Pindar beat Cage (0:31, DQ for punch ref, no rating)
Dante Fox beat Son of Havoc (9:12, foxcatcher, good)
Prince Puma beat PJ Black (15:52, 630 senton, great)
Week six of the Cueto Cup continued the spotlights on specific characters. This one was heavy on Prince Puma’s current status quo. He’s still tortured by visions even despite beating Mil Muertes. Vampiro advised him to do that, and now he’s telling Puma that he’s got to win the title back to be free of his torment. Puma took one step closer to that goal by defeating PJ Black in one of the longest matches on this show in some time. With Black’s elimination, all the members of the Worldwide Underground are out of the Cueto Cup.
PJ Black did get a consolation prize. An earlier vignette revealed Johnny Mundo had hired an enthusiastic if under-informed and perhaps foolish agent to market Worldwide Underground. The agent, Benjamin Cooke, badgered Dario Cueto into giving him a non-tournament next week: it’ll be PJ Black facing Rey Mysterio, before Mysterio takes on Mundo for the title.
Puma’s quarterfinal opponent will be Dante Fox. That was a bit of surprise, and it was helped a bit by Son of Madness thrashing Son of Havoc before this second round match. Havoc didn’t show a lot of wear during the fight but Fox still seemed to take most of the match.
The opening second round match barely counted as a match. Cage was very unwilling to remove his gauntlet, hitting referee Justin Borden and Pindar with it at the start of the match. Cage was immediately disqualified, but gave a Borden a Drill Claw anyway. (Striker foreshadowed a referee decision by hurriedly mentioning a meeting between the referees and Dario just before Cage hit the ref.) Pindar will face Fenix in the next round of the Cueto Cup.
It’s been a long time since a Lucha Underground show felt this unbalanced. Between two breaks, one vignette, one non-match, and one attack prior to a match, they went about 19 minutes before any real action started. And then they went nearly that long in the main event! Weird short segments are always the tradeoff when they go all out for a big match at the end of the show, but the sequencing was a problem. If the Fox match is first and the Cage match is second, maybe it flows a bit better.
Sequencing is a problem with Cage’s story too. Cage’s scene with Councilman Delgado – a character treated as very important to the show’s mythos who was killed off in a big way four weeks ago and has never been mentioned again, you may have forgot – would’ve made more sense airing around this match than before the Vinnie one. Cage was still willing to take the gauntlet off at that match, even though he wasn’t during the vignettes. He’s the out of control Cage now and showing it later would’ve reduced this bizarre gap between when LU did a major story point and when they finally get around to following up on what it means.
Fox/Havoc felt like it was missing a little bit of substance and they brushed off Madness’ attack a little to easily, but it was still two athletes doing cool things in impressive fashion. Totally watchable. Dante winning is a bit of an important choice; no one’s made by beating Son of Havoc, but it does move Dante up from the fringe part of the roster to someone worth paying attention to. His matches warrant the same attention.
PJ Black/Prince Puma had to pace themselves and had to work in points of Puma being angry/frustrated/dark and had to overcome no one having any idea what PJ Black’s big moves are because he hasn’t won a match cleanly on this show in a 50 or so episodes. (Maybe his finish is still the 450 splash? Striker called something “the Wellness Policy” because he’s Dr. Black on Twitter and the WWE wellness policy guy is Dr. Black but no one in the crowd knew anything other than it was a move. It would’ve helped PJ to beat Sexy Star with a move, but priorities are what they are.) This was another one of those weekly LU matches where I wasn’t feeling it for a while but they did so much that they got in the end. Evil Puma’s power moves, his suplexes out of tough positions, come off as even bigger feats than his flying. There was a strike exchange really late that looked good and felt like the turning point to something bigger, and then they went and did crazy stuff out of the corners. PJ looked good, really smooth on his flying, and it came off as the best spotlight he’s had on the night. It’s odd to bring him back against Rey next week, but at least it should look fine.
I hope there’s a good payoff for the Agent Cooke thing later, because it feels like there’s two dozen different plots lines LU could be advancing and they did a rando comedy segment for no reason instead. It seemed to serve no purpose here; Dario could’ve announced PJ vs Rey and it would’ve made no difference. It wasn’t terrible, but it was frustrating to see them add another thread to the pile when there’s so many there already.
As someone who watched a lot of AAA, Pindar versus Fenix sounds awesome. Dante Fox versus Prince Puma will be pretty good too. They are getting to the big matches, and I hope they take advantage of how long this tournament is by pounding home all the people who each quarter-finalist (and then semi-finalst and finalist) they had to beat to get there.
CMLL (TUE) 07/18/2017Arena México [CMLL]
1) Pequeño Olímpico & Pequeño Violencia b Angelito & Fantasy CMLL originally listed Pequeno Nitro in the match, then the preview listed Pequeno Olimpico, and it was Mercury who showed up. Angelito’s first match here in about 18 months (found out as underage.) Angelito went into spasms after taking Mercurio’s package piledriver and was hurriedly strechered out. It appeared to be serious, but Angelito’s head appeared not to touch the mat on the replay and CMLL didn’t even make note of it in it’s recap.
2) Akuma, Arkángel de la Muerte, Metálico b Flyer, Príncipe Diamante, Robin rudos took 1/3.
3) Fuego, Oro Jr., Pegasso b Disturbio, Nitro, Sangre Azteca Nitro is back from France.
4) Vangellys b Johnny Idol [lightning]
5) Gran Guerrero, Hechicero, Negro Casas b Rey Cometa, Titán, Valiente Hechicero replaced Shocker early Tuesday.
6) Mephisto, Rey Bucanero, Terrible b Ángel de Oro, Carístico, Mistico Mephisto replaced Cavernario early Tuesday.
The real most disturbing tactic a wrestling promotion has pulled this week is Angelito apparently faking a brain injury for absolutely no reason. He’s not on the card next week, they’re not going anywhere with it, they sell package piledrivers big all the time but not like that. I suspect it might have just been the people involved who were running their own storyline – maybe the new kid having to prove himself by going along with the gag – because the rest of CMLL completely and totally no sold it. There’s no point in doing a bit like that if no one’s going to take it seriously, but Tuesday shows seem to be designed to entertain only the people involved sometimes.
Last night, Johnny Mundo took to Twitter in a couple posts to calling Vampiro a mark for himself and a “2 faced lying douche bag who believes his own lies“. That last one is sticked to the top of his twitter feed at the moment. Mundo was reacting to how AAA handled the situation with Taya, but probably also other things between Mundo and AAA. Vampiro posted his side of the story on Facebook. It, and his original Twitter comments to a fan who was angry about what had happened with Sexy Star that inflamed things, have been deleted. In that post, Vampiro praised Johnny Mundo & Taya while saying “it was completely irresponsible how I went about the situation with her.” Vampiro also alludes to other people making the decisions involved in this situation: “I do not do anything on my own…it’s not my fault if talent is unhappy with me.”
There is some truth to what Vampiro is saying. AAA has active and present owners and Vampiro is not autonomous. The only two people in AAA who could approve Sexy Star returning are Marisela Pena and Dorian Roldan, and Sexy Star only gets the title back on her first night with their approval. My guess is Marisela or Dorian made the deal with Sexy Star themselves, but I don’t know that’s as a fact. Vampiro definitely points towards this decision being something they made. AAA had talent versus management problems before Vampiro, they’re having talent versus management problems during Vampiro, and they will likely continue to have talent versus management problems after Vampiro unless other changes are made.
Still, Vampiro admits to handling the situation badly (after previously saying the stories about how it was handled were false.) And part of the job of being in a GM role is to take the heat for when ownership makes an unpopular move and manage as best as you can. That seems like a struggle for Vampiro right now. The creative parts, working out storylines and helping talent improve, are why Konnan wanted to be in that role before and clearly the parts that Vampiro likes the best about it. But, the big difference between playing fantasy booker and reality is dealing with people and Vampiro doesn’t appear to be dealing with people.
Now, Mundo’s comments and Taya’s comments have been so over the top and strong that there are people who fairly believe this is a storyline of some kind. I disagree, but it’s not an unreasonable belief. This is the kind of bombastic response when 2017 wrestling departures are more snide remarks – we’re more used to people doing it like Ricochet if they’re going to do it at all. I do not think it is a storyline for a few reasons
Loud & angry is the way most stars seem to leave AAA, this is actually normal. It’d be uncommon for something like this to happen with an average wrestling promotion, but AAA has proven itself anything but average. Pentagon, Fenix, Garza, Daga, all left very unhappy. Before that batch, people like Cibernetico, Caristico and Octagon left very loud. Before that batch, Psicosis II and Histeria and Kraneo and more left just as unhappy. AAA was formed by luchadors and an owner who were so unhappy with another promotion that they left and started their own, and angry departures seem embedded in their DNA. (That’s also probably why the people in charge don’t appear to be too concerned about another.)
It’s all being done in English on Twitter. AAA’s fans speak Spanish and are not much on Twitter. SuperLuchas has been mentioning the situation and I’m sure there’s translations going on elsewhere, but the vast majority of AAA fans are not going to be reading Johnny Mundo or Taya’s timelines. They really don’t pay much attention to AAA outside of what’s presented on TV. The Mexican audience for AAA is not the WWE audience, they’re not checking rumor sites for gossip to be fed into a storyline like this.The English speaking audience for AAA is barely existent. The English speaking audience for Lucha Underground is much greater, but all of Season 3 is taped, they’re not running a Mundo/Taya/Vamp feud on there, and the story that’s getting across is “oh man, maybe there won’t be a season 4 because everyone hates everyone now.” That’s not a useful story.
Nothing about this is a useful story. There’s no match they’re building here. Taya & Mundo aren’t come back as faces, there’s no pivot to involve Fantasma or Texano or Kross or Sexy Star to set up a match, and Vampiro was apologetic rather than building something up. There’s no obvious payoff or direction here. Even if they get to one, they’ll have done it by dragging AAA’s reputation thru the mud yet again.
Everyone in Lucha Underground seems to be reacting to it like Taya & Mundo are being honest, and are strongly agreeing with them. I don’t know if Vampiro read the follow up comments, but it would have to be a lonely feeling to see most of the US based Lucha Underground piling on him or patting Taya & Mundo on the back with GIFs. Plenty of people outside of LU seem to be onboard with the anti-Vampiro/AAA sentiment too, when they’d normally stay out something that looked like an angle. Either LU, which can’t get on the same page about anything, all got on the same page about this, or Taya & Mundo are working their friends and coworkers in a way that would hurt later.
If this is an angle, it’s an amazingly self destructive angle that makes the promotion look terrible, overshadows any match, and goes over the head of most of their audience. I watched enough of end of days WCW and read enough about TNA to know that is a thing people in charge have actually have done, so I guess I can’t rule it out here either. No matter what you think is happening here, I think we can agree that it’s really stupid.
All that said, both sides could pick up their phones today and start turning it into a more productive angle this very instant if that’s what they wanted. Johnny Mundo called out Vampiro, but did not say he’ll never go back to AAA. AAA has not said they’re taking the titles away Johnny Mundo, and they haven’t said he won’t be appearing again. AAA has no obvious TripleMania opponent for Sexy Star and Taya would make the most sense. The doors do not appear to be shut.
Taya & Johnny are scheduled for San Diego Comic Con tomorrow, and on the EMW show on Friday in Tijuana. Johnny, though not Taya, is listed on the final TV taping before TripleMania in Aguascalientes on 07/27. They probably were both scheduled for TripleMania, they were likely both on the Hard Rock resort show after TripleMania, and it’s possible one or both could’ve been penciled in for the AAA Colombia shows in early August. They’ve said they’re doing in the Comic Con. If they show up for the rest, something’s been worked out.
When Vamp wasn’t addressing the Taya situation and then deleting it, he posted a Kevin Kross promo that’s part of the Puebla week 1 open on Facebook. That’s the open two weeks from now, and it’s on a private link on the YouTube channel of one of AAA’s video editors that was intended for Vampiro (and upper level staff) only. He didn’t realize he was not meant to be posting it publicly or he didn’t care. I think, if you’re giving Vampiro some credit for a scheme to work the internet, you’re giving him more credit than he probably should be receiving.
Lucha Underground, Which Is Still A Thing
Lucha Underground has episode 3×27, “Fade to Black”. There are 14 episodes left of Lucha Underground (this season.) Three second round matches in the Cueto Cup will take place
The preview also says Vampiro will counsel Prince Puma and Worldwide Underground will meet Johnny Mundo’s agent. I believe this is the final “only Cueto Cup matches” episode of six straight, though next week isn’t as much a change in format as you might think.
Garza keeps teasing Pagano coming in to join him in a faction, Pagano keeps saying he’s not leaving AAA. There’s obviously something there for Garza to keep doing this and Pagano not to get angry about it, but Pagano doesn’t appear to making a move (and there’s no reason for him to do so until he gets paid for TripleMania.)
CMLL (TUE) 07/25/2017Arena México
1) Fiero & Sangre Imperial vs Apocalipsis & Yago
2) Astral, Oro Jr., Star Jr. vs Arkángel de la Muerte, Cancerbero, Sangre Azteca
3) Blue Panther Jr., Stigma, The Panther vs Disturbio, Misterioso Jr., Sagrado
4) Rey Cometa vs Virus [lightning]
5) Dragón Lee, Guerrero Maya Jr., Johnny Idol vs Dragón Rojo Jr., Pólvora, Vangellys
6) Ángel de Oro, Marco Corleone, Volador Jr. vs Negro Casas, Rey Bucanero, Terrible
Rey Cometa/Virus sounds great. Good to see Yago again.
That’s a surprising title match. Hijos del Infernals are just facing family trios right now: Panthers, Casas and now the Dinamtias, who are the local trios champions here.
RevoLucha The Crash (SUN) 08/06/2017Arena Coliseo Monterrey
1) Guerrero Vida vs Black Impuls
2) Chik Tormenta & Lady Maravilla vs Dulce Kanela & Larry Miranda
3) Zorro vs Damián 666 [sin reglas]
4) Rey Horus vs Sammy Guevara, Black Taurus (Elite), Jack Evans
5) Daga & The King (Rey Fenix) vs Bestia 666 & Último Ninja
6) Garza Jr. vs Santo Jr., ?
They’re getting the Garza/Santo match after all, but with a third opponent to be determined. Lady Maravilla is questionable for any The Crash dates if she’s in CMLL. Zorro and Damian is a no rules match, which means it’s a 50% bet it’ll end with a DQ.