As usual, things happen, and then there are different sources trying to explain what happened. Sometimes I one of those people, sometimes I’m just reading thru what other people said. This is the latter time.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s lead story is about Rush’s deal with Ring of Honor. The key points
- MLW says they were negotiating with Rush & Paco Alonso directly.
- Rush is said to be signed to CMLL thru 2020, the end of a five-year deal
- On CMLL Informa, JCR says Rush had a CMLL & ROH deal.
- MLW would give Rush the world title and less dates than Ring of Honor
- MLW would give Rush more money than ROH was offering, a six-digit deal.
- Rush asked for the rest of his family to get spots with MLW. MLW said OK though Bestia del Ring may not have wrestled
- Rush asked for MLW to help him get himself, his wife and his son US citizenship so they could move to the US and MLW said OK
- MLW offered a spot on a BeinSports soccer show for Rush to do soccer analysis
- MLW would run on Thursdays and Saturdays so Rush could still work any Friday CMLL show
- Alonso is blamed for pushing Rush to sign with Ring of Honor instead, but later it’s said NJPW pushed Paco to to push Rush.
Those are some amazing enticements by MLW. It’s unbelievable. I mean, they’re literally unbelievable. I can’t think of a recent TV situation where a wrestling promotion has been able to promise it’s talent regular spots on different shows. (WWE and even Lucha Underground wrestlers have gotten guest spots on the same networks, though I don’t think that was part of the talent contract.) There are some things that feel true, like the Munoz family trying to get into a promotion as a package. There are other things, like US citizenship, which seem particularly hard to promise in 2019
It’s incredible MLW would feel the need to reveal contract details and personal information like a plan to change county of residence. For MLW, this seems less specifically about Rush and more about trying to insist they’re a major league promotion capable of offering top-level deals to wrestlers. MLW is making money from tickets and likely from TV rights, but they’re also a company that appears to be funded strongly by venture capitalists on the basis of MLW being competitive and ultimately successful in the wrestling landscape. MLW needs to get and keep top wrestling stars when they’re on the market, or make the case they would be able to if not for factors completely out of their control which wouldn’t come up with other stars. And it helps if they can make that case loudly enough that anyone interested in wrestling would know it. (I feel like I might be part of the problem here, but I’m not sure of any sensible way to get around it.)
Something not touched on in the WON article at all, oddly, is that Konnan works for MLW, CMLL still hates Konnan, and it’s tough to imagine CMLL being thrilled to sign deals with a Konnan affiliated promotion given the history. Maybe it wouldn’t even be the deciding factor, but it’s a factor. Konnan does bring up the situation on his podcast, mentioning the plan was for Rush to be Aro Lucha champion and he recommended Rush to MLW, so Rush might have not been in MLW in the first place if not for Konnan. (Konnan also says Aro Lucha is coming back in March but didn’t seem sure he was remembering the correct month, so take that as a time frame.) Konnan echoes the idea that Paco Alonso steered Rush towards ROH.
It does seem to me that MLW was promoting LA Park versus Rush without having either man locked in. It’s something that probably would’ve worked out fine in 2016 or 2017 and self-evidently won’t work in 2019. I feel bad for the people who made plans to see that match. It does appear MLW has given refunds to those who ask, and I hope there are other shows they’re interested in going to if they’ve already bought travel and accommodations. LA Park is mentioned as being a free agent and specifically being unwilling to sign contracts with anyone. It is not impossible ROH could contact LA Park, though there’s no hint of it happening. That also makes it unclear to me what will happen to LA Park & MLW going forward, since it doesn’t seem like there’s anything MLW could offer LA Park to prevent him from showing up elsewhere if he felt like it.
MLW says they’re no longer bringing in CMLL talents, fearing they’ll all end up in ROH anyway. Besides Aerostar being advertised for their upcoming show in Philadelphia, MLW’s contacted Flamita about coming in.
The sidebar here is the WON says La Sombra/Andrade talked to Rush & Dragon Lee about the possibilities of them coming to WWE and apparently warned them against it after how his run has gone. Most people expect Dragon Lee will announce a deal with Ring of Honor rather soon, though this week shows that nothing is for sure until it’s announced. Rush hinted news with Dragon Lee coming soon on Informa.
The WON also a bit about the Penta/Fenix WrestleMania weekend situation, where they’re booked for both MLW & WrestleCon. The plan stated is for them to work WrestleCon early on 04/04 (Thursday) and go to MLW early, then reverse that for the Friday show. They’re also booked for Impact and no one’s quite figured out how that is going to work. The problems people in Mexico have had trying to do this lately – luchadors missing shows, matches not going as well as they would normally – make me skeptical this is going to go well.
This is way too much from the WON as it is. So borrowing from a different source, El Planchitas has useful stuff for the first time in a while. The column says AAA and Televisa are still negotiating a deal going forward. AAA is looking for the rights to use whoever they’d like for production (at least sometimes required to be Televisa now), a reduced fee for being on the channel and a better timeslot.
The reduced fee is interesting because it’s been said before that AAA wasn’t getting any more from Televisa for the show though it’s never been suggested AAA was paying to be on the channel. It would make sense if AAA wasn’t saying anything about the situation when a final decision has not been made, but also AAA generally doesn’t say anything about situations anyway. AAA is still on Televisa Deportes, so I don’t think we’ll see anything differently on Saturday no matter what is happening.
The column also updates Garza Jr.’s status, saying he’s expected to talk with WWE either the end of this month or early next month.
Garza’s cousin Humberto Carillo (Ultimo Ninja) debuted on WWE’s 205 Live this week. Garza was expected to sign at the same time as Carillo but WWE delayed signing him due to Garza having a shoulder injury. Garza took time off to get it fixed and has been wrestling infrequently the last couple of months. He’ll probably have to go thru an exam to prove the shoulder is now fine and would be expected to sign with WWE if he does.
Fantastica Mania is back on NJPW World early tomorrow morning. The show starts at 3:30 AM CT. The full lineup was announced last night.
CMLL , NJPW (FRI) 01/18/2019 Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Fantastica Mania, 2019 Toyko Day 1
1) Audaz, Jushin Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi vs Gedo, Taiji Ishimori, Templario
2) Ángel de Oro & Titán vs Forastero & Okumura
3) Fujin, Raijin, Satoshi Kojima, Toa Henare vs Bushi, Shingo Takagi, Terrible, Tetsuya Naito
Black Cat Memorial match
4) Gran Guerrero & Último Guerrero vs Atlantis & Atlantis Jr.
5) Flyer & Volador Jr. vs Carístico & Namajague [Relevos Increíbles]
6) Soberano Jr. vs Bárbaro Cavernario
7) Cuatrero & Sansón vs Dragón Lee & Místico [CMLL FAMILY, final]
winner of the matches in Chiba
Most of the card is still build up matches. Despite losing in the tournament, the Atlantis family still gets the same match they would’ve for winning the whole thing, facing Los Guerreros. They probably do not get trophies. Soberano and Cavernario are capable of having an outstanding match and both have looked good on the previous two streaming shows. The Dinamtias getting and Dragon Lee & Mistico getting to headline this show is a big deal for them – I’m not sure CMLL would allow them to do this without Rush in Mexico – and they should make the most of it. I think the top two matches on this show could end up being the best of this weekend.
I think I may be watching this live. There will be a recap up Friday at some point. This’ll probably be a little longer show than the last one because Korakuen Hall shows tend to have an intermission; if you’re thinking of just watching the last two, they should start around 5 to 5:30 AM. It’ll of course be able to watch on VOD.
AAA’s saying their show Saturday night will start at 8 pm CT, which is the same time as on the poster. The only time AAA started a show close to when it was listed on the poster was TripleMania and an outdoor show where they were trying to beat a rainstorm (and did not beat a rainstorm.) The first two matches on the AAA show look the best but I wouldn’t trust them to start on time.
Diamante Azul was doing press for CMLL yesterday, which suggests he really is ready to return on Friday and CMLL isn’t just listing him optimistically.
Lost in Lucha ranks the top 100 CMLL matches of 2018.
LuchaTalk has a new episode.
AAA TV (SUN) 02/10/2019 Auditorio Amado Nervo, Tepic, Nayarit
1) Dinastía, Lady Shani, Niño Hamburguesa vs Lady Maravilla, Lanzelot, Villano III Jr.
2) Hijo Del Vikingo & Sammy Guevara vs Jack Evans & Taurus
3) Aerostar, Máximo, Taya vs Faby Apache, La Máscara, Monsther Clown
4) Fénix © vs Laredo Kid, Flamita [AAA HEAVY]
5) Dr. Wagner Jr. vs Blue Demon Jr. [street]
6) La Parka, Psycho Clown, Puma King vs Hijo del Fantasma, Killer Kross, Rey Escorpión
Laredo Kid won a challenging 8-week tournament to earn a shot at the biggest prize in AAA. Flamita, uh, hasn’t been in AAA since October and has won only one match since his return to AAA. The match is going to be outstanding, but no one should be surprised if the fans give it the Aguascalientes reaction from the Fenix/Flamita/Bandido match.
IN THEORY, Flamita could be both AAA Cruiserweight champion and AAA Heavyweight Champion by the end of the weekend. Also in theory, he could’ve been added to two different three ways as a good worker they don’t care about who can eat some pins while AAA put off doing the real singles matches until they get around to it.
It’s also fourth from the top. Maybe the street fight is more important if that’s now the TripleMania main event, but no idea what’s supposed to be going on in that main event. Perhaps something is happening with Psycho & Fantasma or Escorpion since they’re paired up a lot on these cards, but there’s no reason to count on a storyline existing (much less having any consistency.) The undercard matches look good and there’s no reason to think much more about this promotion beyond the matches look good.