This year’s version of the Lucha World Cup broadly fit the previous versions: some patriotism and some good matches, though nothing out of this world. It still was the weakest of the three: moving it to Japan and a small half full arena robbed the show of it’s atmosphere, which was the best thing the competition had going for it.
The format change hurt too: the best match on the show (Impact vs NOAH) felt like it had a lot left into it when they hit the 10 minute limit, and the pace of the other matches were hurt. This was also the weakest team AAA: Psycho Clown gets over but doesn’t wrestle interesting enough to make for three good matches (though the issues with the second one didn’t have much to do with him.) There’s nothing must see on this show, but there were a few nice novelty matches, including the two Cuerno matches shown. There was also a lot of stuff I didn’t really care for, and I didn’t realize how much until I looked back at this later.
Most matches appeared to be edited a slight bit. Time is indicated in the results
The broadcast opens with clips from the Lucha Underground show, with the briefest of highlights of the three undercard matches (or the entrances, in the case of the Psycho Clown match.) The first two matches aired in full are from that show at Shinkiba 1st Ring on October 9th.
King Cuerno beat Drago
(7:07 shown/8:29 in full, Thrill of the Hunt, good)
CMLL lightning style match, with both guys getting in their big moves in a hurried pace. Camera wasn’t quite up to where it needed be, because Cuerno’s tope went straight into the darkness. Didn’t seem the smoothest thing, something prior to the finish looked like I went wrong, but gave the fans a lot of both guys and worked well.
Vampiro no contest Mil Muertes
(9:48 w/no official time, Nosawa & Fujita run in to attack both, below average)
What Happened: Vampiro repeatedly leaves and comes back to get the reaction. He’s worth studying to get down all the old pro moves.
Mil had the Flatliner set up when Nosawa and his partner hit the ring to attack them, and build up Nosawa/Vampiro for tomorrow. Vampiro, who’s already scheduled to team with Mil tomorrow, asks Mil to be his partner tomorrow. Mil says yes.
Review: This match really wasn’t what it should be, but then it never was going to be what it should be. It should’ve been the monster Mil Muertes destroying whoever happened to be in his path, which just happened to be Vampiro. Vampiro’s not a guy who can take an entertaining destruction, and probably wouldn’t want to anyway. Instead, this was a mostly 50/50 match with Mil Muertes wrestling as Ricky Banderas wearing an odd match. The match would’ve been better for a Puerto Rician tribute show than a Lucha Underground one.
10 minutes was too long to go for these guys; Vampiro looked like he was leaning on Mil to stand up after three. Some of it was selling, but it was clearly not all that way. His pescado was not the best idea, sitting up and grabbing his arm after taking a suplex on the ramp, the top rope twisting senton was surprisingly good, but this was just a lot of Vampiro. Mil did wear down armbars instead of dominating, and no one much liked the run-in.
The rest of the broadcast was from Korakuen Hall on October 10. Almost all matches were from the Lucha World Cup. The singles match was not, and the trios match was not shown (though they were included in the opening presentation of all the countries.)
Pagano & Psycho Clown beat Cody Hall & Quiet Storm in a Lucha World Cup quarterfinal
(9:00/9:07, Psycho Clown top rope low blow headbutt Cody Hall, ok)
Very tall Cody Hall and not very tall Quiet Storm didn’t visually fit together, and they also didn’t work well as opponents to these técnicos. This one got a decent amount of time but there wasn’t a lot to it.
Kendo Kashin & Nosawa beat Mil Muertes & Vampiro in a Lucha World Cup quarterfinal
(4:14/6:09, DQ Vampiro [Nosawa fakes being hit by a chair, below average)
They didn’t do a whole before the lame DQ finish, Vampiro seemed to do most of it, and the rudo faked DQ bit didn’t seemed earned at all. AAA’s had bigger names in this LWC competition in the past and I can’t recall a more copout finish.
Hi69 & Taiji Ishimori beat Marty Martinez & Son of Havoc in a Lucha World Cup quarterfinal
(8:00/8:11, Isihimoi pin Haovc, good)
This quarterfinal was a solid match. Son of havoc’s signature spots looked impressive (and got him a medal.) Marty could’ve felt out of place, but really didn’t. The match lacked the intensity of a big match but still worked for an odd ball match up in this competition. If nothing else, this match helped me learn that Son of Havoc wrestled as Raptor in NOAH for a tour, so I hope there’s a Raptor/Raptor match someday. Finish looked awkward, Ishimori didn’t really get his knees up to block the SSP in time.
Andrew Everett & DJZ vs Aerostar & Drago in a Lucha World Cup quarterfinal
(6:59/7:51, Andrew Everett 630 senton on Drago, good)
This had all the Aerostar weirdness you want, slip included. The knee dive stood out, but he was trying a bunch of other stuff, to the point where Aerostar Tries Idea was the dominate story of the match. Everyone had ideas and it didn’t totally mesh together at times because they were trying so hard to do stuff that might not work, one that’ll look a little cooler in GIFs than in real life. It was interesting as a highlight reel, just with some of the unsteadiness that happens in this competition.
Pagano & Psycho Clown beat Kendo Kashin & Nosawa in a Lucha World Cup semifinal
(4:51/5:14, Psycho Clown pin Nosawa after Vampiro chokeslam, below average)
Psycho and Pagano got their finish working better the second time, but the brawl here wasn’t anything special again. Crowd wasn’t that into this despite the biggest técnicos being involved, and Nosawa & Kashin didn’t show anything. Psycho knows how to work the crowd into caring, but the action is just not much if you don’t care.
Hi69 & Taiji Ishimori beat Andrew Everett & DJZ in a Lucha World Cup semifinal
(11:28/12:11, Ishimori Salida del Sol DJZ in 1st overtime, good)
What Happened: Time runs out as DJZ & Everett have Ishimori isolated in the ring, though they’re not that close to beating him. DJZ and Ishimori wrestle the overtime period
Review: This was the best match in the tournament. The AAA/Impact match had bigger highspots, but this match was smoother all the way thru. Team NOAH looked more impressive than in the opener and this one had more direction, with the NOAH team getting in a couple of hot tags and being cut off going for the finish. The overtime worked really, just all big moves, near falls and drama. There’s clearly a better match possible without the 10 minute time limit format – they needed about 2 more for the finish they wanted – but this was about as good as possible with that ceiling.
King Cuerno beat Angélico
(8:41/11:08, Thrill of the hunt, good)
The Cuerno/Angelico came off as a better version of Cuerno’s match with Drago. It was a little bit lower, owing to the time, and hit the really big spots, but they had space for sequences leading into the big moves. Angelico hasn’t been around so much that stuff like the Jackie Chan kick seem fresh all of the sudden, and he kind of showed a rudo edge at times during this match. Cuerno did a better job of staying in character than Mil Muertes.
Pagano & Psycho Clown beat Hi69 & Taiji Ishimori in a Lucha World Cup final
(6:38, Psycho Clown Canadian Destroyer HI69, ok)
Review: This was their best to the Psycho/Pagnao efforts, even though it still is up and down. They were more interesting on offense – or at least Psycho was. Pagano could’ve been anyone, and didn’t really stand out outside the Air Raid Crash on the apron. Strictly enforcing the rules hurts him, but he didn’t feel as big a presence as usual. Psycho can get over doing not much, Pagano needs his toys to do so. AAA is way into Pagano so he got the spot, but someone else would’ve had better matches. He did the Maximo like top rope tope con giro here, and that was nice. Ishimori and HI69 going for the same tag team finish but never hitting it was a great running bit,. It probably would’ve gotten a good reaction if it finally worked, and there was plenty of time for it to happen. I’m sure they were all tied, but a sub seven minute match as a main event fells really minimal. Ishimori getting the vote for best wrestler makes since, but he actually stood out as more impressive in previous editions.