Niebla Roja & Soberano keep the titles & Cuatrero wins his at FantasticaMania, Alberto/Luchando por Ellos

the winning move

CMLL NJPW (FRI) 01/19/2018 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan [411ManiaCMLLCulticonNJPWthecubsfan]
Attendance: 1522
1) Okumura b Fuego
6:45. Okumura won via reverse DDT.
2) Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, Rush, Tetsuya Naito b Dragón Lee, Hirai Kawato, Satoshi Kojima, Star Jr.
15:46. BUSHI submitted Kawato to the Boston Crab. Rush attacked Kojima with a chair post match. Naito attacked announcer Milano before and after the match.
3) Atlantis, Drone, Mistico, Volador Jr. b Bárbaro Cavernario, Disturbio, Puma, Último Guerrero
12:33. Atlantida on Puma.
4) Cuatrero b Ángel de Oro © [CMLL MIDDLE]
11:43. Cuatrero won via crucifix powerbomb. He’s the 19th champion, Angel de Oro falls on his second defense
5) Soberano Jr. © b Sansón [MEX WELTER]
11:17. Soberano won with the sit down piledriver (now La Soberana.) 2nd defense
6) Niebla Roja © b Gran Guerrero [CMLL LH]
16:18. Niebla Roja won with the super double chickenwing faceslam (which he appears to be calling Rompecaras Rojo now.) 3rd defense.

This show overdelivered, with two really strong matches to end the show. It was the best Niebla Roja/Gran Guerrero and Soberano/Sanson matches in those feuds, and probably the best match in at least Niebla Roja & Gran Guerrero’s careers. Gran Guerrero’s career has come a long way from being the guy struggling after he was moved into a big position way too soon. Niebla Roja’s gone form a guy I thought could be quitting CMLL and maybe lucha libre after losing his mask to getting a standing ovation to end a Korakeun Hall show. This was a good night for wrestling matches and a great night for the future of CMLL.

The rest of the show was watchable if not notable. The other title match wasn’t on the level of the last two, but it’s the one that created some history. This was the first title change on FantasticaMania show since Kamaitachi defeated Dragon Lee in 2016. This won’t put Cuatrero on the map like those guys, but it was a good moment for his career. The NGD wanted to win singles gold in 2017 and one of them already did it.

Last year’s Friday show had a reported attendance of 1515, so this was about the same. (The other two shows did 1559 and 1592.)

FantasticaMania is off tonight, and back early Sunday morning with Volador/Cavernario and the first round of the tag tournament.

CMLL also has a normal show in Arena Mexico. The main event is Caristico, Diamante Azul and Marco vs Rey Bucanero, Terrible and Vangellys, which doesn’t feel like a Friday night show. Last week’s show seemed to be setting up Diamante Azul & Terrible. They’re running Diamante Azul singles matches everywhere else, so maybe they’ll change their mind here.

Stuka, Titan and Valiente form a tecnico trio against Euforia, Felino and Mr. Niebla. The lightning match is clash of large men with different styles, Kraneo taking on Hechicero. I’m interested in seeing what they can pull off together.

The best match on the card is the tag team of Esfinge & Triton teaming with Triton against Raziel, Sagrado and Tiger. The women’s match is Maravilla, Marcela, Sugehit versus Amapola, Zeuxis and Tiffany (so about one person short of being good.) The show opens with another minis match, Mercurio & Pequeno Nitro take on Fantasy & Ultimo Dragoncito.

The show will air on Claro & their Facebook page at 8:30pm, and will be on YouTube sometime after – but if you’ve got access to NJPW World, then I’d tell you to go watch that show instead of this one if you have to choose.

Alberto’s press tour for Saturday’s Luchando por Ellos show took him to MedioTiempo. This was the show that was canceled at the last minute last time ago, which Alberto somewhat blames the people running the building while believing it actually worked out better for them because now they have an even better card to offer. Alberto said AAA & Dorian Roldan offered for him to appear on their benefit show. Alberto was busy in New York that day, so AAA instead offered him the ability to use Dr. Wagner. Alberto says CMLL offered Caristico, and now he’s also trying to include Hijo del Fantasma. The gate from this show is going to children who lost their parents in the September 19th earthquake. Alberto mentions the son of journalist Julio Cana and two girls who will be helped out. Alberto’s original plan was to run two of these shows a year, and is thinking of expanding it to four this year because he’s got offers to run similar shows in Monterrey and Reynosa. I’d guess those would be MDA promoter shows.

Alberto also talked about his plans for the future. He’s still sticking (for now) to a 2020 retirement date. He’s pictured a big retirement tour, including one more special appearance in WWE. This is surprising because Alberto spent parts of the last couple years saying some harsh things about WWE & HHH in social media (mostly Periscope videos), blaming the company for causing problems towards his then-fiance Paige. Alberto told MT that he’d apologized and shook hands with them about, and hopes to make a last special appearance in 2019.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too cynical about Alberto el Patron. I am a miserable persona and tend to hold onto my dislike for some people for an unhealthy amounts of time, maybe everyone else moved on. This charity event is a way to improve his public perception, for now and for whatever he decides to do after wrestling, but I know running any charity event can be a tremendous amount of work and Alberto seems to be doing a fair amount of that work. Anyway, after I quoted that article on Twitter, I got so many negative responses about the idea of Alberto going back to WWE that maybe I’m actually relatively soft on Alberto. WWE fans on Twitter did not seem to like the idea at all.

Ciudad Juarez legend Rocky Star will be honored on 02/18. He says he’s thinking about retiring this year, and would like to face Flama Roja, Legionario and the Crazys one last time.

Promociones Juniors says they’re hosting an AAA TV taping in San Luis Potosi on 03/21. This finally made me break down and create the AAA taping chart page for 2018.

+LuchaTV has an interview with Fabi Apache talking about Guerra de Titanes.

Wrestling with GIFS writes about Gran Guerrero vs Volador Jr.

LuchaWorld has the latest Lucha Report.