is back this week, and hopefully for more than just one week.) Stukita and Mercurio are in the opener; Mercurio hasn’t been around since August. Nice to get him back.