This is one of those busy CMLL weeks with big matches, and they’ve hit on a few interesting ones. Friday on Claro has the Gran Alternativa final along with Dragon Lee versus Cavernario. Monday in Puebla will see Hechicero defend against Atlantis. Tuesday has a Cavernario title challenge against Volador.
AAA has a big TV week itself, starting it’s Mexico City taping. It’s another 7 taping show, so something might get left off. I’m guessing they’ll skip the La Llave match, but they’ve aired those all so far.
This is a two IWRG show week, although neither show was announced much ahead of time.
Flyer, Meyer, Parísbeat Joker, King Jaguar, Policeman(11:55 [5:50, 3:25, 2:40], 1/3, via VideosOficialesCMLLok)
Ares, Disturbio, Hijo del Signo beat Arkalis, Espíritu Maligno, Rey Samuray(14:36 [6:45, 4:48, 3:03], 2/3, via VideosOficialesCMLL, ok)
Dragón Rojo Jr., Pólvora, Sagrado beat Drone, Esfinge, Tigre Rojo Jr (12:45 [5:09, 3:17, 4:19], 1/3, via VideosOficialesCMLL, good)
Atlantis, Johnny Idol, Marco Corleonebeat Hechicero, Máscara Año 2000, Ripper(8:12 [4:28, 3:44], 1/2, via VideosOficialesCMLL, ok)
Carístico, Dragón Lee, Misticobeat Cavernario, Mr. Niebla, Negro Casas(10:27 [3:12, 1:34, 5:41], 2/3, via VideosOficialesCMLL, ok)
Atlantis’s team beat Hechicero’s team in straight falls in the semimain, Atlantis submitted Hechicero in the second. Atlantis immediately demanded a NWA Light Heavyweight title shot next and Hechicero unhappily accepted.
Negro Casas fouled Dragon Lee in the main event.
The Mexico City focused matches were all watchable this week, an improvement for usual.
The tercera was the most complete match, even if it was the one which ended up meaning the least. The Revolucionarios bring a lot of energy to their matches and CMLL técnicos work well with energy. Tigre Rojo unsurprisingly looked a lot more impressive in this match than usual because he had those guys to work against. Drone’s Tiger Corner Kick being used as a knockdown to set up his finish looks really good (I only wish his finish was faster and more impactful.) Sagrado blends into these matches perfectly and it’s going to be really disappointing when someone else gets the third Revolucionarios spot.
The semimain didn’t have that caliber of work, but was effective in making the Atlantis/Hechicero feud seem important with little to work with prior. Hechicero and Atlantis played it big in the post match, like it would make fifty year old Atlantis’ year if he won another title. Hechicero having a singles match with Satanico and with Atlantis in the same building in 2017 is amazing.
The main event was going pretty well and the Mr. Niebla felt apart badly in the last segment and that was said. Dragon Lee & Negro Casas were facing off the whole match and were involved in the finish, so that seems to be a direction this week. I hope they do it, but I’d like it more if it was one fall – Negro Casas has really hot 30 seconds stretches with Dragon Lee but I think it’s going to be harder the longer they go.
The second match was the trademark boring Puebla match, though Ares was crazy on his tope and Arkalis’ gear looked very Carsitico. King Jaguar seemed really uncomfortable with flyers, which is a problem when he’s in the opener with all flyers. He did take a nice bump on the set up dropkick to Flyer’s new finishing springboard dropkick.
IWRG (WED) 06/14/2017Arena Naucalpan [Black Terry Jr. (Flickr), The Gladiatores]
1) Power Bull b Vardeus
2) Fly Tiger & Skanda b Ángel Oriental & Keiser Drago
3) Dowki, Picudo Jr., Vórtize b Dragón Fly, Kanon, Shaolin Dragon Fly replaced Saruman
4) Atomic Star & Lunatik Xtreme b Black Dragón & Shadow Boy Shadow Boy was hurt.
5) Aramis, Dinamic Black, Emperador Azteca b Látigo, Metaleón, Mr. Leo Metaleon was teaming with Indy Nation but is not part of it.
6) Cerebro Negro, Demonio Infernal, Súper Mega b Centvrión, Eterno, Ovett Centvrion pinned Cerebro Negro, but Cerebro snuck back in and unmasked him to set up Super Mega’s pin. Centvrion challenged IWRG for a Indy Nation versus FILL match. Eterno accepted the match, and Centvrion, Fulgor, Latigo and Mr. Leo took the win to end the show.
Yesterday, the Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather boxing match was made official. That match seemed about as likely to happen as the Octagon versus Fuerza Guerrera mask match, but they teased it so well that both believe they’re going to take home a huge amount of money so it kinda had to happen. The match was announced for August 26th. August 26th is the date of TripleMania. TripleMania may be cursed, something happens every year.
It’s likely that someone in Mexico dedicated to seeing both could do so, TripleMania’s the one AAA show run on a normal schedule and stands a strong chance of finishing before the boxing match gets to the ring. It’s going to be more a problem of attention: AAA wants a big spotlight for the week leading up to their show, to sell the show and to build it’s brand, and they’re going to struggle to get it even just in Mexico City. AAA could try to move their show to Sunday to avoid running the same night, but it wouldn’t help getting the notice they’re looking for every year with this show.
(Digression: I haven’t made my sarcasm clear enough about the ticket sales. I believe AAA has already sold a lot of tickets, but AAA rapidly reporting higher sales over a two week period when there was no reason for tickets to be moving that quick means they’re probably just saying those “70%! no, now 80%!” percentages as obvious hype to get people to hurry to the box office before they were all gone. It was definitely positioned like that on TV. My guess is the real sold number was something less than that at that point and AAA’s stopped talking about tickets sold after that couple week blitz.)
The good news for AAA is they announced TripleMania’s date and their main event way back in January, and plenty of people got their decided to come to the show. They’ve sold tickets, people have made plans to come to the show, and they’re all going to do that. There’s a Mexico City and greater Mexico country fanbase who make TripleMania their destination show every year and that’s probably not going to change. This show is still going to probably be AAA’s first $1,000,000 USD gate. It’s also another reason it was very smart & fortunate AAA went with the Wagner/Psycho mask match for this year’s show, because it’s important enough to the fanbase to be a big attraction no matter what else is going on. This would’ve been a bigger blow if it was last year’s Pagano/Psycho match.
The bad news is TripleMania is usually AAA’s one big chance to expand their brand, because it’s the only show AAA can get people who don’t normally follow lucha libre to notice, and and it’s gong to be very difficult to do that if this fight sucks up all the oxygen in the room. I know there were talks about putting it on US PPV again this year. I think having Impact wrestlers on the show was part of the idea there, and to generate some interest in AAA luchadors prior to them being brought onto Impact house shows in the fall. I don’t think that would’ve been a big number of people, but it’s less today, and it’s possible PPV providers won’t even want to carry any show that’d distract from the fight that’s going to carry their whole year. Hopefully AAA still tries, does iPPV and spends some effort getting people out there to talk about the show in multiple languages, but it’s a much harder road.
CMLL Informa ended it’s show yesterday by revealing the first two members of Team World for the 09/01 Gran Prix: Matt Taven & King Haku. Taven is not popular among most people who read sites like this, but it is logical from the inter-promotion storyline they’re telling: Taven & UG had the match at H2L, Taven & Vinny Marseglia take on Ultimo Guerrero & Terrible at ROH’s PPV next Friday and Ultimo Guerrero and Matt Taven will have another singles match on the TV taping the next day. It may not be an exciting option, but Taven/Guerrero is now even an obvious possibility for the CMLL Anniversario main event since it’s the feud CMLL keeps on going back towards.
There’s no logical defense for King Haku being on the show. King Haku is still a cult favorite, but he’s hardly a luchador at this point. He’s 58 and mostly retired, only wrestling for rare nostalgia appearances or as special cameos teaming with his sons on NJPW related shows. I suspect the latter is what is actually happening here, that Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa are also on Team World for this Gran Prix and it’ll make slightly more sense when they’re announced. Still, this is a guy who is retired and who hasn’t been in Mexico in over two decades, being billed as one of the drawing points for a big CMLL show. There’s no clearer sign of CMLL management being out of touch than deciding believing the return of a foreign star from 1994 is big news.
The Crash says Marty Scurll is coming in soon, continuing the pattern of ROH/NJPW luchadors getting brought into The Crash and not CMLL. I don’t think it was timed this way, but it’s an interesting juxtaposition with the King Haku announcement.
Leo Riano’s column says the current make up for the CMLL union board is Nitro, Arkangel and new addition Dragon Rojo Jr. Riano says all three men love wrestling; having seen Nitro’s recent matches, I’m not sure that’s the case.
Riano also pushes the idea that The Crash/Konnan is trying to get Rush. This is something we talked about when La Mascara was fired, that Rush might follow his good friend. Since then, Rush has shown no interest in leaving CMLL. It totally makes sense for The Crash to float the idea and see Rush’s interest, but I don’t think it’s going to happen at this point. The Crash is only running a couple shows a month, and has new TV outlet – their big selling point to wrestlers is freedom, and no one seems to have more freedom to do what they want in CMLL than Rush (and Riano makes the same point.) I don’t think there’s anything to this right now.
AAA started airing in the UK yesterday. It’s simply the same recordings that were airing on The Fight Network but haven’t been airing recently. They started back with the TripleMania 24 show, which is strong in terms of presentation and scale but features a lot of people who were only for that show (Prince Puma, Matanza, Dragon Azteca) and people who are now gone (Pentagon). It’s not going to help AAA much if 10 months behind, but I’m still unsure many people will have seen it any way.
Carta Brava Jr., Dr. Wagner Jr., Soul Rocker beatMonsther Clown, Murder Clown, Psycho Clown(9:26, Dr. Wagner Jr. foul Murder Clown, ok)
The concept that Verano de Escandalo’s main event is a tag team apuesta match is established on this show. Psycho Clown & Dr. Wagner make a pact to not betray each other so their TripleMania match will stay intact, Monster & Murder Clown talk about working together and the main event post match is firmly team against team. This show was taped nearly three weeks before Verano de Escandalo and seemed to show AAA knew what the rules were going to be in that main event, but either decided or was incapable of explaining it fully.
That main event, the Psycho Circus reuniting to take on Wagner, Carta Brava and Soul Rocker, predictably ended with the Traidor Clowns betraying Psycho Clown again. Wagner still fouled Murder Clown to get the win. The other rudos attacked Wagner after the match, then Poder del Norte attacked the Traidor Clowns to and those sides brawled away to leave Wagner & Psycho alone in the ring.
Psycho hyped the TripleMania match with Wagner, which led to a fight. It started to play out a lot like in San Luis Potosi, where Wagner & Psycho had their advertised singles match as a bonus after the normal TV portion had ended (seemingly as a make good.) That match was also advertised on this taping instead, but Tirantes made a point of sticking around while refusing to count pinfalls this time or treat it like it is a match. Wagner unmasked Psycho Clown to end it
La Parka had Averno beat in his match, but Hijo del Tirantes stopped his count to look at Pirata Morgan. Pirata Morgan was just standing on the apron. Pirata Morgan than whispered something to Parka which Parka found concerning. Meanwhile, Averno stole the win on Pimpinela from Mamba with the Devil’s Wings. Mamba was annoyed but Averno didn’t pick up on it. After, Mamba and Estrella Divina attacked Pimpi in the backstage area.
The announcers said La Hiedra was angry at Lady Shani for going to the tecnica side, which is a switch from the previous story (Vampiro was forcing Shani to be on the tecnica side.) Hiedra and Goya had a miscommunication leading to their defeat, and they too fought after the match.
The show ended with a long video feature on the Mexico City taping. It both felt like something they were airing because they were short on time (it was still a couple minutes shorter than usual) but also because it looked really good, like TripleMania quality. Either way, they wanted you to know that the next couple of weeks of TV were a big deal.
(Faby Apache’s win over Ayako Hamada, which was said to make her the #1 contender’s to Taya’s championship, did not air and was not mentioned.)
Another week of whatever match quality. The effort was there, and there were stretches were the last two matches were fun. They didn’t stay that way, and the finishes didn’t help. It also can’t be an accident that every match that aired, baring the rookie Llave de la Gloria match, featured partners not getting along. That came across in the taping results, but even stronger on TV. When you’re teasing Averno/Mamba tension, it’s reached an absurd level.
On the other hand, I’m not sure any of these matches would be that good if there were neutral or even good finishes. It occurs to me, maybe not as often as it should, that there’s just not a lot of guys in AAA I’m all that into seeing in matches right now and it’d hard to find many combinations of matches that I’d be excited to see. AAA’s done a lot of rearranging of what they have, and I’m not sure it’s been all that good, but there just may not be a good arrangement right now. The creative has been a mess, but not being able to bring any new people aboard four months after they lost their last batch of guys is the bigger mess.
This is absolutely the right year to have Dr. Wagner versus Psycho Clown, because it still overshadows all of this and will carry the company the rest of the year. And so, if it was a sort of make good or just a shifting of focus, ending the show with that back as the big issue was the way to go. This was actually the most (and only) effective show to build up Verano de Escandalo and it’s so weird it came six days after that show took place. But the show that matters is TripleMania and that match and literally ushering all the timekillers off stage to put the spotlight back where it belongs was the right way to end show.
The rest was the rest. I don’t have the pair of eyes to see Big Mami as the native star of the women’s division, they must be seeing things I’m not seeing. I don’t have any great hope or interest in Pirata Morgan’s mystery words to Parka, but Argenis & Marvin looked good in their few moments of shine. (I am starting to wonder why exactly they bothered to make Argenis Rey del Ring when he’s now the seventh or eight most important guy in matches. He’d be in the same sport regardless, because they just don’t have that many people.)
The Noti AAA segments seem really barren of late – all recaps and corporate announcements and nothing that I’d find that interesting as a fan. It’d take more planning, but it ought to be a place where they follow up one of the ‘A’ week feuds on the ‘B’ week to re-enforce it – like, air the Hijo del Fantasma backstage flip out for this first this week, so to keep that story moving on the week they’re not going to be in the ring.
The Mexico City video package was really nice. Hope the matches are too.